From Discovery Educator Catherine Galie:
How many times do you hear a teacher say, “Why don’t they get it,” “Why don’t they remember what we did yesterday,” or “They knew it last week, now they don’t.” We as teachers often beat our heads against the wall trying to create lessons so the students will retain the information, which often doesn’t happen. Why not try adding music? Just ask someone to recite their ABC’s and they often begin to sing it. It is there as a permanent part of our memory. Music seems to help our brain retain the information. I am sure many of you learned some songs in grade school and maybe even high school to remember facts, places, times tables, etc. Now you get the picture.
As an elementary classroom music teacher, I am always looking for ways to help the students not only learn information, but retain it. Last year, as part of a grant to get a Classroom Performance System Unit (CPS), I developed a program linking music with grammar. I found some great songs from a book “ Grammar Grooves ” by Sara Jordan to work on basic grammar. The kids love the songs and can’t wait to do the lessons. We learn around 3 songs a lesson and then take some quizzes with the CPS to aid in the retention of the facts. It is amazing what they remember because of the words in the song.
Many times as I am passing a classroom that I am doing this project with and I will hear the teacher working on a grammar concept that we learned a song for. I poke my head in and begin singing some of the song, and they all join in. It is stuck in their memory, which is what I want to happen. Hopefully when they are taking an assessment relating to grammar, they can mentally remember the song and hopefully get the correct answer. Or when they are writing a story, those rules should be part of their memory that will help improve their grammar mechanics.
So when you are stuck and what you are doing just isn’t working, try adding some music. If you are creative, make up your own. If not, go on the Internet and search and I am sure you will find something to use. You can even take a simple nursery rhyme and add new words. Go for it. Learning can be fun and hopefully the students will retain the information in the process.