You Oughta Know About....

I am participating again in the You Oughta Know Blog Hop. This blog hop rocks because it is a plethora of great ideas for classroom tips, management ideas, organization, and apps. Def check out the links on the bottom to hop over to another classroom idea by some fabulous teachers :-)

For this month's "You Oughta Know Blog Hop," I wanted to share a music app that I use everyday in my classroom. I chose to share this topic because almost none of my colleagues or friends heard of this app, but I truly love it and prefer it over Pandora. It is very simple and makes it easy to play music in the morning or afternoon in your classroom (plus you can use it out of the classroom as well!)

At my school, every classroom is required to do Morning Meeting from 9:00-9:30. The kids come into the classroom from 8:45 to 9:00. Some kids get there right on the dot at 8:45, while some come in a few minutes after 9 because they qualify for breakfast in the cafeteria. With all these students arriving at different times, I want to make my classroom as peaceful as possible. When students enter in the morning, I flip Songza to "acoustic bedtime." I think it sets the mood for a relaxing morning where the kids can get settled in and ready for the day. In my head I always want to play pump-up music, but I have a group of overly excited kiddos this year. I love their energy and enthusiasm, but I think my room would be insane if I played anything other than soft, acoustic music!

During Quiet Time and Writer's Workshop, I flip on "Classical Study". I have a bluetooth speaker in my room, so I easily connect my iPad to it. On Fridays, I pick a playlist from "Family Time." Songza has a playlist for every mood and activity! It's also easy to theme for holidays. For example, I played some festive Celtic music for St. Patrick's Day. The interface makes it easy to pick an activity or mood, since let's be honest, we have WAY too much going on in the classroom to waste time picking perfect songs! Click the screen one or two times, and you're good to go!
Music is a welcome and easy addition during:

  • Arrival
  • dismissal
  • Reading workshop
  • Writing workshop
  • Quiet time/cool down time after recess

Now, you might be asking, "Why wouldn't I just use my iPod or Pandora?". Pandora works a little bit differently. On Pandora, you choose songs by an individual artist, so sometimes the "similar" artists aren't so similar. This isn't an issue in the real world... but it could be an issue if you are playing a song in the classroom and suddenly Lil' Wayne makes an  unexpected appearance. The computer algorithm for Pandora can sometimes be a little wacky. Since Songza is handpicked by a DJ, the songs actually have a similar feel for the mood that you pick.

As you can see in the picture below, it is very personalized for the day and time that you picking out music. Below, I took a screenshot of a Friday around noon.
 Songza feels much more personalized. You do not search by artist, you search by "mood" or "activity." Apparently they have a team of 60 DJ's who create the playlists, so it is now a computer-generated program where you may get some songs that don't quite fit a mix. It's like having a DJ on your iPad :-)

Give Songza a try.... it's free and will add some joy and rhythm into your classroom :-)

Check out these great ideas below from some of my fantastic teacher friends!

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  1. I am DEF going to need to get this app! Thanks for sharing.

    A LoveLi Class

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am always looking for new ways to incorporate music into my curriculum and this app seems to simplify that process! I have spent a lot of time and money creating playlists and this should really help. I have also struggled with exposing my students to music that I myself am unfamiliar with (I.e. Latin, Indian, African, classical, Etc.). I was curious how else you utilize music in class other than ombiance. Thank you again for sharing!

    1. I mostly use it for ambiance, but it definitely would be a neat way to introduce more cultures into the classroom. I have only done this with a few holidays (Traditional Celtic music for St. Patrick's Day and mariachi music from Mexico for Cinco de Mayo), but it definitely can serve as a launching pad for discussions and introductions to other cultures and countries. It's free, so download it and play around! I think you'll really like it!

  3. Great idea! I needed something like this for my class. I've nominated your blog for the Liebster award. Check out me blog for more details.

  4. Just found this post on Pinterest. Thank-you! I downloaded the app right away and I love it.
    Not very fancy in 1st

  5. I love your rug. Do you remember where you got it, and possibly what it's style name is