Modern Mixtapes

I have been a teacher for roughly 17 years and a lot has evolved in the profession during that time.  As a student, I was taught to sit in rows silently, and that was still the expectation when I did my student teaching.  That was the approach I used when I first started teaching. It was familiar and I thought it was the correct way to properly educate my students.  Somewhere along the way, the stuffy rows and lack of “fun” was a little too stifling for me.  That is where music comes into play.  I think it became apparent to me that music was something to incorporate into my classroom when I was teaching first grade.  Kids loved adding music to the day and it provided me a source of enjoyment too.  We started with “calendar and days of the week” songs and graduated to a daily song we sang together, will i am’s song “What I Am.”

From that point on, I moved to starting the day with music as the kids enter the room.  I think there is something to be said about walking into a room playing music versus a silent room.  Fridays are typically reserved for Disney playlists, and singing is encouraged.  The school that I work at also has “dance party Friday” pre-COVID we would play music in the halls and students would dance before the day began.  It was such a fun way to start the day with students. Hopefully we will be able to get back to that.

Friday dance party

Another time I play music during the day is when students are writing.  I like to play quiet instrumental music to set the tone for the piece of writing we are currently working on.  It has also been fun when we read/write poetry and set up our “coffee shop” to have music in the background.

(pictures were taken pre-COVID)

        Poetry Reading                                          

For me, music wasn’t something I naturally embraced in the classroom to begin my career because it wasn’t something that was modeled for me.  However, I believe the benefits of music in the classroom are worthwhile. This new way of thinking makes me never want to go back to a completely silent room.  Music can set the tone for a calm work environment or it can make a Friday seem like a magical Disney getaway.  

One of my favorite things to do is have students submit their favorite songs (school appropriate of course) and I create a playlist of their songs.  School should feel like a comfortable place to be, and what is more comforting than familiar fun songs!   

There are always ways to enhance day to day experiences and grow with students on the educational journey. I’m glad to have found music to be one of them!


  1. Bravo! I'm so glad teaching is updating and embracing new methods that can effect so many. I'm sure that these kinds of activities will remain an important part of a child's learning for years to come.


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