Here’s a Teaching Tip that can really help supply teachers out. It’s tough going into a new classroom or a new school all the time. Sometimes, having a little reward for the students can really help to keep them on task and the classroom under control.
In the past, I have used YouTube as an online DJ. It’s easy to find songs and you can play pretty much anything you’d like to hear. The problem with doing this in the classroom is that some of the videos are not appropriate for school. You also have to deal with intrusive ads, and the fact that many students simply cannot turn themselves away from the screen. They will watch the videos simply because they are on. They will also argue about what songs to play next.
Grooveshark is an online music streaming service that is completely free. It lets you build and save playlists and I have found that this is a great way to give every student in your class the chance to hear something they like.
These playlists give the students the opportunity to program a virtual radio station. Once they have constructed the setlist, they can click play and walk away. The students don’t have to worry about what song comes on next, there is no distracting video on the screen, they can then get back to work.
You can see the setlist on the screen and the songs that are in queue at the bottom of the screen.
Regular classroom teachers could make this a weekly classroom job. You could have one student be the DJ of the week. I would have a request list where students could write down songs they’d like to hear. The DJ would have to play some requests but would have the flexibility to build the setlist however they saw fit. I would also caution then to only include songs that were appropriate for school (no swearing or offensive lyrics)
If you started this DJ job off at the start of the year, you would have enough time for every student in the class to be the DJ of the week.
You could also challenge them to create themed setlists. For example, you could have them make a mix about rainy days. They could include songs like “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette, “Only Happy When it Rains” by Garbage, and “Singing in the Rain” by Gene Kelly.
So try out Grooveshark, play some music for your class, and get them involved in the music selection process.
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