Music in the Classroom: Songs of Summer

Memorial Day weekend is such a tease.  It feels like summer with its late nights, blockbuster movies, backyard cookouts and silent alarm clocks. But for those of us whose schools are in session until the middle of June, this holiday weekend is simply that—a long weekend.

Three and a half weeks of school still await me, and those three and a half weeks can be dreadful.  Even the best students, when finished with AP and state tests, can become belligerent.  And me?  I become belligerent, too.    Learn because I say so.  Read because I say so.  Enjoy – because I say so.

I’m not at my best as a teacher in June.  Exhausted and out of steam I feel locked in an unwinnable battle with a room full of 17-year-olds: people who up until this point had laughed at some of my jokes and at least attempted to do some of my assignments.

Testing in May makes teaching in June difficult.  That’s why this week we’ll talk about high interest end of the year lessons by revisiting music in the classroom.  But this time we’ll do it with a focus on popular culture, music and the ever innocuous “songs of summer.”

If your students are swooning over One Direction and humming “Call Me Maybe” this week’s lessons will help meet them halfway.  You won’t have to compromise all of the reading, writing and critical thinking skills you’ve tasked them with all year.  They’ll be able to talk about their favorite bands and popular music.  It might not be summer vacation, but we’ll get you as close as possible to the beach with summer music.

As a refresher take a peak at Emily’s posts from October 2011 about song use in the classroom.  They’re a good place to start.


Day One:  Overview of Songs in the Classroom

Day Two:  Creating a Literary Mash-Up

Day Three:  Ideas to Use Songs That Connect to Text

Day Four:  Tonal Shifts in Song Covers

Review of Songs in the Classroom


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