Quivers and Quills: Using Halloween to Launch Creative Writing Exercises

A dim spectre in the distance. A ghostly woman in white waiting forlornly on a bridge. A mysterious voice in the dark of the night. A statue that watches…and waits.

Scary stories are powerful. Every community, rural or urban, has its share of tales that have the power to chill you to the bone. Both original stories and those rooted in folk legends invoke strong reactions from their audience. Some people avoid scary tales. Others cannot get enough of them. These are the people for which Halloween was made.

Scary

The book that hooked me up

While I don’t enjoy all aspects of Halloween, (I’m took impatient to put together an impressive costume, and I’m allergic to half the candy out there – Boo!) I am a fright fan. I have been ever since elementary school, when my second-grade teacher gave me a booked titled The Doll in the Garden. It was a ghost story about a girl who found an antique doll buried in her neighbor’s garden. Throughout the story she learns about the doll’s history by traveling back in time to speak with the doll’s former owner – a ghost girl named Louisa.

I enjoyed the book enough to mention it to my aunt, who was a fourth grade teacher. My aunt gave me a book her students enjoyed by the same author. It was called Wait Till Helen Comes. It was about a girl whose stepsister was communicating with a ghost who wanted to lure her into a pond, to drown, so she could join her in the afterworld.  I loved it, and read it again and again. There were sentences that made my heartbeat quicken. Something about the way the words scared me pressed me to keep on reading them, and as my interest grew, I swear I could feel my imagination expanding. I liked to be scared, and I liked how my fright made me wonder about the world and my place in it.

I found myself studying the way the author used words to paint scary scenes and invoke a sense of danger. I became keenly aware that my reaction to the story was the result of artistic choices. Her characters, the plot, the setting, the tone, the pacing, the symbolism, the foreshadowing, the structure – all of these elements worked in harmony to create a story powerful enough that I remember it to this day.

Teachers, without a doubt, have kids in their class who love a good fright, and Halloween is a perfect time to reach them with an unforgettable creative writing exercise. There is plenty of opportunity to co-opt Halloween to help students stretch their creative muscles with some writing exercises.

horror book

Option One: Writing prompts. Teachers can provide students with a choice of three or four “story starters” from which they can build their own scary story. Students who chose the same prompt can compare their stories after they are written and discuss how the stories differ. Students can explain the choices they made and discuss their favorite parts of each other’s stories.

scary prompt

Option Two: Word webs. Teachers can ask students for “scary” nouns. Then, scary adjectives, verbs, and so on. Using the collected words, students can compose a series of frightening sentences – or a full-fledged scary story.

witch

Option Three: Take a break from scary. Not all students enjoy being scared. That’s perfectly fine! Instead, perhaps they would benefit from a writing exercise that focuses on costumes. What was their favorite Halloween costume, ever? What do the costumes in the costume store do at night, when all of the customers and employees are gone? What if the costumes came to life?

I have found that giving children the chance to perform their written pieces for an audience is very beneficial for driving home the idea that writing is meant to be experienced. It is easy for young writers to forget about the reader as they get excited – or intimidated – by the act of putting words on a page. It is harder to forget about the audience when the writer realizes that their piece will be performed rather than read.

Not all students will be comfortable with performing a monologue or acting in a play, and that’s okay. Children in the audience can sit back and enjoy the show, and perhaps even give feedback on what works and what doesn’t in a performed narrative. They might even like to see their own piece performed by others!

Children working together to create a story will not only hone their writing and language skills – they will also exercise teamwork and have an opportunity to form lasting memories in the classroom. Halloween comes once a year. If you have only one chance to fully indulge your students’ creativity this year, this is the time to take it. This is the holiday that lets imaginations soar.

 


Celebrating Halloween with Ideas from Our Teachers

 

This week, we want to share some great ideas for celebrating Halloween from teachers following us on Instagram.

@firstgradedualadventures shared a great idea to engage students with six Halloween stations, creating awesome and fun art projects. 

@kristinbertie shared a great way to motivate students about writing.

Who doesn’t love pumpkin carving? You can see how engaged these students are in this art project. @mrs.giannotti

Do you want to surprise your students this Halloween? Look at this cute idea from @primaryplayground

Your students are going to love this idea! Monster traps. @prideandjoyinprimary

Take a look at this creative idea from @pnetherly for decorating pumpkins. 

This how we celebrate Halloween at Genius Plaza:

A song about safety tips for trick-or-treating.

safety

Play song

An eBook about the origins of the Halloween.

Read eBook

Follow us

    

 


My Child Didn’t Like to Read

A few years ago, I was talking to my then 6-year-old son.  He was in the midst of first grade and learning how to read.  I was beyond excited for this stage in his life.  I had dreamt of having him sit on my lap to read one of our favorite books to me in that sweet innocent voice.  But in fact, this was not our reality at all.  My child did not enjoy reading.  He only practiced when forced, and complained about reading every single time.  It wasn’t only a struggle at home, but at school as well.  Even though he was learning and making progress, the love and curiosity of reading was sadly missing.

 

My entire job as an adult was teaching children.  Not only did I love teaching, but I felt it was my duty as a teacher to instill the love of learning and reading.  I was so passionate about teaching kids to read.  I loved showing them strategies to be successful and confident readers.  To enable them to independently escape into a book while learning new vocabulary and reading skills.  And in my very own home, I was struggling to help my own child.

 

Needless to say, I pulled out all the stops, and after some trials and failures, I was able to figure out how to have more successes than failures. Below are some of the reading strategies that helped my son slowly gain that love of reading.

 

Shared reading

Many kids look at a page of text and crumble.  They get overwhelmed with the amount of words and often give up or feel frustrated before they start.  I have found that taking the pressure off my child from reading all the words can be very encouraging.  We take turns reading, which not only motivates the kids to read longer, but the other reader is able to model fluency, syntax, and pronunciation of vocabulary.

 

Image heavy texts

From my own experience, my son starting getting excited about choosing his own texts when he started reading graphic novels.  These types of books, as well as books with a lot of great illustrations, lure the kids into the story.  The illustrations are also a great tool to help students who may struggle with reading, and gives them imagery for story context.

 

Choose texts based on their interests

This seems like an obvious one…but it makes a difference.  Kids will want to read about what they like.  If they love animals, try reading animal books.  If they love soccer, find some books about famous soccer players or a storyline that revolves around the sport.  The more they are intrigued about the subject matter, the better chance they will try to find out by reading it.

 

Use various forms of text

Sometimes, all kids need is a different format to read from.  I love eBooks to change things up.  I take advantage – when my son really wants to use the iPad, I have him read an eBook before he plays a game.  I love the eBooks and content on Genius Plaza, because there are so many different types of books that intrigue him.

 

We must remember that reading is a lifelong process.  All it takes is one book, one topic, one person to change the course of our child’s love for reading.  Being supportive and continuously providing engaging material are the most important things we can do to make our child’s reading career a successful one.

 


Rethinking Science Teaching and Learning

I am inclined to believe that science is not learned using textbooks, study guides, worksheets, or tests.  Rather, I think science is learned by thinking, processing information, constructing models, doing laboratory activities, and testing theories.  When I think of my science learning in elementary school, I remember reading about science in textbooks and completing numerous worksheets, or only having science class when my teacher had the time to teach it – it was often placed on the back burner, and I quickly became bored with it all.  I wanted to do science, not just read about it.

 

Do something different

During middle school, my science learning was similar, however, I was introduced to laboratory activities and I soon became hooked on the discovery portion of science learning!  I wanted to learn and discover more…  In high school, I fell in love with the sciences; however, I was disappointed with how I was learning it – copying notes from a chalkboard while the teacher was reciting what she wrote, memorizing standardized test content, or being told what I needed to think.  Hmm, I thought, where was the application of what I was learning?

I decided soon after to pursue a career in science teaching and learning, and made a promise to myself, my future children, and future students: I would teach it using an inquiry approach rather than a traditional one.  I wanted my children and students to learn how to do science, not merely read about it.  To teach science to them, rather than at them.  In recent years, data collected nationally and from state assessments has indicated a need to improve student performance in science, especially in the physical sciences and in performance-based learning tasks.

Involve your students

Throughout my teaching career as a high school science teacher, I supported and implemented an inquiry-based approach to my teaching, since it was the application component of science my kids appeared to struggle with.  When my students were active rather than passive in their science learning, they experienced many “Eureka!” moments: they learned to apply what was learned by participating in laboratory activities, made the connection to what they learned in lectures and class readings, as well as to the real world.  

STELLA (Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis) is proving to be quite a reform method in science education, much like the Full Operation Science Systems (FOSS), a K-8 student-centered program that emphasizes student inquiry, thinking, and application.

Programs such as STELLA and FOSS are based upon the premise that if instructors are provided with well-developed teaching materials which promote student inquiry, and professional development that helps them learn how to effectively use the materials, they are more likely to implement hands-on science programs, so student achievement improves.  Both programs provide instructors with extensive professional development, and appealing, well-developed materials to help them use inquiry and laboratory approaches to teach science to improve student achievement.

Create a habit

Inquiry science learning is based on the following cognitive processes: observation, communication, comparison, organization, cause and effect relationships, inference, and application.  Inquiry during science learning is enriched by conceptual knowledge and supports a “habit of mind” philosophy.  Students need to be given the opportunity to demonstrate habits of mind skills which include curiosity, open-mindedness, and respect for evidence, persistence, and a sense of stewardship and care when they are engaged in science learning.

Students should be given time to explore, experiment, make observations, test ideas, construct physical and mathematical models, and be given the opportunity to think in different ways – all of which are components of the inquiry approach, where they are encouraged to be actively involved in their own learning.  Both the inquiry approach and the use of hands-on learning in science give instructors and students this opportunity.  Here’s hoping that these methodologies persevere well in the twenty-first century and beyond, so all kids learn to love the discipline as I did many moons ago as a kinesthetic, naturalistic, and logical-mathematical learner sitting in a boring, traditionally-centered science classroom.


Tips for Surviving Algebra 1

Okay folks, the time has come. Your child has entered high school, and that can be a terrifying time for everyone involved. Students these days have a lot to worry about in their first year of high school. Embarrassing mess-ups in gym class, puberty-induced acne scars, and worst of all, the dreaded “A” word. I am speaking, of course, about Algebra. It may have been a while since you’ve encountered this mathematical beast, but if you’re like a lot of parents, you can remember it just clearly enough to know that you hated it. You’ve known for a while now that your child would have to defeat this dragon, and the thought has filled you with dread. Never fear! I’m here to help. Here are my top 2x+4=18 tips for Surviving Algebra 1.

Attitude is Everything

As I said before, having a child in Algebra 1 class can be a horrifying experience for everyone involved. You child might get frustrated, or anxious, or some combination of the two, and that’s okay. Expressing these negative emotions is good for a child’s mental health. You, however, are different. You may very well experience these emotions as well, but I would encourage you not to express them too much in front of your child. It is very important at this time for you to model a positive attitude. When your child vents to you about their mathematical frustrations, listen to them enough to validate their feelings, but don’t commiserate. Instead, crack your knuckles and get to work. Find some answers, if you can. Figure out how to do the problem yourself, and show your child. Offer helpful advice, such as asking their teacher for help or starting a study group. Don’t let your child slide too far into a pit of despair. Instead, stay above it, and throw them a rope!

Build from the Ground Up

As a subject, math has a tendency to build upon itself. As with any building, a student’s understanding of math will crumble to the ground if it doesn’t have a solid foundation. As such, it is absolutely crucial that your child have a solid grasp of the basics before they try to tackle more complicated concepts. In Algebra 1, the list of “basics” contains only one item: equations. Most of what your child will do in Algebra 1 will revolve around the concept of equations. As such, to ensure your child’s success, it is extremely important to make sure they have a solid understanding of equations. It’s not enough to make sure they know how to solve an equation; they need to understand what that means. The solution to an equation can be seen as a point on a line, as a pair of numbers (x,y) for which a statement is true, or as an output associated with a given input (or vice-versa). Fortunately, most of this should have been covered in 8th grade. Sometimes, however, it can be swept under the rug. Encourage your child to dig deep for this fundamental understanding, and to explore the true meaning of equations.

Praise Hard Work

Students, schools, and teachers these days spend too much time worrying about grades. A grade is meant to be an objective measure of a student’s understanding, and yet it has come to mean so much more. It can mean the difference between attending a good college and not, and for that reason they are important. But grades have taken on an even deeper psychological meaning for our kids: children have come to understand that they get praised when they get a good grade, and reprimanded when they get a bad grade. See the problem there? What was meant to be a litmus test to indicate the presence or lack of a problem in understanding has instead become a crystal ball for kids to see their disciplinary future. Kids get so anxious over their grades that they have trouble sleeping or studying, which adversely affects, among other things, their grades! There’s an easy solution: forget the grades. When your child comes home with an A, praise not the A itself, but the hard work your child did to earn that A. When your child comes home with a B, praise their work, and encourage them to strive for perfection. When your child comes home with a D, don’t yell at them; instead, figure out why. A D is not a reason for punishment, it is an indication that something is wrong with your child’s understanding of the material. Help your child figure out where they went wrong, so they don’t make the same mistakes again.

Practice Makes Perfect

Surviving Algebra - practice makes perfect

The phrase may be overused to the point of cliché, but it still rings true: practice really does breed perfection. If your child doesn’t instantly understand a concept, they need to practice until they do. Equations in particular should be practiced to the point of near-nausea. However, be careful here. If a child doesn’t have a good understanding of a concept, and they practice that concept, then there is a good chance they’ll practice that concept incorrectly, and thus gain an incorrect understanding. As such, you need to make sure your child is practicing correctly before you turn them loose on a boatload of practice problems. If you’re not sure how to do a certain kind of problem, find a tutor or ask your child’s teacher for some sample problems with detailed solutions. If you choose the latter, make sure you’re polite with that request. Teachers love when parents get involved, but hate when they appear to insist that their child’s needs be placed before all others.

Learn to answer “the question”

There is one question that every student has asked at some point in their lives. It’s a question math teachers have come to dread. The question is simply, “When am I ever going to use this?” When your child asks this question, take it as a warning sign. It means they’re questioning the validity of a concept, or even math in general, and it can be a sign that they’re beginning the processes of giving up. There are two things you should avoid doing: 1) Not answering the question, and 2) Answering with something like “you need to know this math so that you can learn other math.” If this question goes unchallenged, the student will almost certainly give up. If a child is told that this math is only a gateway for harder math, then there’s a chance their frustration will build until it reaches a boiling point, at which time there’s no hope they’ll ever learn to enjoy math. Instead, learn to give a satisfactory answer. Come up with a way to use whatever math it is that they’re asking about. If you can’t think of anything, tell them you’re not sure, but you’ll figure it out and tell them later. If you do that though, then it’s on you to actually follow through on that. You can again turn to help from their teacher. Teachers have lots of experience answering that question, and they’ll probably be willing and able to help you out.

Use Math in Real Life

Surviving Algebra - Real Life

This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Pay attention to the math that your child is learning, and whenever possible, ask them to use it to help you solve real problems. Going on a vacation? Ask them to help you calculate the cost. Buying supplies for a party? Ask them to help you find the best deals. Comparing health insurance plans? Paying your taxes? Got a career that involves math in some way? You get the idea. By asking your child for help with your real-world math problems, you accomplish three things: 1) You forever vanquish that “when am I ever going to use this” question 2) You expose them to real-world issues now so they’re more prepared when they have to enter the real world on their own, and 3) By asking for their help, you help them feel like a valued part of your family’s problem-solving process. It is particularly easy to find real-world uses for equations and inequalities; once you get used to looking for them, you’ll see them everywhere! Remember, nothing simulates the real world like the real world itself!

Engage

If you did your math right in the introduction to this post, then you already know this is the last tip, so it makes sense that this tip really ties it all together. Engage in your child’s learning whenever possible! Algebra is a difficult topic to tackle alone; your child will have a much better chance of success if they have someone struggling alongside them. Fearlessly engage whenever possible! Do your best to learn the math with them. Model good study habits by finding answers rather than giving up. Get them to use it in the real world as much as possible. Use the internet to find real-world uses for whatever they’re learning. If they struggle with things you can’t explain, (politely) ask their teacher for help. Encourage them to make study groups, invite the study group to your house, and make/order some kind of tasty snack. See what I mean? Really get in therebecome an active participant in your child’s learning, and you and your child can survive Algebra 1 together.

Surviving Algebra


La escritura en sus inicios en el Día Nacional de la Escritura

Mañana 20 de octubre es el Día Nacional de la Escritura. La escritura es un medio de comunicación súper importante desde el inicio de los tiempos. Surgió por la necesidad de plasmar ideas y pensamientos en un formato que pudiera perdurar en el tiempo. Los primeros datos de escritura que tenemos registrados se remontan al cuarto milenio a.C. En los comienzos, la escritura comenzó con dibujos y después fue evolucionando a pictogramas, jeroglíficos, y los distintos alfabetos que hoy en día tenemos en los diferentes países.

El proceso de aprender a escribir

letras

Si estás leyendo este artículo lógicamente sabes escribir, y sabes perfectamente que no es tarea fácil. Un niño en edad de aprender a escribir tiene que pasar por diferentes fases. Primero tienen que aprender a identificar las letras y a escribirlas, y después las palabras, es muy importante saber leer y aprender la gramática y ortografía de la lengua para poder escribir correctamente. Todo esto no se aprende en el primer año de escuela, poco a poco los alumnos van adquiriendo estas habilidades hasta obtener la destreza de la escritura en su totalidad.

Aprender a escribir requiere la puesta en práctica de habilidades psicomotrices: el manejo del lápiz, la coordinación de los dedos y la mano en una postura determinada ante el cuaderno es importante y fundamental.

La utilidad de la escritura

La escritura es un vehículo de comunicación, por eso es muy importante fomentarla entre nuestros alumnos y/o hijos. Ayuda a memorizar y repasar lo aprendido, muchos alumnos utilizan la escritura para fijar los conocimientos de la lección aprendida, además de practicar las reglas ortográficas asociadas. En grados más avanzados se pide a los alumnos que creen redacciones acerca de temas concretos, esto les ayuda a desarrollar su imaginación.

día nacional de la escritura

La escritura en nuestros tiempos

En el tiempo en el que vivimos, la tecnología lo inunda todo, las comunicaciones se realizan por mensajes de texto (tipo whatsapp, messenger, skype…), redes sociales, audio…, dejando cada vez más relegada a un segundo plano la comunicación escrita de nuestro puño y letra. Las nuevas generaciones, e incluso nosotros mismos, le prestamos menos atención a las reglas de ortografía cuando utilizamos estos medios, acortamos palabras, y muchas veces las escribimos mal por abreviar y hacer más corto lo que queremos decir. Esto no favorece la mejora de nuestra escritura, al contrario, la empeora. Los maestros desde las escuelas piden constantemente que, por favor, nos esforcemos a la hora de utilizar estos medios de comunicación y que lo hagamos como si estuviéramos escribiendo en un papel. De esta forma no perderemos todo lo adquirido con anterioridad.

día nacional de la escritura

Una vez más Genius Plaza facilita el proceso de aprendizaje y lo hace más divertido. En este caso les presento Spelling Bee que les invito a que instalen en sus dispositivos móviles para poder ayudar a sus hijos en las etapas más tempranas del aprendizaje de la escritura.

 Spelling Bee Genius Plaza

 


Teaching with Puppets

Teachers are performers who are always on stage. They educate the audience of students who show up every day. I’ve found that bringing in a level of entertainment is not only effective if done right, but easier to do than one might think.

Expanding a Lesson

A lesson can be taught in a traditional way, but expanded or reviewed in a way that is fun for the students. The entertainment can come from a well integrated song, game, video, or other tool. I have found that puppets can fascinate young students and bring life to a teaching environment.

Teaching with Puppets

teaching with puppets

Students are able to quickly “buy into” the puppets and their place in the classroom. Perhaps a puppet takes on the role of a teacher to review some material or quiz the students. Perhaps the puppet does not know about the lesson and the students need to teach or inform him/her. However it is set up, the students will enjoy the energy that is brought to the learning experience. It’s something they will remember and look forward to happening again.

A small stuffed animal puppet can work well, especially in a kindergarten classroom. A more elaborate puppet can work, too. From what I have seen, you do not need a stage or ventriloquist skills or anything else to “dress up” the experience. Students are drawn to the character alone. The important part is to plan how the puppet reinforces the content.

Here’s a peek at a quick segment that was filmed for Genius Plaza, where I control a puppet who is reviewing some simple concepts with a student.

 

https://www.geniusplaza.com/en/resources?type=video&id=39942


Hispanic Heritage Month: a recap

This week marks the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, a period of time in the United States when we celebrate and honor all the impact and achievements of Hispanic Americans.  At Genius Plaza, we are firm believers that representation matters, so showing our children the impact Latino Americans have made throughout United States history helps them see the possibilities.  Those possibilities were on display September 15th through October 15th, as several companies and groups put on events I was able to attend.

In New York City, Google, NBC4, and Telemundo 47 hosted a discussion on how Latinos have shaped New York’s culture and arts scene.  The evening was filled with great discussions from Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Rosal Colón from Orange is the New Black, Henry Muñoz from the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, Professor Frances Negrón-Muntaner from Columbia University, and Daniel Gallant from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  The Ballet Hispánico also made an appearance.  The event coincided with the launch of Google’s amazing exhibit on Latinos in the US, which I would encourage everyone to take a look at!  

Ogilvy’s LatinRed and Unilever held series of events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.  Several of the events centered on fundraisers for Puerto Rico, to help them recover from the devastation from Hurricane Maria, and Mexico, recovering from the series of earthquakes that struck.  One of my favorite events was the kickoff, which covered the increase of Latinos in advertising within the industry, and its impact on the way agencies approach the creative work of ad campaigns.  The panel was made up of Alfie Vivian from Unilever, Yvette Baez from Univision, and Lucinda Martinez from HBO.  Alfie made an amazing point: as Latinos assert themselves economically, it will force companies to reflect that reality politically.  So, the best way to bring about that change is to think twice about Latino purchasing decisions.

Finally, at Genius Plaza, we began Hispanic Heritage Month celebrating the impact that our Latino Learning Champions have had on our students.  Within those thirty days, we have added more inspiring STEAM career professionals.  We invite you to take a look, and reach out if you have other Latin professionals who can inspire our children to “be the change they want to see in the world.”

 

  

    

 


Our Search Toolbar

Search Toolbar

Last week we unveiled our new search toolbar, and we have received great feedback. The search toolbar is now also available on our homepage, and as you can see, you can apply filters to search thousands of resources by resource type (eBook, video, vocabulary set, etc.), language, grade, creator, and subject.

Here is a video to help show how the toolbar works:

Search Toolbar

Once you click “Search,” you will see your search results, as well as a “Share Search Results” button. When you click that button, you will see the URL has been copied, allowing you to share that URL with others.

Finding the Content You Need

Now teachers will be able to find supplemental content to help them achieve their goals. You can find math, language arts, and science content for grades PreK to 12th, in English and Spanish.

 

The search toolbar is very user-friendly.  For example, when I searched for ninth grade math content in English, here is what I would find: https://www.geniusplaza.com/bank?rtf=&lf=1&cf=3&gf=16

 

Tell Us What You Think!

We will continue to find ways to optimize the platform, and invite you to share feedback via chat, or email me at monica@geniusplaza.com.


Using Popular Music to Teach

As both a musician and a teacher, I’ve seen how powerful music can be as a learning tool.  The tricky part is knowing how to effectively mix the two.  Educational music needs to have educational content, but kids can tune out if it is something they don’t relate to or something they see as too corny.

Engaging Middle and High Schools Students With Music

It’s especially common for middle school or high school students to see many educational songs as childish.  Most kids prefer the hits they hear on the radio, by artists like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, or Bruno Mars.  It’s tough to go pound for pound with these superstars, but I say a teacher can!  I have had lots of success in leveraging this interest in popular songs.  How?  Educational parody songs!

The melody of the song remains, but the words are changed to teach an educational concept.   It does take some time and some creative songwriting, but if done well, this can cement a concept in a student’s mind for good.  Also, if you are not confident enough in your songwriting abilities, some careful online searching can uncover some well done educational parodies by teachers and students.  Recently, I wrote a song to the tune of the uber-popular song “Despacito” and posted to my YouTube channel of educational songs and parodies.

despacito parody

 

I think it works so well because students are instantly hooked.  They already know the song, and are intrigued that it’s being brought into the classroom.  It also helps that they are familiar with the melody, which makes learning the song easier.

If my experience is telling, students will show excitement and give their attention when a parody to a popular song is introduced, and they will retain the information in the song incredibly well.  As a bonus, they will also be having fun!  Don’t believe me?  As proof, here’s a video uploaded by a classroom teacher who found my Lady Gaga parody song about prepositions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k90jwIlOvLU

Working at Genius Plaza

Today, I am out of the classroom and making songs for Genius Plaza.  Teachers across the world use these songs in their classrooms.  I always make sure not to “sing down” to young learners with nursery rhyme-type songs.  Any music I create for them should sound something like the kind of music they would hear on the radio.  Below are two examples.  We have not yet released any pop song parodies, but one is in the works.

music to teach

Do keep in mind, however, that an educational song is not a lesson.

music to teach

 

They are best suited to complement and reinforce a lesson.  Also, don’t try to do too much with a song.  It should teach something finite, like a formula, process or something that requires memorization.  Lastly, don’t be surprised if you see students humming or bobbing their heads while taking a test!