One of my favorite lessons is coming up next week. I love using
music in the classroom. The vast majority of my students are major fans of this
genre. When I can, I like to incorporate the strong interest my students have
for music into my lessons.
I went to a workshop last year on using music in the classroom and
decided I wanted to use music to reinforce the material I was teaching. I was
surprised by how many songs reference job skills in some way (strong work
ethic, staying in school, supporting a family, being responsible, paying bills,
etc.). While listening to my students talk about favorite songs, I found one
that incorporates many of the skills we talk about regularly.
You may have heard the song I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T by Webbie
featuring Lil Boosie and Lil Phat. If you haven't, the song is describing the
kind of girl the singer is looking for. By the title, you would be right in
assuming he is looking for an independent person. In an occupational diploma
setting that focuses on preparing students to be independent, the things we
cover daily are the things the singer describes.
Some of the topics covered are paying the bills on time, not
smelling like onion rings (hygiene), cooking, cleaning, staying in school,
dressing appropriately, and making money. My students loved the lesson last
year, and I am excited to teach the lesson again this year.
The lesson was also effective in reinforcing the skills I had been
teaching in class. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, rappers are
cooler than teachers. If a teacher tells you that washing your hands is
important, he is just being lame, but if a rapper says that hygiene is
important, maybe the teacher is on to something.
One important note is that I do not use the unedited version of any song. But
for this song especially, I use a highly edited version. Actually, this song contains
many offensive words and phrases. The finished edited product I use is only
phrases and excerpts from the song. Students who know the song will recognize
that certain parts are missing, which can easily begin a discussion on
appropriate work conversation topics.
My next musical project is a parody entitled, "I like big money, and I
cannot lie." We'll see…
What innovative ways have you used music in your class? Do you have a favorite
song to use with students?