I attended this breakout session facilitated by our very own John Swanson. John offered several ideas to the participants on making the lessons meaningful and productive. First and foremost, we must decide just what is it that we want to get across. Once we've chosen an objective, it is then we can begin our song selection. When allowing students to choose, it's very important to review the lyrics to insure classroomm appropriateness. We want our students to contribute, but we want them to be responsible as well.
Using music in the classroom has limitless classroom applications from the language arts classroom to the sociology classroom. It's the delivery that is important. John modeled the Socratic Seminar: ask a question, then wait for discussion. If discussion doesn't take off right away, be patient. It may be necessary to rephrase the question, then wait. When using the Socratic method in the classroom, seat everyone in a circle so the discussion and ideas can circulate amongst the participants.
Using a medium that students are familiar with will enhance the experience; they will be engaged. Students will have a chance to showcase their lyrical favorites. Those who do not usually contribute to class discussion may feel comfortable and knowledgeable to speak. Almost everyone has a song or album or artist they identify with. Find out why. Get them to share. Scaffold the learning: how does music reflect the world's activities? Each and every student has an opinion. Geting them to share and feel comfortable doing so is key.