I love using music in my classroom. It’s one of my favorite teaching strategies. Fun teaching songs help students memorize information. It also provides a fun way to introduce a new topic or concept. For example, when I was in high school, we read Black Boy by Richard Wright. My teacher played “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn and talked about how the book inspired parts of the song. It was something that stuck with me all these years, and I still think about the book when the song comes on the radio. Check out some of these songs that could be used for science, math, history, and English.
Songs for Science
In college, I had a professor who played songs like “The Scientist” by Coldplay at the beginning of class. There are lots of songs that discuss various science topics. For example, “Why Does the Sun Shine” by They Might Be Giants teaches about the sun. It uses simple lyrics, making it great for elementary school students. It also contains great information to teach deeper knowledge about the subject, too.
Another song that I enjoy is “The Elements” by Tom Lehrer. It’s sang to the tune of the “Major-General’s Song” from The Pirates of Penzance. In the song, Lehrer reviews most of the elements on the periodic table.
Songs for Math
Flocabulary offers several math raps with videos to show in class. The raps teach a wide range of math topics, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, statistics, probability, geometry, and measurements.
Another great option is Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication, which reviews numbers. The songs are catchy, which means that you and the students will probably get them stuck in your head.
Of course, you can always write your own songs. This song from Promethean Planet is song to the tune of “Hey Diddle Diddle”:
“Hey diddle diddle, the median’s the middle,
You add and divide the mean.
The mode is the one that appears the most,
And the range is the difference between.”
Songs for History
There are many songs written about various historical events and figures. What a great way to teach about these events or people and the emotion behind them! For example,
- “Amerigo” by Patti Smith (Amerigo Vespucci)
- “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton (1814 Battle of New Orleans)
- “Joan of Arc” by Arcade Fire
- “The Longest Day” by Iron Maiden (Allied Invasion at Normandy)
- “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden (European arrival in the New World)
- “Titanic” by the Carter family
- “Trail of Tears” by John Denver (Indian Removal Act of 1830)
Songs for English
Schoolhouse Rock also has a grammar edition, which teaches students about prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, adverbs, nouns, adjectives, and more.
There are also lots of songs based on various books, such as:
- “1984” by David Bowie (1984 by George Orwell)
- “Ahab” by MC Lars (Moby Dick by Herman Melville)
- “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen (Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck)
- “Goodbye Sky Harbor” by Jimmy Eat World (A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving)
Before playing any song in your classroom, make sure to listen to it closely. The lyrics should be school and age appropriate. Find fun teaching songs that will enhance your lesson and make learning enjoyable and interesting for your students!