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5 Ways Music Makes Collaboration Fun February 7, 2017

By Shannon McClintock Miller

One of best things about being a teacher librarian is the collaboration that takes place with the teachers and leaders within our school community every day. It is a time to connect and build relationships with colleagues, share thoughts, and provide support to one another. We also build collaborative relationships with our parents and community members, as this is a big part of our library program too.  

As we look for ways to promote and support collaboration, let’s take a look at five ways music can be used throughout the year in making these collaborative times meaningful and fun!

World Read Aloud Day

You can use music as a special way to celebrate World Read Aloud Day in the library or in connection with another library through Skype. Children will love celebrating this day (2.16.17) by singing, reading, and dancing together to any of the Cantata Learning titles. One that brings in the world is Make Everyday Earth Day…Caring For Our Planet. This is a perfect choice as it will evoke a global conversation with students about how we all have a part in caring for the world.

Cantata Learning’s Harmony Projects

Special projects that tie in music and stories are a terrific way to enhance collaboration between the library and various parts of the curriculum. As the site states, Cantata Learning Harmony Projects connect your students to the global community, encourage creativity and collaboration, and provide students with a hands-on learning experience. If it’s collaborating with the music teacher in writing a song with your students or having a dance off with friends online, these projects have something for everyone. You will find the Harmony Projects here.

Summer Reading

There are lots of different ways to listen to the Cantata Learning stories and songs, in and outside of the library. You will find all of the titles are available online to stream, download, or listen to on YouTube. There is also a CD included in the back of each book. This provides an easy way to enhance learning by giving students and parents a collaborative way to engage with the stories and music all summer long.  

Public Library Connections

One of the most important relationships we can foster within our community is the one between the school and public librarians. Consider a series like Sing Along Math Songs, which combines math concepts with fun and catchy tunes. By including curriculum-based titles like these, public libraries can help their local schools support essential skills through music too.

Classroom Connections

One of the gears within the Future Ready Librarians framework is Builds Instructional Partnerships in which teacher librarians partner with teachers to design and implement curriculum and assessment that integrate elements of deeper learning, critical thinking, information literacy, digital citizenship, creativity, innovation, and the active use of technology. The songs found within every Cantata Learning title will support instructional partnerships by connecting to the curricular areas and essential skills that need to be taught and supported. The School Time Songs set, for example, includes six titles that support skills such as sharing, cooperating, and lining up.

As you can see there are many ways that music makes collaboration fun. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion or anything out of the ordinary; music can be used every day to bring your library, classroom, and home to life.  And Cantata Learning stories and songs are the perfect fit!



Future Ready Librarians Framework.  (2016). Alliance of Educational Excellence.

Jones, Lily. (2014). The Power of Teacher Collaboration. The Teaching Channel.

School Time Songs Set. (2017). Cantata Learning.

Sing Along Math Songs. (2017). Cantata Learning.  

3 Ways Your Community Can Bolster Your Book Budget January 26, 2017


Future Ready Librarians shoulder the responsibility of aligning their library’s resources to their school’s objectives in order to create a learning hub that meets the needs of students as well as staff. When broken down into actionable items, the to do list can be a bit daunting: improving collections and providing engaging learning materials, expanding the library’s digital resources, and helping students develop responsible digital citizenship, to name a few.

This is admittedly a lot for anyone to accomplish, especially when one has to contend with limited financial means, as has been reality for many schools for many years. But because of their training, access to resources, and teaching spaces, librarians are uniquely positioned to help lead their schools toward a Future Ready learning model. Part of that leadership and implementation is firmly tied to budget management. Whether it’s stretching the budget further or finding additional funds, sometimes skillful management means getting pretty creative.

One of the ten initiatives set forth for Future Ready Librarians is to cultivate community partnerships. At Cantata Learning we’ve really enjoyed getting to know some fantastic educators through our Harmony Project campaigns. One such educator is our Community Harmony Project winner Michelle Griffith, an elementary school lead media specialist for Brazosport ISD in Texas. We’ve been impressed by Griffith’s smart budgeting tricks, and so in the name of cultivating community, we wanted to share a few of them with you today.

Griffith’s Tips for Finding More Funds

Tip 1: The beginning of the calendar year can be tough, but now is a good time to look at Federal dollars that perhaps have not been spent.  The ESSA allows for Federal money to be spent in libraries. So reach out to your Federal program folks and find out if you can get a portion of what is not earmarked!

Tip 2: I also look into local as well as national grants. Many companies offer incentives for employees who volunteer. For instance, Dow Chemical will make a $500 donation to a school on behalf of a community volunteer who is employed by Dow.

Tip 3: We host book fairs twice each year. I have also found great success with having a fundraiser dinner one night during book fair. We offer a meal (entree, cookie, and a drink) for $5.00 a plate. We get local businesses and Brannen parents to donate the items for the dinner, so all the money we earn is pure profit. We generally earn about $1,000. Attendees always go to the book fair as well, so we earn money there too!

Paying It Forward

Griffith also participated in Cantata Learning’s Give a Shout Out to Your Community Harmony Project. Students took part by reading our books and attending our live streaming Community Meet & Greets with several speakers including an author, eye doctor, singer, and bike mechanic.

By submitting to and winning the project, she won 25 free books for her school as well as 25 free books for Texas Children’s Hospital. Her school already collects toys for the B.I.G. Love Cancer Care drive at the hospital each year. The toys (and the books!) go to children undergoing treatment in the cancer ward there.

Congratulations again Michelle, we’re so proud of you and the work you do!

Get Involved with Us

We’re always looking to grow new relationships with librarians, whether its through Harmony Projects, lesson plan submissions, or reviewing books. Interested in talking with us more or becoming a reviewer? We invite you to reach out to us by emailing info@cantatalearning.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


This post is the first in a series of Future Ready budget-friendly ideas. Stay tuned for more!


Press Release: Updated Website with New Features and Functionalities January 19, 2017

Cantata Learning Unveils Updated Website with New Features and Functionalities

Website updates include new blog, additional teaching resources, the ability to stream and download music, and enhanced search capabilities

(Mankato, MN) January 11, 2017 – Cantata Learning, an educational publisher of preK–3 curriculum content and music, is proud to announce the launch of their updated website. The new website now includes many new features and resources that will aid school librarians in finding relevant curriculum and finding ways to implement it in their libraries.

Additional resources on the website include specially built lesson plans centered around Cantata Learning stories and songs. Website users will also find research articles about literacy and the use of music and movement to teach children, as well as presentations on best practices for implementing this teaching method. Cantata Learning has made all of their songs available free to stream or download from their website, including instrumental-only audio and sheet music.

“We believe these upgrades to our website will enrich the library experience for both adults and students with Cantata Learning books and songs,” said General Manager Katherine Coughlan Hobson. “The additional lesson plans and research give librarians a better understanding of how these resources will improve student learning, and the advanced search features make it easier than ever to find lessons relevant to required curriculum.”

Teachers and librarians will find that the search capabilities on the new website have also been improved. Users can now search for lessons by subject, grade, reading level, and music genre. There is also the option to search for a complete series of books, such as “Taking Care of Myself,” “Jokes and Jingles,” and “Science Biographies.”

“Music is such a powerful tool to teach children and engage them with the curriculum,” said Coughlan Hobson. “Cantata Learning is proud to be able to offer teachers these new website features so that they can more easily bring this tool into their classrooms.”

About Cantata Learning

Cantata Learning combines engaging stories, delightful illustrations, and fun songs for a complete multi-sensory learning experience that engages every type of learner. Cantata Learning content supports the entire curriculum from language arts and social studies to STEAM. Cantata Learning books are ideal for reading levels preK–3 in the school and library markets. For more information, visit CantataLearning.com.

About Capstone

Capstone is a leading publisher of children’s books, digital solutions and services, literacy programs, and K–12 professional development resources. Capstone creates content in a variety of print, digital and media formats for school libraries, classrooms, and at-home reading. For more information, visit www.myCapstone.com.

Media Contact

Sue Hanson
PR with Panache!

3 Ways Music Brings Libraries to Life January 19, 2017


By Shannon McClintock Miller

I want you to picture this: the first graders are learning all about seeds during the plant unit in the fall. To help them understand and remember the information, the teacher introduces Little Seeds from Cantata Learning by reading and singing with the students.  

Give seeds warmth. Give them water. A plant could grow from everyone. Not only does the song help them remember the facts about seeds, the music gets them moving and interacting with others.

As Heather Wolpert-Gawron states in 8 Ways To Use Music In The Language Arts Classroom, “Music opens up neurons, opens doors in your brain that create a kind of loft space receptive to learning.” This is exactly what is happening in this classroom as the science concepts come to life with music. Bringing music to the classroom is something everyone can do, and here are three easy ways music can bring your classroom to life too!  

Move to Focus

Music is a meaningful way to expend energy and get students focused on learning. “Singing encourages oral language skills, physical development, and an understanding of concepts such as sequence and patterning.” (Connors, 2016). You can make music part of the daily routine such as lining up, taking turns and even finding books in the library. By completing these tasks to songs and movement, children will learn and enjoy them so much more.  

Work That Brain Muscle

Music helps children with retention and memorization. “Music helps many children break information down into easily remembered pieces or associate it with previously known information, such a familiar song” (Ringgenberg, 2016). I remember how helpful it was for me to learn and memorize with music. Now it is easy to tie music into every subject area in a meaningful way with the books and songs from Cantata Learning. These are essential and bring life to learning in any classroom.  

Build a Classroom Community

Music is a very special way to build community within the classroom. As you incorporate music throughout the curriculum, students will enjoy what they are learning even more and will be excited to have a way to remember the facts and information through music. They will love to see how much you, as the teacher, love learning, listening, and singing along to music too. It sets a tone and celebrates a universal language we all love.

For example, I love sharing the Fairy Tale Tunes series from Cantata Learning with children because I have a passion for different versions of classic fairy tales. These titles, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk will bring happiness with their playful illustrations, fun songs, and meaningful stories.

Cantata Learning brings classrooms to life by empowering children through literacy and song. These three ways are just a start in making a difference and bringing your classroom to life with music!  


Higgins, Nadia. (2017). Little Seeds. Cantata Learning.

Peale, Jonathan. (2017). Jack and the Beanstalk. Cantata Learning.

Peale, Jonathan. (2017).  Little Red Riding Hood. Cantata Learning.

Ringgenberg, S. (2004). Singing as a teaching tool. Retrieved from https://oldweb.naeyc.org/ece/2004/01.asp

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2014). 8 Ways to Use Music in the Language Arts Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-music-strategies-language-arts-classroom-heather-wolpert-gawron

Music Just Right for English Language Learners January 11, 2017

Last week, Matthew Lynch of the Edvocate published an article linking music instruction to higher student performance in English Language Learners.

Lynch interviewed Dr. Nancy Drescher, a professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Dr. Drescher’s work is characterized by her experience teaching children as well as ELLs.

Cantata Learning is proud to have partnered with Dr. Drescher, in an effort to be inclusive of multiple learning styles, and we especially loved these takeaways from her interview:

Connecting music, language, and books makes language easier to remember. The repetitive nature of songs helps set linguistic expectations. An especially catchy song will remain in students’ heads long after the lesson has ended, enabling them to hold on to the information in an enjoyable format.

• The repetitive nature of songs helps set linguistic expectations. An especially catchy song will remain in students’ heads long after the lesson has ended, enabling them to hold on to the information in an enjoyable format.

• If we can bring in multiple ways for students to engage with the language we hope they will be able to use and the content we want them to learn without drilling and killing their love of books and learning, I think we will find the most success for all kids.

Read the original article here!