What’s New with Cantata Learning?



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!

Ready to Use Lesson Plans Involving Music January 11, 2017

By Shannon McClintock Miller

As the new year starts, kick it off by adding new energy and excitement to your classroom! One way to do this is through music. As Chris Boyd Brewer states in Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom, “Music will activate students mentally, physically, and emotionally and create learning states which enhance understanding of learning material.”

The stories, songs, and ready-to-use lesson plans from Cantata Learning will add just what you need to bring your classroom to life with music, while helping your students retain and recall information in a different way.  

How They Work

Let’s take a closer look at the lesson plans Cantata Learning has created to accompany the engaging stories, playful illustrations, and fun songs found in each book. The lesson plans tie into the core curricular areas including language arts, reading, math, science, and social studies, just as the books and songs covers all these areas in addition to social emotional, library and digital citizenship skills, STEAM, and more.  

From cross-curricular or project based learning units to collaborative projects between various subjects and related arts areas, the lesson plans bring everything together with clear objectives, easy to follow instructions, key vocabulary, a materials list, and even the free Cantata Learning song or songs needed for the lesson.

Even More Enrichment

We also know that music influences a creative, interactive, and energized classroom environment. Therefore, we want to take time to enrich each lesson plan by adding art, technology, physical education, cooking, and other extensions.  

For example, after learning about a new scientific concept in a Cantata Learning book, such as habitats, students might be asked to create a new creature that might thrive in a particular habitat.  From there, they may undertake art projects representing their creations or collaborate to create a digital presentation.

Get Your Resources

For specific ideas related to Cantata Learning’s new series Animal World, download your free lesson plan here: Animal World-Songs About Animal Adaptations.

And don’t forget, you can also stream or download each of the songs for free!
Animal Feet
Animal Heads
Animal Tails
Animal Wings

With the books, songs, and lesson plans enchanting learners from preschool to third grade and older, there so many ways to use Cantata Learning. As you can see, these books are the perfect way to fill your classroom with the sparks you need to make this year truly shine for your students. 

And finally, if you have a lesson using a Cantata Learning book and/or song that you’d like to share with the community, send it our way! We’d love to share it on our website. 


Brewer, C. B.. Integrating Music in the Classroom. Johns Hopkins University School of Education Music and Learning.  Retrieved from http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Arts%20in%20Education/brewer.htm

Animal World: Songs About Animal Adaptations

Winter Around the World: Harmony Project Spotlight January 5, 2017

Winter break may be over, but WINTER is just getting started. As classes resume, perhaps you are looking for ways to explore this season in new ways. With Cantata Learning’s book and song Winter as the jumping off point, engage your students in a discovery process that involves student communities from around the world!

Check out Cantata Learning’s Winter Around the World Harmony Project. This project is ongoing, allowing classes to continue contributing to and growing the project each year.

We’ve had a lot of amazing entries so far. We want to celebrate that by showcasing what students across the globe have been coming up with. Whether it’s to find a new appreciation for this season, or to recharge your creative lesson planning, go ahead and grab some inspiration below.

Winter in Dubai

It’s a digital world! At the Dubai American Academy, Ms. Erin Williams integrated technology into her first graders’ artistic explorations of winter. The students created Google Drawings to express their thoughts on what winter is like in Dubai, and how they like to enjoy this season.

Winter in Houston, Texas

Facts are fun! Librarian Karyn Lewis worked with 2nd grade students to create a report of wide ranging topics related to winter. Students explored weather, clothing, activities, and culture to recognize, appreciate, and share their experience of winter. The information was built into a presentation.

Winter in Athens, Georgia

Lights, camera, action! Librarian Andy Plemmons’ 2nd grade students collaborated by creating artistic representations of their favorite parts of winter. The pictures were then recorded and spliced into video presentations. An excellent exercise in art, writing, and video production!

Join In

A huge thank you to all of the schools that have participated thus far.

So, are you interested in celebrating the season in new, creative ways? Are you wondering how to help your students make new connections to the world around them? Our collection of current projects are only the beginning!

Decide on a project for your class or school. Then send us the final project to post online. We can’t wait to see what you can do!

Happy Holidays from Cantata Learning December 20, 2016

Seasons Greetings!

We love the winter holidays—a time for traditions and togetherness. Tell us, have you made music a part of your holiday tradition?


Thank you for your interest in Cantata Learning.

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!

3 Series that Support Self-Regulation with Music December 15, 2016

Isn’t it funny how most of us can manage our emotions just fine when things are going smoothly, but as soon as life gets a little bumpy, we all tend to struggle a bit (okay, some of us more than others)? We’ve all been there when everything goes from calm to chaos. Maybe you got stuck in traffic on your way to a critical meeting. Or you experienced a setback at work. Or your kids are bouncing off the walls, dinner is burning on the stove, and the phone is ringing.

It’s those moments when we experience negative feelings—stress, anger, fear, sadness—that we most need to put self-regulation into action. Simply put, self-regulation is the ability to control our actions and emotions. Kids can have an even tougher time with self-regulation than adults do, as their brain development is in its infancy.

Dr. Dan Siegel, author of The Whole Brain Child, is one of the leading sources on how we can work with children to better support their path to self-regulation. But at Cantata Learning, we’re especially excited about the studies that suggest how active participation in musical activities improves self-regulation.

As we head toward winter break, utilize your Cantata Learning stories and songs during regular story times, transition times, or play times to help kids develop their emotional intelligence in a fun, engaging way. Here are three series we think will wonderfully enhance these learning opportunities:

Mad Monkey book1. Help students learn to identify their emotions with the Me, My Friends, My Community set. Download the songs and our lesson plan with extension activities for free.

2. With titles like Where Is Thumbkin?, Head and Shoulders, and Happy and You Know It, the Sing-along Songs set provides endless opportunities for finger plays and hand motion games.

3. And finally, the School Time Songs set offer a fun, musical reminder of the social skills that help us succeed at school—a great bridge from the concept of self-regulation.