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10 Ways to Incorporate Music into Your Classroom November 21, 2016

A teacher librarian shares her best practices for tuneful teaching

By Shannon McClintock Miller

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~Plato

Learning With Music InfographicOne of the most important gifts we can give to our young children is a healthy foundation for lifelong learning. We want to capture their excitement, bottle their enthusiasm, and give life to their imagination. As educators, we look for resources that support and enhance these magical learning experiences. As shown in the Learning With Music infographic, music stimulates and connects the different areas of the brain. For our youngest learners who are at a crucial time of development, this is an essential building block for their future.

In the article Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom from John Hopkins School of Education, Chris Boyd Brewer touts the benefits of using music throughout the day. “The intentional use of music in the classroom will set the scene and learning atmosphere to enhance our teaching and learning activities,” he writes. “Plus, using music for learning makes the process much more fun and interesting.”

Let’s look at 10 ways to incorporate music into your classroom, instruction, and library collection.


The Shapes All Around Us Series is Featured in National Council of Teachers of Math’s Teaching Children Mathematics September 23, 2016

Square a Pizza Box or a CheckerboardThese four introductory books on basic geometric shapes all follow the same formulaic pattern. They are brightly illustrated with paper cuts and images of diverse children. Each book begins with a very brief introduction to the shape, followed by the direction to “turn the page and sing along.” The rhyming text is put to music, and children can sing along with the words on the accompanying CD, the text in the book, the music score at the back of the book, or on the website for Cantata Learning. Each book also contains a short glossary and similar “Guided Reading Activities” at the end.

A difficulty with these books is that in “Circle, A Cookie or the Sun in the Sky,” the author Circle A Cookie or the Sun in the Skywrites, “A circle is a shape with only one side.” This definition is open to some mathematical discussion, but most commonly used elementary school texts describe a circle as having no sides. As well, the author blurs the distinction between circles and spheres, identifying the sun, a ball, and the earth as circles. The distinction between flat and three-dimensional objects is also confused in the other books, including examples of blocks, books, the pyramids, and televisions, among others.

The publisher recommends these books for ages 3–8. With appropriate discussion and explanation, they could be used to introduce the shapes in an interactive way. Adult guidance would definitely be recommended to clarify the confusion the content can create.

Judith E. Gilson, University of San Francisco–California.

Read the review in the October 2016 print edition of Teaching Children Mathematics, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of Math.

Stream or download The Shapes All Around Us songs for free!

Circle: A Cookie or the Sun in the Sky
Rectangle: A Flag or a Paper Bag
Square: A Pizza Box or a Checkerboard
Triangle: A Slice of Pizza or a Mountain Peak

Five Little Ducks is Featured in National Council of Teachers of Math’s Teaching Children Mathematics September 23, 2016

FiveLittleDucksFive Little Ducks, a retelling of the traditional children’s song, would appeal to students in pre-K–grade 2. Designed for classroom use, it includes many teacher features, such as guided reading activities, a glossary, and a list of other books about ducks. The book comes with both a CD and an easy-to-scan QR code that takes you to the Cantata Learning site, where a quick click enables streaming or a download of the song as an MP3. The music is about six minutes long, repeating the song twice. The tune is catchy; having children’s voices in the song encourages youngsters to sing along. Those I shared the story with enjoyed the illustrations and the music.

The story begins with the invitation to “count backward from five as Mama Duck calls out for her ducklings to come home.” The clear, peaceful, pastel illustrations provide an easy reference for children to count the returning ducks.

Mathematically, I wish the story used “zero” instead of “no” ducks at the end of the song, but this song/story keeps with tradition. It does end the story with a question, “I wonder if any of our ducks will come waddling back?” which would make a good story starter for students to begin their own Little Duck story.

I recommend this book for pre-K or kindergarten teachers who are looking for a story to practice counting back.
—Amy Henderson, Harrisonburg City Schools, Virginia.

Read the review in the October 2016 print edition of Teaching Children Mathematics, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of Math.

Stream or download the Five Little Ducks songs for free!

People in Your Community Meet & Greets — Watch the Video September 21, 2016

Jason DebacaJason De Baca, Chef
Aired on Wednesday, September 21 | 10:30 – 11:00am ET

Meet Chef Jason De Baca and learn what it’s like to work as a chef and own a food truck! In this video Chef Jason chats with with Media Specialist Andy Plemmons and students in Ms. Kelly’s Kindergarten class at Barrow Elementary Media Center in Athens, Georgia. As a special treat, Jason makes beignets!


Cantata Learning Inspires Creativity and Collaboration Through Global Harmony Project September 20, 2016

Give a Shout Out to Your Community helps students and teachers connect to the global community by sharing writing, videos, artwork, and ideas

(Mankato, MN) September 20, 2016 – It’s a new school year, and educators are building a whole new community with their students. Cantata Learning, an educational publisher of pre-K–3 curriculum content and music, is proud to announce its 2016 Global Harmony Project, Give a Shout Out to Your Community.

Harmony Projects, inspired by Cantata Learning books and songs, let students showcase their creativity in a variety of ways, including writing stories and poems or creating videos, recipes, artwork, and more. Students learn to connect with the global community by exhibiting creativity and collaboration, while also gaining hands-on learning experience.

“The Give a Shout Out to Your Community project celebrates communities of all kinds—from in the classroom, to your town, state, and beyond,” said Katherine Coughlan Hobson, the General Manager of Cantata Learning. “The project not only gets students and teachers involved with their outside community, but provides educators with a special opportunity to join with their peers to share lessons and ideas. Using the Cantata Learning Harmony Project toolkit, educators can easily incorporate free lessons, songs, and books into their units while adding a social-emotional learning aspect.”

There are many ways teachers and librarians can participate in Give a Shout Out to Your Community:

  1. Join the free, virtual People in Your Community Meet & Greets with diverse professionals ranging from a farmer and a chef to an author and an optometrist.
  2. Give a shout out to their community in a short video.
  3. Submit a lesson, unit, or project about community. Teachers and librarians from around the world can submit their lessons, and Cantata Learning will compile them into an ebook.
  4. Submit a community service or fundraising project that their school is involved in to the How I Help My Community contest.

Three classes or schools that win the contest will receive 25 Cantata Learning books and CDs. The winners will also have the chance to choose another organization to receive an additional 25 free books and CDs.

From collecting pennies to helping people affected by the floods in Baton Rouge to walking dogs at the local animal shelter, pretty much any community service project will qualify. Once the projects are complete, students enter by writing a story, creating a video, or making a drawing about what they did and what they accomplished. Entries are due November 11, 2016, by 11:59 PM ET. Judging of the entries will be done by Teacher-Librarian Shannon McClintock Miller.

Click here for official entry rules.

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. Capstone’s business units include Capstone Library, Capstone Classroom, Capstone Young Readers, myON, and Capstone International. For more information, visit CapstonePub.com.

About Cantata Learning
Cantata Learning is a creator of content paired with music audio for children that address curriculum needs for the pre-K–3 early reader. Cantata Learning creates picture books paired with traditional children’s music audio, and content-rich original lyrics and melodies for the school and library markets. For more information, visit CantataLearning.com.

Media Contact
Sue Hanson
PR with Panache!