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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.

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