5 Fun & Engaging Ways to Display Cantata Learning

January 13, 2018

contributed by Shannon McClintock Miller


This is one of my most favorite times of year. Not only is it a new year, it is also time for us to celebrate lots of new books coming to our libraries and classrooms.


In fact, I couldn’t be more excited about the 32 new ones Cantata Learning has created for us. These sing-along stories with their lively illustrations hold a very special place in our libraries, classrooms, homes, and especially in the hearts of our children. They engage them in such unique ways as they learn coding and library skills, classic fairy tales, science concepts, colors, and so much more.  


As we bring Cantata Learning to our libraries and classrooms for the new year, let’s think of all the unique ways we can display them in our spaces too.



They could be displayed on the shelf in the Song and Music Section in Kim James’s library at Van Meter Community School in Iowa. I love how she added the musical notes to the spine labels to give the students an important visual when looking for Cantata Learning books.



I also like how Karyn Lewis displays the Cantata Learning books in her school library in Texas. She added the Cantata Learning logo on the bottom of the spine. This makes it very easy for students to identify the books.



And Tracy Ferguson, second grade teacher at Van Meter, uses a bookshelf with clear tubs to display her Cantata Learning library. This makes it handy for students to take the bins off of the shelf as they look for a book. They could even take the bins to different locations in the room, creating their very own Cantata Learning space.  


While these are terrific ideas, today I want to share five more ideas for displaying Cantata Learning in the new year!



1. Create a listening center in the library or classroom with Cantata Learning.  

All Cantata Learning books have a QR code on the back and inside of the book, which takes the readers to the music online where it can be streamed or downloaded. By adding a few iPads or other mobile devices to a listening center with the books, students will be able to scan the QR codes and listen with or without headphones as they sing and learn along.  


Also, create a poster like the one above to get your students excited about using the listening center. Adding a QR code to the poster will make it super easy for them to get to the music online. They can scan the QR code with a mobile device and be ready to go.


To extend the listening center into a research center, you can pair Cantata Learning with PebbleGo and other Capstone Interactive titles. For example, as they are listening to Wind and Water Shape the Land, include a QR code to PebbleGo with a few key words on what they can research in the PebbleGo Science database such as wind, water, and erosion, along with other earth science topics. Each article in PebbleGo has a Share What You Know Activity Sheet that can be printed off for them to record their learning through words and pictures. It is the perfect way to pair up Cantata Learning and bring learning to life!  


2. Pair up the Cantata Learning books with an instrument display in your library and classroom.

You can put simple instruments such as tambourines, cymbals, kazoos, and ukuleles in a colorful container or basket next to the Cantata Learning books on a shelf, table, or in a reading nook.  


You can even have instruments bagged up for the students to check out with the Cantata Learning books. Then they can take the instruments home with them to create a special musical experience with their families.  


As an extension, ask the music teacher if they would like to introduce the different instruments to the students during their time in music class. This could include history, techniques, and other things important to the instrument. Not only would this be a great way for them to learn more about each instrument, it is a wonderful opportunity for teacher collaboration.  



3. Display the Cantata Learning books in a musical makerspace where students can build their own instruments to play while listening, reading, and singing along.  

Students can make lots of instruments with simple and recycled materials. One favorite in our library was creating instruments out of recycled bottles or containers. With a few little things like dried beans, washers, popcorn, rice, and other materials, students can fill their bottles to create an instrument to play as they sang along to all of the books.  


I printed off directions for this activity and put them in plastic covers in our space. I have created a Musical Instruments to Make Pinterest Board where you will find lots of ideas to share in your musical makerspace. Students can have fun searching for ideas and inventing their own instruments, too.  



4. Display Cantata Learning books in organized and interesting ways online for your young readers to use at school and at home.  

I love organizing and displaying books online. This gives our readers access to discover and read them anywhere… in the library, classroom, home, and on the go.  


One of my favorite spots to display Cantata Learning books online is in Capstone Interactive. Within CI, you can create a Booklist which can include any Cantata Learning eBook that you want. For example, you could create a CI Booklist for the new books of the season, a particular unit you are collaborating on with a teacher, or even a student focused Booklist such as “Check Out the First Graders’ Favorite Cantata Learning Books!”  




5. Set up a Cantata Learning YouTube viewing station in your library or classroom for an alternative way to display the songs and stories online.   

Did you know that Cantata Learning has a fantastic YouTube Channel? You will find all of the books uploaded into series and season based playlists. Each video includes the song and a few of the illustrations from the book. This is a favorite of ours at home. It is always fun to sing along to a video online.  


In your classroom or library, set up a station with laptops, iPads, or other devices, where students can pop by to watch a little Cantata Learning story and sing or dance along. This would be a nice way to display Cantata Learning for an individual, a small group, or even a whole class activity.  


This will encourage your students to become excited about the books you have on display on YouTube. They can even follow along with the book as they listen to the YouTube video.  


As you can see there are so many awesome ways to display Cantata Learning. These are just a few to get you started and help you kick off the best year in your libraries, classrooms, communities, and homes.  


I can’t wait to see all of the creative ways you bring Cantata Learning to your community of readers too!