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Friday, May 20, 2016

Music for transitions.

Sometimes we high school teachers will hear about a strategy and think "My kids are too old for that."

Sometimes they are.

More often, they aren't.

Here is a fun example.

Music for transitions.

For sure, it is a little silly and feels very young.

But I tried it yesterday because the kids needed to move a little.

A quick internet search led me to a 45 second clip of the theme music from Mission Impossible.

I used a strategy I have used on a regular basis called "Give One, Get One."

I think I learned this iteration of it from Dr. Hollie's book Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning.

If I remember correctly, Total Participation Techniques includes a version of this activity as well.

Anyway...the strategy is simple.

Students generate an answer or idea or question. This time is was information about the main character of our novel.

Then, when instructed, they mill about.

At that point, you can call stop and have students speak to the person nearest them or have them talk to everyone they encounter as they walk.

I chose the former.

Students were given fifteen to twenty seconds to mill around and find a partner--it had to be someone who they didn't sit with and hadn't already spoken to.

Then, I played the music and they had 30 or seconds to exchange ideas.

The first round, they spent half that time reacting to the music.

Oddly, the response was almost universally positive and familiar with the track.

Maybe I am not as old as I thought?

Or maybe the franchise has gone on longer than I knew?

Probably that second one...

Regardless, it was fun and silly and three rounds took about five minutes to complete, including everyone writing down what they learned and turning it in.

It was a little chaotic and a lot loud.

Neither of which are things I savor.

But is worth it when it leads to learning and provides a healthy outlet for pent up end of year energy.

Sanity is a good thing.

Saving it by experimenting with strategies I might normally reject as too elementary, not too shabby either.

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