Cantata Learning Teaching Notes
Combining Music and Good Books Brings Books Alive!
Why is music important for information acquisition and retention, and as a basis for literacy?
Cantata Learning…bringing books to life – through music.
Where words leave off, music begins. Heinrich Hein
From a sweet lullaby to the tunes that fill our cars as teens, our lives seem set to music from birth to adulthood. It starts with a nursery rhyme and the oh-so-familiar ABC’s. What feels like a simple sing-songy game is actually helping children to learn the basics long before they enter a formal classroom setting.
Music brings concepts to life providing even the earliest of learners a sensory experience that enhances the learning environment and motivates them to playfully engage with words, themes, rhymes and repetition in a positive, interactive way.
Music provides a beautiful backdrop to the development and enrichment of literacy. Music increases oral language through listening and singing. It builds vocabulary and pre-reading skills which, in turn, builds confidence – a powerful attribute for emerging readers.
The rhyme and rhythm that music offers help build an important pre-reading foundation assisting in the development of important reading skills such as identifying syllables in words, recognizing words in similar families (like all, tall, fall, and wall), learning to predict text, and even aiding in the retention of information and ideas.
Music brings learning to life.
What are the effects of music in the classroom?
By infusing classroom content with music, children begin to absorb information in a more meaningful and engaging way. Music can be used daily to enrich reading, science, math, arts, and social studies.
Music can be used to improve memorization skills and boost the retention of concepts. Music increases attention span, hones listening skills, and strengthens concentration…. all vital proficiencies for successful learners.
And, last but certainly not least… music brings true joy to the learning process by creating an atmosphere of excitement, a feeling of connectedness, and a community of acceptance.
Music is an important part of a child’s life from birth to adulthood. This starts with nursery rhymes and the ABC’s, which children love to sing. Music livens up learning giving our youngest learners an experience and the motivation to have fun while engaging with words and repetition in a positive, interactive way.
Music and literacy work hand and hand. Music increases oral language through listening and singing. It builds vocabulary and pre-reading skills for early nonreaders and emergent readers, along with confidence, which they use as they begin to explore concepts in print and read.
Rhymes and rhythms build an important foundation to reading. The rhymes and rhythms that children hear in the songs assist in developing reading skills such as identifying syllables in words and recognizing words in the same families (like all, tall, fall, and wall).
Music also helps children retain ideas.
What resources are available to support music in education?
GoNoOdle, Brain breaks for your classrooms
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, activities for school and home
SoundTrap...make music online together
Music Fun For Kids! Symbaloo
Show your students the Cantata Learning Fun Smore!
What are creative and engaging ways to incorporate music into the daily routine?
There are many ways that the Cantata Learning songs and books can be incorporated into the daily routine.
The books can be read and listened to as a class, small group, or individually by students. It would be great fun to listen to one of the Cantata Learning books as a whole class while projecting it up on a screen or interactive board. The students can follow along, while singing, too. On page 23 of each book, the music and words are included. At the bottom, is the Cantata Learning website for online music access. There is also a CD included in the back cover.
And why not get dance involved! Students would love to dance and move to the music from these books.
In the back of each book, there is a page that lists Activity and To Learn More, providing pre- and post- reading questions along with information about other books or resources that allow teachers and students to delve deeper into a topic or theme.
The questions available for use within the Activity section, provide teachers and librarians with quick pre-reading prompts to be used with an entire class, small groups, or even individual students. They can be used before, during, or after the books are read and listened to as a way to introduce a topic, drive discussion, and pique interest. They also provide a quick tool for checking comprehension and understanding.
Teachers can extend the learning by asking students to come up with their own questions to answer and share with classmates.
In the To Learn More section, Cantata Learning has listed several children’s literature titles that go along with each book and curricular theme. This is a great resource for the teacher or librarian who may want to have one or more of these titles available to entice young readers to learn beyond the pages of the story. This not only provides multiple ways to extend the learning, but encourages students to enhance their own learning experience by exploring new authors, new illustrators, and new ideas on similar topics to the title.
Another important addition in the back is a Glossary. This can be used by the students and teachers as the books are being read…. or before and after. The definitions provided are simple and succinct, providing the language to easily explain big words to little ones. The glossary can then be used to tie words into other topics or curricular areas such as science, social studies, history, and others. These words could also become part of a weekly spelling list, word wall, or used as part of a classroom writing project..
I added QR codes to the back of the Cantata Learning books. When scanned the QR code takes the student directly to the song on the Cantata Learning website. The QR code can be scanned with any device and is very easy for little ones to use.
They are easy to create too! I used the website QR Code Generator but there are a lot of free ones that work just as well.
You could also use these QR codes in a display within the library or classroom by putting them up for students to scan. This would make a fun interactive bulletin board or listening center.
Here are a few more projects that can be done with the Cantata Learning books….
There are several titles that are based on nursery rhymes, which can be easily worked into the classroom and music curriculum. After the students read, sing, and share the Cantata Learning books, invite to make books of their own based on these classic nursery rhymes. You can even make a collaborative Class Nursery Rhyme book or each student can create their own.
This exercise not only allows children to discover the hidden author within, it also provides opportunities to explore the book making process - how Cantata Learning books are put together, written, illustrated, and even put to music. The possibilities are endless and the experience is rich.
It is always fun to reach out to authors and publishers during this time through Twitter or another form of social media. Invite them to Skype, email, or even visit in-person with your students and discuss the process of creating a book.
There are a couple ways to create eBooks using FlipSnack or BunceeEDU.
With these digital tools students create an illustration right in the classroom with art supplies, and then upload those original drawings into FlipSnack or BunceeEDU. You can even use photographs or images from the internet to enhance the digital stories.
Students can use a digital drawing tool, such as TuxPaint, to create the pages of their book, as well.
Students will really love using TuxPaint to retell one of the Cantata Learning stories or be inspired to create their own story book from a favorite nursery rhyme or song.
The beautiful music also provides a wonderful opportunity to allow children to hone listening skills by drawing what they hear while listening to the Cantata Learning songs and stories. This can easily springboard into a book making project, too. And, once all of the illustrations are complete, they can be “published” using FlipSnack or BunceeEDU.
Extend the learning by rollingl right into students creating a Wordle (word cloud tool) inspired by the words and feelings that come while listening to a music and story.
I like to use Google Presentation as a place to assemble the digital projects, too. Once you have the pages all complete for an eBook, download the Google Presentation as a PDF file. It is then ready to be uploaded into FlipSnack, BunceeEDU, and other digital storytelling tools.
You can read about a project using TuxPaint and Google Presentation to create pages of a storybook on my blog.
You can view this blog post to see an example of creating an eBook with FlipSnack and the finished product.
Another wonderful digital storytelling tool is LittleBirdTales, where students can create their own pages including illustrations, text, and voice. The pages can be hand drawn, or photographs and images can be used from the internet. LittleBirdTales also includes an awesome drawing tool, like TuxPaint, within their site. Students can use this tool while creating the pages for the LittleBirdTale.
Once their books are complete, students will be able to share their books with their classmates, teachers, parents, and the community. If the books are digital, you can even share the work of your student authors with the world.
It is also very easy to catalog this digital student work. These beautiful stories can then easily become part of your library collection.
Children love learning about famous people and others who have made an impact throughout history.
There are lots of Cantata Learning titles that are also biographies such as Albert Is Just Fine, Mrs. Einstein; He Changed Our Great Nation, Abraham Lincoln; and Peaceful Leader; Martin Luther King Jr. You can share the books and songs with the students in a large or small group setting or perhaps you can have each students choose a book about a person they would like to know more about.
Students can use the Cantata Learning titles as a starting point for a research project. They canthen be encouraged to find other books and resources realted to that person or topic. The students can access easy-to-use internet sites and databases, such as PebbleGO Biographies, to research as well.
After they have gathered important information about their person of interest, encourage them to come up with a creative way to share their work. They could create a slideshow with Animoto, a simple photo story with the app HaikuDeck, or even their very own movie using iMovie or another digital tool.
One tool that would fit nicely into this project would be a digital timeline creator. ReadWriteThink has an easy timeline creator that students can use to retell an event in history, chronicle the life of someone famous, or even sequence events from a book or song. You can find it on the ReadWriteThink website here.
How about using augmented reality to help students engage with stories and songs?
We now have tools and apps that let us embed and use augmented reality with our students.
Augmented reality can be embedded book talks, readings, or kids singing the songs. It could be a video or sound clip. Even photographs or projects can be attached to augmented reality.
This is a project that involved embedding AR into print and digital books to create a scavenger hunt for children….. Our First Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt Through A Fairy Tale eBook With The 2nd Graders. There are different AR tools available for educational use including Aurasma and BlippBuilder.
Two more digital tools that I want to share are FlipGrid and SoundCloud. You can use FlipGrid (available online and in an app) to allow students to easily share book critiques, story retellings, or even the singing of lyrics through video.
You can even capture them creating new words to the songs that they all love.
SoundCloud (available in app or online) allows to students record their own voice as they sing and read the books. It is a simple podcasting tools that allows users to create their own channel to store sound clips or podcasts.
SoundCloud is a nice digital tool to use as students read and sing aloud. It provides ways for you to share these podcasts with other students and parents, too.
This is the Google Document of the Teaching Notes as well.
Genre and key instrumental of each cantata learning title
This information will be very helpful in making connections to the curriculum and children with each book.