As you'll be aware if you have read my previous 'reflective journal' blog I'm a big lover of music and a self-confessed 'superstar DJ'. I've created over 20 'Maths DJing' clips to play in class and love to get a bit of music into my lessons, where appropriate.
This week I decided to introduce a bit of music into my Year 7s' lesson on algebraic expressions. At the very start of the lesson, as the class were entering the room I had Labrinth's 'Express Yourself' playing in the background. Whilst the clip was on I had on the IWB a slide that asked the students to 1) think of why the song was playing and what it could have to do with today's lesson and 2) to write a definition for the word 'expression'. During the 4 min + song I also gave the class their exercise books, handed back their marked h/w and briefly chatted to a few of them as I walked around the room, ensuring that they had seen the tasks that they had to do were on the board.
Then, something fantastic happened...as the song started to come to a close and fade out the class started to become silent and as the song finally finished (and I was stood, saying nothing, at the front of the class (in my usual 'teacher's spot')) the class were listening intently and were ready to start our lesson.
The best thing about this was that I had used the time in which the class usually come in and get settled to not only get them sat down and all their equipment out, but they were straight onto the task I had set, were engaged into the lesson due to the music that was being played and I was able to do the 'adminy' things I needed to do (hand out h/w etc).
I then took suggestions as to why the class thought the song was being played, and other than the few 'because you like the song', 'because Labrinth's awesome' etc comments I had a few students say that it was due to us looking at some 'expressions' in the lesson and that they were going to 'express themselves'.
We then continued with our lesson looking at algebraic expressions and then at the end of the lesson I referred back to the song I played at the start and said that I now wanted them to write an expression for themselves (using the definition and new knowledge they had acquired during the lesson).
I think this worked really well - to link the beginning and ending of the lesson together and to get the class off to a flying start.
I'm planning on using The Beatles' 'Come Together' next lesson when we look at collecting like terms!
In preparation for this I've now bought an audio lead splitter for my PC/IWB/speakers set up in my room so that I don't have to constantly unplug the lead from the PC hardrive and then plug into my iPhone; my classroom PC and my iPhone are now simutaneously plugged into the class speakers :)