Gonna be alright
Each year, I start my Level 2 Chemistry class the same way – by playing Three little Birds at the start of the lesson. It is to remind me and my students, but me mostly, that despite the big step up to Level 7 of the curriculum and the tough journey that some students face, everything will be alright. It is a big step up from NCEA Level One Science to NCEA Level Two Chemistry and some students really do struggle with the increased complexity of ideas, the increased expectations around answers and their increases workload across all subjects.
I will often use music throughout the year as a starter – but especially for Level Two chem. Thinking about it now, I am not quite sure why…… but the blogging challenge for Connected educators month has at least got me thinking about some of the songs I often use. I guess I use them as starters to break the ice, as cues for students to remind them about different topics, and as a reminder for myself that sometimes things are hard. I love music, and took lessons for years. My Mum MADE me, as I struggled with music (I am still envious of people that are ‘naturally’ musical) and she thought it was good for me to do something I had to work hard for. I am so glad I was made to stick at it, and being able to read music as well as scramble something out on a guitar and the piano have come in handy thoughout life. I will often have something playing in the back ground of my class room, especially during practicals. Sometimes it is a compromise around getting students to remove their headphones and participate more with the world, at other times it is just to have a nicer, more relaxed atmosphere in the room.
But some other specific times I use music are……
I use Olivia Newton Jones ‘Physical’ when I am introducing physical properties of solids. This video is soooooo awful it makes my students grimace every time. There is a GLEE remake, but I find this one gets a much better horror factor
David Bowie and Queens ‘under pressure’ is another song I often use – when talking about gases in equilibrium and pressure changes. One year I got the surprise of my life when a very quiet, studious girl was an absolute Queen fan, and could recite facts at will about Brian May and all the band. It was awesome
If I am feeling old school I will play Chemical Calastenics from Blackalicious. I saw these guys live a few times back in the day. Awesome show. The whole Blazing Arrow album is fantastic 🙂
For Genetics, I will often show the ‘morph’ section from Micheal Jackson’s black or white. It is a really good demonstration of variation, and also it was really early use of this technology, ground breaking in it day
And recently, I was playing some music, and (as often happens) my album of choice for switched. Some boys put themselves on, and it was awesome. A great reminder that I teach some amazing students.
So, I guess music for me is like Chemistry for lots of my students, I had to really stick at it and work hard to appreciate it, but once you do it is so worth the effort. The patterns, the different styles and genres, the intricacies and details, are all the more beautiful for just sitting back and enjoying them. The whole is so much more than a sum of the parts, and I hope my Chemistry and Science students can see that by the end of the year. Every little thing generally turns out alright 🙂