Does your class have a "thing" they share a common interest in? If so, is it different from what your students last year were into? It amuses me how each class I teach has a different collective personality. In recent years, I've had different classes whose mild obsessions have run the gamut from Connect Four, to Mancala, to Duct Tape, to The Skeleton Creek book series. This year's class gets really excited about music. They love it when I put music on the SMARTBoard at the end of the day, and we've made three class music videos using VideoStar already. I've quickly learned that whenever I include a song or a rap in a lesson, I immediately have the attention of the entire class.
The video that started this year's musical obsession was this cute little place value rap that I have embedded in a SMART Notebook lesson on place value.
The kids showed so much enthusiasm for this video clip that I could not wait to get to order of operations so I could show the "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" video from my lesson introducing order of operations. The kids went nuts over this video, too. (I've included a 32 second clip from the video here so you can get the general idea. If you want to see the entire video click HERE.)
Once my kids were bitten by the "music in math" bug, the infection progressed to the next logical stage. They started asking if we could make a math rap video of our own. We had already made a "Gangnam Style" video just for fun and a "Run, Run, Rudolph" video at our holiday party, so the kids knew it was a reasonable request. They know I have the Video Star app on my iPhone. That's what we used to make the other videos. I love the app, because it is super easy to use and the finished product turns out great. There is also a convenient link for sharing, and best of all - it's FREE!
When I came across the song "Standard System" from the album Rhyme, Rhythm, and Results on iTunes, I knew we were in business. It took me quite some time to transcribe all the lyrics after I purchased the song from iTunes, but I did type them up for the children to use as a storyboard for our production. It was well worth the effort. We made the following video as the culminating activity for our study of the standard system of measurement.
If you are studying standard units of measurement, and you'd like to show this video to your class, my students would love to hear about it.
If you are not using music in your math class, you should give it a try!