Perfect opening week of school activity. Starting Off is a song in which the kids will find out what they are going to learn this year in school while having fun singing a song together. I intentionally create my songs to be sung a cappella by the children and they are specifically designed to be easy to sing, catchy, and engaging. This works great every year. The kids enjoy that they are making the music rather than just singing along to a fully produced recording. Like all my songs, the tune and lyrics are original. My songs are specially designed to be easy for students to learn and sing while not sounding like simple children's nursery rhymes. They enjoy that the songs sound like what they hear on the radio. I vary the style of each song to include those from throughout the 20th century up till today. During transitions and free time during the week, I play songs by famous artists that are in the style of that week's song. This song is in the modern country / folk style.
I believe that it is very important to always have the words in front of the class whenever you sing, either on an electronic white board or holding their own copy of the song. One of the main intents of singing the songs are to help the students to learn the key vocabulary, how to read, and how to spell, so you want them to be reading while singing rather than trying to listen and memorize the song.
Introduce the song slowly on the first day by singing only the first couple of parts a few times to make sure that they have the basic tune down. You can either play the recording of me while you sing along or sing by yourself. The kids are always thrilled to hear their teacher singing. Tell them that they will learn the rest of the song tomorrow. This wets their appetite for the continuation of the activity on the next day. On the second day, work through the entire song. This is a good day to give each child a copy of the song to bring home with them. By the third day, you should be able to start weaning yourself away from singing very strongly or begin to play the recording of me quieter. By the fourth day, the students will probably be able to sing it on their own and will desire to do so. On the third or fourth day, it works very well to ask who would like to come up to the front of the room to sing a few lines solo, as a duet, or part of a trio. If you have a microphone and an amplifier or karaoke machine for them to use, you will find that every child in your room will be raising their hand to sing solo or as part of a duet or trio. I let them know that whoever does the best solo or duet on the fifth day (usually Friday) will win a prize such as a small bag of Skittles or ice cream at lunch.
When you first introduce the activity of singing to start off a lesson, you will find that some students will just watch and listen. It is best to give them time and by the third or fourth song that you sing during the year, you will see all of the students singing happily. A good thing to try for hesitant students is to ask if anyone would like to have a special job such as keeping the beat on a small drum or with rhythm sticks or to make sound effects and then choose one or two of the students who aren't singing for this special job.
Please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to customize this song to match up with the content for your class or grade level if the current lyrics don't do so. I will be adding many songs to use for Math, Reading, Language Arts, and Science over the next few days. I will also be writing songs throughout the year and adding them hear. Please send me a note if there is a particular standard or concept that you would like to see a song for and I will create one.
I started writing the songs in response to my class struggling day after day with unit fractions and I went home and brainstormed what to do and came up with my first song specifically designed to help students to learn a particular standard. This song is called I Love Apple Pie. It was a huge hit with the kids and it was very effective as a learning activity. This was the start of a regular activity called "The Song of the Week" for the remainder of the year and into subsequent years. This lead to the writing of many songs. I will add them to my store as quickly as I can get them produced with their associated worksheets.
The lyrics for Starting Off are in a separate item to download.
Depending on the quality of the sound system that you have in your classroom, it may be necessary to turn up the treble and base to get the best sound quality when you play the recording of me singing the song.