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Write Your Own Songs!
Regina Newlin


Okay, you're convinced of the value of using music in your classroom, but you can't find any songs that address the subject you're teaching.  What can you do?


You can write your own songs--it's easy!  Just replace the lyrics of a well-known song with your own.  Be sure to choose songs that are simple, have few words in each verse, and lots of repetition.


Chain songs such as She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain and rounds such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat are formats that Turner (1988) has found are particularly well-suited to lyric replacement. When you're studying a series of events that are sequenced, or events that have a cause and effect relationship, you can write lyrics to fit a chain song with a sequence element, such as Old MacDonald, There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, or The Green Grass Grows All Around.

When exploring a problem, you can use the melody of a chain song or a round with a question and answer pattern such as There's a Hole in the Bucket.

You and your students can write song lyrics together, or groups of students can write a verse for a song about the subject they're learning.  When students are involved in writing their own lyrics, they'll learn even more -- they'll learn more about the subject involved, and they'll have an opportunity to practice their writing skills, as well.


Reference

Turner, T. (1988).  And what do you think he saw?  Using chain songs and rounds.  Social Studies and the Young Learner, 1: 21-24.


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