To be a good educator not only do you need to be on top of your game, creative, outgoing, ready to be there for your students. You also have to realize there are going to be days when down time is going to be a necessity not only for your students but probably for you as well. This time might come when you are out and a substitute might need to take over, or maybe it is right before a vacation where no one is able to keep on task. Maybe you are like me you’re voice is gone, you have a slight case of the chills and a lot of work to do but just don’t have the courage to call in sick. These are some of the best excuses to pop in a DVD and have a relaxing class just watching a video. Of course, it’s unnecessary to have a large collection of DVDs especially as a music teacher. My collection is kept in a small milk crate and that is more than plenty of room. Below are the 5 DVDs or DVD sets that my students love and cannot get enough of.
Quaver Music- This is an amazing program which not only includes a DVD series with 10-20 minute lesson enhancement videos that teach students certain musical concepts, but also includes teacher guides with activity suggestions, worksheets, and access to a free student website. These DVDs are fantastic and my students cannot get enough of them, they retain concepts and enjoy learning. The great part about these is that even if you are out, the teacher guides are so easy to follow you can leave a lesson for a substitute and even if they are not musically inclined they go over successfully.
Stomp (Out Loud and Live)- Best DVDs ever. Both are of performances by the crew of STOMP. Perfect to show when you are out or when your students have completed a killer unit about recycled percussion, rhythm, or body percussion. The hard and fast sounds and jaw dropping rhythms keep the attention of not only the kids but you as well!
Little Amadeus Series- I have the whole 1st season on DVD and my K-2 students are slightly obsessed. The whole premise behind the show is following the child version of Amadeus Mozart through his life and adventures. It talks about music during the time he lived, plays certain pieces, and shows the lifestyle of the people back then. It is great to teach students about classical music and the history of a lot of the famous works we still here today. Be careful though, this series has a few words and one or two scenes that you might not be able to show to students. Preview an episode before you show it!
Jazz Cat- A Reading Rainbow episode featuring the book “Jazz Cat”. I tend to teach my younger students a little about Jazz towards the end of the year and this is a video I will show every once in a while. They get the jazz vibe and Lamar does a great job teaching them about the jazz ensembles and improv.
Zin Zin Violin- Another Reading Rainbow episode but this one features the book “Zin Zin Violin” . I teach instruments of the orchestra to my 1st graders and instrument families of the orchestra to my 3rd graders. I usually show this video to them after each unit is complete as a cumulative review. We discuss the instruments they see, they then get to watch how an orchestra works.