28 February, 2017
Helping all students feel welcome, part 2

Helping all students feel welcome, part 2


In my last blog post, I discussed how there will always be students who, for one reason or another, might not feel welcome in our classrooms, but that we as music educators can ensure that students feel more welcome and accepted.

In today's post, I'm discussing more ways that students can be made to feel welcome: through songs with a message, and through children's literature.

Helping all students feel welcome in the music room: Songs and picture books to help cultural and social awareness


Singing songs with a great message
If you can find a song that truly has a great message, go for it! Students will really connect to meaningful lyrics, especially students who are feeling fearful and uncertain. My friend Lessia Bonn at I am Bullyproof Music has a beautiful song called "Same Love," with a great message for these times. Here is a video of the song:


After listening to the song, you could have students discuss what the song is about, asking questions like "What does 'same love' mean?" "What does 'light up the dark' mean?" "What are the different 'whys'?" You could get into a pretty deep conversation here! Granted, this could get tricky, but I think as long as you listen to students, and show no preference for one party or one religion, students could really dig deep into the lyrics.

Click here to purchase the mp3. The kids really love her music, and the more I hear it, the more I want to listen!
02 February, 2017
Helping all students feel welcome, part 1

Helping all students feel welcome, part 1



There will always be students who, for one reason or another, might not feel welcome in our classrooms, perhaps because of something happening at home, or because of some of the students in the class, or because of something we as teachers are or are not doing.

In our current world, though, there are more reasons for students to not feel welcome. Some students in our classrooms may be worrying about their families, their friends, and their futures.

Regardless of political affiliation, it is really important as educators that we make ALL students feel welcome in our classroom. As music teachers, we have the distinct advantage of bringing children together through song, of linking cultures and experiences in a way that is completely different than any other subject.

Helping all students feel welcome in the music room: Blog post includes great thoughts, an Egyptian folk song with recordings, and a free bulletin board display!


In my own teaching, I've had some interesting conversations with students about other cultures. Once, after teaching the song "Ye Toop Daram" from Afghanistan (found in this blog post), I had a student exclaim, "But the people in that country are bad!" We then talked about how conflict is a complex thing, and that it doesn't make one side bad and the other side good, that while there are some bad people living in that country, there are also lots of good people. I asked them, "Do you think students in Afghanistan enjoy playing this game?"

They said, "Yes."

"Do you enjoy playing this game?"

They said, "Yes."

Sometimes, it's simply just pointing out that we are not all so different, that can open up students' minds and hearts.

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