Teaching Teenagers

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians: Day 14

Share a topic/idea from a lesson you teach. What is one thing you did with students that you will (or will not) do again? Why?

Though I typically write these posts in bulk and schedule them days in advance, I've been traveling, under the weather, and up against deadlines both at work and at home lately. The result? I've fallen a few days behind on this blogging challenge. 

Hey, I can live with that. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash, under Creative Commons 0

Image courtesy of Unsplash, under Creative Commons 0

So day 14 is about an idea from a lesson I teach. That's a multifaceted question because it could mean lessons I teach directly, and it could be the on-the-side informal mini-lessons I teach when students visit the library needing this, that, or the other. That could range from helping them figure out how to save/print from a flash drive, or connecting them with their teacher's class group on Edmodo, and many times it is impromptu professional development with teachers who need help with their websites, Edmodo, etc. 

I love that about my work, by the way. The endless surprises can wear a bit on Type A people, but in many ways I do value that no two days are alike. 

The one constant "idea" for me across all of these instructional scenarios is simple: play music. When I am teaching digital citizenship to all students in my building (nearly 800, with two separate lessons for each class), I rely on music a lot when teaching students. The research on music as a method of influencing moods is thick, and I've done enough "action research" to prove that for places in the lesson that I want to encourage table discussion, I play upbeat tunes (that they like and recommend). When I want them to slow down and reflect a bit, out pumps the more soulful songs. These kids (I think ALL kids) LOVE music, and they respond to music in lessons really well. I've even found that, because I love good music as well, that makes it a lot easier to communicate the same lesson for the 12th time. 

A simple playlist (check the lyrics, people...this is one area you don't want surprises!) and Jambox or set of computer speakers is all you need to promote student engagement in ways like never before. 

Just call me DJ Jazzy Liberry Lady, I guess.