Curriculum Rocks! Enhance Learning Through Music
Curriculum based albums and classroom musicals
Age Group: Ages 6-11
Cost: $15. CD or $9.99 Download
By Valerie Schuetta, M.Ed.
As a first-grade teacher, I take many professional development classes during the summer. These classes are not only offered to give teachers the hours they need to renew their teaching certificates, but to increase our professional knowledge, as well as to keep up to date on the latest cutting-edge advances in education and technology.
One of the first classes I took this summer was for gifted education. For the first few days of the class, the instructor spoke of something called “growth mindset.” She went on to explain that this is a new way for educators to view student intelligence and the way children learn. This belief was made popular by the research of Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor of psychology. Apparently, when students have a growth mindset, they will believe that they can learn anything with hard work. It may not be at the same time as everyone else, but they will begin to believe that with perseverance, hard work, and resiliency, their intelligence will grow. On the other hand, when students have a fixed mindset, they adhere to the belief that they are born with their intelligence and it cannot be changed. It is predetermined. These are the students that are afraid to try something they believe is too difficult. These are the students that give up easily.
Usually, I walk away from these summer classes with more ways to teach reading, different strategies for classroom management, or ways to develop character. Developing growth mindset and changing a fixed mindset was something I was very interested in! What teacher wouldn’t want this for her students? What parent wouldn’t want this for their child? As an educator, I have always taught my students to work hard and I always have high expectations for them. The problem is that some children just don’t believe they are capable. Having a growth mindset can be beneficial to all children. I knew I had to find a way to implement the tools and activities in my classroom I would need to develop growth mindset in my students.
Curriculum Rocks is a great resource for nurturing growth mindsets in the classroom and at home. It has everything parents and teachers need for success. Nancy Mayer, a third grade teacher, and her sister Lauren Mayer, a singer and songwriter, have developed curriculum-based music that will enhance learning opportunities for children in the classroom, as well as homeschoolers. This is a must have for all educators and parents. They believe that the best way to teach a growth mindset is through their music and the power of “yet”. This is not a “sink or swim” mentality. If you are struggling, you develop resiliency, and you may not be there yet, but you never give up.Their songs teach that the word yet is very powerful! Their songs also teach children that we all make mistakes, but mistakes are great learning opportunities.
There are albums for every grade including first through fifth and homeschoolers. The first grade CD is called, “First Grade Rocks”, and includes songs like Ready to Read, Animals, Water Cycle, and Learning to Cook. The second grade album has songs that teach about money and time. These are all the topics we teach, yet children can learn more about them through the power of these engaging songs and words that are written and performed by Lauren Mayer. Most children’s learning styles are kinesthetic and auditory, meaning they love to move and listen to music. I can’t think of a better way to enhance this in children than using music and songs. Curriculum Rocks fits the bill. Kids will absolutely love it.
This year, I’ve decided I want my classroom community to be one that really promotes a growth mindset. I would like to teach this from Day One to my children. Curriculum Rocks has many wonderful songs that I plan on using to achieve this. One of my favorite CD’s from Curriculum Rocks is Yes, I Can. This CD will get your kids up and moving. It’s also a great way to give their brains a break! The words to the songs are fun and engaging and encourage movement. One song, that caught my eye was called Feelin’ Good. As a first grade teacher, I would love to have a dollar for each time one of my students tells me they do not feel good! I will be playing this song every day! Also on this track is a great song called Funny Food. The lyrics in the song will get any child’s attention, make them giggle and want to sing along:
Purple peas, green peanut butter, hot pink cheese, polka dot pie could be worth a try, when I’m in the mood for some funny food.
I love the fact that the words rhyme! My absolute favorite and a must-have is the CD, The Power of Yet. It has so many fantastic songs that will cultivate and teach children what it means to have a growth mindset. The first track is actually called The Power of Yet. The lyrics include:
What I’m trying to do is difficult, but I can do it.
I just haven’t done it yet. What I’m working on is challenging, but I’ll get through it,
I just haven’t finished yet.
That’s the power of yet, yet, yet. I know I’ll get there soon, you bet.
Anything is possible, anything can happen. Wow, that’s the power of yet.
What a dynamic song to teach children — this three-letter word, y-e-t, which holds so much power and meaning! The CD has many other great songs that will teach your children to be resilient and gritty in all they do! These include: Get a Growth Mindset, which has one of my favorite lyrics:
If I get a growth mindset, then my brain will get stronger when I try something new. My brain is fantastic, it stretches like elastic!
One of the reasons I liked this song was because it teaches children how their brain works. If they can understand this even a little bit, they will see they are capable of learning anything.
I also fell in love with the song, Hey You, Voice in My Head, and its marvelous lyrics:
Hey you, voice in my head. I heard what you said, but I’ll choose new thoughts instead. Hey you, critical voice, who won’t let me rejoice. Hey you, voice of self-doubt, I don’t care what you shout. Now I’m throwing you out…Go away!
Other songs include: How Can I Fail Today?, Face My Fears, Be a Bucket Filler, and many more.
As teachers and parents, we spend so much time teaching character and content. I think we forget that we need to teach kids ways to help them grow up strong and confident. This is where the power of growth mindset comes in and Curriculum Rocks is a great way to implement it. Gone are the days of the “fixed mindset”, thinking that learning something new cannot be attained. If children can learn that their brain grows in abilities, they will learn to expect nothing but the best of themselves and begin look at learning new things as an adventure! V.S.