Singing Summaries

Throughout the year, we have been focusing on summarizing and picking out the main points in our reading.  Being able to get to the heart of what a story or informational text is about is key to understanding it.  So I thought we would try something a bit different to help the students get to the point of it all.  Songs.

We were watching the Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition) song "Fireworks" to add to our studies on the Revolutionary War.  The song basically sums up the main points of the road to revolution and the writing of the Declaration of Independence.  


Watching this gave me a glimmer of an idea.  We soon found ourselves reading some informational text on the Declaration.  It was then that the idea came to fruition.
The students broke into groups of 3.  Each of them were assigned a simple song melody to compose a song summarizing our reading.  I just happen to have a book with song melodies on them, sans words.  It is a Mickey Mouse book, that my daughter has, but it was PERFECT for this!  The kids had so much fun doing this!  Trying to break down the meaning of the Declaration of Independence into a few short lines is tricky enough, but setting it to song threw some of them over the edge!, 5th grade, upper grade
I then had the kids record each song onto one of those cards that you can buy at the store with the voice recorder in it.  You know the ones where you can record your message to grandma for her 80th birthday? Well, the students recorded their songs with the music.  This was the favorite part for the kids.  Getting to actually record their voices was so much fun for them!

I had the students write the words to the song on some fancy scroll paper, then glue it on top of the words.    Then, when people open the flap up, they read the words and hear the song!

language arts, social studies, Mrs. Moormaneducation

Now I will admit that there was an issue with this idea.  The card was just not saving the recording!  I think I bought a defective bunch of cards :(  BUT the store was kind enough to let me return them and get different ones that did work.  If I was to do this again, I think I would buy the little recording device alone (I found a few online that can actually hold 20 seconds of song instead of the 10 seconds on the card)  I just didn't get this idea together in time to order them ;)  


  1. Don't you love Schoolhouse Rock?
    What a great idea...teaching is trial and error sometimes. I'm going to have to look into the recording devices.

    Fun in Room 4B

  2. Schoolhouse Rock! You're reminding me of my childhood memories of early Saturday morning cartoons xoxox

    Happy Memorial Day :)

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog

  3. You are so creative!I just wish those recordable cards were cheaper...

  4. Steph, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea!!! What a fun way to teach a concept, and such an incredible interactive bulletin board display it would make!

    Runde's Room

  5. I love teaching about the American Revolution, too! We always dramatized the Boston Massacre and used paper wads for the snowballs!! Some of the class would be soldiers and the rest would be towns people. It would get quite rowdy sometimes as the citizens got fired up over being taxed!!!

    Jennifer Ayers
    Best Practices 4 Teaching

  6. I love this idea!! Hats off to you for being creative!!


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