With my older students this year, I'll be "weaving in" tips for finding and fun experiences with quality music. So much of what our students are exposed to musically on the radio and various other medias is just completely inappropriate, either musically, vocally, or simply due to the content. The plus side is - students have unprecedented access to music. They can find it on the radio, TV, iPads/Pods/Phones - everywhere.
My students love opportunities to listen and learn about music, and I'm always looking for clever ways to keep them engaged when we do this.
However, this year, I'm really trying to focus on giving the students opportunities to be reflective about their own choices and learning, and also provide them more time to get feedback from me and discuss things we are learning with their peers (love learning partners!).
To educate myself about what they are listening to (although I mostly know, don't we all) and to spark conversations in the classroom, I assigned the students optional "homework." I encouraged them to complete this with a member of their family.
1. Ask parents, friends, and family members
2. Use a computer - ask parents - youtube, Arts Alive, San Fran Symphony for Kids
3. Use a smart phone, mp3 player, or tablet- music apps such as Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify
4. Radio in the car
I told the students that they could use (with parental permission) any such resources to help them complete their "homework". Many students eagerly turned in their papers the next day (especially in my bilingual class - which is why I've included a version in Spanish). Next time, however, I'll include a few instructions (with websites or apps to use) at the top of the page (more so for parents) and have the listening response form on the bottom.
I posted a few responses outside my room, with plenty of blank slips for students to turn in as they find new music (and as I continue to show them new ways to find quality "new" music). I'll be opening up this concept to my 4th and 5th grade classes soon as well.
You can find the forms (in English and Spanish) as a little freebie here: Listening Recommendations
I'd also recommend this printable (a bit more extensive for grades 4 or 5):