Schools make beautiful music as tool to keep students focused during remote learning

This school is using music as a way to help students learn and also motivate them to stay connected during remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- SAGE Magnet at Millikan Middle School is always willing to try new things to weave the theme of social and gender equity into its curriculum. SAGE uses every content area to help students understand how to be an agent for change, whether that's English, history or even science.

"They have a voice, and we have to make them aware of that and we have to teach them how to use it," said Joseph Porter, SAGE Magnet coordinator.

Just as schools switched to remote learning, SAGE began a partnership with the Guitars in the Classroom program. Initially the idea was for SAGE students to understand the history of traditional protest songs.

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"We just wanted to teach them about that," said Porter. "About the history and the context and then you know, how to sing the song too... and so that's how all those different pieces ended up coming together."

But like many of the teachers across the country who are in the Guitars in the Classroom training program, what SAGE learned was music is a great way to stay connected remotely, with overall attendance being excellent.

"So this (guitar) gets the kids totally engaged and then you say OK, we're going to sing what we're learning about," said Jessica Baron of Guitars in the Classroom.

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That's all well and good if you're learning about a protest song and social justice, but Baron showed how even math can be taught through music.

The free teacher training is available for anyone working with children. And as we begin a new school year apart, encouraging your teachers to use music might be the perfect way to make online learning more effective.

"There is a feeling of connection and that's the magic... it's the engagement and they'll sustain attention for 45 minutes online to sing songs about people, places and things," said Baron.

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