A popular song that's a hit with the “under 7 year-old set”, it is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It’s actually from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, and a video, featuring the adorable, goofy yellow guys is available on YouTube.
I have the video playing and projecting on “the big screen” as the children enter the room after lunch. Students are heard declaring, “I love this song!” and “This is my song!” as they walk in. A few of our more animated friends even dance over to “the meeting spot.”
I hit “Pause” on my computer, and I announce that we will use the song as part of our math today.
One of my super sharp kiddos questions, “For 3D shapes?” Hey—at least they know we’re studying 3D shapes!
“As a matter of fact—yes,” I say with a smile. “Have a seat for now, and I will explain.”
I point their attention to the 3D shapes that I have displayed on each wall of the room. My helper of the day takes a card with a cube printed and walks over to match it to the cube shape. I call on another student to take a card with a cylinder on it and walk over to the posted card with the cylinder shape. When asked, the students tell me the name of the shape by which they are standing (MP.6).
I explain that while the music is playing, we are trading our shape cards in the meeting spot. A student asks if its okay to dance while we trade—and I affirm that dancing is fine as long as 3D shape cards are being traded.
“When the music stops, what do we do?” I ask.
Students respond, “Move to the 3D shapes!”
“And what do you do when you get to the 3D shapes?” I ask.
“Umm…” Ah—I see we are less certain.
“Friends you wait with your group of same 3D-shapes until I come to check you,” I instruct.
I ask my question again—just for clarification—and this time, the students promise to wait by the matching 3D shape.
We play our “Happy” video and students trade 3D shape cards in our meeting spot. Some kiddos watch the video as they trade, but the important thing is that students are trading 3D cards.
They move to their respective areas of the room, and I move to each group, asking each student to name their 3D shape (MP.7).
We repeat this several times, and I carefully watch a few students to make sure that each of my “target” students goes to all 4 sides of the room, just to be certain that students are getting lots of practice.
Interestingly, the children do not get tired of this activity!
We gather one last time in our meeting spot. The students raise their hands and tell me that they loved the music video for math today. They say they liked moving to the different 3D shapes. I ask if they’re getting better at naming 3D shapes, and they insist that “3D shapes are easy.” Before we go to P.E. I select students to name 3D shapes or examples of specific 3D shapes (MP.6), and I am impressed with how quickly they are learning!