Shannon McShane

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Welcome to my profile!

Click here for my mini-course: Music Strategies in the Classroom

About Me

I am a 5th and 6th grade ELA and Science Special Education Teacher in a 6:1:1 classroom. I work for a school of students with Emotional Disturbances and behavioral difficulties in the Rochester, NY area. I recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.S. in Childhood and Special Education with a concentration in Music.

In my spare time I enjoy watching Tom Hanks movies and experimenting in the kitchen with different recipes. I enjoy the company of animals, although I do not currently have one of my own.

I am excited to be using the Knowledge Network by and for Educators in order to experiment with Wiki Course design.

My Topic and Purpose

For many years, the Alphabet Song has been used across English-speaking countries to teach young learner the 26 letters of the alphabet. But why were the letters of the alphabet put into a song in the first place?

The purpose of this course is for participants to discover how music can be used daily in a classroom.

Throughout this course, you will learn the research behind music implemented into instruction, tips and strategies on how to implement music in the classroom.

Performance Objectives

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how music enhances learning
  • Give examples of and analyze music-based strategies
  • Find activities in classroom that can also include music

Needs Assessment

Part I : Intent

This course is designed to provide strategies and examples of how teachers can utilize music in their classrooms (general and special education). A needs assessment was released as a survey to investigate the current usage of music in the classroom, the knowledge of the benefits of music, and the known resources/strategies teachers can use when having music in the classroom.

Part II : Gather Information

To ensure a range of educators were included in this needs assessment, the survey was sent to 41 participants:

  • 11 Special Education Teachers
  • 22 General Education Teachers
  • 3 Teachers of Special Areas (Art, Physical Education, etc.)
  • 2 Members of Administration
  • 3 Student Teachers

Part III : Survey Results

Click Here for Survey Results

Part IV: Analysis

Of the 41 total educators, 16 participated in the needs assessment survey. It was found that a majority of the participants used music in less than 25% of their lessons. The majority of participants also felt as though their confidence in their own musical ability greatly effected their amount of usage of music in their classroom. When asked what types of musical strategies are used in the classrooms, the most common answers were "Songs to Remember Facts" and "Rhythmic Patterns." When participants were explaining their knowledge of resources available, many mentioned videos and audio recordings that can be accessed via YouTube. One participant mentioned the use of School House Rock. These two resources were used as a way to assist in instructing students on a particular subject. Other responses from participants explained that using music in the classroom is more as a calming/relaxing technique. Teacher will use soft music as a way to ensure the learning environment is calm and focused.

Part V: Application

So what does this mean for you as a participant in this course? This course will help you obtain information and resources to assist you in implementing music-based strategies in your own classroom. As your fellow educators proved in the completed survey, many educators do not feel confident in their personal musical abilities-- and the students are missing music because of it. This course is designed around this central idea: music is a tool to the mind that can expose the path to the highest level of learning.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Learners You will be taking this course with other current teachers and pre-service teachers ranging from grades K-12. All participants will be a teacher in either a general education setting or special education setting. Although this course focuses on the classroom teachers, specials teachers (i.e., Art, Physical Education) are able to participate in this course as well. You will all have various levels of background knowledge of music in the classroom prior to completing this course.

Context for Instruction This course will be complete via a computer and an online website, KNILT. All resources are provided electronically.

Task Analysis

Unit 1: How Does Music Enhance Learning?

· The participant will define music. (Prerequisite)

· The participant will compare and contrast the two songs: Alphabet Song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

· The participant will identify the different parts of the brain affecting by music.

· The participant will complete a quiz on the effects of music on learning. (Assessment)

Unit 2: Analyzing Music-Based Strategies

· The participant will identify various strategies that implement music during instruction.

· The participant will identify various strategies that implement music to influence the classroom environment and/or the classroom routine.

· The participant will categorize select strategies into the following categories: for instruction; for transitions/routines; for environment. (Assessment)

Unit 3: Implementing Music into Typical Classroom Routines

· The participant will find at least 2 other strategies not mentioned in the course while looking online.

· Given a typical classroom schedule, the participant will add music strategies into the classroom routine.

· Given a scenario of a lesson in a classroom setting, the participant will determine what strategy to best implement and rationalize why.

Curriculum Map


References and Resources

Harman, M. (2007). Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development. Earlychildhood NEWS. Retrieved from

Koksal, O., Yagison, N., & Cekic, A. (2013). The Effects of Music on Achievement, Attitude, and Retention in Primary School English Lessons. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Science, 93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching, and Educational Leadership), 1897-1900. Doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.136. Vaiouli, P., & Ogle, L. (2015). Music Strategies to Promote Engagement and Academic Growth of Young Children with ASD in the Inclusive Classroom. Young Exceptional Children, 18(2), 19-28.