The Use of Songs, Chants, and Call and Response to Promote Student Engagement, by Nicci Bandermann, 3rd Grade Teacher

Posted by Amy Smythe on 9/27/2018 2:05:00 PM

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If you were a student, walking the halls of a new school and you could pick any class, would you choose your own? This is a profound question and one that should engage all teachers to reflect on practices in their classrooms that would encourage students to “choose it” if they had the choice.

At a recent conference, one of the presenters stated her philosophy that without student engagement, you have nothing. But, with student engagement, rigor and classroom management will fall into place. Does this resonate with you? If so, what are some best practices that could be used to liven up your classroom and spark student engagement?

One of the practices that has been successful in drawing students in and making them excited to learn is using songs, chants, and call and responses. Using these chants and songs promotes student engagement and builds a classroom culture where students are aware of the expectations but they set the boundaries and are able to learn at their own pace.

One way we use songs is to say “Good Morning!” This starts our day off on the right foot and students are ready for the learning and hard work that is coming their way.

Morning Song

Watch and listen to a morning song, here.

Songs and chants are also used to enhance learning so that students can recall new skills quickly and with excitement. Popular, catchy songs with edited lyrics to match our curriculum are used to liven up the classroom, step away from the mundane, and to engage students even more. The students become invested when they are able to have some ownership of the lyrics and/or the dance moves and they are learning at the same time.


Watch a content song, here.

Watching students guide their own instruction and driving meaningful conversations with their peers allows for them to become even more invested in their learning.  Using call and responses is a quick strategy to bring students back together and to focus on the speaker. Another great way to use these chants is for student celebration. Now that our students have been given the expectations with these cheers, it has become a seamless part of our day. When a peer does something worthy, they are able to celebrate one another quickly and then return to the task at hand.


Watch a redirection video, here.

Watch a transition video, here.

Using songs and chants in the classroom is such a fun way to promote student engagement and get students excited about learning. While it takes training and teaching boundaries, students are able to transition from one task to the next efficiently and have lots of fun along the way.