In an era of increasing concerns about health and wellness among young people, I am not a proponent of snacks and treats in the classroom. At the elementary level, they seem to have cookie and doughnut parties on a weekly basis, followed by thirty birthday celebrations, and a class party for every holiday - or pseudo-holiday. The worst example in my high school is the preponderance of "celebrations" like Cookie Friday. Some kids have cookies or snacks in numerous classes, to the point they are practically nauseated by the end of the day. However, everything doesn't have to be about food.
In my classes, I celebrate Music Friday, playing songs in between passing period. It began last year [several years ago] when I first heard of the song "Friday" by Rebekah Black. Friday is a song everyone loves to hate - but it's amazing how infectious it can be. And it actually created kind of a festive atmosphere. The next week I branched out with Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," and it quickly became a tradition. Students would pause while passing my class, quizzical looks on their faces. But soon it was obvious they wanted to be in the class. And, it's not like I changed any plans or the music interfered with the class. At the bell, the music goes off and we get down to business. But it's just enough of release that everyone is a little more energized.
Now, Music Friday is a standard, and many kids tell me that just walking past to hear which song is playing is a favorite part of their day. It's amazing what a difference can be made with a little music. Some days I even make it a Music-Video Friday, and I project the video from YouTube on the classroom screen. And it's all calorie-free.
Here are examples of Music Friday faves:
"Friday" - Rebekah Black
"Party in the USA" - Miley Cyrus
"It's the End of the World" - REM
"Dyn-omite" - Taio Cruz
"Barbie Girl" - Aqua
"Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z
"Dream" - Nelly
"Where The Hell is Matt" - YouTube Video
"Call Me, Maybe" - Carly Rae (US Olympic Team video)
"Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina and the Waves