New SEL songs inspired by teacher input
By Kristin Clark Taylor
Katelyn Zimmer of Blackshear Magnet Elementary in Odessa, Texas, is a Pre-K-5th grade music teacher.
Happiness has a happy way of holding on.
Even during the most challenging times – in fact, especially in the most challenging times — happiness has a way of rising to the top, bubbling over, and finding a way to shine. Not even a pandemic can paralyze it.
As elementary music teachers across the USA search for ways to normalize, inspire, uplift, and, of course, teach their students during this unprecedented school year, they are grateful to have Quaver by their side – simply because Quaver’s quest is unrelenting.
And what is Quaver’s quest? To equip music teachers with the best resources and the most innovative tools in the world, and to do it in a way that creates … well, let’s swing back to the very first word of this article: Happiness!
One of Quaver’s newest songs, “Smilin’ Eyes,” released just today, is actually inspired by several music teachers who observed that their students were happy to be back in school, even with the requirement to now wear masks.
“The masks might cover their mouths, which prevents me from seeing their smiles, but that’s okay because I can still see that that they’re happy!” says Katelyn Zimmer, a music teacher at Blackshear Magnet Elementary in Odessa, Texas.
Zimmer, a Pre K-5th grade music teacher, says the mask-wearing mandate doesn’t damper her student’s enthusiasm for learning and appreciating music.
Hence, the real-life inspiration for “Smilin’ Eyes” – Quaver’s new song that helps students understand that happiness itself can happen anytime and anywhere, even in difficult situations, and that a smile can be seen in your eyes just as easily as it can be seen on your lips.
[Insert the link to “Smilin’ Eyes’ here]
So the Quaver team is not just leading teachers through these challenging times by providing comforting, compassionate content that helps students cope … but they are also listening to the sentiments of the teachers they serve as well.
Take a peek at (and a listen to) another super-special SEL song from Quaver:
QuaverSEL’s “Keep Juggling Your Feelings”
Zimmer says Quaver also plays an important role in helping to normalize what are decidedly not-so-normal classroom conditions, particularly helpful with her younger students.
“Especially for my little ones, being able to come back to certain songs they already know and enjoy makes a big difference,” she says. “’And ‘Stinky Pirates’ is one of their favorites! The song just makes them happy!”
Zimmer has also designed a “You-Nique” bulletin board that’s bringing smiles to her student’s eyes.
“I’d been wanting to create a “You-Nique” bulletin board for quite some time,” Zimmer says, “because I know it’s just a unique way to inspire my students.”
Turning Bad to Good
Quaver will also release several other songs and lessons specifically designed to help students cope with the stress and strain of today.
“When Bad Things Happen” is another new song that helps students cope with crisis, with unexpected disappointments, and with the sometimes-scary feelings that surface — well, just like the song says — when bad things happen. The song offers yet another meaningful message about the importance of being kind, compassionate and gentle with each other (and with ourselves) during difficult times – a perfect Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) tool for times like these. Take a listen:
[Pls. insert song “When Bad Things Happen” here]
These new SEL songs being created by Quaver – with plenty more on the way — feel like a warm, collective hug on a cold, cold day. They’re designed to make students feel good (especially in not-always-so-good conditions), to learn to cope, and to simply smile inside.
And we know – now — that a smile doesn’t just show up on the lips.
Look real closely and you’ll see for yourself:
It shows up in the eyes, too.
Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.