Playing music to induce certain behaviors in the classroom isn't a new concept, so it's a little sad that it has taken me this long to think about setting up a classroom computer to set off the cues automatically. A friend posted an edu-advice-question on her FB feed recently, and she shared that she already used a musical cue for packing up at the end of class; she sets up a timer each day to go off at the appropriate times. This is one of those ForeheadSlap moments -- why didn't I think of that? I often had problems with getting to the end of class, usually because I over-estimated what we could accomplish in a given class period. I was always watching the clock, trying to gauge when it was time to wrap up. By setting a little musical timer, it's a great cue for both the students AND me. It would also ensure that I had enough time to wrap-up/set-up for the next class period, rather than rushing to get ready for next period since I didn't manage my time effectively in the previous one. You know how that goes. Or maybe you don't, because you are an absolutely awesome time manager.
So, I'm making a note of this for myself to keep in mind for when I do return to the classroom.
Question: I do wonder "What kind of music?" Because if it's too familiar/catchy, kids are likely to sing along, which usually negates the whole "transition quickly/quietly" goal of using musical cues. But if it's too cheesy, kids may not buy in. If you use musical cues in your classroom, tell me how you do it!