Music In Our Schools Month® 2024

“I See Me in Music Education” Song Bracket

By NAfME Member Elizabeth Caldwell

This article first appeared on the Organized Chaos blog.

This year the theme for Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®) is “I See Me in Music Education.” I have been doing a “musical March madness”-style song bracket, where students listen to different songs each day and vote on their favorites, for several years now, and for the last several years I’ve tried to tie the songs into the annual theme NAfME chooses. Since the 2024 focus is on “me,” I decided to choose songs around the theme of self-identity / being yourself.

As I have done the last few years, I’m going to be setting up Google slides files with the songs for each day embedded in the slides so that classes can vote in their homerooms. If you want to see how I organize the logistics so classes can vote every day regardless of whether they have music that day or not, check out my 2021 MIOSM post (and definitely let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help). Doing it in slides was such an easy way to have all the songs organized and make it easy for the homeroom teachers to report their classes’ vote rather than having to email me every day! I don’t have the rights to share the song files, but you can make a copy of my slide templates and add the audio files yourself by clicking on the image below—here is a tutorial on setting it up in slides using the templates:

Which song do you love more? Move the music note to the song your class picks. MIOSM 2024 and Organized Chaos logos

In my song lists each year I try to include songs from different genres and time periods, representing artists of different backgrounds and including different languages, and this year is no different. You’ll find a blank slide template in the slides file linked above: I use that to show the lyrics in their original language and in the English translation for songs that are not in English.

In the past I’ve always just shared all of the songs in a long list but after getting many requests over the years to see exactly what order I put the songs into the bracket, I’m sharing the songs in their scheduled order this year.

Day 1 This Is Me from The Greatest Showman vs I Believe from A Wrinkle in Time
Day 2 I Am Me by Willow Smith vs I Don’t Know My Name by Grace VanderWaal
Day 3 That’s OK by D.O vs Be Yourself by GoodLuck and Boris Smith
Day 4 Man In the Mirror by Michael Jackson vs My Way by Frank Sinatra
Day 5 By Myself by Alvin Garrett vs Who I Am by Alan Walker, Putri Ariani, & Peter Elias
Day 6 Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me) by Quincy Jones vs Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston
Day 7 Brave by Sara Bareilles vs Broken & Beautiful by Kelly Clarkson
Day 8 Будь Собой by Ната Волкова vs Se Tu Misma by Da Ink
Day 9 Who I Am by Wyn Starks vs Bet on Me by Walk Off the Earth
Day 10 Within You Without You by the Beatles vs True Colors by Cyndi Lauper
Day 11 Video by India Arie vs Whatever by Oasis
Day 12 Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars vs The Way I Am by Charlie Puth

One thing to note: For this year’s school calendar there are so many weekends, and (at least in my school district) a day off on the 29th as well, that it’s hard to fit the normal bracket into the month of March. I honestly haven’t decided which way I want to do it yet myself because although I don’t like finishing after the month is over, I know students have told me they don’t like having to pick between three songs in one day, and there would be more three-song days with the shorter option. Here are the two different ways you could structure the bracket this year (the numbers show the dates in March):

MIOSM 2024 song bracket option 1 MIOSM 2024 song bracket option 2

I’m excited to see how the students respond to this year’s playlist, and I’m curious to see which song wins out in the end! What are your plans for Music In Our Schools Month this year? What are other songs that fit this theme? I’d love to hear more suggestions in the comments on my blog. If you’re looking for more ideas to use for MIOSM, here are all my posts on the topic.

I See Me in Music Education. Music In Our Schools Month Song Bracket 2024. hand reaching out to mirror and forming a heart with reflection. MIOSM 2024 logo

Further reading:

About the author:

Meet the author Elizabeth Caldwell. Elizabeth is a mom to twin girls, elementary music teacher, and planner lover with a cross-cultural upbringing who loves giving music teachers the freedom to embrace the chaos of creativity through purposeful organization. Click here to learn more.NAfME member Elizabeth Caldwell has been teaching elementary general music and choir for over a decade and cannot imagine ever doing anything else. She is also the author of the website, Organized Chaos Music, where she regularly shares organization strategies, lesson plans, and other ideas to encourage purposeful creativity in the music classroom. She holds her B.M.E from Wheaton College (IL) and her M.M.E. from Boston University and was named Teacher of the Year in 2018. She has presented on lesson planning, restorative behavior management, effective recorder teaching, world music, National Core Arts general music standards, and other music education topics at conferences around the globe and teaches an e-course on lesson planning through her website.

Follow Elizabeth on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube, and Pinterest.

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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

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