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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spark Student Motivation {Fifty Nifty}

I am linking up with my BBB, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching with the motivational strategy that has had my students singing the past couple weeks!!
Did you learn the "Fifty Nifty United States" song when you were in elementary school?
Thanks to my 5th grade music teacher, I STILL remember the song like it was yesterday and can tell you the names of all fifty states in alphabetical order within about 20 seconds!
Here is a youtube version just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about. :)

We have used this song as a "fun extra" in 4th grade for years and the students always love it!!  My team mate taught it the last two years in "Topics of Study" which was extra science and social studies time for students who were not enrolled in Academic Intervention Services for math and ELA (I taught AIS for math).  This year we are departmentalized and my team mate is teaching all the science and social studies.  She had the students practice the song in class a few times and sent them home with a copy of the lyrics.  That was it!  Overall, they are really motivated to practice the song on their own.  Every day, she has students who have the song memorized perform it for the class to earn their star on the wall in the hallway.  She made this cute display!

The past couple weeks the students have been SO excited about this song and learning the names of all fifty states!!  When I pick them up from lunch, the first thing they want to tell me is if they earned a star on the wall.  
When we stop at the restroom as a class after lunch, the students who are waiting to go in the restroom sing the song (quietly) with me.  They LOVE it!! 

I bet they won't forget that song anytime soon either.  The best part is that when I mention the name of a state that they don't know much about in class, they AT LEAST know that it is a STATE!!  There are so many students who come to 4th grade and can't tell you the name of the state they live in!  Now they can!  I love how music is an awesome motivator and even some of the students who struggle the most with our core subjects, have had their name added to the wall.  It's amazing!

In honor of TPT reaching 100K Facebook Fans, they are having a 10% off sale today thru October 14th!  Wow!  I also am offering an additional 15% off all items in my store thru October 14th. :)
Thank you to Shuna from Pocket Full of Kinders for the cute graphic!


  1. OMG! I totally remember learning this song and still know it too! I loved this song when I was in elementary school! I teach Florida history, but I have to share this with my students. I also want to encourage our music teacher to make a bulletin board to recognize those students! Thanks for linking up and bringing back great memories!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I never learned it in school, but during my first year of teaching, my classroom was across the hall from the music room. I heard it several times a day for weeks! AND my students knew that it got on my nerves, so they would randomly bust out singing it. BUT, it is effective! I sing it when I need to make sure that I got all of the states for some project :)


  3. I never learned that song in school, but I learned it when I started subbing. I taught it my 3rd graders, and now I teach it to my 4th graders. They LOVE it! Last year I had a boy who would beg me everyday to sing it as a class. I'm always so surprised how fast they learn the cadence of the song.

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  4. I remember learning the song when I was in school! It's still how I remember all fifty states in a pinch! I like the board where they get to be recognized for knowing all fifty states - it does work! I can still sing the song and know them all! I might need to pull the song out this year for my students as we start up our states unit next week! I also show You Tube video that goes through all Fifty States called "Tour the States" that is really catchy and my students LOVED. I had it on my You Tube channel the students watched it over and over and over again!

    My Shoe String Life

  5. Oh...I have never heard this, BUT I'm doing state projects right now with my kiddos. Definitely going to share with them! Thanks for always being NIFTY!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'