Milford schools

Milford New Schools teachers create music video with Dua Lipa song to encourage summer reading


NEW MILFORD – It all started with an idea to motivate students to read during summer vacation. It ended with a three-minute music video featuring teachers and other staff singing rewritten lyrics to a popular song from TikTok and YouTube.

In response to the New Milford Public School’s K-8 summer reading initiative and the Connecticut Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, teachers, para-educators, tutors, administrators and other elementary school staff in Northville and Hill and Plain, from Sarah Noble Middle School and Schaghticoke High School The school sang and danced to the tune of Dua Lipa’s hit song, “Levitating” in a video they released. created entitled “I’m Reading Baby”.

The lyrics, written by literacy coach Megan Sylvester, include:

“If you want to read with me I know a library

And it will open your mind

I have a big prediction that books will be your mission

And the reading doesn’t stop for life.

The video was released on Friday and will be viewed by all classes and sent to families. There will be follow-up in weekly emails to all families at the end of the school year. For the next school year, there will be a possible party.

Motivate children

Literacy coach Lisa Morlock said that at the end of each school year, staff look for innovative ways to connect with children and get them excited about reading and writing over the summer.

“TikTok and YouTube videos are generally what kids watch,” Morlock said. “It was our ‘in’, and I was asking my kids – who are middle and high school age – different songs.”

Sylvester originally wrote the lyrics for three different songs, and his colleagues helped decide which one would be most appealing to all the students in the district.

“Levitating” was chosen because of its catchy pace.

While writing the lyrics, Sylvester said his biggest challenge was to find words that would appeal to older students.

“I’m the Kindergarten to Grade 2 coach and it covered Kindergarten to Grade 8 so I had a lot of trouble including things that appeal to kids 6-8 or kids in third in the fifth year, ”Sylvester said. “My vision is always what little children will love. So I was like caterpillars and rainbows.

To meet the challenge, Sylvester searched the internet for young adult books.

Once the lyrics were written, school staff then got involved in the effort – and some even got their family members involved. The lead singer in the video is the daughter of a school psychologist and the video editor is Sylvester’s cousin.

Many of the staff used their professional development time to work on the video.

“Instead of the teachers being in a meeting, they were able to participate in the video. So in college we had eight or 10 different videos for different teachers who wanted to participate, ”said Elizabeth Stewart, instructional coach.

Staff were asked to play the song on their phone and then activate their video to begin recording.

“We were in a central office cabinet meeting and we all came out and sat in the front with books,” Morlock said. “For 30 seconds, we went back and forth.”

Other highlights while making the videos included Schaghticoke’s gym teachers performing a full dance through the gym, and how health teacher Alex Amaru wanted to exercise with a book, but the staff ” struggled to make it sound safe, ”Sylvester laughed.

Fifty separate videos are included in the main one. There are variations of one to 10 people in each, and they have been recorded inside schools, on playgrounds and in the homes of staff members.

“The motivation was knowing that this was going to be sent to students and families and to create that enthusiasm for summer reading,” Morlock said. “I think that’s really the incentive across the district.”

Cathy Calabrese, acting deputy superintendent of New Milford, said the video will appeal to children as they will see all of their teachers participating in it.

“There are these eighth graders who had Ms. So-and-so, and they see them on the video, which also sparks their interest and makes them excited to see all the staff in the district,” said Calabrese.

Stewart said that when students see their PE teacher, art teacher, music teacher, and school principal read, “It’s different to see your reading teacher read. It’s showing them that you are a reader no matter where you are in your life.

The creation of the video “lightened the load” of a “really tough teaching year,” said Stewart, referring to COVID-19. “It was just our way of creating and launching this because we’ve been in such a unique year, and it’s such a great way to turn everyone on.”

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