Soundtrack Your Remote Classroom

Soundtracking your classroom helps with students’ calm and focus and can reduce their anxiety while creating an atmosphere for learning. Soundtracking can benefit your students so much – even online! 

In this video, you will learn how to set up, test and play music to soundtrack your remote classroom effectively. 






Read the Transcription

Soundtracking: a SEAL strategy that can be used for remote teaching!

Soundtracking is one of my favorite SEAL strategies!  I used it every single day and about every single moment when I was face to face with my students. Well, now I still want to use it because it’s such a powerful SEAL strategy.  You can learn more about what soundtracking is and how to introduce it to your students in this video (How to Use Music to CALM Your Students)!  Be sure to check that video out in the resources after we are done here! 

For my remote teaching, I’m using Google Classroom.  So, I wanted to do some soundtracking for the beginning of the day as students are coming into their morning meeting.  Also, I want to use soundtracking for their instructional time, like I have been doing for years now.

So, I have figured out a couple of ways that I’m making this happen in a way that’s not very technical.  

Let me walk you through it. 

Here’s my old phone that I’m using and I’m going to be using YouTube because that’s what I could actually get access to when I was in my physical classroom.  This method has stuck. 

YouTube has some great playlists.  Of course you can use whatever streaming software you are comfortable with or you have access to.  If you do use YouTube, try looking up uplifting songs or happy songs or motivational songs and you’ll come up with some really good playlists.

Now this one in particular is the one that I really like to use. It’s by Jay Pell.  I usually only end up using the first two to three songs.  It really does put the songs in a great order.  So if you’re trying to do any mood matching or creating song trilogies, which I know my SEAL teachers will fully understand, then this is a great playlist to use.

Test out your sound in your meeting platform!

Next, I just put the phone near the microphone, but not too close. Then, I press play.  Of course, I want to reload it just in case I have to go through any advertisements.  I can skip through those so when I play it for my students, it will get right to the song.  Then, I adjust the volume with the phone controls and make sure that the microphone is a good space away from it.

I don’t want it too close because that’s going to interfere with the students who are online.  I also want the microphone to be able to pick up my voice over the music. So, the music is really there to create an atmosphere and to fill that silent space as students are coming into the classroom or the Google Classroom.

Here I am in the waiting room of my Google Meet!

I’m going to go ahead and join my Google Meet now.  So, here I am alone inside my Google Meet.  And that is totally fine!  That’s what I want, because I would like to do a sound check before my students come in.  Now it’s okay for you not to do a sound check, like I’m about to show you, you can just go in and start playing the music and talk to your students.

Talk through your process and involve your students!

This is okay, because remember it’s about getting the students involved with what soundtracking is and allowing them the opportunity to see how it’s going to work for them. This is all about self- management utilizing this wonderful SEAL strategy. It’s okay to tell them what you’re doing.

Start playing the music.  Then, together you can adjust and control the sound from both ends.  

Now, the reason why I have my old device to play the music is because I’m going to use my current phone to sound check.

Hey!… Can you hear me? 

Now for this to work, you must have Google Classroom, Zoom or whatever platform you are using on your current phone as well. So I’m going to go ahead and go to Google Classroom on my current phone.  Now, I am here in the waiting room.  But, before I join, I’m going to plug in my headphones. If I don’t do that, then the sound is going to be crazy because I’ve got the microphone here, the speakers here, and everything going on on my current phone, too.  So, I want to make sure that I have a headset or some ear buds ready to use so that I can listen in and see how the music is sounding. 

I promise… anyone with any type of tech background can do this!

All right!  I’m about to join. You’ll see me pop up on the Google Meet.  There we are!

So I can hear the echo of myself inside my headphones, but you can’t hear it because I’ve got my headphones in.  I can hear what’s going on inside the Google meet, which is exactly what I want to happen.  Now, I’m going to play some music on my old phone.

Then, I’m going to just move the volume on my old phone until I can hear it through my headphones.  To be honest, I can’t play too much of that song on this video because it’s an actual song.  *YouTube doesn’t like that.*  

When I play it, I’m checking for the volume of the music.  I can actually play the music, walk away from my computer, and listen to what it sounds like to make sure that the volume is just right.

When it is, I know that I’m good.  Then, I can get going with my music for the morning meeting, choosing playlists, and/or music for instructional time as well.  

There are so many ways to use music in the classroom.  If you haven’t yet, I really want you to check out the video right here (How to Use Music to CALM Your Students) about soundtracking your classroom and the Six Steps to making soundtracking work in your classroom.

Soundtrack in Google Slides

Here’s a trick for inserting some music into your Google Slideshow. Now, in another video, I showed how to create a Google Slideshow to keep your remote learning activities and lessons organized and in order.  If you want to check that out, make sure you check this video right here (How to Use Google Slides to Organize your Remote Lessons). That video is going to give you some good tips and tricks on that.

All right. So, let’s insert some music now.  Normally you would think it would be audio, but that’s not the case. Unless, you have some audio on your computer that you’re going to actually insert.  I’m going to keep going with the whole YouTube thing and I’m going to find something from YouTube that I can use.

What happens is you get this search bar. And so I, for example, went ahead and searched for this song that is a great song for an opener for morning meeting.  I select it with my mouse, then hit select here, and it will insert it right inside the slide.  This will be their welcome video that they can see when they’re coming in.

Now, the great thing about inserting the audio, or in this case the video, inside the slide is you can use an option in Google Meet so that you will just hear the music.  To show you how that’s going to work, I’m going to go inside of a Google Meet. 

Here’s a little fun trick.

Splitting your screen is so helpful when you’re teaching and you want to be able to see your students and what you’re actually presenting. So, here’s what you do.  At least this is what works on a Mac.  Take a tab and move it out so that it goes into its own window.

There are ways to do this on your PC as well… I promise. Then, you are going to go over to the little circle that allows you to go full screen, and you’re going to press down on your mouse and stay there for a second. It gives you this option to put the tab on one side or the other, then you release and there it is.

View your students and what you are presenting… simultaneously!

Now, I want this side to be where I’m going to be viewing my students on Google Meet.  Then this side is so that I can actually see what I’m presenting to my students. 

Now I’ve got my split screen, all set and ready to go. So now, I’m going to go ahead and present.  I need to choose a Chrome tab in order for this audio to work. I’m going to carefully choose the slides tab that has the slideshow and I’m going to share it.   

Now over here, it’s going to show that I am presenting and give me the option to stop.  But, down here I’m going to see all the pictures of the kids’ faces.  Of course, there’s no one in the Google Meet with me right now.  I’m also going to be able to go through all my slides over here, or I can show them things in Google Classroom, or I can show them this form that I want them to fill out.  That’s all going to be available to me all at once. 

The thing with choosing just one tab to present is that it gives you the option to hear the audio. So, when I want to play this song it’s going to make the sound a little more clean.  This is because I’m not putting the sound through the microphone of the computer.  Instead, we’re all going to be hearing it through the slideshow and through the computer system.

Come back to the WHY… engage in powerful discussion with your students about this SEAL strategy! 

Of course, along with everything else, an important part of SEAL and using SEAL in your classroom is allowing the students to understand why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. Part of setting up soundtracking in your physical classroom or your remote classroom is involving the students.  Get them on board with what you’re doing!

With SEAL, you’re explicitly teaching the SEAL strategies that you’re using and why you’re using them.  In the case of implementing it into this remote learning atmosphere, it’s really important that they’re also a part of the technical side. Include students in the process of making sure that the volume is good on both ends. 

All of this is dependent on your device that you’re using, your kids’ devices, the wifi, or the access that the students have. There are so many things that can go awry.  

Cut yourself some slack… we are all newbies in this virtual world! 

If there’s one thing I have been learning in just the last couple of days of my life on remote teaching, that is… PATIENCE.   Have patience with yourself, with students, with your classmates, and with technology. 

But I do know that if there’s a will, there’s a way.  And if you want to do some soundtracking in your classroom, there certainly is a way for you to make that work.

Share your successes and don’t forget to check out my FREE Workshop! 

If you have other ideas of how to make soundtracking work inside your remote classroom, I would love to hear what you have to say, what you have to offer, and what ideas you might have.  We can really make this a successful year and still use some of these amazing SEAL strategies.  These strategies really do help students with their social-emotional learning and all the benefits that go with it. 

My name’s Elizabeth Peterson. I can’t wait to hear some of the ideas that you would love to share with us right here in the comments.  Remember to check out the soundtracking video that shows you the 6 Steps to Soundtracking your classroom (How to Use Music to CALM Your Students).

Soundtracking is one of the many wonderful SEAL strategies that you can use inside your classroom, whether it’s visible or remote.  If you want to learn so much more about how to integrate the arts with social-emotional learning, even online, I want to encourage you to join me in my free workshop.  Here you can get instant access to the workshop and learn some great SEAL strategies that you can use even online. 

All right!  My name’s Elizabeth.  Have a fantastic rest of your day and take care of yourself!



How to Use Music to Calm Your Students6 Steps to Soundtrack Your Classroom

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