Classroom Values Activity

It is important to establish a set of values which can be held by all members of the classroom family. These values are not class rules. By truthfully identifying our shared values, students have the opportunity to be open, honest, and independent; no longer trying to just say what they think the teacher wants to hear, or act the way they think the teacher wants them to act. When we have a shared set of values, students can speak their truth in a safe space that has a clear set of expectations for all.

One great way to start to develop this list is to ask your students to think of a teacher or family member that they look up to and describe them in one or two words. You might ask younger students to say their favourite thing about their homeroom teacher, or how an important person in their lives makes them feel. Work together with your students to create your own list of values for the music classroom.

Newfoundland and Labrador Music Curriculum

Mindful interpretation of the Newfoundland and Labrador music curriculum may provide the opportunity to plant seeds of restorative justice education so that restorative practice is eventually adopted as a student-led, relationship-focused, whole-school culture.

Always remember that it is imperative that we explore how to best honour the Indigenous roots of restorative justice while implementing restorative practices in a colonial-style school structure.

Newfoundland and Labrador K-12 Classroom Music
Learning Outcomes Framework (Restorative Justice Focus)

Music classrooms are ideal spaces for the implementation of restorative justice education. In music, we cannot achieve harmony without working together to build a range of sound around a single core or note.

The columns below include select Specific Curriculum Outcomes from the Newfoundland and Labrador K-12 music curriculum documents. These lists include some of the best examples of outcomes that most easily fit into a restorative justice for education framework. These lists are not exhaustive by any means. What other outcomes do you think should be included here?

  • represent thoughts, images, and feelings

  • reflect diverse images, thoughts, and feelings

  • demonstrate an awareness of how music is used in their school and community

  • describe their musical experiences in the community

  • explore music from a broad range of cultural and historical contexts

  • use a variety of musical forms to give meaning to Canadian cultural and historical events and issues

  • perform and demonstrate respect for music representative of diverse cultures

  • explore the role music plays in diverse cultures

  • describe and make connections between music and other arts

  • recognize that people respond to music in various ways

  • discover why specific musical works have been created

  • use the elements of music to communicate meaning

  • interpret non-verbal gestures, making connections to musical expression

  • perform alone and with others music expressing a broad range of thoughts, images, and feelings

  • identify and describe uses of music in daily life, both local and global

  • identify opportunities to participate in music in school and community

  • compare music from a range of cultural and historical contexts

  • examine and describe ways in which music influences and is influenced by local and global culture

  • reflect on ways in which music expresses the history and cultural diversity of local, national, and international communities

  • examine ways in which music enhances and expresses life's experiences

  • define relationships among music, other arts, and other subjects

  • examine and explore a range of possible solutions to musical challenges

  • critically reflect on ideas and feelings in works of music and identify patterns, trends, and generalizations

  • interpret and represent a range of thoughts, images, and feelings, using and responding to non-verbal gestures

  • analyse and evaluate the role of music in daily life

  • analyse and demonstrate an appreciation of music from a broad range of cultural and historical contexts

  • analyse, understand, and value the influence of music in creating and reflecting culture, both historical and present-day

  • recognize the importance of the musical contributions of individuals to their communities

  • respect the contribution of cultural groups to music in the global community

  • demonstrate an understanding of the power of music to shape, express, and communicate ideas and feelings throughout history

  • analyse and make decisions about the relationship between music and society and music and the natural environment

  • analyse and make decisions about the relationship between music and other arts

  • analyse and respond personally to an extended variety of musical styles, forms, and genres

  • reflect critically on meanings, ideas, and values associated with particular music compositions and performances

User-Friendly Resources for Restorative Justice in Music Education

Music and Emotion

Why does music make us emotional? How does music make you feel? Why do some songs sound sad and some songs sound happy?

This image was designed to be used as a jamboard background. Students write a word or two on a post-it and share with the class.

This image is great as a jamboard background or to use with a smartboard. Check to see how students are feeling at the start of class or play a song and choose an emoji that suits how it made students feel.

Why does music make us emotional? This video is an excellent introduction to the listening activity below.

This google form is a listening activity with songs and emotion choices included for individual student feedback. This is great for an online class or in a class with devices and headphones!

Follow up the Music and Emotions Listening Activity google form by using this image as a background in jamboard. Students can place a shape or draw a check on their selected song.

Emotion Song

These videos are great for younger students who are just learning about expressing and identifying their emotions. You may wish to use something like this as an introduction to a music and emotions class.

The Feelings Song

The following two articles can be used as resources for your classes on music and emotions. The happiest songs article is full of YouTube links to super fun songs (dance party, anyone?)!

Article: Why sad songs say so much (to some people, but not others)

Article: Neuroscience Says These Are the 10 Happiest Songs Ever

Colours, and Emotions, and Music, oh my!

This music and colours activity is great to get students working together to identify the emotions that may be being portrayed in a piece of music.

Everyone picks a colour they are feeling today. Assign breakout rooms (or break the class up into groups) and have each group find three songs to help intensify or improve the listed moods/emotions. Each group posts links on their own page of the jamboard (post-its or textboxes) and chooses one to share with the class.

Come back together as a class, decide if the song that each group chose “passes” the test of making us all feel the emotion of the colour assigned. Have a mini-dance party.

Students are thinking empathetically and have examined the link between music and emotion more deeply.

Use the above image as the background of your own jamboard, or simply click the image to link directly to the one I used. (Please be sure to make a copy so that you aren't editing the shared file.)

Music and Empathy

For a music and empathy class, show the "What is empathy?" video to start. I have also included an article and a study that you can pull from for this topic.

Sharing Circle: Picture the best school in the whole world. Describe one feature of your dream school.

Sharing Activity: How would you feel going there as a student? Write that feeling down on a slip of paper and put in the middle of the circle. Help guide them into making themes. Have a student read them all out. (You may see things like: safe, relational, forgiving, community-based).

Reflection Activity: What if… I could feel safe at school? What if… people were less judgmental at school? What if… people knew how loved they really are?

What is empathy? Start your class by watching this video together.

Study: Empathetic people process music differently, enjoy it more

Article: Five Ways Music Can Make You a Better Person

How does music affect your brain? Music can impact our moods, give us chills, and change pathways in our brains.

Music and Community

Watch Lean On Me and Learn to Fly. Then do a round where you ask: How did you see community being built here/What examples of community did you see/hear?

Then watch the Bobby McFerrin video. Do another round asking what his demonstration indicates about music as a language and a means to connect beyond speaking (and almost without thinking!).

Learn to Fly

Lean On Me

Bobby McFerrin

Music, Trauma, and LGBTQ+ Rights

Scott Jones is a choral conductor and pianist from Nova Scotia. After experiencing a hugely traumatic attack he was able to rely partly on the music community in Canada to begin to heal.

Sometimes a community needs a leader to set a good example, sometimes a community needs someone to show forgiveness in order to move through a trauma.

Follow-Up Activity: Each student finds a song or two that they find soothing or calming. Create a shared Spotify or YouTube playlist together and send it out to the whole class.

This video gives some detail about the attack on Scott. We hear Scott speak about forgiving his attacker.

Use this image as a backdrop for a virtual talking circle about trauma, LGBTQ+ rights, and Scott's story.

This beautiful choral piece was written for Scott after the attack. Discuss what emotions students feel while watching it. Did they have any kind of physical reaction?

Article: How Making Music Can Help Students Cope With Trauma

For teens who aren't eager to talk directly to adults about what they're experiencing, making music can offer an outlet for expression and understanding.

This resource from has multiple videos and suggestions about how to learn the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Using this resource opens an avenue to open important conversations to help students relate to folks of all sexual orientations.

To continue the conversation about LGBTQ+ rights, start by watching this video. After watching the video, set a time limit and have students research the video and song. Consider: When was this released? What is it about? How does it compare to Stonewall? How have things changed since Stonewall? How have they stayed the same?

Check out this website for more information about the Don't BE Afraid campaign!

Article: Can Music Heal Trauma? Exploring the Powers of Sound

This beautiful documentary is an excellent resource to continue learning about the Scott Jones story and about the ways music helped Scott live through his trauma.