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Rockin' the Standards: Math (Audio CD) Review by Donna Campos

Tim Bedley
Rockin’ The Standards

The Rockin’ the Standards: Math audio CD contains educational rock sing-a-longs for second- to sixth-grade children. The songs are intended to be loud and enticing to children, as they present various mathematical concepts. The titles are straightforward: “Parallel or Perpendicular,” “Quadrilateral Dance,” “9’s Song,” “The Place Value Rap,” “7 Song,” “Mean Mode Median,” “6 Song,” “Angles Song,” “3 Song,” “Triangle,” “4 Song,” “Perimeter Area Song,” “8 Song,” and the “Measurement Song.” All lyrics are provided in an insert. Most of the tunes are familiar--“Do Your Ears Hang Low,” “Father Abraham,” “Hokey Pokey,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and others. All the lyrics are provided in an insert. You can also print the lyrics from the website (a total of five pages). Academic standards according to grade level are also included on the website, from first to eighth grade. A Teaching Tips section on the website offers answers to many questions teachers may have regarding classroom use of the CD. Although generally geared toward large classroom settings, the FAQs will offer ideas to homeschoolers as well. Teachers can choose whether to play the CD before or after teaching a specific topic, and repetition will be required for students to learn the songs (and therefore the concepts presented). This CD will appeal to anyone who enjoys singing to learn, who enjoys rock, and who memorizes well and thrives on audio memorization of concepts.
We found the various songs to be agreeable, with no non-Christian leanings or upsetting content. Our favorites quickly became the skip counting songs, possibly because they were easy for me, as the teacher, to memorize because of the limited wording involved. At first, we were not very enthusiastic about the songs, but with repeated listening we found that much could be gained by memorizing them. Recall has improved, and my fourth grader understood the concepts more thoroughly because of practicing hand motions and demonstrations of the various shapes and concepts. It certainly helps if the teacher is able to be dramatic and truly make the songs enticing to the students. I found that any day that I was not as animated about the songs, my children were not very receptive. But when I was more excited, so were they.
The loud “rock” part of Rockin’ the Standards was not much to my liking, but my children enjoyed it and were able to learn with this CD. The printable lyrics available on the website were disappointing, as they are in PDF format. They are incredibly convenient for printing, but all of the lyrics are listed out together on a total of five pages. There are no convenient page breaks and no option for printing out specific songs alone, which would have allowed us to use them one at a time as we worked through them or to print just the songs we had difficulty memorizing. No musical notation is included with the lyrics, not in the CD insert or on the website. We would have preferred they be available. For students with sensitive hearing or sensory integration concerns, this may or may not be the best choice. Our sensory integration student tolerated most of the songs fairly well. He turned some down fairly low, but others he preferred to truly “rock the standards” as he enjoyed the song loudly.

Rockin’ the Standards: Math offers a great way for students to learn math concepts in a hands-on way. We enjoyed drawing many of the shapes on a write on/wipe off board during the “Quadrilateral Dance” song, while the “Perimeter Area Song” offered the opportunity to draw beforehand and point at shapes during the song. Even my three-year-old joined in the singing and has begun to pick up skip counting skills. The “Angles Song” became a family favorite, perhaps because even our youngest could attempt hand symbols for the various shapes, but the tune is also easy and fun to sing! The more rap-like songs were not to my liking, but there were enough enjoyable songs and rhymes on the CD to make Rockin’ the Standards: Math a good addition to our curriculum supplements. Parents and children will enjoy memorizing math concepts with the Rockin’ the Standards: Math CD, and many facts will be instilled into the minds of all who listen to this audio program.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2008