85 Positive Songs for Teachers to Use in the Classroom

earpodsI’m a music fanatic, and I love having a song playing as the students enter the classroom. The right song helps students to come into class feeling good about life and ready to learn.

An opening song is also a great signal device to start class. I usually have an entry task on the overhead, and my students know that it needs to be completed by the time the song ends.

Here’s my current list of the positive songs I use:

(The first thing you need to know is that my absolute favorite song of all time is “Over the Rainbow,” so I play that song quite a bit. I have over sixty covers of the song, from country to alternative to dance remix versions, and everything in between.)

[Update: Click on songs to listen to samples or to buy from Amazon.com]

All American Rejects, “Move Along

Bachman Turner Overdrive, “Takin’ Care of Business

The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations

The Beatles

Natasha Bedingfield, “Unwritten

Chris Cagle, “What a Beautiful Day

Chicago, “25 or 6 to 4

Petula Clark, “Downtown


Sheryl Crow, “Soak Up the Sun

Hilary Duff, “Shine

Electric Light Orchestra

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Gloria Estefan, “Get on Your Feet

Five for Fighting

Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t Stop

John Fogerty, “Sugar Sugar

The Go-Gos, “We Got the Beat

Goo Goo Dolls, “Better Days

Green Day, “Time of Your Life

Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Linus and Lucy

High School Musical

Enrique Iglesias, “Hero

Jars of Clay

Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle

Joe Jackson, “Steppin’ Out

Katrina and the Waves, “Walking on Sunshine

Mat Kearney, “Nothing Left to Lose

Kool and the Gang, “Celebration

Kenny Loggins, “I’m All Right

Martina McBride, “This One’s for the Girls

Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dyin’

Jo Dee Messina, “Dare to Dream

Hannah Montana

Randy Newman, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Nichole Nordeman, “Legacy

Tom Petty

Dan Powter, “Bad Day

The Pretenders, “I’ll Stand by You

Rascall Flatts, “Life Is a Highway

Relient K, “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been

Sister Sledge, “We Are Family

Sly and the Family Stone, “Everyday People

Smash Mouth, “All Star

Starship, “We Built This City

The Stray Cats, “Rock This Town

Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger


Train, “When I Look to the Sky

The Turtles, “Happy Together


Van Halen

Jaci Velasquez, “We Can Make a Difference

The Wailin’ Jennys, “One Voice

John Williams

Steve Winwood, “While You See a Chance

Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance

Weird Al Yankovic

Other Soundtrack Music

Now that you’ve seen my list, tell me your opinion or add your own favorites by leaving a comment below.

62 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    This is awesome! My last child of four is graduating high school so I wanted to get something for our HS principle who happens to love music as much as the kids! I’m putting together a cd from our four kids to him to help him get through many more years with students! Great picks, everyone!

  2. Rose says:

    Love this list!! I also love music and try to incorporate it into my classroom as much as possible. It shows that you put a lot of sincere thought into this! Wow!

  3. Tiffani says:

    “Speak Life” by TobyMac

  4. Lynda says:

    Love the list. I use music (and movie clips) with my college level class (as appropriate)
    usually, at the beginning of class—- as you noted it creates a climate;;
    additions to your list: You’re the one, I’m holding out for a hero and hacuna matata

  5. Molly says:

    So where do you store the music you buy? Do you download to your own personal device and play from there?

  6. Shama says:

    like ur list, u can also add
    Passenger: life is for living
    Let her go
    Dolly Parton: Coat of many colors,
    Westlife: Home

  7. Jen says:

    Brave by Sara Baraeilles

  8. Kathryn says:

    Love the list
    I would add count on me by Bruno Mars 🙂

  9. Chris Purcell says:

    Add NEW SHOES by PAOLO NUTINI to your list….your students will be singing and dancing up and down the halls and so will you!

  10. Jennifer Madsen says:

    Great list! Also, “Kind and Generous,” “Wonder,” by Natalie Merchant and “These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.

  11. Sarah says:

    The Mowgli’s “I’m Good”

  12. T says:

    Love the list, today I played “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. The 8th grade students loved it. Great way to begin the day.

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