My dad hosts a podcast, and one of the regular features is when guests select their “Song of the Week.” Even if the topic of the show is dry or quite serious, the participants can eventually pivot to something that brings them joy when they name and describe their song. People’s preference in music (or any art, really) can generate conversations in spaces that might otherwise be awkward or unfriendly. “I love this song!” or “Gross, THIS song is that you chose?” …and just like that we have a glimpse into someone’s authentic personality.
I think having students contribute a song to a class playlist at regular intervals is a good place to continue building a community. 30 students? Add 31 songs (you’re a part of the community, too!). You also might want to consider highlighting in each class session a different student to contribute another song to the playlist, and then ask that they explain their reasoning. Ground rules for respecting other people’s choices should also be discussed, which is an excellent opportunity to model open-mindedness and an appreciation for diversity of thought. The practice as a whole might give students even a small sense of ownership and buy-in to a virtual community, which is an excellent place to continue some of the ongoing work of developing deeper student relationships.
Spotify playlists can also be embedded easily into blogs, landing pages, or other online spaces where teachers describe assignments or share student work. An example of an embedded playlist can be seen here: