September is an exciting and fun month for most students and teachers. It’s the start of a new school year where everything can happen. Catching up with old friends, making new friends, and seeing the favorite and least favorite teacher. There is no doubt that the year 2021 has been one that will never be forgotten. The pandemic made sure that this school year would be one unlike any other. However, one thing unites us all without having to say anything, music! Whether we will go back to school or continue with online classes, songs can be played from anywhere. Check out these fun back-to-school songs below, turn up your classroom speaker, and incorporate everyone into your classroom.

list with 20 back to school songs

UpBeat Back to School Songs

Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

You definitely can’t go wrong with a little J.T. This song initially premieres with the movie trolls back in 2016 and is a must-have on your school playlist. However, it has stuck around just as much as the happy Song has and will get the mood improved quickly in your classroom.

Bones by Galantis

Sometimes, those afternoon classes just need a little bit of energy. Celebrate the beginning of a new school year. The song bones is an excellent song if you want something with a catchy beat that isn’t too wild and crazy.

HandClap by Fitz & The Tantrums

While this song isn’t necessarily the newest, you can’t help but love the toe-tapping rhythm of HandClap. You may even find that some of your students want to clap along with it.

What’s Your Country Song by Thomas Rhett

Many times, we forget about the school kids that like country music. Thomas Rhett is quickly rising to the top with his catchy tunes and country songs. This song is all about the individuality of each person and where they come from. You will have a hard time getting this tune out of your head.

Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

This song gets played quite often through the radio, and it’s a great addition to any classroom playlist. Everyone will quickly recognize this well-known tune and enjoy songs in the background while they work.

Oldies, But Goodies – Back to School Songs That Rock

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

The Motown beat and funky rhythm of this fun summer song will catch the attention of students in your class, not only on their first day back at school. You might even find them singing along in their seats or dancing out of the school building.

MMM Bop by Hanson

The one-hit-wonder by Hanson is one that no one knows all the words to, except for that one lyric, “mmm bop…”. It is a song you can’t help but try your hardest to sing and is one you certainly won’t be able to get out of your head. It’s one of the fun school bus songs that and brings old friends together.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is a classic. Much of her songs making reappearances in modern-day Netflix series’ and on the radio. Moving to the beat with Whitney Houston is something that isn’t an option.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham

On the first day back at school or on regular school days, every teacher may have a few kids look at you and wonder, “why”? However, the Wham song is a classic and will make even those who hate it want to wiggle.

Whoomp There It Is – Tag team.

As the basketball anthem of the ’90s, kids know this song from sporting events and gym time. You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing, “Whoomp, there it is…”.

Familiar and Fun Songs for School

Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman

Give your students a taste of the ’90s with some Tracy Chapman. This soulful ballad will have everyone swaying to the smooth sound of the music.

A Whole New World from Aladdin

I have never had a student not be able to recognize Disney songs right from the get-go. With the current re-makings of Aladdin, your school kids will love the familiar sound of this and many other Dinsey tunes. And yes, even my high school students love this song. Add this song to your school-appropriate songs list.

Neverland by Zendaya

Zendaya made her appearance as a famous Disney channel star and later in the movie The Greatest Showman. Her talent is not as prevalent as it should be, but her songs are familiar to this generation. This soft song is one that your students will love when they come back to school.

You Belong with Me by Taylor Swift

Who doesn’t love Taylor Swift? Every student wants her to be on their back-to-school songs list. While she continues to make record-breaking songs, her first round of songs like this are ones that just about everyone knows the words to and can’t help but sing along.

I Just Can’t-Wait to Be Kind from The Lion King

Another Disney song, but one just about every kid knows! I use this song in my class when I teach Macbeth at high school; however, it never ceases to amaze me that I find all my kids singing along when I turn on the Disney radio in class.

Encouraging Back to School Songs

Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves

The song is not one of those songs that you want to play if you’re going to make students more alert. However, this is a great song to evaluate or feel like maybe some of your kids need a little encouragement.

Be a Light by Thomas Rhett

Sending a powerful message of being a positive impact on the world, Be a Light by Thomas Rhett will encourage them to be kinder to those around them. Aside from just playing the song in the background of your classroom, this could be turned into a tremendous lyric study activity that relates songs to ways that we all can be a light in our schools.

Underdog by Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys, as always, hits a home run with Underdog. It will encourage your students in any situation at home, which makes it a great back-to-school song. Her melody is catching and will make any student want to try a little bit harder the next school year, regardless of what life throws at them.

Broken & Beautiful by Kelly Clarkson

As the main anthem from the movie Ugly Dolls (2019), Kelly Clarkson delivers a powerful song about being strong when life gets you down. You can’t help but feel a little more empowered as you listen. A nice song for high school students to listen to on their way to school.

This is Me from The Greatest Showman

This song has a catchy tune with a powerful message to embrace the differences in ourselves and others. With the lyrics bringing words of strength in not letting words break you down, this is a great song to have to play in the background of your lesson or for a humanities lesson.

About the Author

Brittany Ray

Brittany is a dedicated educator to students in high needs schools, a habitual DIY’er, and an avid runner. She is a high school teacher by day and a passionate freelance writer by night. Her passion and life mission with her work is to help students and teachers in practical ways that will allow them to flourish. Brittany loves spending time with her family and being outside any chance she can get. She loves taking the family on long bike rides and on family hikes in the beautiful surrounding areas of the Midwest. You can check out her projects and life encouragement on her blog.

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