An Inspired Summer Playlist | Hooray For Monday

May 27, 2024

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President

Listen to this week’s Hooray For Monday podcast to hear the Inspired Teaching Staff share their selections for the Inspired Summer Spotify playlist!

Hello Hooray For Monday community, and happy Memorial Day!  

In honor of the unofficial start of summer, my colleagues at Inspired Teaching and I are sharing with you some of our favorite music — songs and artists that make us think of summertime. Read on for our recommendations, ranging from new artists to titles we grew up with. Even better, listen to the Hooray For Monday podcast to hear Jenna, Maria, Brady, Jaqueta, Michelle, Micaiah, and me describe the songs we’ve chosen, and what they mean to us.

If you’ve ever been part of an Inspired Teaching program, you have probably sung with us. Singing is core to the Inspired Teaching Approach, because…it allows us to breathe together, it challenges us to listen to each other, it makes us vulnerable in a joyful way as we create sounds that are out of the ordinary, it requires genuine collaboration and builds powerful communities. Listening to music builds community too; it can create collective effervescence when we listen together, and transport us back to memories or away to somewhere new.

I hope you enjoy our early summer playlist. Listen on your own, or share some of these songs with your students. And if you’re inspired to share some of your favorite songs with us, please do so here!

Wishing you a harmonious start to the summer.


Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves: This one-hit wonder came out when I graduated from high school (you can look up the date if you’re curious!), and reminds me of the joy of that summer —plus it’s perfect for my singing range!

At Last, Etta James: A standard in our first Inspired Teaching Institutes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and her gorgeous voice reminds me of a warm, sticky, DC summer day (which I happen to love).

This Love, Maroon Five: If you hear this song playing in my kitchen, you will likely also hear one (or both) of my daughters shouting above the music, “Mom, why do you always have to play that song?!” I, however, likely won’t hear their shouts, because I’ll be belting out the melody.


Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield: This serves as a reminder to me that inspiration and joy still await us in the future of our lives. As leaders and individuals passionate about community work, we have the opportunity to cultivate self-love, which will positively influence how we interact and engage with others.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Whitney Houston: A song that continues to be played because it gives nothing but joy and freedom. It reminds me to just let loose and be free have fun!

Put Your Records On, Corrine Bailey Rae: CLASSIC SONG! If this song is not in anyone’s playlist it should automatically be. Timeless song for daytime drives, outdoor activities, or morning mantras.


I picked these two songs both for the general vibe they present as well as the lyrics which speak to some of the messages I think we call can use in the summer.

Let’s Be Still, The Head and the Heart: Just discovered this song last fall and I feel like it’s a perfect daydream soundtrack and a reminder that sometimes you just need to take a breath and be here in the moment. The school year is so hectic and summer feels like a time when we’re better able to find those moments of stillness that can rejuvenate us for all that lies ahead.

Little Bit of Sun, Semisonic: In addition to being pretty catchy, I like how this song is about the role we can all play in helping each other find the light when things are tough. This school year that need for community and support has felt so vital for so many and I hope summer brings more than a little bit of sun for everyone.


Don’t You Worry, Electric Fields

Peace Love and Harmony, MAGIC!

Both songs are on my Rise & Shine playlist that I listen to first thing each morning to start my day on a positive note. Any time I listen to a song by Electric Fields, I feel like my heart expands, and this song in particular feels like a little pep talk from the universe.

If “Don’t You Worry” is an upbeat pep talk,  MAGIC!s “Peace Love and Harmony” feels like a hug on the days I’m feeling down or a little stressed. Not every day is filled with puppies and rainbows, but this song is a reminder that even when things are kind of sucky, there are still moments of peace, love, and harmony.


Summertime, Will Smith: Self-explanatory! A timeless classic about enjoying the simple joys of the season after a long year.

Ain’t No Man, The Avett Brothers: The lyrics remind me of the best teachers I’ve had: the ones who see – and help you see – your potential, no matter the circumstances. And it’s such an upbeat song, it’s hard not to feel good when listening to it.


Dance You Outta My Head: Whether it was a great school year or a tough one, every teacher deserves a break and is probably ready for one. Dance it away with this fun song by a DC-area native! Plus, the story behind it is touching, and streaming it helps her son.

I Was Born: with lyrics like “I was born to do something no one’s ever done before,” this may as well be an ode to teachers everywhere! We celebrate you and your hard work.

Good Day to Have a Great Day: Wishing all teachers a long stretch of great days!


Pocket Full of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield
I Can, Nas

Both songs resonate with me because they bring about good vibes and have positive and uplifting messages.

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

Listen to This Week’s Episode of Hooray For Monday

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