Thursday, February 20, 2014

Long time - no see! Let's talk technology.

Omigosh - I am so sorry for the lack of posting. The start of the New Year was supposed to be more relaxed, but that did NOT happen. I'm finally getting a chance to post today because we are having this weird snow/thunderstorm mess. It was just 60 degrees two days ago - figure it out weather!

Anyways, I am really excited to be going to a workshop this weekend in Marion. I'll have to get up at 5 a.m. to make it there by 8:30, but it will definitely be worth it.The workshop will be in three parts: technology, beginning choral pieces and holiday activities. Woot woot! Can't wait! Here's the flyer if you're interested:

So, on the subject of technology, my post today will be about technology in my classroom. I am blessed to be in a 1:1 school district. The kids are super savvy! To make things easier, I worked with our tech integrationist to create my own Symbaloo. If you haven't experienced Symbaloo, you need to! It is so easy and handy to work with, plus our students are using the elementary one all the time, so it's quick for them to access. My Symbaloo is divided into categories (composing, xmas, nutcracker, orchestra, etc.) and primary tiles are at the top, with intermediate ones at the bottom. My tiles include games, educational videos, projects, and quizzes. Love it! Here's the link and a screen shot for mine if you'd like to check out my resources: 

Now that I've set up everything, I'll share some things we are doing in class. My room does not have a SmartBoard (working on this, fingers crossed!), but I am able to utilize the computer lab and the iPad cart. I like to use links on my symbaloo to introduce concepts (instruments of the orchestra) and allow the students to create in music class (isle of tune, incredibox). These can all be found through the symbaloo tiles. 

The 5th graders have been using the iPads a lot these past few weeks. We are experimenting with mixing and looping. They started out experimenting with instruments and loops through GarageBand. Then, I gave them a three-loop challenge by recording their name and finding 3 loops that work together to create a mix. They loved this! Most of them added more or changed their voice with the extra options. Starting this week, we will begin our project. I found this project through one of the education blogs I follow, Music and Technology. 

It allows the students to work at their own pace, but complete checkpoints each class period. They will be creating ABA compositions with GarageBand. Our district is also big on student centered classrooms. Hopefully, this will let the students use their creativity and work at their pace, but complete the project and understand our driving idea. It is also available for desktop computer.

Finally, I am hoping to teach a mini "piano class" project next year. Most district do mallets, orff, or records for their students. However, this requires money and a lot of responsibility for students, teachers and parents. After speaking with the MS and HS music teachers, they preferred a piano class for the students, so they can learn note names and counting. I'm not sure if I want to begin it in 3rd or 4th, but we'll definitely review in 5th and transition over from Kodaly rhythm names to standard names. The iPads will allow the students to practice at their own pace in class with a free App. Wishful thinking - we'll see how this develops. 

What ways do you use technology in the music classroom? I see so many awesome ideas on Pinterest, Facebook & blogs - I'd love to know more! :)

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