Friday, July 24, 2015

My New Website!

You can find all the same music teacher musings over on my new site!

Dynamic Devon's Music Lessons

Hope you'll join me!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Collaboration in the music classroom!

Collaboration is one of our focus 21st Century Skills highlight in Common Core. I had students collaborate to make fingering chart posters. Instead of the complicated fingering charts found in the back of the book, I had students in groups of three or four make a chart of the first five notes. 

Each student had a different color and was responsible for at least one note. The students could help each other using their words, but were not allowed to draw with someone else's color. They had to discuss layout, who would draw which note, line and space numbers, and fingering chart terms. 

Now I have awesome posters for my classroom that are easy to look at and make sense to the kids! As soon as we learn some more notes, we'll repeat the process and make some more posters!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Advocacy Through Videos! - Using the iMovie App to Promote Music Education

My principal asked if I could make a video to about the music program to show at a meeting. I said sure, thinking it couldn't be too hard. And it wasn't!

iMovie is a FREE and easy to use app. I took some videos of my students and then used the app to put them together. I also took a video of myself introducing the video. I used a combination of pictures and videos. To edit a clip, tap and hold either end to cut off as much as you need. I'm thinking about making a comprehensive tutorial, but that really is basically it. I saved the video to my camera roll and then uploaded it to my district YouTube channel to share.

I thought the video was just to spice up a boring presentation; but the video took off! It was posted in the next day's Enews, our district newsletter that goes to all employees, right at the top! Egads!

I was blown away by the popularity of the video. In talking with a colleague about it, she said, "Something that was a kind of throw away thing for you was something that others were really craving." I guess I really aught to make more then! I'd really like to take one of each grade level, but we'll see!

To maintain privacy, any video that I post to the public I try not to have children's faces in the videos. Here is the video I took for the 3rd grade Learning Center activities of the previous post.

How do you use videos to advocate for your program?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Learning Centers in the Music Room - 3rd grade Recorders and Reading the Music Staff

Today I showed being a risk-taker and I tried learning centers for my 3rd grade recorder class. I am now a convert! They were a great way to get students actively involved in reviewing many different concepts in the same lesson. Learning centers require students to be communicators by showing cooperation with others. 

For my classes of 24 third graders I used six stations.

1) Note Speller
Students use mancala tiles on laminated five line staves to make words. First however, they start with the basic line 1, line 2, etc. and then they do the basic spaces. Thinking about it now, those should have been line E, line G, line B review cards! After reviewing the lines and spaces they start making the words. They use the answer key to help them spell the words. This could also be a partner activity where one person has the word and has to help the other person out the tile in the right place using just their words. 

2) Treble Clef Staff Races
One student as the "teacher" goes through one of four stacks of cards. There is a stack of line numbers, space numbers, line letters, and space letters. The teacher picks a stack and says the card. The other students rush to that spot on the staff. The teacher says switch and they go back to the start underneath the staff. Once the teacher is done with a stack, a new student becomes the teacher. Students start with the line and space number stacks. I have a poster with the names of the lines and spaces nearby for reference.

3) Recorder Memory
This memory game has three parts, the recorder fingering, the name of the note, and the location of the note on the staff. My students had a hard time with all three, so I simplified it to be just the name of the note and the fingering. Since this was our first time doing this, I gave them a reference sheet to check.

4) Treble Clef Flash Cards
Two sets of flashcards! Free download from Making Music Fun.

5) Drawing the Treble Clef
At this station students use a worksheet that I drew to practice writing the treble clef.

6) Recorder Practice
At this station, students practice playing their recorders with me!

Thanks to the fabulous Music with Mrs. Dennis blog for some of these ideas!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

App in Focus: Singing Fingers - See What You Sing!

Singing Fingers is so much fun and makes it easy for kids to assess themselves!

This app opens on a blank page. When you draw on the page with your finger the app records whatever sound is around. The color that is drawn is related to pitch and the size of the line is related to the relative dynamic. 

Today I tried this app with a group of first graders. We're practicing matching pitch and getting into the head voice with some octave low high low oooooo sounds. I sang and drew a line going up and down following the contour. Because I sang an octave, the starting color, high point, and ending color are all the same. The kids echoed my voice and I drew while they sang, again following a contour. They could visually see where they had sung the same pitch as me and where they had a different pitch because the colors were different. 

The first time we tried it they didn't really move pitch much at all. I had them add a low high low hand gesture while they were singing and it got a bit better!

The students were really engaged with this app and I plan on using it in the future!

Did I mention it's FREE?!