Coding Music Instrument Apps in Hopscotch & Tynker

Why should we bring coding into the music room?

Because not only is it cross curricular and ticking the STEAM methodology of teaching, it is also asking our students to think about the fundamentals of music. What is it we need to consider when making an instrument? Pitch, melody, and/or beat, rhythm, tempo and tone colour.

Tynker

hopscotchThe best iPad apps I found for coding music apps is Hopscotch and Tynker. Hopscotch is a simple coding program with limitations on design and sound files and its userface is unique to itself. Tynker is a bit more like Scratch with it’s userface and coding blocks and has more options in the ability to design and create and more sound files are available. Both apps still give enough scope to create both a melodic and percussion musical instrument and an authentic unit of work covering these objectives:

Knowledge: Musical instruments are invented and designed to play the pitch, melody, and/or beat, rhythm, tempo, tone colour.

Skills: Code a music instrument which, when tapped, changes its look in some shape or form and includes more than one sound/tone/note.

Summative Task 1:

Play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together as a class, each student playing on a correctly coded melodic instrument matching the Boomwhacker notes and colours.

Twinkle TwinkleBoomwhacker _sample

Hopscotch example

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Boomwhacker Piano

https://c.gethopscotch.com/p/xy3g0pu9q

Boomwhacker Spin Piano Note Names

https://c.gethopscotch.com/p/xyxy4anpx

Tynker example

Boomwhacker Piano

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https://www.tynker.com/play?p=58a3b5d35ae029880c8b4578

Summative Task 2:

In groups, arrange a composition to perform a simple song using your own coded musical instrument app in an iPad Band.

Hot Cross Buns_4 part arrangement_Sample

Hopscotch examples

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Hopscotch Hot Cross Buns Performance

Check out some Hopscotch instrument apps my students have created and yours can too!

Piano and Percussion App

Tap the squares to play the piano, tap the circles to play percussion/abstract sounds (N.B. this project is best played in the iPad app as it does not play so well in a web browser due to its complexity)

https://c.gethopscotch.com/p/xvtzpj372

 

Sound Effects Pad App

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Tap the emoji images to play the abstract percussion sounds (plays fine in a browser)

https://c.gethopscotch.com/p/xstfaq6r6

Drag to Play App

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Drag the parrot on top of images to play sounds (plays fine in a browser)

https://c.gethopscotch.com/p/xtt56eofh

Tynker examples

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Tynker Hot Cross Buns Performance

Check out some Hopscotch instrument apps my students have created and yours can too!

Animal Sounds

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Touch the animals to play the sounds

https://www.tynker.com/play?p=58c0af89949b56af0a8b456d

Winter Wonderland Percussion App

winterwonderland

Touch the animals & objects to play the sounds

https://www.tynker.com/play?p=58c0b2d5949b56990c8b4572

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Purchase this Unit of Work from my

Music Room Tech series

Includes:

  • Hopscotch Instructions (Tynker coming soon)
  • IB Unit of Inquiry
  • Australian Curriculum links
  • Step by step visual instructions
  • Charts
  • Scores
  • Arrangement worksheets

Have a go at coding instruments in your music classroom.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

 

 

Teaching Music Made Easy for the Classroom Teacher

If you are a classroom teacher I understand how teaching music can be very daunting but I can tell you that I was in your shoes 10 years ago.

Without having any university training in teaching music I just happened to be the closest there could be to a Classroom Music Teacher in my rural school because I had learnt Piano, Clarinet & Saxophone in High School. To make things easy on myself I went about finding a developmental curriculum that was easy to use and understand with minimal background in music teaching.

Musicroom_Book7_cover_300I stumbled across a fantastic Australian resource ‘Music Room: A developmental classroom music program‘ by Bushfire Press. At the time they had only published level 1 & 2, now seven years later we have 7 levels in the series and Book 7 was awarded ‘The Best Primary Teaching Resource’ at the Australian Educational Publishing Awards 2012.

This program has been a saviour for many classroom teachers & starting our specialist music teachers to help us teach music across the Primary Years. Many experienced Music Educators also use it compliment their program and as a relief teacher resource. I know from personal experience my relief teachers always comment how easy the resource is to use and that it puts them at ease because of the simple layout & instructions.

I a previous paragraph I used the word ‘we’, this is because six years ago I contacted Bushfire Press when I got an Interactive Whiteboard in my classroom and asked them if they were putting Music Room into an interactive resource or if they knew of anyone who had. I had started creating some presentations using their books to try and streamline the resources so…

  1. I didn’t have fiddle with a CD player, DVD player & Data projector to project the charts
  2. I had some interactivity in my lessons and didn’t waste the $8000 resource hanging on my wall

Out of this question to Bushfire Press birthed my 3 publications ‘The Interactive Music Room: A classroom music program for the interactive whiteboardEasy Teach MR1 COVER Levels 1, 2 & 3 (Level 4 will be out early 2014 and 5-7 to follow).

My aim with these publications, apart from the 2 reasons above, was to make the resource even more easy for classroom teachers to use and to capture those hard to engage students. The comment from my Principal at the time when he saw my published work was “Cheryl I think you have actually put yourself out of a job, this resource is so easy to use”.

Have I achieved engaging those challenging students? YES!

I recently have taken parenting leave to allow me time to focus on my children while keeping up with a publishing schedule. I have been shocked by the number of students who have approached me asking when I am coming back because they miss my music lessons and what breaks my heart is when I tell them not until the end of 2014 their faces drop. However the best part in these situations is that over 50% of these students have been the ones we struggle to engage with in the classroom – and these are the moments we live for as a teacher.

I’d like to encourage you to check out my resource and the rest of the great curriculum resources we have for Music and The Arts at www.bushfirepress.com.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

iPads and QR Codes in the Classroom

This month I presented my first Professional Development workshop at the Music Technology in Education Conference in Melbourne, Australia, on using iPad’s in the music classroom.

I had really great feedback from the participants and hope to do more presentations around Australia in the next 12 months.


iPad’s and QR Codesqrcode.16232767

Part of my presentation was on using QR codes to provide files and information to students or an audience.

Have you ever been frustrated when writing a website address on the whiteboard and it takes over 10 minutes for all students to correctly type it in?! The answer to this problem is a tablet device with a QR code reader app such as i-nigma.

I had seen these little, funny looking, square barcodes on cereal boxes, milk containers and in magazines but I had never realised I could use them in the classroom as an extremely quick way for students to access a website (or 20+ other things the bar codes can deliver to you).

 

All the students have to do isinigma qr code reader

  1. download a QR reader, i-nigma is a fantastic free app on both i-Tunes & Google Play
  2. scan the QR code you have created on a free QR creator website, there are many but I really like  www.qrstuff.com
  3. The app will direct them to go online, or to wherever your QR code takes them

 

screentake 1  screentake 2  screentake 3  screentake 4

pacific harmonies qr posterI download the QR code I create, then display it on a poster in my classroom see my example to the right:

This poster is a link to the Bushfire Press additional support material for the Pacific Harmonies module in Music Room: A developmental classroom music program Book 6 you may download a PDF of this here: pacific harmonies qr poster

There are so many ways you can use QR codes, directing students to websites is only 1 of them. You can create QR codes and place them around the classroom for

  • quick access to websites (no typing of url needed!)
  • dropbox links
  • answers to questions (in text format not on a website)
  • google map location
  • app store download
  • iTunes link
  • create a scavenger hunt

Download my instructions for using QR codes in the classroom here: QR_code_instructions_10_2014

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Combining Garage Band & iMovie in the Music Classroom

midi keyboard setupOn a student free day last year my son inspired me to combine Garage Band and iMovie as a fun way to fill a rainy day spent inside.

It started off as any normal day teaching Oscar his piano lesson until he decided he wanted to record the song he was practicing ‘Icecream’ in Music for Little Mozarts Book 2 (we have a KeyControl 49 XT MIDI controller keyboard attached to my iPad though a camera connection kit and played through the Apple App Garage Band) .

So we had a few practices and then hit record, thankfully for a 6 year old he has a pretty good understanding and grasp of beat because it took only 2 to trys and we had a recording of him playing the melody we were happy with.

I then taught him how to add himself singing the song with the audio recorder and then showed him how to add loops in.  I can not claim to have helped him choose because as any mother of a 6 year old will tell you, you are not allowed to offer suggestions… “MUUUUMMMM I can do it myself!”

This is the result of what he composed: oscar garage band song

  • Classical Grand Oscar played & recorded himself on the keyboard
  • Kit & Elec Guitar are loops he chose fom Garage band library
  • The Audio Recorder is him singing

Now he was quite chuffed with his result but oh no it wasn’t finished there… now we had to do the music video so I sent him to to organise his props & dressups and to practice performing, by now his little sister, Natalia, had joined in the fun and Oscar decided she was to be his backup singer.

I filmed them performing and then Oscar helped me design his music video using iMovie and this is the result

*The Icecream Rap by Oscar

(*he wanted to call his arrangement “The Icecream Rap”. The original is ‘Icecream’ from Music for Little Mozarts by Barden, Kowalchyk & Lancaster (c) MCMXCIX Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.).

I have just started a project similar to this in my music classroom this week and it is working really well.  I won’t show you the outcome as I don’t want to post images of my students online and you get the idea from what Oscar & I did. The project is based on Bushfire Press’s Music Room: a developmental classroom music program, Book 6 Module 3 Pacific Harmonies Lesson 4.

I have split my Year 6/7 class (of 18) into 2 groups, one is creating video & still shots for the opening credits of a Hawaiian movie using iMovie, the 2nd group will record the background music in Garage Band. They will be using a backing track supplied by Bushfire Press and then adding their own recordings; a glockenspiel harmony, bongo beat and instrumental/non-instrumental sound effects and maybe some loops already available in Garage Band.

This is part of their IB PYP Unit of Inquiry into performance and will be shown at their end of year concert. What is fantastic about this is that all students are actively engaged in a project and those that are not all that enthusiastic about music are enjoying being part of the project in another way.

I hope this inspires you to not only use Garage Band in your music classroom but combine it with iMovie to broaden the classroom experience.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Planning IB PYP in the Specialist / Single Subject Classroom

With no prior experience with teaching in an IB PYP school, starting out last year in my new school as the Classroom Music Teacher was quite a daunting experience.  I was truly blessed though to have great support in my Principal and other staff members who encouraged me to teach my music program from my previous school and try and link in to the class UOI’s where I could.

As I do in any situation I set about trying to impress as much as I could and link as often as I could to the classroom UOI which I thought would be the best PYP inquiry teaching.

What I found though was the skills/techniques I wanted to teach the children were not being done chronologically/developmentally as I tried to focus too much on the OUI taught in the classroom.  I was a little frustrated with this and didn’t understand how I could honour my discipline of teaching musicianship and authentically link to the PYP units being taught.

At the beginning of this year I went to the 3 day course “Making the PYP Happen in the Classroom”.  This was my first experience of IB PYP Professional Development and yes at the start I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing.

While I learnt an incredible amount about how to teach using the PYP inquiry method my biggest question still wasn’t answered:

How can I teach classroom music in an IB school, using the inquiry methodologies to AUTHENTICALLY link to the class UOI and at the same time HONOUR my developmental curriculum.

This answer came 3 months later at an Arts Workshop for Single Subject Teachers presented by Theo Mandziy (Coordinator of Primary Single Subject Programme and Visual Arts teacher, Australian International School, Singapore)

At this workshop I realised I was focusing too much on the ‘UOI’ and not on the skill development of the children because I mistook linking with the classroom to be more important than the skill set I was teaching.

I was focusing on the topic/theme/idea eg using an indigenous song and then singing, dancing or playing instruments to it, rather than focusing on the skills & techniques and using my language during my lesson to link into the “concepts” being taught.

Theo presented 3 ways of planning:

  1. Specialist Driven UOI

This may be a wonderful concept & idea but Theo said it is very hard to pull off, especially if you are only part time.  This is where the Specialist subject teacher/s plan the UOI and the classroom teacher links in with it.

  1. Link with a class UOI

Specialist teachers don’t need to link with every UOI, as long as you find at least one UOI to link with in the year that is suffice.  To find this UOI look for authentic and purposeful links to the work in both classrooms, which allows you to honour the discipline that you are teaching.

You can write your own UOI that links with it or even take a line of inquiry from the classroom UOI.

The best way to link in is with the PYP Concepts being taught. Here the key is ensuring the language (key words/ideas) used in both class settings is the same or similar.

These links can be done before, during or after the class UOI is taught.  For example this year I have linked with the Year 6/7 OUI on Ancient Civilisations by teaching my Ancient Celtic Music unit before the class did theirs and this worked fine.

  1. Stand Alone OUI

Single subject teachers don’t need to teach all 6 transdisciplinary themes because it is unrealistic & not authentic to the disciplines being taught.  So while we need to teach 6 UOI over the whole year it may be more appropriate to teach from certain themes eg. “How we express ourselves”.

Our Stand Alone Units may also be taught throughout the whole year with no fixed start or end date.  For example you may use Musical Elements as your UOI.  Beat for example can be taught all year round as you refer to it along the way.

How have I now implemented this in my classroom?

I have since revamped my program have a look at my example overview from my Reception (5 yr olds) class:

IB PYP Single Subject Overview plannerview a pdf version here: IB PYP Single Subject Overview planner

I have 6 UOI, 4 year long ones & 2 that link to the classroom UOI.

To honour my discipline, I still use my developmental curriculum ‘The Interactive Music Room: A developmental classroom music program for interactive whiteboard, Book 1- beginning primary’ which I have adapted from ‘Music Room: A developmental classroom music program, Book 1 – Beginning Primary’.

However while this resource has been written with inquiry learning in mind, I always add other resources to this to enhance the UOI being taught and bring personal meaning to the students learning.

In the future I will post a blog on how I present and display this in my lessons.

I am and will be constantly looking at how I can better improve this.  And in no way do I believe I have conquered this task of a 100% answer to my initial question, on how to authentically plan a PYP UOI as a specialist/single subject teacher.  But I do believe I am now on the right path, or at least on the verge!

For me I have loved (and will continue to) the chase of aspiring to plan in the most effective and authentic way in a PYP school.  I am becoming a better teacher for it and can’t wait to see the results.

How has it changed me as a teacher?

The skills, techniques, activities, songs and instruments haven’t changed.  It has been the vocabulary I use when teaching which has changed as I focus more on the way I deliver information to the children to keep the lines of inquiry at the forefront of my lessons.

My questions to other PYP specialist/single subject teachers out there are: How do you plan?  What has worked for you in your school?  How do you link to the classroom UOI while staying true to your discipline?

Read part 2 in this series showing the overview of my 2014 planning.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl