Creating ePubs in the Music Classroom

Book Creator is one of my favourite apps to use in my music classroom.

One of the advantages to using a general classroom app in music lessons is that the students already know how to use the app and therefore most times I do not have to spend time teaching them all the skills needed. On the flip side I have also worked together with their classroom teacher by introducing the recording side of the app in my classes while they have already learnt to write, type and insert images in class.

One activity my students love to do with Book Creator is make their own ePubs.

Below are 3 examples from my classroom that has served different purposes.

Whole Class ePub ‘The Animals in the Class’

First we looked at, and sang along to, a few nursery rhymes and songs that had been written into books e.g. The Wheels on the Bus, I’m a Little Teapot,  Old McDonald Had a Farm.

Next we rewrote our own version of The Wheels on the Bus using the title of ‘The Animals in the Class’.

Each student wrote and illustrated their own page on a piece of paper. Then in groups with a shared iPad, they inserted a photo of each students’ illustration on a separate page in Book Creator, adding their name. Next their group helped each person record using the ‘Add Sound’ audio tool in Book Creator, singing and playing instruments to their verse.

Each of the group Book Creator ePubs were then airdropped to my iPad and merged together into one class ePub.

Here is the result which they were extremely proud of:

Instrument Families ePub

To learn about the instrument families, My Year 1 (6 year old) students created an ePub showing each instrument family and recorded what each family sounds like.

Since the latest Book Creator update allows GarageBand files to be imported directly into a Book Creator page, this enabled my students to record their own track for each family using the virtual instruments in GarageBand and then inserting it onto the relevant page.img_1702

To save time I created a template for my students with the instrument family images already inserted and sent this to each child via airdrop.

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I stepped the students through recording in GarageBand and then sending the soundtrack to Book Creator, inserting it as a button.

The students also took a screenshot of their GarageBand recording and inserted this from the camera roll.

Here is an example of their work.

Artist Project

One project I have done with my Year 6/7 classes is to review a song from their favourite artist.

The students inserted the lyrics of the song and then the song itself from their iTunes music.

The final task was to write a reflection on the meaning of the song, those that struggled with writing used video or audio to record their reflection instead.

Here is an example:

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Book Creator has allowed me to transform previous paper, pen and oral presentation activities into interactive projects, capturing my students performances into ePubs, creating an archive we can keep for years to come.

I hope these examples from my classroom inspire you to use Book Creator in your teaching too.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

10 uses for Typedrummer in the classroom

Being a teacher who always looks for ways to creatively capture students attention, I was extremely excited two weeks ago when I found this awesome website which works on both computers and tablets www.typedrummer.com

typedrummer

First I planned to use it as an introduction activity for my first music lesson of 2016, however during the lesson my students inquired, investigated and morphed the activity into a lot more, showing me the potential this website has for not only the music classroom but for use in other subjects as well.

Here are 10 ways to use Typedrummer, the first 9 are general classroom uses, number 10 is a classroom music lesson.

1. Welcome messages – I had this displayed on the data projector as students came in.

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2. Spice Up boring content – The most boring time in the classroom is setting up your rules and boundaries at the beginning of the school year, this year I presented mine by typing each one in typedrummer.

 

3. Instruction List – type a list of instructions for students to follow.

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4. Instruction step by step – type each instruction as students complete them, This I found to be an awesome tool for packing up instead of raising my voice above the noise of the class.

 

5. Names – teacher/students introduce themselves typing their name, investigate different combinations, first name, last name, full name.

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6.  Answers – ask your students a question, ask them to answer it in typedrummer.

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7.  Presenting a statement – maybe this is the answer to a question, the start of a presentation or the introduction for an exposition.

 

8. Spelling activity – change one phonogram at a time or practice your spelling words.

 

9. Question and Answer  – one student asks a question, the other answers. In this example it is a Maths question, note that type drummer does not have sounds attached to numbers, therefore the words need to be typed.

 

10. Music Lesson – investigate the different sounds and loop combinations created when typing letters and changing the text structure.

  • 1 letter, 2 letters or 3 letters
  • reverse the word

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  • put each letter on a new line

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

iPads in the Music Classroom Professional Development Workshop

This month I presented my first PD workshop titled ‘iPads in the Middle Primary Music Classroom’  at the Music Technology in Education Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

I had really great feedback from the participants and comments that the information I shared is not only relevant to Middle Primary but all the way through K-12.

garageBand

imoviepagesdropbox_229x128inigma qr code readerAirDisplay_MacClient_iconreflectordoceri

 

The topics and apps I presented on were:

  1. Remotely controlling your computer with your iPad using Doceri or Air Display
  2. Displaying your iPad screen via Airplay using Reflector or Apple TV
  3. Using Dropbox in the classroom (click link to see notes)
  4. Using QR codes in the classroom (click link to see notes)
  5. Using Pages as a tool for your teaching
  6. Creating Interactive Posters
  7. Book Creator for projects and digital portfolios
  8. Music Room Tech: Signature Ringtones, my upcoming publication, an 8 week unit of work using iPad apps to create a personalised ringtone.

I hope to do more presentations around Australia in the next 12 months.

While I am a Specialist Classroom Music teacher, I am also trained and have taught  JP/P generalist classroom, so can modify the above topics for general classroom use.

If you are interested in booking me please email cheryl@bushfirepress.com

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Free Music Advocacy Resource: Six things every parent should know about music

sixthingsparentsshouldknowaboutmusiceducation-1

I have been thinking about writing an article to give out to my parents at school about why it is important that we have Music as a specialist subject.

However why reinvent the wheel when a wonderful colleague of mine, Janice Tuck, from The Fun Music Company emailed one to me this morning.

She has written an article advocating the 6 things parents should know about music and why it is important children take part in it.

Download Janice’s article here: sixthingsparentsshouldknowaboutmusiceducation

If the research is there to say that music education not only exercises both sides of the brain but enables our students to work at a higher standard in other curriculum areas, isn’t it a no-brainer that we as parents and educators advocate for Music to be a vital part of our weekly curriculum?

Anxious about teaching music in the classroom? see my previous post on Teaching Music Made Easy for the Classroom Teacher

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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

Classroom Organisation

In the 6 years I have been teaching Classroom Music I have tried to find the most efficient way to organise my classroom

I would like to share how I have set up my classroom this year, hopefully it will help you and I would love to hear how other people set their classrooms up.

I was blessed this year to be given permission to buy some furniture so off to IKEA I went!

The Expedit 2×2 shelving units & Drona boxes were perfect for storing instruments

http://www.ikea.com/aa/en/catalog/products/80197154/

http://www.ikea.com/aa/en/catalog/products/10219282/

Instrument storage
Instrument storage

My labels are laminated and stuck onto the boxes with velcro sticky dots.

download my posters here percussion_instrument_posters.pdf

images used by permission from Music Room: A development classroom music program by Bushfire Press Pty Ltd

Group name sheets
Group name sheets

During my lessons I have my classes split into 5 groups. Each group has a group name card which has check boxes next to the students name. Each week I check the next students name on the list and they are my ‘Leader’ for that lesson. Their job is to get any instruments or materials needed, pack up and put away things or even cast the deciding vote when doing a project!

download my proforma here  group_organisation.docx

images used by permission from Music Room: A development classroom music program by Bushfire Press Pty Ltd

class set up ready for Lesson
class set up ready for Lesson

I have enough percussion instruments in a box to cater for 1 group. When using percussion instruments with my students I will give each group a different box of instruments and these boxes are rotated clockwise around the room by the leaders of each group. My rule is that when you are the leader you get to choose which instrument is given to each student in your group (works most of the time although you can’t stop some children from trying to buck the system and complain 🙂 ) .

positive reward chart
positive reward chart

For positive reinforcement I award house point stickers for good behaviour, being on task and showing they are ready to learn (the school is split into 3 House Teams for sports day & points are also awarded for being good students in the classroom and around the school)

download my template below

house points chart

How do you organise your classroom?

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl