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

Create your own MIDI musical instrument with Scratch and the Makey Makey

STEMvsSTEAM-GIRL

Coding is the new buzz word in primary education with many schools starting to teach it with the emphasis on teaching STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

It is also possible to add in the Arts, with new research showing  that teaching STEAM (STEM + the Arts) projects significantly impact learning.

Intrigued by this, I attended a workshop on coding in the classroom run by Stephanie Kriewaldt @stephkrie to see if I could add coding into my music classroom.

I was introduced to a computer and web-based program called Scratch, which is a simple coding program for use with students as young as Grade 3.

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We were also shown the Makey Makey Invention kit, invented to be used as a fun, electronic circuit MIDI controller using conductive materials as the triggers for computer games.

Seeing the Makey Makey attached to fruit and controlling a very simple piano coded in Scratch (the fruit being the piano keys), I came away from this workshop enthused to write a 10 week unit of work for my Grade 6/7’s titled

SC_Makey Makey_FC_smallScratch Coding for the Music Room: Makey Makey Edition

as it would fit perfectly with their IB PYP classroom Unit of Inquiry on inventions.

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I started by creating some projects in Scratch myself, connecting them with the Makey Makey, setting up stations around the room for students to investigate.

 

See the slideshow below.

We also talked about virtual instruments coded for use on iPad’s and computers and discussed how MIDI instruments are played.

Check out my Scratch  Percussion with Metronome project 

 

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I created a Scratch tutorial for my students to learn to code music sounds into scratch. Then sent them off on the summative assessment task to invent their own musical instrument, by coding a virtual instrument in Scratch and then inventing their own MIDI instrument to play their virtual Scratch instrument using the Makey Makey.

The result was fantastic, my students were extremely proud of their work, so much so that they wanted to share their projects with their parents and the school community on Graduation night. Below is a slideshow of my student’s projects:

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Scratch Coding for the Music Room: Makey Makey Edition

is part of my Music Room Tech series with Bushfire Press. It includes everything you need to teach, including tutorials, scratch project files and more.

View my introduction video below.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

 

Scratch Coding for the Music Room- Makey Makey Edition

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

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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

A great read if you are implementing the use of iPad’s in your classroom

I’ve just read this article on my favourite website Edudemic (it’s now set as my homepage!).

http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-ipad-guide/

the part I love the most about in this article is where it talks about the use of technology and the shift we as teachers need to grasp in moving from enhancement to transformation in our teaching. This is explained using the SAMR model below.

SAMRmodel

This SAMR model really spoke to me because it is what I strive for when creating my lessons for publishing The Interactive Music Room. It started off with creating for the interactive whiteboard BUT now while writing/creating level 4 I am now constantly thinking of how I can redefine the activties to flow across all platforms… data projection, interactive whiteboards & tablets. When I say redefine I don’t just mean something that looks pretty and is “cool” to use BUT an activity that is going to increase the scope and opportunity for students to focus more on being creative than a gimmick of using a piece of technology in school.

This is the challenge we as teachers need to take on in redefining the methodology we use when implementing technology in the classroom.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Another great Article on BYOD in the classroom

edudemic-logoHere is another great read.

http://www.edudemic.com/how-to-byod-classroom/

The article talks about:

  1. Set realistic expectations and outcomes in regards to why you are using the device.
  2. Planning thoroughly to avoid dead time in the classroom in an era where the students can most of the time know more than us with this new technology and always have PLAN B!
  3. Universality is the best, setting tasks that allowing students to choose the app they feel comfortable working in and not limiting them to a certain app.

enjoy the read

blessings

Cheryl

Mistakes Schools Can Make Implementing the Use of iPads (my comments on an article written by Tom Daccord)

tablet-ABC-on-desk-400x265I was sent a link to this fantastic article (click on the title below) on implementing iPad’s in Schools and the mistakes schools/teachers can make.

5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them) By on September 27, 2012@edtechteacher

Tom highlights these as the 5 critical mistakes made

  1. Focusing on content apps
  2. lack of teacher preparation in classroom management of iPads
  3. treating the iPad as a computer and expecting it to serve as a laptop
  4. treating iPads as multi-user devices
  5. failure to communicate a compelling answer to “why iPads”

I would have to say that in my experience working in 2 different schools implementing the use of iPad’s as both one-to-one devices and mutlti-use/class sets these are definitely some of the areas we have had to think about, experience and work though ourselves in trying to work out the most effective and efficient use of this new technology. As I myself make mistakes in using this new teaching methodology, as any person does when implementing new things, I am constantly learning what works and what doesn’t. This I will share with you along the way.

In my own music classroom I have come to realise that focusing on using only music apps is not the way to go to efficiently use this technology. As you will see with a lot of my posts so far, I use many other apps that are not content specific. While content apps can be a great resource for teaching specific knowledge, combining these with the use of other apps opens up the use of iPad’s to be more inquiry based learning.

As an author/web app developer myself, I am actually working at the moment on a content specific music app (The interactive Music Room: Book 4) hopefully it will be ready for distribution early 2013. As I create each lesson in the app I am constantly aware of allowing the activities to be as open to creativity as possible, not locking students into a black & white, right or wrong answer, thus not limiting the students when creating & composing.

I would say that the more research & PD I have done has definitely helped me to become more confident in using iPad’s. I have also found that I need to be an expert on how an iPad works to problem solve & fix issues with student’s iPads, for example understanding how settings can impact on the ability to use apps.

I definitely advocate for the use of one-to-one iPads in the classroom, however the implementation is not as easy as 1,2,3. If you are thinking of going down this path I would definitely encourage you to read this article and share it with your colleagues.

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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