“Music Mind Games” (Michiko Yurko, Warner Bros Publications) is an outstanding resource for any music educator, especially so if you’re planning on teaching any aspect of music theory.
With its emphasis on cooperative learning, hands-on games and ‘joyful learning’ the simple, focused and fun games can be used to teach everything from the basic music alphabet through to advanced triad building and interval recognition.
A simple resource mentioned is the alphabet note pack. These are typically small square cards printed with the letters A-G and available in a variety of colours. Michiko utilises them for a variety of games, including ‘Snake’ where students simply place them in order from A to G to learn the musical alphabet. I’m using them for recorder lessons, sight-reading and composition activities.
The attached resource is a printable pdf of cards. Each A4 sheet has six note squares. The 100mm cards are big enough for small hands to manipulate and make efficient use of space on the page when printing. Note that the seven letter alphabets “wrap around” to the following sheet. Printing off the seven pages will give you six complete musical alphabets.
Music Alphabet Cards
Printing hint: Print out at 100%. You’ll lose a little of the cutting lines on the left, top and bottom margins but the cards will only require four cuts to create your cards.
Of course, if you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase them from the Music Mind Games website.
NASA has a handy service so you can know ‘when to look up’ and see the International Space Station.
- Head on over to spotthestation.nasa.gov
- Clock the ‘Sign up for alerts’ button.
- Select your country, state / region and city. As a proud South Australian I was limited to four somewhat peculiar choices: Adelaide, Leigh Creek, Peterborough and Woomera. Hopefully your country’s selections aren’t quite so geographically puzzling!
- The next screen offers Email or SMS but the SMS services are restricted – I think – to the USA.
- Finally review your information, agree to two conditions and you’re almost done.
- NASA will send a confirmation email your way. Click the confirmation link, enter the info and you’ll now recieve a notification when the ISS is observable from your location.
Happy ISS viewing!
The Three Billy Goats Gruff story lends itself marvelously for drama explorations. With only two characters ‘on-stage’ at any one time it’s also ideal for small-group puppetry. This download is a set of character silhouettes that are ideal for use as shadow puppets. Just cut the shapes out, glue on sticks and away you go. Students could also make additional scenery (eg. the entire valley) to expand the basic lesson setup.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets
The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Preview
You can find more lesson plans here:
You can find scripts here:
Videos are here:
My current middle school performing arts unit is on Film Sound and traditionally students demonstrate their knowledge of Foley sound by recording a short video and adding sound effects to it.
This year we’ve utilised the rich diversity that is youtube and made use of the many silent movies, musicless videos and bad-lip reading videos available.
PS. Please watch the sample videos below before using with your students.
There’s any number of silent-movie era films on youtube. The Charlie Chaplain films are particularly useful with clear, well-defined action and readily followed plots.
My students practised their Foley skills by creating sound effects live as the video played on a laptop. The video and sounds were recorded for playback on an iPod. A little crude but quick and surprisingly effective.
Musicless Music Videos
It’s easier to explain this new mashed up genre by watching one. But for a short explanation:
- Select a music video.
- Remove the music soundtrack.
- Add sound effects as appropriate.
Similar to the Musicless Music Videos, but with dialogue rather than sound effects:
- Select a short scene from a film, sports training video or TV show.
- Remove the soundtrack.
- Re-dub the dialog with words and phrases that match the lip movements of the actors, but which are funnier.
All three activities have proved popular with the students and all provide an excellent framework i which to practice or demonstrate skills.
Australian Curriculum Links
- Develop and refine media production skills to shape the technical and symbolic elements of images, sounds and text for a specific purpose and meaning
- Plan, structure and design media artworks that engage audiences
- Experiment with ideas and stories that manipulate media conventions and genres to construct new and alternative points of view through images, sounds and text
- Develop and refine media production skills to integrate and shape the technical and symbolic elements in images, sounds and text for a specific purpose, meaning and style
I’ve been using the Lego Movie Maker app with our students for a while now.
The app is free (yipee!) and although it’s a bit clunky in places it’s proven a real hit with children from ages 6-14.
If you do any stop motion animation on the iPad or iPhone give it a go. And feel free to download the manual I put together for our school.
Lego Moviemaker Manual
I saw the Socrative student polling app demonstrated at the Music Ednet ‘Daytime‘ music conference.
Socrative is free (basic use) and consists of a teacher module where quizzes, questionnaires and resource materials are assembled and a class module where students logon (via the website or app) to take part in the poll.
Our demonstration had us answering questions about our music-technology abilities and our involvement in courses focusing on scoring for movies.
The app worked flawlessly, updating voting / scoring in real time.
Once home I tried out the teacher app (on iPad) and found it to be easy to use if perhaps a little bare-bones.
Socrative should prove useful in any curriculum area and could be used to gain student feedback, test basic concepts or administer assessment tasks.
The app provides a range of reports and the option for responses to remain anonymous. The help facilities are impressive, with a free pdf manual to make operation and quiz creation painless. Personally I liked the idea of the ‘Space Race’ the best; students are placed in teams which compete to race across the screen. Huge fun!
First term is program writing term. With existing courses in desperate need of alignment, I used the information on the Australian Curriculum site to create a short, easy to read summaries of the relevant Music Skills & Knowledge and Drama Skills & Knowledge. The summaries are in pdf format; contact me for the editable Word documents.
R-8 Drama Skills & Knowledge
R-6 Music Skills & Knowledge
For all you iDoceo users out there, version 3 is available for download and it looks like a beauty.
There’s a bunch of iPad classroom organisation / mark-books / programs out there but I’ve stuck with iDoceo because:
- It’s fully featured – I’m still finding things it can do and experimenting with the possibilities.
- It’s easy to navigate around – essential for in-classroom use.
- It’s been updated regularly – the developers are not sitting on their laurels!
But for me, the killer part is – and has always been – the rich multimedia capture. As a Science / Drama / Music teacher I need the ability to record video, audio and take photos. iDoceo delivers this in spades, and (hi-hip-hooray!) has expanded this in the latest update.
Now we’ve got a fully fledged media organiser!
Yep, tap the Resources icon and you can see a complete list of all the photos, videos and photos you’ve taken or imported. You can filter by classes, diary or students and use the buttons to erase, move, copy or add. You can use the built in Web Server to upload / download resources, a huge time saver. You can also open the resources directly into a wide range of other apps (EverNote, DropBox, Edmodo, Google Drive and more). Brilliant!
There’s more of course. (List of what’s new in version 3.1)
- New timeline
- Diary / planner manipulation
- Link from files on your iPad
- Bulletin board enhancements – zoom in and out
- Quick backup options
- Improved seating plan reports
- New calculations – rank, compare
- Improved editing flow – less screen tapping!
So if you’re iDoceo user, backup up installation and download this. If you’re not an iDoceo user, you’re missing out on a brilliant classroom resource.
PS Just a suggestion to iDoceo though – change the icon. A blackboard and chalk metaphor? In 2014?