It’s the summer term here in Australia, which means students have to wear hats during playtime at school.
The SunSmart site came up while researching ideas for ‘No Hat/ No Play’ signs for our schoolyard.
After a quick registration, I completed the online teacher training. It’s pretty basic – quizzes, animations, text to read – but provides a good reminder of why we need policies in schools around shade, UV exposure, sunscreen and skin cancer.
You receive a nice certificate at the end and your choice of resources, including picture books, lesson plans and posters.
Highly recommended for all educators (and students and parents!)
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made this set of basic Japanese Language Posters for our school classrooms. Each has the Romaji for simple greetings, introductions and phrases, the hiragana / katakana equivalents below and the equivalent English above. There’s a simple pronunciation guide in the top right hand corner and a QR code link to a pronunciation site. Download via the pdf link below. Japanese Language Posters (pdf)