Tomorrow I head back to Far Hills Country Day School to begin my 16th year of teaching at this school. I am excited to head back, to brainstorm new ideas, and to improve on old ideas as I teach general music to elementary students, beginning woodwinds to all fifth graders, direct the elementary band, and direct the conservatory. As the school year progresses, the students compile a nice collection of musical creations from recordings of their orff ensembles, to Groovy projects, to GarageBand creations, to Noteflight and Notepad compositions. When the students complete these musical creations, they are very proud to display them. Therefore, I showcase them on our school’s internal website and on my own website. I find that it is so important to display their works because it takes your curriculum out of your classroom and into the hands of the parents. In addition, it shows the parents that their children do more than just prepare for concerts in their music classes.
Some examples of my students’ creations can be found on my website, http://www.amymburns.com. This website was down for a couple of months as I switched hosting companies and the company, and my lack of time, prevented me from getting all of the problems solved from transitioning host companies. I am thrilled that it is back up and running and that I will be able to add to it this school year.
Kindergarten: On this page you can listen to some of their concert works and their Groovy projects. I will be transitioning away from Groovy Shapes and Jungle this year as they are no longer supported by the current MAC or Windows OS.
1st Grade: On this page you can listen to the progression of lessons culminating into a final product, concert prep, orff ensemble recordings, podcasts, and musical creations.
2nd Grade: On this page you can hear the students’ first attempts at compositions and podcasts.
3rd Grade: On this page you can hear numerous compositions, orff/iPad ensembles, and musical creations that coordinate with many cross-curricular subjects.
This website also provides links to websites/iPad apps/Interactive Whiteboard resources that I utilize in class, audio excerpts, articles I have written, and handouts to presentations. Finally, it is now hosting the supplement to my book, Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom where you can download all of the supplements to the lessons in the book. This page used to be hosted by TI:ME at the address http://www.ti-me.org/TIEMC, however, TI:ME changed their website and could no longer support this page.
Obviously, your classroom website can do so much more than display students’ musical works. It can also display your classroom expectations, your concert calendar, your concert dress code and more. If you have a classroom site, advertise it as much as you can to your parent body. If you do not, ask your IT staff about how to go about starting one, or start a wikispace and make it your classroom website. It is easy to use and you do not have to make it collaborative at this moment in time.
I cannot say it enough. As music educators, it is important for us to get our curriculum and the proud work that we do with our students out of the classroom and into the hands of the parents.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com