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This week, the third graders will be presenting their annual “Adventure America” where the third graders present about facts of the states that they researched and studied. The students will each set up their info at a table set up in our Performing Arts Center as parents and older students filter through to stop, listen and ask questions to the students about the facts that they learned about their state. It is an amazing sight and I learn so much about our 50 states by listening and asking questions of our third graders.
To integrate this into music class, I perform two activities. The first is a performance integration as the students will sing at the end of the presentations. We sing Ray Charles’s Fifty Nifty and Teresa Jenning’s “Lights of Freedom” or “Allegiance Rap.” This activity highlights the NAfME’s first national standard, but to truly integrate with social studies, I have the students work in groups using http://www.noteflight.com to compose an 8-measure melody utilizing the notes B A and G and the rhythms whole, dotted half, half, and quarter notes and rests. The melodies are exported as midi files and imported into GarageBand. I assign them a style and they create accompaniments to their melodies. Once they are finished, I print out their melodies and they write lyrics to their melodies from the facts they learned about their individual states. In essence, they are creating their own short state song. This activity was performed in groups with five laptops. When they wrote their lyrics, they did that individually using a pencil and a hard copy of their melody. We end the unit by having them perform their newly composed melodies on their recorders.
The students thoroughly enjoy this activity and when it is completed, I post their music on my website so that they can visit it and show it to their 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