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Today, I was lucky enough to present to the music educators (elementary general and vocal and middle school general and vocal) of Howard County Public School System. Richard McCready, music educator extraordinaire and 2013 TI:ME Teacher of the Year, invited me to present a website session to the elementary music educators and a web-based tools session to the middle school music educators.
My website elementary session gave the educators some tools that they could use in the classroom as well as tools that their students could use to assist in learning or assessing musical concepts. Some of the items I showed today were:
- We began with a welcome rap that utilized the beat with body percussion. I then enhanced the beat by using incredibox.com and had the educators rap with a beat we made in incredibox. I also showed them how to create their own song, record, and export it. Incredibox is a big hit with students and educators.
- I discussed the benefits of integrating technology, but emphasized that we are all elementary music educators and we make sure that we sing, perform on instruments, and move to music daily. Technology is another tool that enhances musical concepts, but it is never the center of our classrooms.
- We continued to explore websites from famous orchestras and showed how to incorporate them into lessons that involve instruments of the orchestra. I also showed how to perform a webquest “scavenger hunt” using screen shots with the younger students and how that lesson also incorporated a writing sample from the students.
- I then showed numerous teacher resources where music educators could download lessons (we performed the “Chatter with the Angels” Orff lesson) and powerpoints that showed the lyrics of songs, to rhythms, to listening guides, and more.
- I showed them how many websites have wonderful music games that educators can use as assessment tools. For example, the popular “Staff Wars V2.2” (can be downloaded here), where the game is set up like star wars and the students play the notes that fly across the screen on their recorders. My students love to blast the notes out of the atmosphere!
- I also showed online music curriculums, such as Silver Burdett’s newest curriculum which I was honored to be on the staff of authors (you can test the curriculum here). I demonstrated the interactive player, which shows the song on the screen where you can see the notes flashing as they sing the song, you can change the key of the song (which will change the notation too), you can change the tempo of the song, you can turn the vocals on and off, and you can begin anywhere in the song (verses or chorus). I also explained some more benefits of this new curriculum.
- I finished by showing them great social networking sites that allow them to connect with numerous educators (Facebook Music Teachers Group, Twitter, etc) and the many pinterest sites where music educators can find a variety of ideas from concert planning to classroom set up, to lesson ideas, to more.
I wanted to show so much more, but we ran out of time. I did put everything up on my website, which you can view here. The handout is also on that page. I recently updated this page so that educators can see thumbnails from the various websites and they can see the categories to make it easier to find the desired website one might be looking for when visiting my site.
I thank Richard for inviting me to present. It was a wonderful opportunity and it was amazing to see where Richard teaches. I can see why he likes to teach in this district and I can also see why they are so lucky to have Richard on their staff. He is an expert teacher, knows his craft, relates well to his students, and can make a program grow with just his enthusiasm alone. I hope to go back there one day and present again.
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