iPads in the Elementary General Music Classroom – Part 1

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Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.05.12 AMDuring the month of June, I took a hiatus from blogging so that I could do some fun things and perform professional Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.04.18 AMdevelopment. The fun things were:

      • Watching my daughter graduate PreK.
      • Watching her win the “Symphony” award. :)
      • Taking both my girls to great places like the beaches and zoos.


      Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.04.42 AM

      The professional development opportunities included:

          • Finishing my free resource iBook titled Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! This book is the second in my Help! Series. These free resource iBooks are books for elementary music educators to use to assist them with integrating technology into their classrooms or teaching situations as well as access to numerous lesson plans. My first book was Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board!
          • This new book compliments two courses that I am teaching in the next few weeks.

          iPad Courses at CCSU and Online:

          Today begins the week-long course of Integrating iPads into the Elementary Music Classroom taking place at Central Connecticut State University’s Summer Music Institute (CCSU SMI). I am always happy to return to my alma mater (received my Masters of Science in Music Education in 2006) to teach a tech integration course. In the past, I have taught courses on overall tech integration in the elementary music class (2009, 2010 and 2013) and SMART Boards in the elementary music class (2011 and 2012). This year, I am teaching their first-ever course on iPads, which begins a variety of iPad courses being taught at CCSU SMI this summer. I am thrilled to lead the way and to tackle some of the tech issues that will arise this week. CCSU always gives me the best IT, Justin, who solves any issue quickly and with a smile. The music educators will be covering many topic, including iPad basics, add-ons, setup, teaching in a variety of situations, lesson plans, projects, and of course, apps. They will be using my new book as their reference manual and Jamhub will make an appearance during the Tuesday evening class.

          Next week, I teach a similar course online. That class will be covering many of the same topics and will also be using my book as their reference manual.

          Please follow along this week as I write daily about our topics being covered in class.

          To give you a peek at the book, here is a lesson from the chapter on lessons in the one iPad music class. I tackled the new Core Music Standards as well. Please note that I am still learning these standards and I am not devoted to them at this moment in time as I need to research them much further.

          I hope that you enjoy this lesson.





          Title: Note Reading on the Treble Clef Staff using Note Squish 

          Grade Levels: 3 and up

          Core Music Standards (previous standard #5: Reading and notating music): I am using the creating strand for the standards because this would precede the students creating with iconic notation.

          • 3 – MU:Cr2.1.3b: Use standard and/or iconic notation and/or recording technology to document personal rhythmic and melodic musical ideas.
          • 4 – MU:Cr2.1.4b: Use standard and/or iconic notation and/or recording technology to document personal rhythmic, melodic, and simple harmonic musical ideas.
          • 5 – MU:Cr2.1.5b: Use standard and/or iconic notation and/or recording technology to document personal rhythmic, melodic, and two-chord harmonic musical ideas.Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.24.50 AM

          Materials: One iPad connected to a projector or computer, a screen, a decent pair of speakers, and the app Note Squish by William Wilson (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/note-squish/id381536270?mt=8). Note: This app is listed under the iPhone apps. To use it on the iPad, click on the “2X” button. Note: This lesson works best when the iPad is independent from the projector using a wireless connection like the Reflector app or Apple TV (please see Chapter 1 for more details on how to set this up.

          Objective: The students will be able to read the notes B, A, and G on the treble clef staff.

          Prior Knowledge: The students will have experienced reading certain notes on the treble clef staff. The notes I choose are for my third grade level. You can choose whatever notes fit your curriculum and grade level.


          1. Before the class enters, launch Note Squish and set up the game to the notes you will be using and set up the game to move slowly (turtle speed). Click on “Menu” to go back to the app’s main screen.
          2. Welcome the students.
          3. Review the notes that they have been studying for their recorder music: B A G on the treble clef staff.
          4. Launch Note Squish on the iPad.
          5. Demonstrate the game.
          6. Explain that the iPad will be passed around the room so that each student has an opportunity to name the note at least once. Explain to the students that when they do not have the iPad, then they are naming the notes in their heads without calling out.
          7. Remind the students that even though it looks like Whack-a-Mole, they must wait until the mole with the correct note name appears before they whack the mole. 
          8. Play the game. See MOVIE 3.2. Click on the thumbnail to view the video.Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.25.00 AM

          Evaluation: As each student has the iPad and names the note on screen, you can evaluation them by using the rubric on the next page. You can download the pdf version of it, or access all of my books’ materials through my website (http://www.amymburns.com) or recreate one of your own that would fit your classes’ specific needs. 

          Note Naming


          The student can name the note without any assistance from the teacher.


          The student can name the note with little assistance from the teacher. For example, “The note is a line note so it must be one of two notes.”


          The student can name the note only with assistance from the teacher. For example, “The note is a line note so it must be B or G.”


          The student cannot name the note even with assistance from the teacher. For example, “The note is a line note so it must be B or G. OK. It is not B, so it must be ____. Let’s try again. We know that it is not B, so it must be ____.”

          Extension: The students would use the notes B, A, and G to compose a class recorder melody using Noteflight.com. I would suggest using the website on a desktop or laptop. Noteflight can be used on the iPad because it is an HTML 5 site and you can access and use it with any web browsers found on the iPad (i.e. Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari). However, it is much easier for younger elementary students to compose and edit notes when using Noteflight currently on the computer as opposed to the iPad. 

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