A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to St. Maarten to perform a 3-day workshop (2 1/2 days to be exact) for pilot teachers in the ISTEP program. ISTEP stands for Inspiring our Students with Technology in Education Program. This project is about using technology in the classroom as a part of the learning process. The Government of Sint Maarten is dedicated to transforming the classroom to assist and promote 21st Century Learning. The first two days were focused on music technology. The third day was dedicated to elementary classroom teachers who taught everything from language arts to math.
This workshop focused on music integration, creativity, assessment, and favorite apps from the teachers at the school I teach at in Far Hills, NJ.
When I polled the participants before the workshop, some asked for music and movement. I showed them two forms of classroom movement that could be quickly implemented in the elementary classroom. The first was for brain breaks. I showed them GoNoodle as a way to give the students a movement break after sitting and learning academics for a long period of time.
The other music and movement I showed them had more musical and mindful characteristics to it. I showed them Dr. John Feierabend’s Für Elise Move It from his Move It! DVDs. This was a big hit! Dr. Feierabend’s and Peggy Lyman’s Move It! DVDs are wonderful for focusing, mindfulness, experiencing classical music, and listening. As stated in the Move It! DVD description, “The movements reflect both the form and the expressive quality of the music, embodying Feierabend’s theories of music and movement development and Lyman’s belief in the emotional power of gesture. Understanding the organization of movement sequences, exploring personal and general space relating to others, and discovering inner feelings connected to beautifully expressive musical selections and movements.” (https://www.giamusic.com/store/resource/move-it-expressive-movements-with-classical-music-for-all-ages-recording-dvd549)
Since the teachers and students were using iPads, they all had access to GarageBand. I showed them how to create a podcast and add music to enhance it so that their students could demonstrate their knowledge of books by creating book review podcasts. To see the steps they used, click here.
The teachers used the app (iOS and web-based) to create ebooks. I showed student work with my students creating ebooks about composers, program music, and recorder tips. Another participant showed a beautiful book about the instruments of the orchestra created by one of her students with special needs.
Since it was a 1/2 day workshop, I showed the pilot teachers some of the fabulous assessment tools for iOS devices. I showed them the popular gaming assessment tool of Kahoot! I also showed them the formative assessment tool of Socrative. I showed them Plickers for assessing younger students. Finally, I showed them the flash cards that can be made using Quizlet. These tools are nice because most of these assessment tools do not require students to have email addresses and they easily collect data in an organized manner. The students just need a device to enter a code. In most cases they do not need 1:1 devices as many of them have group options or can use paper cards (in the case of Plickers) if no device is present.
To read my experience with Plickers in my classroom, click here.
To read my experience with Kahoot! in my classroom, click here.
To read my experience with Socrative in my classroom, click here.
The last tool I showed was one that would connect the pilot teachers with the students’ caregivers, as well as showcase their work. I showed them Seesaw, the digital student learning portfolio. They experienced posting as a student, completing an activity assigned to them, and digital citizenship by commenting on other posts. They also experienced the teacher side of the classroom app, how to create a class, how to work with the settings, and the parent app. At the end of the workshop, ISTEP had contacted Seesaw to begin a free trial of Seesaw Plus. Seesaw is free for up to ten classes and two teachers. Seesaw Plus and Seesaw for Schools are paid versions that allow you have more classes, more teachers, assessments, and allows the parent to follow their child’s Seesaw portfolio for all of the years the school subscribes to Seesaw.
To view a webinar on how to begin Seesaw in the elementary music classroom, click here.
To get a month free trial of Seesaw click here.
I love the classroom teachers at my school. When I asked for suggestions for good classroom apps, they came back to me with this list: Click here and scroll down to Pilot Teachers.
My Summer Goal
I thoroughly enjoyed working with the great and wonderful teachers in St. Maarten. I sincerely thank Janelle and Georgiane for their hospitality and their dedication for spearheading this initiative and for making sure that their pilot teachers are trained and supported.
As I work on PD and more writing this summer, one of my goals is to blog everyday this summer. It is therapeutic for me to get my thoughts down in a post. In addition, it keeps me constantly growing and learning as an educator. I love that many of my music tech friends podcast, and I will eventually get to that point, but for this summer, I think I will try to blog everyday in hopes to have some organized professional goals for the 2018-2019 school year.