Top Ten Reasons to Enhance Your Elementary Music Classroom with Technology: #1 Assessment

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Happy 2019! I hope that your evening was filled with fun and/or relaxation.

We have come to the end of the list of Top Ten Reasons to Enhance Your Elementary Music Classroom with Technology! As stated in the previous posts, the definition of enhancement with technology is that technology can help make and do music in ways that traditional method lack. In addition, this list of ten are ones that I have found effective. There is more that can be added to this list. Finally, please remember that the list is like a dessert buffet. Please try only one or two on the list as to not feel overwhelmed.

#1: Assessment

When I first started teaching, assessment was like a black hole to me. I was not sure what and how to assess elementary music students. I immediately picked up a pad and paper and began writing down what I observed after the students left the classroom. This worked for me, but I had some problems that I felt that I needed to address.

  1. Organization: I admit that I am not a queen of organization and my classroom and home reflect that. At the end of the trimester, I had a lot of paper with a lot of words, but no organization.
  2. Reflection: After I kept reading through my notes, my planner, etc, I wished that I had video that I could look at or audio that I could listen to, to really understand what I made notes about.
  3. Sharing: How was I to share my “chicken scratch” notes with administrator and/or parents?!?

Here is a list of assessment tools that have worked successfully in my classroom. With that, if you try any of these tools, you must be patient with yourself and give yourself some time to learn them.

Plickers

Plickers cards on construction paper

I begin with Plickers because you only need one iOS device to run this assessment tool. You can se up a free account, download the free Plickers cards, enter the student roster, and create an assessment that involves T/F or multiple choice questions.

  • Create a quiz. Make sure to begin with a few questions, such as “True or False: My name is Mrs. Burns” to make sure that the students understand how to use the Plickers Cards
  • Launch it
  • Hand out the Plickers cards to students
  • Ask the first question
  • The students hold up the card. If the answer is True, then they will hold up the card with “A” on top.
  • Click the check button to scan the answers.
  • When finished, Plickers will record the answers and you can check the answers in your account.
    This is a screen shot of a post-test for high and low for kindergartners
  • Tip: Paste the cards on construction paper so that they stay intact longer.
  • Tip: Always print out the list that Plickers creates of students and their Plickers card numbers. 

Socrative

I have used Socrative for years for my elementary students that can read and take pre- and post-tests. Socrative is great because it is free, students do not need email addresses to access it, and it can be accessed from multiple devices.

  • Create a free account and name your classroom
  • Create a test that can include images, multiple choice questions, and short answer questions.
  • You can use this for pre- and post-testing (for SGOs and SLOs) as well as exit tickets.
  • Launch your test from your teacher account
  • Students go to socrative.com (or access the iOS app depending on the device) and click on student login
  • Students enter your classroom name
    Data from a pre-test for 3rd graders in Socrative
  • They then enter their names
  • Then they begin the test
  • On your device, you can see the answers as they come in live
  • Once finished, click finish from the teacher account
  • You now have the data to share with admin, download as an excel file, and more.

Google Forms

Results from a google form my 4th graders filled out so that I could learn more about their interests

I have used Google Forms for various assessments. If your are using Google Classroom, then Google Forms easily integrates into it. I like using forms because I can add anything from my Google Drive as well as Youtube clips. When finished, the data is all collected and easily viewed and downloaded in an excel file. The Tech Edvocate gives some explanations and ideas for using Google Forms with Google Classroom.

I am also loving the add-ons of Doctopus and Goobric so that when I ask my fifth graders to self-evaluate in their instrument class, I can use these two add-ons to organize all individual rubrics with evaluations. I used the following youtube video to learn how to do this:

Seesaw

amymburns.com/webinars

Seesaw makes another appearance on this countdown. Through Seesaw Activities, I can assign individual students activities and assessments to perform. These assessments can be them videoing themselves playing the recorder, composing simple rhythm patterns, and more. Check out my website, amymburns.com/webinars to see how to create Seesaw Activities.

iDoceo

I have used iDoceo for years. I use it to organize seating charts, random name chooser, assessments, and more. iDoceo is an iOS app that needs no internet access to use. I set it up by having class rosters emailed to me, opening the email with the iPad I use for iDoceo, tell iDoceo to create a class from the list, and then begin creating tabs within the app. Those tabs involve Orff charts, assessments in the form of video and audio, attendance charts, behavior notes, and more. It keeps everything digitally organized for me. I can backup everything with google drive, dropbox, and other cloud-based storage services. Though the app is on the pricier end, once you learn how to use it, you will be using it often to organize numerous charts and assessments. iDoceo has some of the best tutorials found on their website.

 

There are so many more assessment tools that one can use in an elementary music classroom. Use what works best for you in your teaching situation. The ability to use tech for these purposes can eventually save a lot of time and can help share the data with others. Check back soon for a free webinar that will showcase all 10 items on the list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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