Music Classroom Library meets Book Buddy Pro!

Music Classroom Library meets Book Buddy Pro!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my classroom library!  I use books all the time in my lessons and I’ve organized my library in a way that works for me and the unique way that I need to organize my library as a music teacher.  To find out more about how I organized my library, check out my blog post HERE!     As organized as my library is, the organization is only effective if I can actually remember how I sorted my books in the first place!  Nothing is more frustrating that looking for a book and not being able to find it quickly.  I’ve made spreadsheets in the past with titles and author lists, but it was a very tedious process and not entirely effective…. THEN I found Book Buddy Pro!    and my classroom library has been revolutionized! When you open the app, you get this screen.  Just click the + in the top left corner to add a book.  You can use your iPhone camera to grab the bar code either one at a time or you can scan multiple books at once. TIP –   If I could build my Book Buddy collection over again, I would have taken the time to choose “Professional” category.  I didn’t choose a category and I haven’t figured out how to change it.  Here is the other really cool thing!  IF when the bar code is scanned, any information is missing, (i.e. title or author…) Book Buddy highlights the required area and prompts you to add the information before allowing you to save.  The only fields that are required are the title...
Google Drive is AWESOME!

Google Drive is AWESOME!

Today we started choir!  Yippee! This year we had a much easier time starting choir than last year because THIS year, instead of asking parents and students to return a sheet of paper letting us know that they were coming to choir today, we sent home a hyperlink that sent our interested parents and students directly to a google form.  YAY! Students who wished to join choir simply filled out the google form and without any other steps, we had an instant spreadsheet!!!! Today, when we were ready to mark attendance, and take note of who is interested in auditioning for special parts or serving as choir officers, my co-teacher and I were able to work on the very same spreadsheet at the very same time!  Our changes were visible to both of us and we got twice as much work done in half the time.  We also were both constantly working from the most current document. If you are looking for a way to manage your extra choirs better, then I HIGHLY recommend using google drive! It is working AMAZINGLY well! If you haven’t tried it, now would be a great time! Please follow and like us:0 Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...
The Library of Congress, Song of America Radio – lazy late summer learning for languorous lads and ladies.

The Library of Congress, Song of America Radio – lazy late summer learning for languorous lads and ladies.

There are some things that are just simply true about me. 1.  I would love to take voice lessons again sometime, but if I wait for it to be convenient I’ll never learn anything. 2.When I went to college, I knew how to get pretty good grades, but I didn’t know how to learn,   so I didn’t always take advantage of some of the opportunities that were presented to me.  Therefore I have found that I often have significant self inflicted holes in my musical body of knowledge.2. I have forgotten SOOOO much of what I was supposed to have learned in my undergraduate program. 3.  As a result of the fact that I teach in a vacuum called the K-5 general music classroom, I find that often the most useful professional development activities are those that allow me to go back and revisit or deepen the things that are deeply musical that have nothing to do with elementary school. 4. I come from a family of learners.  So the other day when I was with my parents and brother enjoying the 4th of July it was typical that we started talking about the what we all have been reading and listening to.  As it turns out, in addition to all of the reading we do, we are also great consumers of audio books, lectures, podcasts and other digital media. Song of America Radio Broadcast Episodes 5. As part of the table conversation, my mom brought up her enjoyment of the Library of Congress.  Apparently my mom goes there for fun to explore the cultural arts videos and recordings.    I was...
3 things to record that will make your life easier

3 things to record that will make your life easier

Sometimes a simple recording can make your life easier.  Sometimes a simple recording can make your lesson run smoother.  Sometimes a recording can help you keep your voice healthy so that you can teach another day.  I find that taking the time to record the following tracks throughout the year can help me tremendously. 1.  Record practice tracks – These don’t have to be fancy at all.  Typically I use practice tracks for my choir kiddos and for upcoming grade level rehearsals.  This is most helpful when you want to isolate a particular voice part or if you want to have students practice a certain pronunciation.  I literally set my recording device on the piano and start singing.  I only play enough accompaniment to keep my entrances correct and myself in key.  You can either create a play list and burn it to a CD or you can host the playlist on a website like podsnack and share the link with students. 2. Record voice commands on top of dance tracks – Nothing taxes my  voice like the “dancing days”…..Obviously I want my students to internalize the form and timing of the music so that they know when to move independently using only the music as a cue.  However, I find it very useful to have a “guided practice” option that helps me move the class toward independence without trying to carry my voice over the mirth and merriment that is found when “peeling the banana” during the Virginia Reel.  I create these recordings by importing whichever dancing song I’m going to use into Audacity.  Then I record the voice...
3 things to record with children in general music

3 things to record with children in general music

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, having an app that makes it easy to record on a device that is easy to use and easy to carry means that I am more mindful and therefore have found myself recording MUCH more often than I used to.  Here are my favorite things to record. 1. Solo singing – Although I still haven’t found enough time to formalize this well…… I record soloists MUCH more often than I used to.  I record them during class, I record them as we line up when they want to share a song they know, I record them when they drop by during their recess and I record them when they audition for a special part.  I only have limited success in capturing recordings from everyone so at this point as long as I am required to give participation grades rather than content mastery grades, I mostly use these solo recordings as positive reinforcement for students who are VERY motivated to share what they know AND as a way to formalize any auditions that I have. 2. ensemble work – No one is prouder than the class that has mastered an ordinary song on a ordinary day to the point that the work is beautiful and ready to share.  For years I have motivated students to work even to the end of class by gambling that their home room teacher would pick them up a little early with the time to hear our performance.  NOW I don’t have to hinge our class motivation on a classroom teachers ability to telepathically read my mind and know...
Top 10 things to Remember When Recording Student Work in Music Class.

Top 10 things to Remember When Recording Student Work in Music Class.

I’ve noticed that more and more teachers, both music and general education teachers are recording their students.  It’s easy to do.  Both voice recording apps and hand held digital recorders have become so common place that it’s almost as popular as it once was to record using a cassette tape and tape recorder. But it’s been so long since we had the habit of recording that I think it’s important to be reminded of some very important ideas in regards to recording in the classroom. 1.  Always tell your students that you are going to record.  This may keep some students from participating, but it may also improve the effort of others. 2. Always allow students a way to decline the opportunity. If they don’t want to be recorded, then any value that could be gained by the process is lost. 3. Always provide an alternate way to get the assignment done.  My recorder students could earn belts in 3 ways, in person, by email using an online digital recorder, or by phone message. 4. Always keep parents informed.  Even if they have signed a release at the beginning of the year, they need to know that recording is one of your arsenal of tools that you use to teach and assess student learning. 5. Always have a plan for anything that is recorded.  Is this recording for a daily grade demonstrating a specific skill?  Is this simply a scratch recording for rehearsal that will be deleted?  Is this part of a private digital portfolio? Is this a formal performance assessment like a concert or recital?  Anything without a specific purpose should be discarded.  Keeping a strict eye...
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