Some people complain about how many hours are spent on the computer, social networks, video or computer games, even watching TV. I stopped complaining a long time ago when I realized just how much I benefit from all these "gadgets."
In March, I was blessed with a SMARTboard in my classroom. I am so thrilled and my kids are loving the lessons on the board. I am sure there are music teachers out there who are either overwhelmed by or resistant to change. Maybe you can't see how you could find the time to add yet one more thing to your "to-do" list or how having an interactive white board would benefit the music classroom.
As a teacher, I am helping to prepare these students for the workforce they will be entering and so much of the world is centered on technology. If schools don't keep up with it, we are failing to prepare students to enter the workforce in 20 years.
Also, as a teacher, I strive to present my lessons in so many different ways to help students to learn. Differentiated Instruction is a big buzzword in education and one way to reach kids is through use of technology.
I am so glad I don't have to re-invent the wheel. There are websites and lessons available to not only help design whiteboard lesson or with lessons already completed for download or purchase. My goal is to add websites and recommended products to my resource list for teachers.
For those of you who don't know what a SMARTboard is... here's how I explained it to my students.
How many of you have a DSi? (raise your hand!) How many of you have an iPhone? An iPad? And iPod Touch? You know how you can either use a stylus or your finger to play your games or how you can touch the screen of your device to type or select an icon? That is just how my SMARTboard works. It really is a great big computer monitor. Everything that I do on my computer will show on my SMARTboard. I can either use a stylus (they look like Expo markers in four colors and I have an "eraser.") or I can use my finger to write or move items around.
Here is a recent lesson that the kids enjoyed:
Kindergarten is doing a great job learning basic concepts in music. We focused on rhythm - long and short sound. After kinesthetic and auditory lessons using long and short sounds (clapping rhythms, hearing rhythms in a variety of folk songs and chants), it was time to learn how to represent rhythms with icons.
Teachers have been using popsicle sticks for years to teach one and two sounds on a beat (long and short sounds). In the past, I glued magnetic strips to the back of a number of popsicle sticks to put on my whiteboard so I could represent long and short sounds on a beat. I drew four lines horizontally to represent the beats in a phrase. Then I would point to the beats while saying or singing the focus phrase of the song or chant we had learned. Then I would ask the students how many sounds were on beat one, beat two, etc and put either one or two popsicle sticks on each beat.
Now that I have a SMARTboard, I have been using a great lesson created by Debbie Anderson and Phyllis Thomas from Flower Mound, Texas. They have created icons that look like pretzels or popsicle sticks and I can drag them around on the board in the same way I did with the magnetic sticks. The kids love it and I do to.
The lesson is from Volume 4 of "SMARTboard Activities." I also have Vol. 1 and will be purchasing the other volumes as soon as I find the funds! Here's their website:
Here is a photo of my SMARTboard with the Popsicle stick lesson:
I drew the beats with my finger and the special effects "ink"
After we tried out a few different rhythm patterns on the SMARTboard, I gave the kid their own sticks and strips of poster board with four beats drawn horizontally to represent the beats called "beat boards." They paired up and made up their own rhythms. I made my way around the room and had them clap their own rhythms. They really love this time to collaborate and I find that they really "get" the idea of one or two sounds on a beat and how to clap the rhythms they read or write.
Here are some photos of the kids and their beat board patterns:
I will post more SMARTboard ideas in the future. Do you have a SMARTboard? I would love to hear about your favorite lessons!