Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just a few of my friends (Part 2)

Another online friend is Kristin Lukow.  She is an amazing woman, wife of a farmer in rural Nebraska (my home state) teaching in three different buildings.  She is a "techie" and she has shared her stuff, given me pointers and directed me to other great stuff...

Today as I was showing some of her cool techie things, a workshop attendee told me that he found her website as a new teacher and found great resources - always a blessing when just starting out!

Here is her cool Facebook page where she has 221 followers!

Here is her website

And here is her amazingly cool YouTube Channel

Just a few of my friends...

I am excited to introduce to you a new "friend" in my network.  I actually have admired and used her SMARTboard lessons for over a year now.  A few blogposts back, I linked to a number of them that are on the SMARTboard Exchange.  She contacted me and now I am following her blog.  LOVE it!

Meet Cherie Herring!  (click here to go to her blog "Just a Little More")

I especially love her "Sounds Go Up, Sounds Go Down" and "So-Mi-La Listening Lesson" SMARTboard lessons.  My kids love them, too!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putting it all in one place

In my recent scurry to find out more about Web 2.0 tools and resources for iPods and iPads in the Music Classroom, I have discovered a TON of amazing things that I want to use in my lessons!  AND I discovered the coolest online place where I can "store" all the stuff I find!

See, I usually open a document and paste all the URLs of the things I want to go back to.  And then I forget what each link is all about unless I write a little description.  And how can I share that with my online friends...  besides on my blog and wiki?


A website that acts just like a 3-ring binder where I can insert URLs, video, audio or documents.  I can keep the binder private or open it up to the public!  How cool is that!

So if you want to see all the neat stuff I discovered and collected in one place, click on this link:

Or check out my Pinterest page!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Technology, Part 3

Have I convinced you yet that you should include technology in your Elementary Music Classroom every day (if possible)?  Not only does your district have benchmarks and guidelines for including technology but so does our Music Education Standards!

I found an article that goes right along with my previous two blog posts.  You can read the original article here

1.  Using technology helps students understand and retain more.  I have seen this in my own practice.  Since using the SMARTboard, my lessons are more organized and consistent.  The students are grasping the concepts more quickly (and it's more fun, to be sure!).  They are engaged and on-task.

2.  Its DI - Differentiated Instruction - multiple intelligences.

3.  These kids are the 'Net Generation.  They probably started playing with electronic devices before they could talk!  This is what they crave.  Perhaps even, their brains are wired differently (I have only heard inklings of talk like this, but haven't done the research to see if it is true). As adults, they will be using techie tools that haven't even been invented yet in job fields that haven't been created yet!  Can you help to prepare them for that?  And WHY NOT in the Music Classroom?

4.  Using technology the right way in the Music Classroom can ensure your lessons include opportunity for HOTS.  Check out this cool presentation categorizing iPad apps into Bloom's Taxonomy.  (More about this in future blog posts.)

5.  Putting technology into the hands of the student by using student computers, the computer lab or hand-held devices such as the iPod or iPad, the learning becomes child-centered and more personalized.

6. The potential for collaboration and project-based learning is greatly increased with the use the technology in the Music Classroom.

7. Using technology makes it easier to assess students authentically with every lesson.  Testing knowledge and understanding, but also projects where students problem-solve, create, analyze and synthesize.

Did you recognize that all of these are "buzz words" in the education field right now?  Are your students engaged?  Are you teaching tools for the 21st Century learner? Are you teaching Higher Order Thinking Skills such as evaluating, analyzing and creating?  Are your lessons child-centered?  Are you teaching DI and Multiple Intelligences with EVERY lesson? Student collaboration and project-based learning? And what about assessment??

Ok, ok... it is all so overwhelming!  And where to start!

I am working feverishly to develop more lessons to share with you! Not only with SMARTboard lessons, but with cool Web 2.0 tools and detailed lesson plans that also incorporate Kodaly and Orff!  How's that for a complete package!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Technology? Part 2

I had forgotten that MENC: The National Association for Music Education published standards for technology in Music Education called "Opportunity to Learn Standards for Music Technology."  After my previous post, I ran across these again at

For K-5 classrooms, here are the following recommendations:

Curriculum and Scheduling
  1. Use of technology is a regular and integral part of instruction.
  2. Teachers employ instructional strategies that appropriately utilize the unique capabilities of technology.
  3. Learning experiences in the curriculum include the use of computer-assisted instruction, MIDI sequencing, music notation software, Internet music resources, and electronic musical instruments to help students acquire the knowledge and skills listed in the National Standards for Music Education.
  4. Software and hardware selections are made based on the learning goals established for the students.
  5. Music classes have the same degree of access to school technology resources, including technology labs, as other classes in the school.
  6. Learning profiles (e.g., attendance records and progress reports) for individual students are maintained using databases and other record-keeping technologies.
  7. Children with special needs have the same access to technology-based music instruction as other children in the school. Appropriate adaptive devices are available as needed.
  1. A planned program of ongoing staff development to provide teachers with training in applying technology in the curriculum is in place. Training is available on a variety of levels to match the varying backgrounds and proficiencies of teachers.
  2. To remain up-to-date in the field, all music educators receive at least one staff development day per year for technology training. Training is conducted by those with an awareness of the needs of music educators.
  3. Teachers have easy access to e-mail and Web services for professional and curriculum development, research, and other communication needs.
  4. Teachers are provided with ample time to consult with other colleagues about the use of technology.
  5. Technical support and mentoring by those who are knowledgeable about the hardware and software used by music educators is available to music teachers.
  6. Teachers are provided with the necessary development time for creating new curriculum materials that make effective use of music technology.
  1. Every music classroom should contain one multimedia-ready computer that is Internet capable and includes: audio in/out capability, General MIDI sound generation, powered speakers, CD- or DVD-ROM player, and a MIDI keyboard connected to the computer. When a teacher must move between classrooms and schools, a similarly equipped laptop computer is preferred for that teacher.
  2. The school computer lab is equipped with dual headphones and MIDI keyboard controllers for use by the students.
  3. Students have access to eight digital keyboards (possibly portable units) with standard-size, touch-responsive piano keys.
  4. A large-screen video display for class presentation.

  1. The software library contains at least six titles of instructional software that reinforces listening, analyzing, reading, and describing music. A plan to purchase three new titles each year is in place, and existing software is upgraded on a regular basis.
  2. At least six titles of multimedia software that enables children to create, improvise, compose, and perform music are also available. A plan to purchase three new titles each year is in place, and existing software is upgraded on a regular basis.
  3. There is Internet software for supervised access to Web resources.

  1. Suitable space is available in the dedicated music classroom for one computer with appropriate power and Internet connections.
  2. Students have access to a school computer lab.

I am fortunate because I have access to technology hardware and software in my classroom that many other districts only dream of having.  Many music teachers don't have technology beyond the CD player, computer and the old fashioned overhead projector!
Why have technology in the elementary music classroom?
We are teaching a "techie" generation!  It is possible to integrate technology into current methodologies such as Orff and Kodaly to enhance learning and enable students to demonstrate their learning through hands-on projects.
How have you used technology in your classroom?

Keep reading for more lessons using the techie tools that are breaking into education!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why technology?

Just the other day, I completed my Starfall survey - something required by my district so they can evaluate whether teachers are successfully using technology in the classroom.  One of the questions was about my district's Technology Application Standards.  And although I have filled out one of these surveys before, I couldn't remember what they were. So I looked them up.

Standard I. All teachers use technology-related terms, concepts, data input strategies, and ethical practices to make informed decisions about current technologies and their applications.  

This means that I know how to use hardware, software programs, how to input data, and how to use the Internet, Email, the Web, LANs and intranets.  Very basic.

Standard II. All teachers identify task requirements, apply search strategies, and use current technology to efficiently acquire, analyze, and evaluate a variety of electronic information.

This means that I know how to search the Web, create and use files, graphics, images, videos and audio files. I know how to use secondary storage devices, can evaluate electronic information for accuracy and validity. I've been doing this since I first went to college 30 years ago!

Standard III. All teachers use task-appropriate tools to synthesize knowledge, create and modify solutions, and evaluate results in a way that supports the work of individuals and groups in problem-solving situations.

This means I can use word processing software, create or use spreadsheets, databases, desktop publishing programs, multimedia programs and other platforms for enriching the curricula. I did all this in my "previous life" in Health Information Management before I became a teacher!

Standard IV. All teachers communicate information in different formats and for diverse audience.

This means I know how to use digital information and software to communicate effectively, to use multimedia presentation software and electronic communication tools.  No problem with that one here!  I blog, I wiki, I facebook, I email, I tweet, I even pinterest! And I've been using Powerpoint for many years and now have a SMARTboard!

Standard V. All teachers know how to plan, organize, deliver, and evaluate instruction for all students that incorporates the effective use of current technology for teaching and integrating the Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA-TEKS) into the curriculum.

THIS is where it gets tricky for many music teachers.  So I'll break this one down into little chunks!

  1. Create lessons using technology applications for individual and small/whole group activities.
  2. Create lessons that allow students to use technology applications in problem-solving and decision-making situations OR that emphasize collaboration and teamwork among the students.
  3. Use Project-Based Learning Activities that integrates technology into the curriculum and meets the TA-TEKS benchmarks.
  4. Evaluate student technology projects using formal and informal assessment
  5. Collect observable and measurable data to gauge student progress in technology applications
  6. Professional growth in knowledge and skills of technology applications to improve classroom instruction.
The TA-TEKS benchmarks that would apply to the music classroom are as follows:
  1. Students use technology with audio, video and graphics to enhance learning experiences; use software to express ideas and solve problems.
  2. Students use technology to participate in group projects and to build a knowledge base 
  3. Students use technology to facilitate evaluation of work and to deliver the product in a variety of ways.
This is very brief, of course.  A number of the benchmarks had to do with "Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making."

Over the next few blog posts, I will cover some of the available software, devices and applications that will help the music teacher to integrate technology in their lessons, allowing students to problem solve, make decisions, use critical thinking, participate in project-based group activities as well as display their knowledge electronically!

On Saturday, March 31st I will be presenting at the Central Texas Orff on this very subject!  So plan to attend!  Check out the website for more information: