Friday, October 26, 2018
Ya'll! Have you tried Flipgrid? If not- you need to NOW! It is seriously the best! It is so easy to use, and it's FREE!
What is flipgrid? Flipgrid is a website where you can make "grids" for each class and then topics within each grid where students can record videos. Once they are done with the video, the are asked to "snap a selfie" and can add stickers to it. This is what others see when they pull the grid or topic up. I have a grid for each grade, and then topics within each grade to break it down even more. You can set the privacy settings differently for each topic. Grids can be public, accessible within a certain email domain, or even accessible only with a code.
I use it mostly for projects. Some projects my students have done with flipgrid are Parodies, instruments of the orchestra, and more. For the parodies, students wrote a parody and then recorded it using flipgrid. Then others had the opportunity to respond to the parody to guess which original song was used. This was a 5th grade GM project and they loved it. Some ended up just singing their song, while others got really into the video aspect and made up dance routines to go along with their music!
For instruments of the orchestra, 3rd grade students worked in groups to research a family of the orchestra then used flipgrid to record a mini-lesson describing their family. They could also upload attachments like slideshows or google docs to accompany their lesson. Students then watched the videos and learned about all the families of the orchestra from the experts in their class! This was great before our trip to see the Columbus Symphony! After the field trip, we were able to record reaction videos saying our favorite songs or other favorite parts of the concert. While everyone can respond and reply to videos- the teacher can always set each grid or topic so that approval is needed before a video is posted AND teachers can leave private feedback/ grades.
I also use flipgrid to allow students to give each other shout-outs when they do something awesome or kind in class. Each student recorded a video of just their name and then others can reply to this name video with a shout-out. Students shout-out to each other for great singing, kind acts, awesome instrument patterns, being a good sport, and more. This has been a great way to build community in each class and grade.
Many music teachers use flipgrid for playing tests as well. It is awesome for recorder karate and rainbow ukulele (or similar programs).
In addition to all the awesomeness from above, guests can be invited now! Make a highlights topic or grid and invite guests to view while keeping most your grids/topics private to the class. This is an amazing feature that I am so excited to be using. It is a great way to show off to parents and community members what is happening during music without making EVERY video or topic public!
If you want more ideas on how to use flipgrid you can check out their blog OR their "Disco" (discovery) Library where teachers from all over have posted grid topics they are using in their class. You can search by keyword, subject, and level (elementary, middle, high, etc.). There are some awesome music topics in the DL. I found a 2 minute opera scene topic that my students will be doing soon!
Do you have #flipgridfever? Be sure to add me as a #gridpal!
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
It's October! It's Fall! It's My Birthday Month!
One of my favorite stories to do in the fall is "In the Hall of the Mountain King". The version I read is adapted from Henrik Ibsen by Allison Flannery, Illustrated by Vesper Stamper and, of course, includes the music by Edvard Grieg.
When I introduce this story/ song, first I show the doodle chaos video. Students LOVE this video. As we are watching I ask them what they notice about the song. Because the movie is kind of funny, I am sure to remind them I want to know what they notice about what they HEAR not what they see. We talk about dynamics, tempo, orchestration and more in grade level appropriate terms.
After we watch the video, I then read the book. We have a short conversation about how the story might fit with the music and then, the fun part, we get to act it out. I read the story again, as students are up and walking through the forest, entering the castle, looking around, and then running from the Mountain King (all to the rhythm of the song). If it gets to crazy, I tell the students that we need to hide frozen like a statue in an open doorway of the castle and we freeze silently and look side to side to make sure the King doesn't see us.
Students, and I, LOVE this activity and ask for it again and again and again. Have fun!
Get the book HERE
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Dinah used to be one of my favorite Re/ 16th note songs (and this post used to be how I used it). However, since learning of Dinah's racist history I have cut the song from my teaching. There are so many other great re or 16th note songs and I will be making super fun Orff Arrangements to a lot of them soon!
Here are some great resources on the racist history of Dinah and other songs, and how we as music educators can ensure that we are always working towards greater equity and against systems of oppression in our own teaching practices:
Pancocojams- Pancocojams showcases the music, dances, language practices, and customs of African Americans and of the other people of Black descent throughout the world.
Decolonizing the Music Room- Providing research for music educators on unsung narratives in U.S. music resources and tools for decolonizing practices.
Now What? Steps to Anti-Oppressive Music Teaching- Great strategies from Elizabeth Caldwell over at Organized Chaos. Be sure to click around on her blog- it is amazing and so many other resources are tucked inside as well.
You Might Be Left With Silence When You're Done - This is an article by Martin Urbach, one of the members of Decolonizing the Music Room mentioned above. Read. Learn.
I am always trying to read, learn, and act on new knowledge to ensure that all students in my room know that I care for them and their culture and their unique selves. We all make mistakes, but actively working against racism and other forms of oppression should be a goal of every teacher. As I find more great resources and articles, I will be updating this post.