Dustbuster– Brand new app hot off the market from Joytunes. This app stars a firey Granny armed with a dustbuster ready to dust away those dustbunnies from your piano keys. You can either use the piano on the app itself or use a real piano to play this game. There are multiple levels with plenty of songs just waiting to be dusted away by your students. The great part about this app for me as the teacher is you can have the game just showing the students which keys to push OR it can be set to have students reading the staff and finding the keys themselves! I use this app when teaching small lessons to individual students. My classroom is only set up with one piano so as a quick breather from learning a new song or doing exercises, the piano students I see can play a few levels of the game as a way to deviate from the normal lesson but still learn piano!
Recorder Master– To be a master, recorder master. This is another killer app from Joytunes but instead of piano you have your students playing recorders trying to shoot notes at birds flying across the screen or to get the cat in the airplane to collect as many notes as possible. My 4th graders use recorders every year and earn belts as a class so we have plenty of classtime to use recorders together. What happens with this app is while my students run warmups together with a classmate leading I set up my Ipad to my Apple TV and then I project it on the board so all can see. Then as a treat they get to work together as a team to accomplish the levels in the game. I love this game because it not only teaches students about breath control, note fingers, pitch, and relative duration it helps them implement and practice these concepts as well! During this whole activity I am wandering around with Ipad in hand and helping students with fingerings and other recorder issues while helping the whole class beat each level.
Melody Street– Interactive book great for K-2 if you are teaching instrument families of the orchestra. Melody Street is a website as well and this app is an interactive book based off that website. Each family of the orchestra lives in the same house but on different floors. It explains each of the basic instruments of each family in the story. What I will usually do is play this through my Apple TV and let the students watch through. We’ll then divide the board up into each of the families and review which instrument goes where. After I will usually play a review game or have students pick a family then draw and color instruments belonging in that family.
A Jazzy Day– Another interactive book but this is about Jazz music. The cat family travels to a jazz performance and talks about jazz music and the instruments associated with it. The book is great and even better there is a game you can have your students play that helps them identify instruments. Put this app up on the projector and have the book read through itself. The book will identify most of the instruments so when you go to the game most students should get the idea. With the game I have my students volunteer to go up to the screen and point to the answer. Almost everyone raises their hand!
Splashtop– Fantastic app that lets you manipulate your desktop. This is great if you’ve always wanted a smartboard but never seem to be able to get one. All you need to do is download the app to your ipad (not recommended to do on Iphone or Iphone because of screen size.) Then download the splashtop streamer to your desktop and viola! You can connect your Ipad to your desktop and be walking around the classroom teaching while manipulating programs on your computer in the front of the room. This is great especially if you only have one computer in the room. The students can be watching what your doing with the projector on and you can be roaming around the room giving students turns to help with the activity on the screen or standing next to troublesome students to manage the class. Do be warned though, if you are trying to trick your students into thinking that the computer is moving magically it will not work, there is a slight screen blink when it connects so they figure it out. Also, watch out for other tricksters with the same app, anyone can connect to your computer as long as the streamer is on and they can break your passcode!
*Apple TV is a fantastic tool you can use in your classroom that is an alternative to an interactive whiteboard. At about a quarter of the cost of an IWB you can wireless mirror your Ipad on to the projector screen while seamlessly roaming around your classroom. Now this is an HDMI device so unless you have an HDMI projector you will need an HDMI to VGA adaptor and if you want sound you will need an audio converter box. This is a device I use on a daily basis in my classroom to use apps with whole classes. It is a great investment worth looking into if you are unable to get an IWB or just want an alternative to and IWB.