Inspiration taken from a pad of paper and pencil that were taunting me on my desk and a chalk drawing I did on top of a parking garage earlier this week.
The Muppets..I say it and a shiver of joy runs like a river down my back. I remember watching reruns, movies or whatever video that came my way just to get a glimpse of Kermit, Miss Piggy, or the ever so daring Gonzo. I still watch them. I own DVDs of the first 3 seasons and almost all of the movies they have ever made, The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets Take Manhattan ..I know I know..nerdness points added to my already high score.
They bring a new sense of creativity and wonderment into the world. It’s unexpected, it’s powerful, it’s a pure untainted childlike world where not many can resist it’s excitement.
A big part of the Muppet’s world for me is it’s music which I share with my students from time to time. It turns a sad day into a happy day, or a tension filled moment into one filled with laughter. Really, who can resist the Swedish Chef making music while his popcorn is being popped?:
What stands apart from the rest is the decades of performances from musical guests on the show that inspire:Harry Belafonte
My students know my love of these crazy characters.
The Muppets, classic, hilarious, awesome. What more is there?
A web quest, is a simple way to make a website a meaningful experience for a class independent activity. You need a solid subject or goal, a great introduction to pull in your student’s attention, and a few small activities to guide the student through the website while staying on the subject or goal you created before hand. I’ve written a lot of different web quests for websites to use in my classroom but my favorite website to write them for is www.quavermusic.com . I’ve written 7 quests in a previous post a few months ago: Quaver Music Webquests . After just a few hours spent with the Quaver crew in Nashville I was in my hotel room and decided to eat two of those GooGoo clusters (sssoooo goooood). Which caused an intense sugar high and led to me jumping around my room like a crazed maniac and inspired a new set of them. Here’s 8 more! (15 web quests total!):
I’m coming off an amazing weekend down in Nashville visiting the Quaver crew, it is such a good feeling to be so supportive of a great music education program and be recognized for it. I felt very lucky and blessed to be able to share my thoughts on the program and meet some amazing and dedicated individuals who work for the company.
As a lot of my readers know I use Quavermusic.com a lot in my classroom for a lot of different technology purposes. I find the website a great collection of creatives and tools to easily incorporate tech into the classroom. Before using Quaver I was an avid user of Aviary.com using their Roc and Myna creatives in a number of lessons. After the sad news that Aviary is cutting those creatives off in September I was struck with a problem. While using Aviary I developed a project that fulfilled s digital portfolio requirement for my 5th graders. What should I do now?
In the state of NH each student in the public school system has a digital portfolio that is created in kindergarten and follows them all the way until senior year of high school. It is filled with technology projects they complete through the years accompanied with a reflection on the project the students fill out individually. General classroom teachers in my buildings are required to complete 5 of these a year with their classes, and I as a specialist am required to do one a year with one full grade, I choose 5th because they are already trained in the routines of using computers independently and I can dive deeper into a little more complicated music technology than I could with other grades. The project must fulfill a number of NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) and for me it must also fulfill a number of National Music Standards as well.
I originally decided to show students another side of music that they had rarely seen before which is usually technology in music. The project originally consisted of students using the Roc creator and bringing it over into the audio editor Myna and mixing in what they created with other stock audio from Quantum tracks. (ooo audio editor in Quaver?..must bookmark idea for later..)
Out of the blue I decided to try Quavermusic.com at the end of this past year with my last group of 5th graders as their portfolio project. Aviary was having issues loading at my school and I had no time or patience to deal with it, so I turned to Quaver.(I was lucky too, I didn’t find out the Aviary news until this summer!) When giving students a website for a project you need to give them direction in order to make it a meaningful experience. It could be one activity, it could be a whole web quest like I have shared before. This project was great for my 5th graders, not only was there less confusion in what to do but they found it interesting and fun. The big difference between Aviary and Quaver is Aviary was leveled more for middle and high, Quaver is leveled more for elementary and middle.
Here’s the project details from the end of the year experiment:
Hello new star in the making! You’ve decided it is time to get on the road and build your way up to Music Star status. You need to make a few stops a long the way. Follow the directions to get one step closer to your dreams:
1. To be a good musician you need to have good ears. Head to the EarIQ carnival in the lab and play the interval and chords games a few times to train those ears right.
2. Alright, it’s time to check out the competition, walk over to the metro and choose your venue that best describes the type of star you want to be. Go there and listen to the music as you read the book in the menu. Try to answer all of the questions at the end and earn a cool piece of clothing for your avatar!
3.It’s time to finally get in the studio and get writing. Head to the QStudio and click on the QComposer (the piano) and write me a 5 measure melody using all the notes and rests you have learned this year in class. After, click on the QLyrics and compose some silly lyrics to go along with your song!
4.You’ve had a rockin’ career so far and now you’re being interviewed on what you have accomplished. Open up the blank reflection document on your desktop and answer the following questions before saving it to your drive.
1. How did using Quavermusic.com help you in creating your song? Which way would be easier to write a song, Paper and pencil or the QComposer in Quaver?
2.Will you use Quavermusic.com to create music in the future? Even if it is not during music class?
It was a simple project to complete that took about 3-4 class periods. After everyone was done we even had a giggly share session with some of the songs that they created. Keeping track of their completion of the project was tough though, I had to make a few trips to our Media Center/Librarian to check on progress. This upcoming year I will have the new Teacher Admin Panel on Quaver so I can keep track of student progress by assigning them the song on QComposer and being able to receive those assignments back and grade them without having to annoy my Media Center neighbor so much. Learn more about the admin panel through a recent Quaver Webinar located here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22264644
Sooooo, I mentioned this was a two part blog post..remember? you’ll hopefully get part two next friday, my little avatar is still out questing!
The students walk into your classroom, it’s hot, they’re bored from listening to the rules all day, and it’s their first music class of the year. You go over the rules and make sure they remember the procedures, that takes about 5 minutes..right? So if you’re me you have 35 minutes left to get the students back into loving music class from day one. So what do I do? Get the music flowing! It is time to compose our beats, pass out the instruments and rock out. Here is a quick rhythm writing activity that can be modified to fit each grade level K-5:
– 2 beach balls with notes and rests drawn on to them.
-Whiteboard with markers
-Get one, two, or three staff lines set up on the board. Modify this depending on the class you have, example would be one line for K and 1, two lines for 2 and 3, and three lines for 4 and 5. Each line would be a separate rhythmic ostinato part so you can divide your class into different groups to play each line.
-Start bopping the beach balls around the class like popcorn, let the students know when you start counting down 3..2..1..DONE who ever has the balls must hold them and tell you what note or rest is under their right hands. Have a few practice rounds before you start writing it down. Try to have the ball land on different people each time.
-When you have your ostinatos pass out instruments and assign parts. I try to have at least one strong rhythmic student on each part and will coax the other members in the same group to watch that person to keep the beat because obviously you cannot play 3 parts at once.
-Practice each part as a class before you start putting them together. My students know when I say ostinato they know to keep repeating until I play a finishing drum sound or give a vocal que.
-Once you are playing as a group together ,get grooving to the beat! If you groove they will too. I will stop and switch up parts if we have extra time too. If you want to go the extra mile, record it and have them watch the fun next class and give you describing words about their ensemble.
Tech Variations:If you’re looking for a way to integrate technology into this lesson take out the whiteboard and markers and use a notation software on your teacher computer. There are a few options for free software; Finale notepad, QComposer on Quavermusic.com, Noteflight, and Musescore are just a few. Another tech variation on this activity is to add a little background beat to your composition with Garageband loops. Have it prepared or choose a couple of those techie angel students to make one that will go along as the class plays.
This activity is simple and gets the students comfortable and familiar with what you do again. Don’t want to write rhythms? Go for melodies and use Orff instruments. It’s a simple activity that gets you groovin’ from the start.