TO THE PHONEBOX! : Challenge accepted, Challenge completed.

This is a story about two cardboard boxes and a woman who went without social media for two weeks. What happened, you ask? A marathon crafting session of epic proportions…

It was a regular Friday afternoon. I had gone without social media for several days now and had checked a lot of work off my to do list deciding it was time to give my brain a nice long break. When I give my brain a break though it usually entails doing a mindless yet productive activity to keep my hands busy. I love to build with my hands, crafting, woodworking, gardening, automotive and electrical work, it makes me happier than a computer ever would. I even have a few years of experience working as in an electrical supply store lighting showroom maintenance and sales person fixing ceiling fans, selling and maintaining light fixtures, etc.  Well, My students had recently issued a dare to me knowing I was at least going to ponder went past the pondering stage and into reality and I’m going to show you how I did it:

That’s right, BOOM CHICA BOOM a Quaver Music Shop Phone Box. I made this one from scratch! Here’s what you need to make one yourself:

-Two large moving boxes from Lowe’s

-Lots of duct tape

-Lots of pictures of composers and a control unit for ultimate time travel.

-A box cutter

-Spray paint

-Construction paper

-4 Foam core boards with the word “Telephone” painted on one side.

-aandd I know this is gonna be hard but grab that lasso and go get yourself a mighty fine black hole to harness it’s awesome time travel power. I’ve got 8!

First what you have to do is to duct tape those two boxes together to make your shell.

Make sure to cut a door so you can get in and out of it. BE CAREFUL, one wrong move and you are caught in that box like a mouse in a mouse trap.

Help!I’m stuck!

    Next is the windows, a real phone box has that pattern of windows on three of the sides including the side with the door. My box has 5 rows of windows on each side with a window pattern of small-big-small on each level.

      I used a regular box cutter to cut out each window after I measured them all out. Be VERY careful when using the box cutter though, especially if you’re accident prone!:

PacMan Kisses Make it all Better

      NEXT we inhale some spray paint, JUST kidding..well just don’t sit inside that thing without a respirator..I made that mistake and am still sneezing black! I had 3 cans of red for the outside to get a nice glossy red coat and 1 can of black covered the inside nicely. Do it outside and make sure to wear icky clothes..and a respirator..yup DON’T FORGET THE RESPIRATOR! 

      After I let the box dry for at least a few hours, I grabbed those 4 foam core boards that had Telephone painted on them and glued them around the top outside of the box and clamped them gently so they would not fall.

As those were drying I chose to cut plastic wrap out and glued it to the inside creating that window effect. (You do not have to do this part it will look pretty similar without it.)

   When everything is dry it is time to lasso those black holes and paste them to your ceiling in order to create and cool effect when the students look up so they feel like they are traveling back in time with Quaver. I also lined the border of the pictures with black construction paper to give a neater appearance. After the ceiling is done crawl right in there and start glueing your favorite composers to the back in a nice display. I found all of my pictures here: Composer coloring sheets (I also lined these pictures with black construction paper to give a neater appearance)

      NOW you’re almost there! I took a screen grab (you can draw your own) of the controls in the phone box on the website which I pasted to a manila folder and duct taped to the inside of the box. In the folder I personally printed out packets of information on the different composers and some things about madrigals. You can put anything in there you wish students to discover.



Strange students/sisters might “accidentally” get stuck in there.The eject to the 1500s button is located on the roof OR put it out of reach until you want to have it used.

Happy Crafting!

NHCMTC “Music Tech Made Simple” Presentation.

   It’s only a few days away and I’ve spent weeks going over what I want to do and say. It all goes down at 10:30am est on Tuesday 11/27. Below is the link to my powerpoint and handout for my very FIRST conference presentation all by myself at NHSTE’s Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. I plan on going through technology found in the normal classroom and showing how it can be used in the music classroom setting giving examples, resources, and suggested activities for most of it. I hope to demonstrate the most important resources from my favorite MPLN heroes and promote the best PLN in the world giving who ever is in my audience a better look on how the music classroom is changing with the help of technology. 

Conference Presentations

     Hopefully I’ve got plenty of caffeine (I’ll gladly accept more!), a friendly and revved up audience, and possibly a few MPLNers cheering me on! I’m so nervous!! 

 Any comments with tips and advice would be great appreciated!

Rhythm Spies

I know I didn’t post on Friday, I’m trying to be strong and not use social media until the Sunday after Thanksgiving just to see if I can do it (So don’t suck me back in! I’m weak!) Feel free to promote this on twitter or facebook if you find this. If you have my email I’m still allowing myself to use that! hehe.  This is a cute activity I’ve been doing with my students as a right before break activity.

Rhythm Code:

  • When students walk into the room have a secret code written on the board and say you will take 5 guesses as soon as you are done attendance. Let them guess anything but don’t give away any answers until the 5 hands have been done.
  • My code looked like this: 

  • I recieved guesses all over the board on this one. From Turkey to dominoes to a beat it was pretty funny. When I got my 5 hands it was then I revealed that the code on the board was “Tah” “TeeTee” “Rest” “Tah”. It was then I got a bunch of “Ms. Dwinal! You’re a good spy!”  To which I replied “Now it’s your turn”
  • The key for building these rhythms is as follows:

                                       No Dots= A Quarter Rest (Whisper ‘rest’ or say nothing) / One Dot= A Quarter Note (Tah) / Two Dots= Two Eighth Notes (TeeTee) / Four Dots= Four Sixteenth Notes (TicaTica)

  • Now, hand out a piece of blank paper and a pencil to each student. Have them fold the paper into 4 sections and then unfold it. They will then draw 4 boxes like above in each of those sections and then using the key they will write a secret rhythm code in each of those 4 sections.
  • When everyone is complete students will then make their way around the room asking 2-3 people per rhythm to “decode” it by saying the rhythm out loud with all the correct “Tahs” and” Tee Tees”  When someone gets one of their rhythms right they write their name down in that section of the paper. The students can ask 1 person up to two rhythms on their paper before finding another classmate to ask.
  • When everyone is done their papers should look a lot like my example:

Rhythm Spies Example

         The kids get a kick out of trying to write their own “code” and pretending to be spies. They are also practicing their rhythm reading as well! You can use any rhythm counting system you have with this.

Understanding What a Measure is Using Blooms Taxonomy

Today during out district PD day I ended up in a workshop with other elementary specialists on using Blooms taxonomy and special questioning techniques more in our lessons. It was very interesting to look at some of these techniques that I normally don’t think about when lesson planning and try to apply it to what I do in the music classroom. In our Blooms Taxonomy session we thought up a concept in our content area and went through each step one at a time while coming up with activities and key questions to use in our classroom that applied to each area of Blooms Taxonomy. My colleague was all over this activity which got me excited and the both of us created the following for understanding all about measures using the steps of Blooms Taxonomy:

All About Measures


Activities- Questioning and Discussions

Key Questions- What is a measure? Where does it start and end?

Can you point out where the measure starts and ends?

How many beats are in the measures in front of you?


Activities: Explaining and Interpreting

Key Questions: Can you count the measures in front of you? How did you get that number?


Activities: Label the first 32 measures of the song in front of you, perform or find an 8 measure song, Compose an 8 measure song

Key Questions: How did you label the measures? How do you identify a measure?


Activities: Analyze measures in different meters

Key Questions: How many beats make it up? Can you break it down by note or rest? If we have a song that is 16 measures and each measure has 3 beats, how many beats are in the song total?


Activities: Give students a piece of music without a meter and have them identify the meter, give students a worksheet and have them divide beats into measures of 2, 3 and 4.

Key Questions: How would you figure out what meter a piece of music is in?


Activities: Play or compose a short song in a meter of ___(2/4,3/4,4/4)

Key Questions: Can you compose a piece of music in the following meter? How many ways can you create a measure in the following meter?


                  What concepts would you use the steps of Blooms Taxonomy for to come up with lessons and questions?

The End Result

A couple of weeks ago I posted about an upcoming project my students were going to be working on as a cumulative assessment to end their quarter: Silly Rap Rhythms with Quaver. Now that the quarter has ended, the projects are graded, and I have piles of great work and a whole library of new recordings. I chose some of the best worksheets and recordings to share. The student work in this post is from 3rd-5th graders!

Lyrics and rhythm worksheets:

Pie Rocks

Drums Go

Ipods Like Ice Cream


Recordings on Sound Cloud:


Drums Go

My Dog Has Fleas


Chocolate is Good

Music is Our Life

Harry Larry

Lemonade Stand



Ice Cream

My wonderful students created these songs from the ground up. I usually focus on the basics of creating rhythms during the first quarter I see them and this was a perfect wrap up for everything. They created the lyrics, they composed the rhythms (We used dot notation as explained in the Quaver Music Rhythm episode), and then they logged into and created a background song for their recording in QGrooves creative using Quaver Music’s new rap loops. After ALL of that they learned how to work a mic and run a recording app on the iPad and recorded on their own in the recording studio.

 It took a while to complete all of this but it was a great time for independent learning and discovery for my students and also great one on one instruction time. The project received wonderful reviews from my students and I can’t wait to do it again at school #2 this quarter!