With the new year almost upon me I have been thinking in over drive about how to make the year over the top amazing. I reflected on my sucesses over the past few years and realized Skyping with other classes across the country was something I needed to bring back this year in full force. It allows my students to connect with other students and music professionals across the globe to gain insight as to who else and what else is out there beyond the limits of our city that not many of them have ever crossed.
During a Skype connection, students practice proper audience etiquette while listening to the other line. They listen to other students sing or play songs we might necessarily learn in our class and learn about different parts of the world from another students perspective. They also get to perform for someone other than myself or their school and families in an informal setting. While all of this is happening I’m seamlessly integrating technology into my classroom in a meaningful way and giving students an experience they will never forget.
Using Skype for purposes in the elementary music classroom may seem limited at first glance, but being able to just share music with others can provide a vast set of opportunities if you keep an open mind about it. With song shares, skyping in other ensembles to perform with you during concerts, and playing composer pen pals your classes can make music and memories.
Finding other people to Skype with can sometimes be a tough time, but when you build up connections through social media such as Twitter and Facebook you get endless possibilities for connections all throughout the year. Putting out a tweet or a post in a Facebook group is the best way to start. Use a hashtag like #musedchat or #edchat on Twitter, post in the Music Teacher Facebook group saying what you are looking for and see what kind of response you get. I’ve Skyped with classes from Illinois to my own state in New Hampshire, and I hope to expand to more places this year. If you are a social media novice and are uncomfortable using Twitter or Facebook, try using: www.education.skype.com a website that connect educators from all over the world for the purpose of finding people to Skype with. Creating a profile and a lesson page will help connect you with other educators and start making those Skype connections.
So far for this year I have one song share in October planned, one possible multi-school performance for Jazz month, and a possible ensemble to Skype together with mine for a concert. I hope to have more connections come up during the school year such as music business professionals for my 5th graders, composers, and maybe even a Skype visit from Mr. Quaver , whether it is another class or a music professional to talk to I know it will be a great experience for my students.
If you would like to Skype with my students or if you would like to Skype with me my Skype handle is: Musiccargirl14 and you can find my Skype Classroom profile at: https://education.skype.com/users/66469-musiccargirl14