Step Up to the Mic: Using our new Blue Microphones

     This week has been busy and interesting to say the least. With it being the first week back for teachers we have been having 3 days of inservice with plenty of classroom time to set up, it has a been a very productive week for me that way but unfortunately I ended up acquiring an infection at the beginning of the week and was in quite a lot of pain most of those days, don’t worry I’ve been to the doctor but the meds have taken a lot out of me as I sit here and type my eyes are already drooping. My favorite part about this week was going into school on monday and getting all of my budget orders I had placed last year. It truly was like Christmas unwrapping my new portable speaker, movement props and all kinds of brand new music. My big purchase other than my speaker was a plethora of brand new portable microphones from www.bluemic.com . After visiting my good friend Stephanie Sanders at her school last year I got a few great ideas for using mics in some of my classroom projects so I purchase 4 Snowflake mics and 1 Snowball mic for use this coming year.

I tend to do a lot of recording in my classroom so I thought it was about time I gave my students a little better audio than what our netbook and iPad built in mics have provided in the past. There are 3 ways we will be using these mics in the classroom:

  • The Blue Snowball will be hooked to the teacher computer: With our future Skype sessions this year better audio will be needed and to record more students performing to share with the community on our class webpages.
  • Netbooks: using different websites and software that allow us to record will give small groups of students opportunity to record various composition projects. Our netbooks are connected to the schools wireless so they can travel anywhere in the school or out on the playground and still be able to record.
  • iPads: I have a few iPads that have a home in my classroom and with the use of the Apple camera connection kit students will be able to take the high quality Snowflake mic and hook it to the iPad so they can record using apps such as Pocket Wavepad and Garageband.

These new mics will add a level of professional quality to student projects and provide another experience for students to learn more about proper recording techniques.

So what kinds of projects can you do in an elementary classroom using microphones? Here are a few suggestions I have done or will be doing this year:

  • Build a Recording Studio: I have posted about this idea before in my Recording Studio post where I cleaned out my closet and had students recording their own original compositions in there. It was a great success last year and with the new mics it will add a level of awesome!
  • Recording nature sounds: A great way to help students discover music in everything around them. Using the iPads to record they will have fun finding music in everything they see and hear.
  • Make your own rap: Pull in all the notation basics they know into one big project and have them record the finished product. Learn more about my lesson for this here: Silly Rap Rhythms with Quaver
  • Full class performances: Perfect as a carrot to dangle over them for working hard or to record them as part of their reflection process. Recording your classes singing certain songs in just the classroom setting or a full performance has many benefits.
  • Assessment: This is a big one, not really a project but having students in a large class record their voices or play an instrument individually while you take care of the rest of the class will help in creating concrete evidence for the grades you give and make it easier on you to truly hear a student’s progress in a more relaxed setting after the class has left.

These new microphones are going to be an awesome new tool this year for my students. It adds a new level of tech to my already tech classroom and will help teach students proper use of microphones in recording and performance settings.

IMG_0006My lonely iRig Mic has friends now!

Did you know I will be talking about recording with elementary students at TI:ME/TMEA 2014 this coming February? 

If you use microphones for projects in your classrooms how do you do it? What kinds of activities are projects do you use with them?

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