It feels so very weird not getting ready for the new school year. Usually by this time my room is unpacked, lessons are planned, and my new equipment is unpacked and ready to go. In a way I do miss it, but I’ve been so busy and so very excited with the new job my mind has been very focused lately.
I do still miss unwrapping my new equipment at the beginning of the year. So shiny and new and ready to be used in the classroom. One thing I remembered was how awesome it was to get new tech equipment. Last year I got a brand new Snowball Microphone and webcam, you know what I did with it? I Skyped.
Now some might be hesitant to Skype, the work of finding someone to Skype with, setting up a time, getting the equipment, testing it out. It all takes a lot of work, but I raise my right hand to you and solemnly swear that it gets easier and even more fun the more you do it. (I also solemnly swear that I am up to no good but that’s a whole different story.) With Skype you have so many options to connect your students with the outside world. Skype gives you and your students a key to unlock the door that leads outside your classroom walls and allows you to explore the world together and meet new friends along the way.
With websites like https://education.skype.com and social media sites like Twitter you can easily find colleagues across the globe to connect with.
Just last year alone I Skyped with 10 different classrooms with my students. Each an enriching learning experience that left the classes walking out and talking about it well into the following few months. It leaves a lasting impression on them. There are so many things you can do over Skype in the classroom. There’s a few that stick out to me for a music classroom:
Performances- I had my 1st and 2nd graders working on grade level shows, we Skyped in with several classes and sang them a few songs to help us practice being in front of an audience. You can do the same with your classes, have the students sing for any class that is willing to listen. It will not only get them comfortable with performing, but is also a great activity for performance etiquette.
Project Presentations- Have a project the students are presenting? Make it fun and invite an expert or maybe a well known school figure into your class via Skype. They can make comments, provide encouragement, and just be someone new to see the students work and break the everyday cycle of students presenting to you and their classmates.
Guest Speakers- Talking about a certain subject in class is a perfect time to invite in an expert via Skype. From composers to audio engineers to other teachers. You can bring in just about anybody into your classroom for little to no money to talk to your students!
Guest Ensembles- Ever think about how you wish you could bring in a Symphony Orchestra or a Jazz Ensemble to your students? Skype is an easy and effective way to bring a full performance into your room. The students can hear live music, be able to ask the performers questions, and see instruments up close and personal.
Song Shares- The simplest and most done form of Skyping for the music classroom. Each class shares a song with one another, students can compliment each other and then ask questions to each class. This is a great one for a Skyping first timer.
What would you use Skype for in your Classroom?
Be sure to share your Skyping experiences!