Sharing Student Work : A PSA on the Importance on Sharing

Sharing my students work when I taught was always important. Not only did it show the world what my students were doing, but it also gave them more pride in what they did knowing others were going to see it. We often video taped and recorded performances and we also Skyped and sent our recordings and links to others to view and comment on.

     I always and still think it is very important to share work because it inspires other music educators AND shows the community what you do in your music classroom and how important it is. Social media is a great way to quickly give hundreds or thousands of people a quick glance into the daily goings on. The new trend out there is to start a classroom Twitter account and share from there. I have even seen teachers allow students to take over the account, tweeting about what they learned for the day.

      From displaying work on bulletin boards to social media accounts, sharing is really caring. Showing the world how awesome your classroom is. Don’t be afraid to share!


3 sites to try out:

YouTube–  Did you know that you can upload videos to YouTube and keep them out of the public eye? The “Unlisted” option when uploading will hide your videos from everyone except those with the link. That way you can film projects, performances, even cute moments and send links to the people you want to see them, keeping the videos still tucked away. I use YouTube a lot to store my videos so I can share with whom I need or would like.

Facebook Music Teachers– Music Teachers sharing with other Music Teachers in a closed and safe group. It is a great way to get others to see your work and get ideas for their own classroom, but also to get feedback on the great things you do!

School Social Media accounts-  Not all districts have social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter, but if yours has one, that is the best place to share student work and the on goings of your class! I had a rule of “No faces no names” on my personal account but my district could share! If your district does not have any accounts, what are you waiting for?


How are you sharing?

Interactive Boards

I hear from two types of teachers, those who have interactive boards, and those who don’t, though the latter had slowly started to diminish because they are becoming more and more a staple in the music classroom. Administrators and tech departments are seeing a need and finding a better use of them in music. Why? because music teachers are awesome, creative, and can come up with the coolest ways to use them. If you don’t have one but want one, as I’ve said before, show your administration you have a need! Talk about how you would use it, show how your lesson would be improved, maybe even come up with a list of cheaper alternatives to present that will work equally as well.

With the ability to interact with what is projected on the screen, teaching, composing, and creating music have never been so much fun and with the tools now available, music teachers can now push the boundaries of what technology can do in the classroom. Doing things from creating beat boxing groups to writing notes and pressing play, and even immersing yourself in a game of identifying musical symbols. The possibilities remain bound only by one’s creativity.


Smartboard – One of the most well known interactive boards, Smartboard has the ability to be hooked on the wall, on a stand, or you can go with a Slate. You can create your own Smart Notebook files to do with classes and even use others that are shared on websites such as the Smart Exchange

If you’re looking for a great go to book about how to use a Smartboard in the music classroom check out my friend and superhero Amy Burn’s book Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a Smartboard!  

Promethean–  These are absolutely gorgeous. With a crystal clear picture, sensitive touch, and ability to have more than one student using it at the same time, this board is amazing to see in action. Did you also know that it reacts to your touch not by touching the screen but by sensors placed around the front of the screen? Too cool right?

Mimio A cheaper alternative to a Smartboard or  the Promethean Board. The Mimio attaches directly to a whiteboard and plugs into your computer which also has to be plugged into the projector. Very useful, especially if you tend to switch rooms every year and want to take it with you. They can be easy to set up as well once you get acquainted with it.

Wii-mote Board – A really cheap way to get an interactive board if you are tech savy enough! Using a wii-mote and an IR Pen you can use the available software to interact with your computer. Can be easy for a Mac user, little more difficult for a PC user but still completely doable! I sometimes will travel with my Wii-mote and IR pen to presentations just to show how easy it is to create an interactive board with a little creativity and brain power.

Splashtop– Did you know I never had an interactive board when I taught? I had an iPad though, and by downloading the Splashtop Streamer and App ($4.99 in the App store.) I was able to turn my iPad into a giant remote for my computer. I would walk around wirelessly and have students interact with what was being projected on the screen.

What do you use in your classroom? If you do not have one which would you want to use?

Putting Music to Your Tall Tale: Storytelling in the Music Room

Stories just aren’t for the library or regular classroom. They fit into all areas of the school environment from Art to PE to even Music. Meant to engage students and teach lessons that the audience will remember for a long time. Telling stories predates writing. Meant to pass down history and share and interpret experiences; story telling is an ancient and time tested way to teach the lessons we learned to a younger generation. 

Some of the best memories I recall from when I was younger were the times I would listen to our local story tellers. It was enchanting to listen to the pictures they painted in my head. Weaving tales of giant blue ox and glass slippers with magic, mystery, and inspiration. I always loved telling stories to my students, when ever I needed to get a point across I would pull a tall tale from my head, bringing in singing, dancing, and acting. I could engage a room of 5th graders if I wanted to!

Music tells a story, It always has. Even if there are no words, through dynamics, tempo, even articulation, it expresses to the listener what the composer is trying to convey. Musicians are storytellers.

Here are some ways I use to incorporate storytelling into my lessons:

Freddie the Frog- I was and still am a big user of Freddie the Frog in my lessons. I love the way he weaves musical concepts into story and becomes a fixed staple in my students lives, so much so that he is asked for over and over again. One of the activities I would do with him was to re read his first book Freddie the Frog and the Thump in the Night to my 3rd graders who were learning about how to read the staff. The class would then go around the room taking turns adding one note to our class melody by telling me the note name and letter. After everyone had a turn, the class would then challenge me to turn our melody into a Freddie story because each note represented a place on Treble Clef island. I would then go through our melody making up a story about Freddie’s day with Eli before we labeled the melody for solfege to sing it and then move it to instruments.  Students could understand the melody so much more relating it to our friend Freddie.

Puppet Pals– A free app recommendation that lets the user pick different characters and add scenery and then create their own story. Has a recording feature to capture student work! Would be a great activity to have students write their own story and then set music to it.

Isle of Tune– A music generator that looks like a neighborhood! Place trees, houses, cars, everything you would need to create your own block. After, as students are listening to the music it created, have them write about their new musical neighborhood. They create their own stories about what they made on the screen.

Book Creator ($4.99)- Another app recommendation, students make their own books. They can create their own stories and set music to it or put their knowledge of a subject you have been teaching them into the book showing off everything they’ve learned. You could create some great books about composers for a composer unit!


What stories will your music write?