So far, this year has been a blast! I am once again teaching Core Music, and I have no doubt in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be. I absolutely love my job 🙂
This week, I received a rather amazing goody from my school district: a Music Technology Integration kit. Sounds fancy, eh? It consists of a MacBook Pro and an overhead projector. At the beginning of the school year, I had to write a proposal outlining how I would use technology in the music room. I guess they liked what I wrote! There are only four of these kits in the district (of over 100 elementary schools), and we get to keep the kit for half of the school year.
I will be the first to admit that I am rather new to using technology in the classroom. Last year, when I taught grade two, I ventured into the world of iPads and KidsBlog. I barely dipped my baby toe into this great big pond. It can be rather intimidating to receive a package of technology and be told “Here! Figure out how to use it!” but that is exactly what I am trying to do. There were no instructions, guidelines, sample lessons, or links to great resources and websites. I am left to figure this out for myself.
The first thing I did was head over to Teachers Pay Teachers and purchase some pre-made power points with songs and activities. Emily F, of “The Sweetest Melody” blog has some fantastic resources in her TpT store. I started with the Elementary Music Bundle 1 set. I’ve been using songs and activities from this set for the last three days, and I am loving it! At first, I felt a bit awkward teaching from these slides, as I didn’t really know what I was doing. But, the nice thing about teaching music is that you often get to teach the same lesson to multiple classes 🙂
A few quick observations from my first week using technology in my music room.
- Totally cuts down on prep time! I have been hand writing charts for all the songs we use in class, which is painfully time consuming as I get rather picky about beats lining up and such.
- I am able to do a lot of cross-curricular teaching. My grade 4s are learning a song about frogs, and it was easy-peasy to pull up a YouTube video of the life cycle of a frog.
- The kids love it and are much more engaged with learning.
- Having exciting visuals projected on my board is a wonderful thing for the primary kids who are just beginning to read (especially considering the high number of ELL students we have).
- Technology needn’t be confined just to the teaching process itself. I am finding ways of organizing my resources, planning lessons, and doing assessments as well.
After only a few days of using this technology, it is becoming evident that it is an incredibly powerful tool that has many benefits, including building a strong case for music education advocacy. By using technology, I am explicitly adding cross-curricular elements to my classes that help support the learning that is going on in the classroom.
As the year progresses (and with it, my ability and comfort level with using this technology) I intend to post lesson ideas, successful (and not-so-successful) experiences, and document my own learning. I am brimming with ideas, and can’t wait to explore!!