Well, today I had one of those “Oh no! It’s not working” moments. I got to school, set up my laptop and projector, get my powerpoints ready for my morning classes, and….. nothing.
Nothing appeared on the board. All I could see was a projected image of my desktop wallpaper. No powerpoint. Nothing.
Of course, this happened right at the start of a grade one class. One thing I’ve learned from being a primary classroom teacher is that kids left with nothing to do quickly turn into a classroom management nightmare. So, rather than fiddling with my technology (leaving a bunch of 6 year olds to fiddle around on the choir risers), I decided to scrap my lesson (my oh-so-wonderful lesson on So-Mi), and do something else. I quickly pulled out some favourite music games and we soldiered on.
The next group of kids through my door was a grade 4/5 class. As they were entering the room, I remembered a snowman song I had done in my Intro Orff class this past summer. We’ve just had three days of snow (the first snow all winter!), and, in Vancouver, when it snows, you enjoy it while it lasts! Perfect opportunity to do a snowman song!
I had spent my entire hour-long prep on Monday planning some amazing lessons using all this new technology, and was bound and determined to use all my new tools. However, when something doesn’t work the way you want it to, you need to improvise. After all, we’re musicians. That’s what we do, right? We improvise!
You know what? I’m glad I had a technical glitch today. It reminded me that, as fantastic as technology is, we cannot rely on it to teach for us. That, at the core of what we do is the music and the kids.
As I sat on the floor with my classes today, working on this snowman song, I heard some amazing things from the kids. (Ok, I am totally bragging: I had my grade 2/3 class singing two different harmonic ostinati together, and they sounded fantastic!)
I’ve decided to spend the rest of the week teaching this snowman song; those powerpoint slides can wait until next week – they’re floating safely in a cloud somewhere in cyber space. However, I do intend to use technology at the end of the lesson: I am going to take a video of the kids performing the song, and show it to them so they can work on self-assessment. Hopefully, once I get the “No Media” list from the office, I can post a video of the kids on my blog, too!