Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seating Chart App

For those music teachers with iPads or iPhones, here is a good seating chart app. It's called Smart Seat.

This is about the coolest thing since sliced bread. I've played with it and there are only two features I can think of that would make it any better:

1. The ability to export records to email for a whole class at a time rather than just individual students.
2. The ability to tell the random chooser to only choose students once before repeating.

I've looked at several of these types of apps and this is by far the best. It's worth the $3.99. I'll still use my Teacher's Pick (popsicle stick) app for choosing turns, but this is wonderful for seating arrangements.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Online Recording - The Return of Recorder Karate??

Last year, I wasn't able to do Recorder Karate with my students because I had morning playground supervision every day. Prior to last year, before school was a prime time for assessing students since I don't have enough time during class to listen to every child. Without that time, I just couldn't meet the needs of my Recorder Karate students. Being unable to do Recorder Karate was disappointing to me as well as my students. I decided that I need to try to think of a remedy to this problem so we don't have the same issue next year.

Yesterday, another music teacher posted his Recorder Karate plan on the Music K-8 Mailing List. It was very well set up. The thing that really caught my eye was his Recorder Karate Testing Hotline. The teacher had it set up so that students would call his school voicemail between 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. and recorder their recorder test to his voice mail. How cool is that? I never thought of that. One problem: I am notoriously bad at checking my voice mail and the red light only blinks about once every 10 seconds, so I never see it. Hmmm. What other options might there be? So I went searching. I found two interesting things in my search this morning. One has great possibility for The Return of Recorder Karate and the other won't work for Recorder Karate, but has other possibilities for the music classroom. And both are free.

Vocaroo looks like the answer to our Recorder Karate problems. It is a simple online recording feature. Click Record. Play your Recorder Karate test. Click Stop. Listen to the recording. If it is sufficient, email it to the teacher. Super Slick...if it works. I'll try it out in the fall and see how students do with it.

The other site I found that was interesting is the audio portion of  Aviary (the site also have photo editing and design features). This looks like it might be something PC users can use in lieu of Garage Band. You can even create your own loops. I have Garage Band at school, so I don't know if I will use this site, but I found it interesting none-the-less.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

iPad Apps

Here are a couple of iPad apps I learned about today. They look really cool and I'm anxious to try them out in the classroom.

Finger Stomp: The app is $1.99, but there is a lite version of the iPhone app you can try out first. The app uses Stomp-like items to create sounds. You can create your own rhythms and record them.

Singing Fingers :This is a free app. Just touch the screen while you are making sound and watch the paint appear. Touch it again to hear what you just painted. There is a YouTube video you can watch to see what it's all about.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The first posting for the new blog

For the 2011-12 school year, I will attempt to keep a blog of activities in the music room at Bert Raney. Postings may include updates about what each grade level is learning, links to websites or videos I find interesting, reminders about music events at YME, etc.

Since school is not in session right now, there isn't a lot of news. The tile floor is being replaced in the music room this month (hooray!) and I hope to be back in the music room putting things back in order at some point in July.

One of my music teacher friends pointed me to a really cool website last week. It's called Isle of Tune. Beware. It's addicting. You may get sucked into the site and suddenly realize it's an hour later than you thought. :) I hear they are close to having an iPad app as well. We will be exploring this site as a composition activity on the SMARTboard next fall.