Take Time to Craft

Okay so I recently had to take a break from substitute teaching because of medical reasons. Which allowed me to have about 2 weeks of free time! While I spent time with my family and visiting with friends and grandparents I took time to catch up on things I’ve wanted to do for awhile.

Project One: A book made through Snapfish for my grandparents 50th Anniversary. If you’ve never made a photo book on a site like Snapfish it is really easy. You pick your theme, upload your photos, and place them on the pages. They have colors/patterns for backgrounds, text options, and even stickers you can insert for added decorating.

Project Two: Shoe Organization. I got 6 milk crates from Target this last fall when student/dorm supplies are on sale. Then I recycled all of the shoe boxes from my closet and organized my shoes into piles. Flats, Black, Silver, Sandals, Boots, Heels/Wedges. These were my 6 big categories so then I made labels in Word and laminated them, cut them out, and taped them to the front of the crates. The crates stack perfect in the bottom of a closet at two high and then three across. They move easily on carpet to rearrange. Here is what my labels look like Shoe:Bag Organization

Project Three: Make-up Brush Holder. Easy! The supplies you need: Mason Jar, Paint Brush, Modge Podge, Glitter, Newspaper, Ribbon, Clear Sealant. Take an old mason jar and clean it inside and out. Layout your newspaper so you can keep your excess glitter. Cover the mason jar completely on the outside with the Modge Podge. Shake glitter over your jar making sure to cover all the white adhesive that you just put on. About an hour later your jar will be completely dry and you can spray it with a clear sealant. Allow 2-3 hours for this to dry completely. Add your ribbon around the outside and put your brushes in their new home!

Project Four: Chalkboard Coasters. I found a great tutorial on how to make chalkboard coasters here by Living Well Spending Less. Allow your tiles to dry and love you buttons! I found my button collection minimal and found some cute ones at Michaels for cheap. Adding black felt to the back lets you keep your table tops nice and allows for coaster stacking without scratching.

So yeah those were my big crafts/organizing for the last week! Remember to always take time for yourself and relax 🙂

P.S. I’ll add my photos as soon as I find my camera again….!


Iowa State, C&I 302 reflection

The course C&I 302 at Iowa State is entitled, Principles and Practices of Digital Learning. During this course we learned about using technology effectively in the classroom, different tech tools for the classroom, took a crash course in Google Drive, learned about theories, blogging, digital classrooms, grant writing and much more. I learned most about the different things you should think about when incorporating technology in you classroom. You have to remember the crossovers in technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge and remember why each part is important in teaching. Also, I was not good at Google Drive before and it sort of scared me but now that I know what is available and what it can do I am going to use this knowledge.

I think that the material we learned in this class is important because it is some of the stuff that you don’t learn in other courses but need to know. Without this course I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving my students an iPad and letting them play a music game. I will want it now to be something that has more value and that is actually tied into what we are learning. That may mean me making a change in lessons or creating my own activities.

This class will impact my future as I now know many new tools that I can bring to my classroom and recommend to other teachers and future teachers. I think my room will be using technology as an effective tool to enhance creativity in music writing, reading, researching, and planning.


Alt. Final: EdCamp DSM

What: I attended EdCamp DSM this fall and attended three workshops

So What: I attended my first workshop on how to look at your classroom set-up. It was titled: Got Desks? Let’s Talk Room Design. We went around to two different 3rd grade classrooms. Both non-traditionally set-up. That meaning that there were lowered tables, rugs, couches, comfy chairs, and bookcases random scattered. No more rows of perfect desks and chairs. Letting students sit comfortably so that they will pay more attention. If you don’t like sitting in those hard chairs that long why would they? Also, being in these non-traditional set-ups allows for students to have their own learning communities.

The second workshop I attended was titled, MakerSpaces. We talked about different tech tools that are being used in schools, whether that is in the library or after school or even used by the main teacher. Tools such as 3D printers, Makey Makey items, squishy circuits, and shiroballs. These were things I had never experienced when I was in school and didn’t know existed. There was discussion and videos sharing people’s experiences with these tools.

The third workshop I attended was Rocks v. Sucks. Topic ideas were given and the people in the room move about to the side of the room that matches what they believe. The options were Rocks, Sucks, and Muggel (in between). Topics varied from no tech in schools to dress codes in schools. Each group of people got their own turn to stand their ground then after there got to be a quick timed discussion.

Now What: Now that I know that EdCamp’s exist I really want to keep going. It is a great chance to network with other teachers and learn things other than from reading online. After the workshops that I attended I think that I will be more willing to have my general music classroom set-up different than kids in rows. Also, I think that letting students use technology to increase their creativity would be a nice thing for every school district to start. The topics from Rocks v. Sucks got me thinking, and now I am trying to figure out where most of my ideas came from and if they are well backed up. Overall, a great day and I think that every teacher should attend their local EdCamp!


Tech Tools to Keep

Two tools that I found that I could use from my classmates Tech presentations are Plickers and Remind App. Plickers would be a good way for students in my general music classroom to answer multiple choice questions without having others look off of their answers. The Remind App would let me send out lesson reminders for my 5th and 6th grade students so that their parents could remind them of their lesson the next day. It would allow for me not to share my personal number out but still would let them contact me and vice versa.

An easy way of staying up to date with constantly changing and updating tools is to attend conferences or workshops. Teachers are allowed a few PD days and could go to things such as ITEC or EdCamp DSM or even in their subject like IMEA. Even just looking online at blogs or Pinterest to see what new teachers are using in their classrooms is a good idea.


Technology Review: SmartMusic Program

The technology tool that I am going to review is SmartMusic. You can find this program at, http://www.smartmusic.com/, it is an expense but can be beneficial. The educator subscription is $140/year, student subscription is $40/year, practice room subscription is $44/year. This program is supported on iPad, PC, and Mac devices. It is a program that needs installed on the computer or downloaded directly from the site.

The purpose of the tool is to give students immediate feedback on their music skills. They are able to record themselves playing and then listen to their performance and see the errors that they made. It automatically checks the notes and the rhythms to see what the student knows. The program has method books and solo repertoire available for different instrumentation. It also has the accompaniment available for students to practice their solo repertoire.

If this is installed on a computer in a practice room then students use their student log-in. They can find their practice assignments. Students then play to the computer and as they play the computer program marks what they missed and their accuracy. Students are able to keep recording and then submit their practice assignments for the teacher to grade.

This can be used for students that don’t have an accompanist. It gives them the experience of playing with an accompanist. This can be used with any level musician. A second way to use this is to have students do a contest where they can only submit their sight-reading 2x and then later in the semester try it again. This tests sight-reading abilities and improvement in that skill set.


Presenter Experience

I noticed that the presenters talked about the technology that is their favorite and why. Along with the technology that they get to use. How social media has or is effecting teaching collaboration. I really liked that Erica was honest in saying that teaching can be lonely. But then gave her way around it including communities via Google and Twitter. Most of the interview I thought was about connecting with other teachers no matter where you are. It surprised me that you can tell the students “I don’t know how to use this tool, can you come up and help?” And that you have to be forward about the fact that you don’t know something.

I think that I wouldn’t mind being a tech integration specialist someday. I’d like to help teachers understand how to use technology more effectively in their classrooms. I learned by watching and listening that connecting is important and theorist/theories are just that something you should think about but it doesn’t need to drive your lesson creating.


Technology Review: forscore App

The tech tool that I’m going to be reviewing is forscore. It’s an music app available for iPad and iPhone. You can find this tool in the App Store, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forscore/id363738376?mt=8, it is a $9.99 app but allows many things that music teachers and accompanists normally carry around in giant tote bags. This is solely an Apple application from what I can find. You would download it and then can upload scores to it.

The main purpose of this tool is for accompanists and music teachers to get rid of their giant pile of solo books and scores. This tool allows for teachers to put together set lists or lists of the pieces that will be sung by each group. It lets notes be marked in if a student or group needs to look at something more later on. There is a way to make measures larger and zoom in and out. The biggest feature is that it can flip pages of the score with the tap of a screen, normally pianists need a page turner but with this they need one second for their hand to touch the screen or there is a piano pedal attachment for the iPad that will flip the page with the foot pedal push.

This app works with the world’s library and cloud services. So scores can be scanned and uploaded. It has a pitch pipe, a pdf merger, can set page numbers, and a virtual keyboard that allows practice away from a piano.

One way how to use this app: Download the app and take pictures of score pages with the iPad camera. Then upload  the photos into the app. It will merge the pages if you tell it to. Select that piece as the piece you want to play, sit at the piano and play what is written on the screen. When you hit the end of the screen, tap the screen and it will flip to the next page.

For a class piano course, have students work this app and set up their music into the app. Then when you practice with them write in notes. As they perform in a class recital you can have their score on your device to watch and make sure that they don’t mess up the things that they especially notated. Any age piano class.

The second way is if the students in a general music class all have iPad access you can have them using this instead of paper music. With teacher access you are able to flip the page for them if you want to work on a certain area. Students can highlight as go the parts that they think that need work, that can then be shown to the teacher without them forgetting where they marked, it is clearly visible.