Category Archives: Creative Thinking

Music in the Classroom

photo credit to kvanhorn on Flickr

This great post on Byrdseed Gifted, a fabulous resource for higher level thinking ideas, inspired me to come up with more ways to get music into my own classroom.  To extend one of Ian’s ideas even further, I would like to use music to communicate some of my expectations.  Students seem to forget, sometimes, what they should do when they finish their work.  What if the background music answered this question?  If I am playing Bach, for example, could this be the signal that they are supposed to check over their work, and then read a book?  Or, could Beethoven mean that they can find another partner who is finished and do a center activity?  Of course, this would mean the students would also have to be able to identify the pieces of music – an added bonus!  Now that our school district subscribes to Soundzabound, I should have plenty of resources for creating a more harmonic classroom environment.

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QR Codes and Art

I like patterns.  This week, I started by sharing some QR Code Countdown Calendars.  Yesterday, I chose to share a link to Countdown Calendars.  So, today, I will focus once again on QR Codes.

I found an article on the Langwitches blog that gave a wonderful idea for using QR codes with art.  You should read the article here, because it gives great details.  To summarize, it explains a project in which the students created magnificent artwork.  They then made individual recordings about their artwork.  These recordings were uploaded to the web, and QR codes were generated for each link.  The QR codes were then adhered to the artwork.  Therefore, anyone who passes the artwork that is being displayed can use a “smart” device to scan the code, allowing them to listen to the student’s narrative about the art as the surveyor looks upon the masterpiece.

This generated so many extension ideas for me when I read it that I could not even begin to list them.  Think about the power of attaching another media to a bulletin board display of any type of work.  It could be an audio narrative or music.  It could even be a video!  Imagine the electronic portfolios your students could create that would co-exist in the both the “real” and “virtual” worlds!  I can’t wait to try it myself!

Countdown Calendars Continued

The past few days have included posts of various different QR Countdowns that I’ve created.  One of my favorite bloggers has collected probably the largest amount of technology-related Advent links that I have ever seen at iLearnTechnology.  They include his own Web 2.0 calendar as well as an Appvent Calendar.  The one linked to the image above will take you to the National Museum of Liverpool calendar, which will reveal a piece of art from the museum each day.  I recommend that you check out his links if you plan to do any kind of counting down in December!  I will be eager to see what his Web 2.0 calendar reveals…

Word Cloud Alphabet Book

I found this example on KB Connected.  You can see more examples and find the link to Mr. Zetterberg’s site on her blog post.  This idea could easily be modified for higher grades or more advanced students by using more challenging words or asking them to create their own books.

Talking Tom and Ben News for iPad

You are probably familiar with the “Talking” apps.  There are a variety that are available for free, and work on iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.  This particular one is only compatible with the iPad at the moment, and is free (though there is an offer for an in-app purchase).  My Multimedia club students had fun playing around with the app to deliver some Thanksgiving Jokes on our school news, which is a video broadcast.  They recorded the jokes, then sent them to the computer, where, once the MOV file was converted to WMV (with a little help from Zamzar), we were able to add music and subtitles.  If you are not crazy about all of those complicated steps, don’t worry.  You can just record and e-mail it.  We have not had a chance to use one of the coolest features of this app, which allows you to insert a video from your iPad on which Tom and Ben can comment.  This offers a lot of learning opportunities in which students can explain some of their own homemade videos.  (Example:  Imagine, “This just in – Allison figured out how to solve 13 times 14!”)

Here is a sample of our jokes from our video club:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thanksgiving Fun from “Technology Rocks, Seriously”

My posts have been a little serious lately.  So, I found an antidote on the blog “Technology Rocks, Seriously“.  The author, Shannon, posts several links to some Thanksgiving logic puzzles and other problem solving games.  “Turkey Liberation 2” piqued my interest.   I recently read this post on video games enhancing creativity, so here is your justification for adding a few to your lesson plan!

APPitic

The website describes its purpose best:  APPitic is an directory of apps for education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) to help you transform teaching and learning. These apps have been tested in a variety of different grade levels, instructional strategies and classroom settings.”

On this site, you can browse for apps by: Preschool, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Tools.

Each reviewed app of the over 1,300 gives a thorough description, and many have personal comments from the Apple Distinguished Educators who have used them in their own classroom settings.

APPitic is a good resource for teachers, especially when used along with some of the other app review sites mentioned in my Educational App Reviews post.