Rain Deer Orchestra

Rain Deer Orchestra is just a fun site that can easily be differentiated for various music levels.  I am not sure why the site designer chose that particular way to spell the title, but it’s the songs that are important.  Go to this site, and you can tap on the noses of the reindeer to play music.  There are a couple of songs that have prompts to accompany them for those students who are just learning, and there is the option to “free play”.  For the middle-of-the-road students, or as a class lesson, the teacher could play a few notes, and then ask the student(s) to predict which reindeer would make the next appropriate note.

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Text Snowflake Creator

This is a neat Java-based site that allows you to design your own snowflake with text.  Teachers could have their students create short messages in their snowflakes: a sentence from a book character’s point of view, what they would give the world as a gift, their favorite things about winter, etc…, and decorate the classroom bulletin boards with the print-outs.  I found this link on KB Connected, where you can also find a link to over 100 holiday related websites.

The History of English in Ten Minutes

The History of English in Ten Minutes is a series of short animated videos from Open University.  They are humorous and quick – so quick that you may need to replay them a few times in order for them to sink in.  They are slightly irreverent, and aimed at the 12 and up crowd, so please preview them before showing them to a class. I like the Shakespeare one since my daughter has been recently studying the famous playwright:

Open University also offers 7 videos in their series 60-Second Adventures in Thought, which includes interesting philosophical topics such as The Grandfather Paradox.

The Centered School Library

If you are a librarian, or know a librarian who needs a Christmas gift, you should definitely “check this out!” This book, written by our very own school librarian at Fox Run, Cari Young, is a great resource for anyone who is interested in creating a library that is truly an inviting place to learn.  The Centered School Library includes ideas for twelve learning centers that incorporate library skills and are guaranteed to engage your K-5 students!

Mrs. Sunda’s Literature Links

If you are trying to allow some of your students who are reading at a higher level to work independently, you might find these literature units helpful.  There are only 6, but they include discussion guides written with Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind.  Another great thing about these materials is that they were created by students.  Not only could some of your students work through the units, but they could use them as examples for developing some of their own.  While you are visiting Mrs. Sunda’s site, check out some of her other links.  Many resources are given for teachers, including a link to a detailed article explaining the process behind the literature units.

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.

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!

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