27 November, 2016
Tips for assessing with Plickers

Tips for assessing with Plickers

A few years ago, I discovered an amazing free app called Plickers, which allows you to quickly and easily assess your students with ONLY ONE device! Today, I thought I'd discuss tips for using the app. I just got done with an assessment for third grade recently, and realized there were some steps that make using the app much easier!

Tips for using Plickers to quickly assess students, including video tutorials on using the website and using the app!

Before using Plickers, you'll need to do the following:
  • Decide what assessment you want to use  (anything with multiple choices works; see some suggestions at the end of this post)
  • Get your students' class numbers from their classroom teachers (I would start with one grade level, and email that entire grade level for their class numbers)
  • Enter the students' names by number into the site (www.plickers.com)
  • Print out the cards on the Plickers site (you can laminate them for durability. I've heard some complain about the shiny quality for the cards making them harder to scan but I haven't noticed any problems)
  • Create your assessment (whether that be a slideshow, questions you'll write on the board or read to students, etc.) 
  • Create questions (this will allow you to name the question, then choose the correct answer for each)
  • Assign questions to each class
15 November, 2016
Props in the music classroom

Props in the music classroom

As a music teacher, we have the opportunity to buy some really fun things for our classroom! Perhaps you've seen tennis balls or ribbons in another music teacher's room, and you've wondered how they incorporate those props into their music classroom. Here are my five favorite props for the music classroom:

Favorite props for the music room: Ideas for ribbons, tennis balls, and more, for your music lessons!

#1: Stretchy band

I first saw a stretchy band as a way to incorporate movement into an early childhood music class. There are truly SO many possibilities for using the stretchy band (which you can purchase here.) My favorite way of using it so far is to help students learn how to stay in a circle during a circle dance. My second graders will be performing "Seven Jumps" for their performance this week, and the stretchy band is a GREAT tool for this (as otherwise, with that dance, kids might lose their balance!) Here is a video of "Seven Jumps" without the stretchy band; you can purchase the music on iTunes (my favorite recording is by the Shenanigans).

05 November, 2016
Flexible Seating in your Music Classroom {Part Two}

Flexible Seating in your Music Classroom {Part Two}

A couple months ago, I wrote about all of the flexible seating I purchased for my music classroom. Today, I'm blogging about how I've introduced the flexible seating in my classroom.

Introducing flexible seating in the music room: Blog post with many different ways to have students try out the seats in your room!

I have lots of fun seats in my room now, so of course, the students want to try them out! I decided when I first started that I would only use them for small groups and centers--otherwise, it would be a bit of a mess for whole group instruction, with students sitting at different levels. Here are a few ways I've let students try out the seats:

Star Students:
I choose two star students at the end of every music class, and they roll a die on my SMART board to find out what their reward is (i.e. prize box, Wild Ways certificate--which is a school-wide incentive, sticker, etc.) One of the rewards for 2nd-5th grade is "Special Seat." In the past, I only had one comfy saucer chair, but now I have lots to choose from. The students are always super excited to roll this! The student who receives this is allowed to try out more than one seat during the class, as long as he/she is not distracting when switching between seats. (I've had to have a few conversations with students about appropriate bouncing on the exercise balls vs. distracting bouncing!)

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