Saturday, July 30, 2011

Go Animate!

For those of you who are also members of the Music K-8 listserv, I apologize that you will sometimes see things reposted here. I promise there will also be ideas and sites that aren't gleaned from The List. If you don't belong to the Music K-8 listserv, I will write about it shortly.

Another music teacher posted about this great site called Go Animate! It allows you to create your own short animations. I can see possibilities for this in the classroom. I am thinking about the possibility of having 5th graders make short movies of people explaining musical terms or of themselves interviewing a composer. You would need access to regular computers since the site is Flash based and will not work with iPads.

Here is a video I made today. I spent so much time messing around with it that I nearly burned the soup I had on the stove. Whoops! It's kind of addicting. If you know my friend Kristen Lukow, you will notice that my video is nearly identical to hers. I asked permission to copy her ideas because I really liked so much of what she had to say.

Here's the animation I made. I plan to use it in my first lesson of the year. Welcome to Music by bjahn

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Possibly Useful Chrome Extensions

If you aren't already using Google Chrome as your Internet browser, I highly recommend it. I do use Firefox in the event that Chrome doesn't work for a specific website or task, but I do find Chrome to be superior most of the time. Recently I've encountered a few extensions to Chrome that may prove to be useful in the classroom.

A Cleaner You Tube - I know of several websites that can be used to clean up specific You Tube video and remove the undesirable comments, etc. This extension is a little different though. It cleans up all of You Tube. That means you could probably safely search for a specific video in front of your class and not worry about the Miller Light ad popping up on the side. Yes, that happened to me last year. I don't think I would use it for my own browsing, but for the times you might need to look for something while you've got a class in the room, this could be handy. Simply install the extension and then go visit You Tube. You will see the difference immediately. The websites I mentioned earlier for cleaning up specific You Tube videos are ViewPure and SafeShare TV. I will still use those sites, but they work a bit differently than the A Cleaner You Tube extension. If you install the extension and then decide you don't like it or would like to disable it temporarily, here are the directions for doing that.

Timer Tab - This is an extension you can add to Chrome or you can access it by simply going to If you install the extension, you can access it offline. You can use it as a timer, alarm, or stopwatch. The countdown is visible in the top tab, so you don't need to stay on that webpage while the timer is working. If you install the extension, you can access it by simply opening a new tab and clicking on the Timer Tab icon.

If you know of other Chrome extensions that are useful for the classroom, please feel free to leave information about them in the comments of this post.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New: Follow by Email

I've just added a new "Follow by Email" option on the right hand side of this blog. Please subscribe if you are interested in receiving new blog posts by email.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The blog with a life of its own

This blog has taken on a life of its own. I was catching up on some blog reading yesterday and I kept reading about new websites and apps and thinking, "I should talk about that on my blog." After emailing myself about 15 blog articles to put in my blog file in my email, I realized that I have plans for this blog that will not interest my students or their parents. This means it is time to split and make a different blog for my students and their parents. The focus of this blog will now include a mish mash of ideas for the music classroom. Hence the new name: The Music Mish Mash. You can expect to read about things I'm trying in my classroom, technology I am using with my students, technology I am using that is making my life easier (or not), and anything else that strikes my fancy while I'm writing. I hope that you will find my ramblings useful. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monster Chorus iPad App

I was looking for a couple new iPad apps for my girls to use and Monster Chorus was suggested to me by my friend, Anne Lyon. The app costs 99 cents. Each monster on the screen plays a different note of the scale. You can create your own melodies or play several traditional songs with the help of the app. It's cute. I see some possibilities for the classroom. I think I will call the monsters Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, and High Do. My K/1 kids will be able to play some S-M-L melodies we learn in class.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Viva la Musica Vegas

About a week ago, I was just returning from a three day elementary music conference in Las Vegas. I had seen two of the main presenters multiple times, but I knew it would be fabulous even if I was seeing some repeated material. I was right! My brain is still full from everything I saw and learned while I was there. The presenters were Denise Gagne, Artie Almeida, Dan Fee, Marian Rose, Thom Borden, and Deborah Ziolkoski. Music Teachers: If you ever have the opportunity to see any of these people present, jump at the chance.

I'm hoping to sit down in the next week and plug some of the new activities into my long-term plans for next year. I learned about some "new-to-me" picture books to use and a lot of songs and games. I also have several new movement activities which incorporate tennis balls and scarves thanks to Dan Fee. I learned some additional folk dances from Marian. I'm looking forward to using some new drum stick activities I learned from Artie. There are so many fun activities I learned that I can't even list them all here.

This is a picture of all my Music K-8 Mailing List buddies who were attending the conference.

Fun with plastic plates! We're doing a plate routine to March from The Nutcracker in this pic. Mary Sue Kruger, the elementary music teacher from Montevideo, is to my left. I was doing all the video taping for the conference.

Artie teaching us some fun recorder activities.

Denise teaching a ribbon wand activity.

The conference filled our days from 8:30 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m. each evening. We were exhausted by the end of the day, but you can't visit Vegas and not attend a couple of shows. We saw Blue Man Group one night and The Lion King the next night. I really enjoyed The Lion King. The costumes were really creative.

I think the presenters at this conference are planning to do another next year, though it will probably be in a different location. I'm guessing I won't be able to attend again, but hopefully there are other music teachers who are reading this blog who will try to find a way to go. There will likely be discussion about it on the Music K-8 Mailing List next winter, so keep your eyes open.