Getting Started with Google Jamboard

I see the irony that my last post was about understanding your WHY in the classroom prior to determining your WHAT, and today I am starting another series on specific tech tools. However, with the school year beginning soon in many parts of the US, I know getting information about these tools will be helpful to many music teachers. With distancing recommendations, I believe technology will play a large role in any teaching situation, remote … Continue reading “Getting Started with Google Jamboard”

Don’t Ask What, Ask Why

Last week my school district made what I’m sure was a tough decision: we will start the year virtually. While I know there are many viewpoints on this subject, I’m not here to debate them, I feel relieved that I can now make plans for this upcoming, unprecedented, school year. A lot of the content on social media related to virtual and distance learning has to do with the latest and greatest tools. And this … Continue reading “Don’t Ask What, Ask Why”

Playing an Infinite Game

One of my favorite things in the summer is to catch up on all the books I purchased during the school year and didn’t have time to read. I buy them with the best intentions, but it will often take weeks or even months to finish reading one book. In March, right before the world locked down for COVID-19, I saw Simon Sinek speak in Washington D.C. Simon Sinek is the author of several well-known … Continue reading “Playing an Infinite Game”

Why Music Educators Should Be Google Certified

With the quick transition to online learning in March, many music educators found themselves needing a “crash course” in technology. Being savvy, forward-thinking educators, they made it it happen one Google search, See-Saw post, and virtual classroom at a time. Now that the school year is over and we have some time to breathe, it’s worth it for all music teachers to consider becoming Google Certified. This signifies that an educator has demonstrated proficiency using … Continue reading “Why Music Educators Should Be Google Certified”

Four Easy Tools for Creating Digital Resources

I’ve always enjoyed creating digital resources, and now, teaching remotely, it is even more important. While this post isn’t directly teaching related, hopefully it will be useful when creating things for your classes. The following four tools are ones that I can’t live without when it comes to designing digital media. In fact, I imagine I use each one at least weekly! What’s great about these tools is that they are all available for free, … Continue reading “Four Easy Tools for Creating Digital Resources”

From a Distance: Let Students Create

Over the last few weeks I’ve said several times that trying to recreate our classrooms while distance learning isn’t where we should put our energy. The two aren’t the same, especially considering the fact that this isn’t exactly “distance learning” – it’s attempting education during a pandemic. Instead, we should Focus on What We Can Do right now. We can try new things, experiment, and give students the opportunity to take ownership of their music … Continue reading “From a Distance: Let Students Create”

From a Distance: Giving Students Voice and Choice

In my last blog post, Focus on What We Can Do, I discussed how during distance learning we cannot try to replicate everything we did in our classrooms. It’s not the same and we can’t try to make it that way. Instead, by focusing on what we can do now, there are numerous ways we can empower students so they still have meaningful musical experiences. Providing opportunities for voice and choice is one of the … Continue reading “From a Distance: Giving Students Voice and Choice”

Focus on What We Can Do

Many of us have been in this new “distance learning” phase for a few weeks now – or as A.J. Juliani calls it “emergency remote learning.” Whatever term you use, we’re discovering that it’s not the same. We can’t replicate what happens in our classrooms online. And that’s ok. I think instead we need to focus on what we can do with this time. School vs. Learning In 2014, George Couros published a blog post … Continue reading “Focus on What We Can Do”

How to Create Quick, Stand-Alone Videos: Flipgrid Shorts

This is another unintended, yet timely post about technology tools I’ve been using recently. Last time I wrote about using Flipgrid to maintain community in music classes. This post is also about Flipgrid, but how teachers can use it to easily create video content when suddenly faced with teaching digitally. Recently I’ve had the need to create short videos for my students and their families to explain how to use various tech tools and complete … Continue reading “How to Create Quick, Stand-Alone Videos: Flipgrid Shorts”

Maintaining Community When Teaching Virtually: Try Flipgrid!

While this is technically the fourth in the series of short posts about technology tools, it wasn’t my intended topic for the week! However, given the current events and everything going on with #COVID19, this seems to be the most relevant. Teaching in a brand new school this year and starting a band program from scratch, I have given a lot of thought about the culture and community I wanted to build. Developing relationship, between … Continue reading “Maintaining Community When Teaching Virtually: Try Flipgrid!”