Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kids Who Care – Community Service in the Classroom

Developing responsible and productive members of society is one of the main goals of education. Teachers work very hard to engage their students and make them experts in each particular subject area, but it is important for us all to step back and look at the big picture of our students’ development from time to time. We are subject area teachers, but we are also in charge of working with other teachers and parents to instill values and motivation in our students that will carry them through the rest of their lives.

As a seventh grade student, I was assigned a semester-long community service project in my social studies class. Students were allowed to choose just about any type of community service, and many of us found projects that we really enjoyed. I volunteered in a nursing home helping out with activities and interviewing residents for a monthly newsletter that I wrote and published with a friend. I remember my hours of service that year, and I think back to the rewards often as I try to fit in volunteering in this hectic schedule I call life as an adult. Students of all ages can benefit from this type of community service, and the public will benefit, too!

The Gateway to 21st Century Skills has an extensive collection of lesson plans, activities, and units focusing on civics and character education. Searching for community service led me to some great units for students of all ages. One unit I liked was a three-lesson community service unit for 6th-8th grade students called ECHO, ECHO, ECHO: Each Can Help Others. The lessons include persuasive speeches and students’ commitments to philanthropy in one of three different areas outlined in the unit. Middle school students could also benefit from The Social Action Project, a hands-on service project to teach students more about civic responsibility. In this unit, students will be able to choose a social issue that interests them, find an organization that deals with that issue, volunteer for that organization, and create a presentation about their experience. Along with teaching about philanthropy and community service, units like these help students develop their presentation and public speaking skills.

Middle school (or junior high…depending on where you live) is a wonderful time to introduce a topic like civic responsibility. Students are going through a lot of changes in their lives and trying to figure out what kind of people they are and what kind people they want to become. The first two units focused on that age group, but it’s never too early to start teaching kids that they are part of a community and that they are big enough to make a difference. Living in a Community is a K-2nd unit of 5 lessons that teaches students about the community in their classroom and in the bigger world around them. It helps to show them why it is important to take responsibility and help out in this community. Protect Your Melon is a unit for the same age group that emphasizes one community issue: bicycle safety. The unit introduces the vocabulary and ideas of philanthropy and allows students to help create their own bicycle safety program for their community, including a fundraising drive to raise money and donate helmets to children. Students get work together for a common goal, which will hopefully be very motivating for them. They also get to see the effect of their project when they see how many helmets they are able to afford.

If you are looking for community service activities for 3rd-5th graders, start with Time, Talent, Treasure and Economics. This unit allows students to choose one of 3 quilt-making projects. The students participate in the project by giving their time and talents to create a quilt for others in need. This is a good example of combining community service with creativity and art education.

All of the activities I have highlighted above are from . This is just a sampling of the activities from Learning to Give and other sources that are catalogued on The Gateway to help you bring philanthropy and civic education into your classroom. Please check out both sites to find more activities to meet your needs.

~Peggy's Corner - 11/25/2010~

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest

Last year, one of our local schools was named a National School of Character. This was a proud moment for the town, and especially for the teachers and the students. The school’s administration and staff consistently work diligently to help the students develop and abide by core values, such as honesty, respect, and integrity. The goal is not to simply create a caring, safe, and inclusive learning environment, but to also develop the students’ ethical and moral compasses. While there is intense pressure on educators to prep our students for the next assignment, the next grade, and the next standardized test, we need to keep in mind the overarching goal of education: to aid in the development of our students in becoming compassionate, active, and successful citizens.

Over the past decade, the realization of the importance of character education in schools has grown. While some critics initially branded the movement as a touchy-feely outgrowth of rampant political correctness, many educators now acknowledge the value of character education in creating a strong and positive school culture. When I was a K-12 student back in the Dark Ages, concepts such as respect and integrity were expected and discussed in passing, but not necessarily internalized into the school’s culture. Drafting a comprehensive character education program on paper is relatively simple, but creating and institutionalizing a quality character education program is very difficult in practice. In order to succeed, it requires total buy-in and commitment from every school employee as well as the students over an extended period of time. It’s a gradual process, perhaps, but one that can be instituted in a series of steps. On The Gateway’s Facebook and Twitter pages later this week, I’ll be featuring many character education resources, including guides to help you get started in developing and implementing a program at your school.

Character education goes far beyond hanging posters that urge students to “share and care”. A successful program needs to permeate all aspects of the curriculum as well as the school environment, including the cafeteria, the playground, and the gym. We all desire for our students to develop and exhibit core ethical values, and to be able to independently discern the difference between right and wrong. A good character education program can help students to develop a lifelong sense of compassion, justice, and the ability to feel passionately about causes that affect us and our communities, even when faced with possible opposition from peers or others. There is too much emotional and intellectual malaise in our society today, and character education may well be one approach to help turn the tide. The resources below give some great ideas on how to incorporate some character education into your classroom, and please remember to check out our Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the week for additional resources and information.

Character Education Podcasts
Subjects: Language Arts, Civics
Grade: 4-6
In this lesson, students conduct research, write scripts, and independently record podcasts. Each month, students focus on a different character trait, and create and record a podcast highlighting that character trait. The target audience is the other students in the building. The podcast will include tips on how to demonstrate the trait, highlight students who exhibit this trait and other useful information. Guests from the school or community may be invited to participate in the podcast. This resource is from Digital Wish, a non-profit that seeks to modernize K-12 classrooms and prepare students for tomorrow's workforce. On the Digital Wish web site, teachers can create wish lists of technology products for their classroom. Donors then connect with their favorite schools and grant classroom wishes through online cash or product donations. Check them out at

Responsibility and Community Service
Subjects: Civics; Character Education
Grade: K-3
This lesson plan teaches students that each of them has responsibilities to themselves, their families, and their community. Students discuss what makes a good citizen, examples of good personal and civic responsibilities, and how we all have a responsibility to help others. This lesson is a product from the American Bar Association, which encourages judges, lawyers, and other representatives of the legal profession to volunteer in schools to help students learn about American law in action.

Peace Partners
Subjects: Character Education, Writing
Grade: 7-12
In this lesson, students research the similarities of historically conflicting cultures and then negotiate and write a peace agreement to promote them. This lesson was produced by Character Counts, a character education program offered by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics. The Josephson Institute is a non-profit organization that seeks to develop and deliver services and materials to increase ethical commitment, competence, and practice in all segments of society. In addition to free lesson plans, they also offer publications, training, and other services.

~Joann's Picks - 11/25/2010~

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Digging Deeper into the First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in America is a time for students and teachers to take a little break from school to reflect on the history of our country and to give thanks for all that we have. For many, it’s a time to take a vacation where we eat WAY too much and get up at crazy hours of the morning to get a head start on the Christmas shopping! In an attempt to help students understand the origin and the meaning of the holiday, many teachers teach Thanksgiving lessons during the time before the holiday. Some teachers choose to focus on the gratitude associated with the season, hoping to instill some of that thankfulness in their students. Other teachers choose to focus more on the historical events in the United States that inspired the holiday. Interactive internet resources can bring the classic study of pilgrims and Indians to a new level. We can do more than make neat hats and hand turkeys!

My search of The Gateway to 21st Century Skills for Thanksgiving activities led me to a couple of good resource collections that I want to share with you. The first group of activities is from The Learning Network: Teaching and Learning with the New York Times. These current event based activities extend the topic of Thanksgiving in many unconventional ways. Their lessons are divided into three categories: food and meals, history and culture, and politics and current events. Some lesson topics include the biological effects of overeating, challenges of cranberry farming, American Indian Art, and considering the phenomenon of Black Friday. The site also includes printables, related New York Times articles, and older primary sources for student research.

Scholastic has also put together an extensive compilation of First Thanksgiving activities. Their “Everything for Thanksgiving” site includes lesson plans, interactive web tools, archives of live chats and webcasts, book recommendations, and a virtual field trip to a re-creation of the Plymouth plantation (or Plimoth, as the pilgrims would have spelled it). We tried out the virtual field trip and the virtual tour of the Mayflower. They were both very nicely done. The lesson plans include guides to help teachers use the online tools in classrooms of all different levels.

Using Plimoth Plantation’s “You are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving” site is like taking your students to an interactive museum exhibit, without all the hassle. The site allows students to view a letter written by a Plymouth colonist, the only eyewitness account of the 1621 harvest celebration, including a translation and a historian’s notes. They can tour a typical colonist’s home and see what daily life was like for members of the Wampanoag tribe. The investigation includes an online tool for students to create their own mini museum exhibit (a printable poster). You might also choose to use this activity as a starting point for a larger investigation. If you do that, you could consider assigning a slide show (try Animoto), a glog, or something we recently discovered: a Museum Box as a culminating project. We found Museum Box in an iLearn Technology blog post. Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for always sharing her finds!

I hope this Thanksgiving season finds your class full of grateful students who are ready to learn all about how the holiday started. Between these collections, Joann’s picks for this week, and our suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, you will be sure to find a Thanksgiving activity that will tie nicely into your plans.

~Peggy's Corner - 11/19/2010~

Giving Thanks

I pretty much haven’t met a holiday that I didn’t like, but Thanksgiving is kind of special. It’s relatively low-key, and the notion of taking some time to really appreciate what we have – and to give thanks for it – is a winning notion. Each day most of us relentlessly multitask in order to wring the most benefit out of every possible millisecond. Some of us juggle work that needs to be reviewed and graded, attend to student needs, coach sports teams, and oversee a host of other activities. Many of us live from deadline to deadline (and paycheck to paycheck) and generally run on all cylinders from dawn to late night. It’s hard – modern life is hardly the days of leisure predicted by 19th century futurists. Yet despite the stress and the constant need to always be “on”, available, and present, most of us have much to be thankful for.

Yesterday in the classroom, the teacher asked her students to write down what they were thankful for. There were some of the predictable third grade answers, such as “candy,” and “my Xbox,” but some were quietly profound. “I’m thankful for my granpa’s keemotherpy” was one. Another student wrote that she was thankful for her family – not an uncommon entry in the class, except that her father had recently rejoined his family after several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the perfect time of the year to perhaps ask your students what they are thankful for. What are you grateful for?

In addition to lessons that ask students to consider the concept of gratitude, many schools also focus on traditional Thanksgiving themes, such as the Pilgrims, Wampanoags, the Mayflower, and so forth. The Gateway has a rich collection of lessons and activities that can be used in the week leading up to Thanksgiving; three lessons are highlighted below. The resources that I’ve featured this week ask students to think about Thanksgiving in different ways and perhaps from a different perspective than they have previously – a good pre-holiday exercise in critical thinking skills! As always, I’ll be featuring a multitude of lessons, activities, and other K-12 resources from The Gateway and other entities on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please take a look.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Become a Thanksgiving Historian
Subjects: US History, Technology, Research skills
Grade: 2
Students may be surprised to find out that some ideas they have about the history of Thanksgiving are actually myths. In this lesson, students become true "Thanksgiving historians" by completing a Venn diagram about the Wampanoag people and the Pilgrims with information acquired through Internet searches. This is a great lesson to help students develop online research skills, as well as separate historical fact from fiction. This resource is a product of the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX), an award-winning education portal that provides best practices, lesson plans, and educational podcasts. This lesson is aligned to Alabama Content Standards.

Thanksgiving: A Turkey’s Point of View
Subjects: Writing
Grade: 3-5
Things may not always be as they first appear! The purpose of this lesson is to expose students to several stories from different perspectives. They will compare and contrast different points of view on the same topic, and write a story from a character's point of view. This lesson by Laura Beeler is part of HotChalk Learning, a portal that provides an online learning management system and lesson plans to educators.

Thanksgiving Mourning
Subjects: English, US History
Grade: 6-12
Much of the Thanksgiving story focuses on a peaceful, cross-cultural exchange between the "Pilgrims and Indians." While it's true that the Wampanoag and the Planters shared in a harvest celebration, within fifty years, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people. In this activity, students will review two written works by Native American authors. They will examine how diverse groups can perceive shared experiences differently, and review commentary from indigenous writers about Thanksgiving. This lesson is a product of Teaching Tolerance, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving inter-group relations, and supporting equitable school experiences for students. They also provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and abroad.

~Joann's Picks - 11/19/2010~

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Classroom Detectives: Bringing the Real World to Your Students

You are sitting at a meeting with other teachers at your school talking about topics you want to cover this year. A couple of biology teachers are trying to figure out a creative way to teach carbon dating. The chemistry teacher is asking around to see if anyone knows of a good method for teaching chromatography. An English teacher is trying to think up an assignment in persuasive writing. The conversation could go on, but the principal steps to the front of the room to start the meeting. Discussions of field trips, state standards, and test score improvement are going on all around you, but your mind is still on the earlier chat. Is there a way to tie all these topics together to make a more meaningful educational experience for our students?

What if you could work together with other teachers to create a cooperative unit teaching all of these topics using a forensic science investigation? If you are not in a setting that allows for this kind of cooperation between teachers, you can do an investigative interdisciplinary CSI unit in your own classroom. It’s especially fun to do something like this as we get into the holiday season and students seem to start losing focus. The most time-consuming part of doing a unit like this is planning and practicing the activities. Luckily, there are lots of quality resources available on the web that have been tested in classrooms like yours.

The forensic science resources catalogued on The Gateway to 21st Century Skills will be very helpful to you whether you are planning to do a few activities or a long unit. To see if any of these activities might work in your class, start your Gateway search here. This list of 24 activities will show you the variety of topics and disciplines you can teach in a forensic science unit. There are resources available for many different grades, but most resources seem to be aimed for junior high and high school investigations.

One activity that interested me was Ernies Exit: Blood Typing Lab from Science Spot. I really like how the activity is designed for teachers who aren’t able to order specialty supplies from scientific suppliers. It is designed with everyday materials, and there are lecture notes and nicely designed worksheets and directions. If you like this lab idea, look through the entire 8th grade quarter-long unit here. There are some great ideas you might be able to adapt for your classroom, and they all include tips and worksheets.

Another well-designed lab about Ink Chromatography led me to a different set of forensic science lessons designed for 5th through 12th grade students. These activities from the Shodor Education Foundation are also nice since they can be done mainly with household materials. One that I am very interested to try with younger students is a lab for extracting DNA from yellow onions. You can access their list of forensic science activities here. This page also has links to some really neat online mysteries that you can use in a class with computers or in a computer lab. Check out these mysteries from Access Excellence created by the National Health Museum. Activities like this can add an element of fun and mystery-solving to your classroom without a whole lot of extra preparation.

Forensic science investigations aren’t only for science classrooms. The online mysteries above could be used in many different subject areas. An English classroom could include reading a mystery and writing a persuasive essay trying to convince the reader of a particular character’s guilt or innocence. A teacher could even hold a debate in class about the mystery. The Forensic Sketch Artist combines visual art and technology in an investigation, showing students that there is a lot more involved than chemistry and biology in forensics.

Teaching is a challenging job. You are constantly trying to hook your students so that they will be engaged in their learning. Tapping into online resources like these can help you bring quality activities into your class while still getting sleep at night! If we each try to implement one or two high-quality units like these each year, soon you will have a class that students won’t want to miss.

~Peggy's Corner - 11/12/2010~

Forensic Files

Two summers ago, our local school department offered a one-week forensic science summer camp for older elementary students. Most of the kids were not there by choice, having been enrolled by their parents who thought that the course sounded “fun.” The teacher, having taught this course a few times before, was used to the student foot-dragging and wistful stares out the window at their unencumbered brethren playing outside, blissfully free from the tyranny of overly ambitious parents. The course focused on the investigation of an environmental crisis where local fish were killed by toxins in the water. The course, based on an actual event, asked students to analyze water quality, fish anatomy, business practices, town relationships, and environmental events in order to determine who – or what – was responsible for releasing the toxins into the water supply. Within 30 minutes on the first day, all the students were hooked.

Much credit must be given, of course, to the teacher. She was engaging, thoroughly prepared, knew her science inside and out, and was a gifted storyteller. The kids were captivated. What also captured their interest was the sheer mystery of the case, and how they had to create and recreate various scenarios in order to solve the puzzle of the dead fish. The course offered them hands-on detective work (testing water samples and dissecting perch) coupled with basic research such as reading through police reports, witness accounts, weather reports, and other data. By the third day of the course, all the students fairly blew by their peers on the playground outside in their haste to get to the classroom. That’s what I call success!

Forensic science has garnered much attention recently. It plays a prominent role in TV shows like The Forensic Files, Law & Order, CSI, and Dexter. Forensics is an incredibly diverse scientific field: there are forensic dentists, forensic veterinarians, pathology, and other specialties. At its most basic level, forensic science is a rich melding of modern technology and good old-fashioned storytelling. There’s something appealing about methodically working backwards on a problem – taking the evidence left at the scene of the crime or event – and attempting to retrace and recreate the events in order to figure out what really transpired. As the students discovered in the summer course, forensics also involves presenting or supplying scientific evidence in court cases. It’s possible to include some aspect of forensic science in a multitude of subjects, then, and not just in science class.

My picks this week all focus on some aspect of forensic science. While the resources below are appropriate for upper elementary through high school students, I will be featuring age-appropriate resources for all ages on our our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the week.

Ink Chromatography
Subjects: Physical science
Grade: 5-12
Who wrote the ransom note? This ink chromatography lab uses common household materials to determine which pen actually wrote the note. This activity was created by the Shodor Educational Foundation, a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the advancement of science and math education, specifically through the use of modeling and simulations.

CSI Podcasts
Subjects: Writing, Physical science, Technology
Grade: 6-8
Everyone loves an (imaginary) crime scene! In this lesson, students create a series of podcasts to help them solve crime scenes, and later review the material for tests. They’ll learn about mammals and ecology for a poaching scenario, microscopes, bacteria, fungi, and protists for an epidemiological-type scenario, and genetics for blood typing. This lesson is a product of DigitalWish, a non-profit whose mission is to modernize K-12 classrooms and prepare students for tomorrow's workforce. Teachers create wish lists of technology products for their classroom, and donors then connect with their favorite schools and grant classroom wishes through online cash or product donations.

Crash Scene Investigation
Subjects: Math, Algebra, Functions, Patterns, Physical science
Grade: 9-12
In this online simulation, students virtually help the highway patrol recreate a deadly crash by examining the evidence and calculating the forces. The simulation includes supporting materials, such as real crash scene photos (no gore), a glossary of terms, and a teacher’s guide. This resource is offered by Edheads, a non-profit organization that creates educational web experiences that are free to teachers, students and parents. This simulation is aligned to national and Ohio state standards.

~Joann's Picks - 11/13/2010~

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Off Key: Using Music in the Classroom

I love to read success stories like the one Joann shared about the new music teacher at her school. It’s wonderful to see a music teacher step out of their comfort zone to bring the love of music to students, but what about schools like the ones in my town that don’t have a music program at all? How far does a regular classroom teacher have to step out of their comfort zone to successfully bring some kind of music education into an already-crowded curriculum?

There’s nothing like walking into a kindergarten class and hearing the kids sing “My Uncle’s Ukelele” with abandon. You don’t know that one? I bet you learned songs about phonics, weather, and everything in between when you were in the primary grades, too. Primary teachers often have a special gift of being silly and singing with their students. In these younger grades, students really appreciate the silliness as they jump and dance to the tunes, getting out some energy and learning at the same time. As students get older, there is less time available for music with so much class time needed to prepare for tests and meet the standards required for each grade. With some creativity, you might be surprised at the small amount of time it will take you to integrate music into your lessons. Music may help your students prepare those tests and meet those standards instead of just taking up valuable class time.

Sensory triggers like sights, sounds, and smells can prompt emotions in students that help them remember facts and scientific processes in a fun way. Maybe you are not the type to sing or play an instrument in front of your class. Luckily, kids seem to appreciate our efforts even when our tone or pich is less than perfect! Thanks to the internet, you are not on your own. Even the least musically-inclined teachers can help their students learn with the help of songs, videos, and activities available for free on the internet.

I grew up with the educational videos of Schoolhouse Rock (Do you remember Conjunction Junction and How a Bill Becomes Law?) You can find lyrics to all of the old Schoolhouse Rock videos along with links to the music videos on YouTube. These videos might seem outdated, but I have to admit that I spent a little more time than I probably should have spent watching them. (It was in the name of research!) These videos have catchy tunes and are a fun and memorable way to introduce concepts to your class. The lessons they teach range from math to social studies to science. If you are looking for more contemporary videos, try They Might Be Giants. Their videos from “Here Comes Science” are very well done, and could be right at home in elementary to high school classrooms. If you search YouTube, you can find videos from their collection. A couple of my personal favorites are the biology song called “Bloodmobile” and chemistry song titled “The Elements.”Check them out…you won’t be sorry, and you might even learn something new!

Adding educational songs like these is one way to integrate music into your curriculum. There are other simple things you can do, even if you aren’t a music expert. History and Social Studies teachers may want to start a unit with popular songs from a particular era. Maybe you can play a different song each day to set the mood as students are coming into your class. Instead of assigning a report at the end of a unit, your students can demonstrate their knowledge by writing new lyrics to a popular song. One teacher challenged her class to make musical instruments from recycled materials for a class competition. This activity challenges students’ creativity as it helps them gain a better understanding of music and how instruments work. Another teacher used music and movement at the beginning of every morning to get her students’ wiggles out for the day. For more ideas about music integration search the hashtags #musedchat #musiced on Twitter.

Sing it loud and sing it proud! Let’s show our students that music can be a part of many different subjects in our lives this week. I will be using the music video “Solid, Liquid, Gas” with an experiment for sure, but if I sing along, I can’t guarantee it will be on key. At least we’ll be having fun!

~Peggy's Corner - 11/4/2010~

Musical (Comfort) Chairs

Helping out in the classroom the other day, I was surprised to hear the students clamoring to go to music class. Previously, the kids had always grumbled about music class, their complaints mainly revolving around the “babyish” songs that they had to sing, like “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Admittedly, I had kind of felt their pain; by the third grade, nobody wants to be linked to music that is associated with the preschool set.

The students’ change of heart was apparently ushered in along with a new music teacher. Their former teacher decided to retire a few weeks into the new school year, and her replacement – another seasoned teacher – has approached her music classes in a completely different way. She’s updated many of the songs that they sing, and also sprinkles her lessons with interesting musical theory and music history tidbits that are much more palatable to the kids this time around. She brings into class odd assortments of items on which to drum (with students counting beats), and other props such as balls and instruments from around the world.

To my mind, both music teachers were, and are, good teachers. In this age of instant gratification, with students reared on video games, cell phones, and on-demand this and that, it’s an increasing challenge for teachers to capture and hold students’ attention sufficiently during instruction. The former music teacher taught the way she’d been teaching for years, and probably the way she was trained to teach. Her methods were solid for many students over the years, some of whom continue to excel at music in college and beyond. Her replacement, who is about the same age, has decided to periodically push herself out of her comfort zone and modifies her instructional style to keep her methods fresh. Her effect has been immediate, not just in resurrecting the students’ interest in music, but also in their accelerated comprehension and mastery of the content.

We all know that school districts’ budgets are tight, and the importance of music education is often underestimated by some parents and financial stakeholders. Much research underscores the correlation between music and math skills: for example, students learn to count beats and figure out the length of notes by using multiplication and division. Music education also helps to develop higher thinking skills, as students think about complex musical patterns, and how their individual parts fit into a musical whole, or how they can augment various sounds, tones, and intonations to create variations on a musical piece. With art and music education always inching closer to the chopping block in many districts, it’s imperative for educators to periodically reassess their instructional methods. What works? What doesn’t? When does student attention seem to flag? What kinds of props, instructional delivery methods, and activities might be used to help convey the material in an effective, yet engaging, way? How willing are you as an educator to step out of your comfort zone?

This week my picks focus on music education resources from SoundTree, a company that produces turn-key learning systems for education that integrate music and technology. During the week, I’ll be featuring a host of additional music resources from SoundTree and other entities on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so please be sure to check them out.

“This Week in Music” Podcast
Subject: Music
Grade: 6-12
In this activity, students create short podcasts that highlight events such as birthdays, events, and other important dates from music history. Each podcast will be posted online for downloading. Students are required to compose a theme for their podcast episode, create a script, and may include listening examples (MIDI files, MP3 clips, etc.) to enhance their project.

Film Scoring in the Music Classroom: Duck and Cover
Subject: Music
Grade: 7-12
The students will compose music for a short segment of Duck and Cover – a movie from the 1950s on preparing for nuclear war – though the students will not know what it is about. Students will write a script and music to accompany the film clip.

Enhancing the Understanding of Singing a Round in the Early Elementary Grades
Subjects: Music
Grade: K-6
In order to sing and understand the concept of a round, the students will use the “piano roll” visual of a sequencer to “see” and practice singing their individual part as it relates to the other parts in the round.

~Joann's Picks - 11/4/2010~