Holiday Gift Guide for Music Teachers

Happy December 16!! (also Kodály and Beethoven's birthdays!!!)
I'm teaming up with my good friend, Aileen Miracle from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to blog about some of the items that we love or that would like to get for our classroom!

1.  Touchjet Smart Touch Projector

Moment of truth, because of having a student teacher I have not had a chance to use this in class yet. What is does is it's an android device from which you can access the Internet, google drive and various android apps and project them on a wall, board or other surfaces. It has a pen that makes it interactive. So, if you have an PDF with links, like a lot of the games that I make, you can use it like a SMART Board, but cheaper. The downfall? The light isn't that strong so it can't project that well to make it big but it's great if you have an easel that you can project on, if you're teaching music a la cart. But the way I see it being really useful is in centers. I could see having an interactive game as a center for use on it. OR you could use it for awesome sites like the Dallas Symphony for Kids page.


2. Spheros
My technology teacher is pretty cutting edge and has been having the students learning coding.  While my student teacher was soloing I was in his class learning more and he was teaching a unit on Spheros.  



What he's done is taught the students how to use iPads to control and program Sphero to do certain tasks. Watching him teach made me think there are ways these can be used in the music classroom. He gave me one to play with and I've just ordered 6 more. What I see happening is me programming the Spheros to play random rhythms or melodic patterns when tapped or rolled and the students then decode the patterns that Sphero plays. These have been highly effective in student engagement, especially with some of our specials learners.  

3.  Polydots
What can I say, polydots are awesome and amazing!
Uses: 

  1. Mystery patterns. The teacher performs patterns that the students clap or echo back, as they walk around the room. When the teacher performs the "mystery pattern" the students then find a polydot to stand on to show that they recognize the pattern.
  2. Note heads: using a floor staff (either from Velcro or tape on the floor) or one made from a shower curtain from the dollar tree, (see this blog post), use the polydots to write melodic patterns on the staff.
  3. Grouping: I use these to group students when we're sharing manipulatives and resources. Students go to their assigned color and use the resources that are there.
  4. Relays: in Colorado we sometimes get stuck with have indoor recess. On these days I pull out a relay to give the students a chance to get wiggles out. The Polydots serve as a beginning and ending place for teams and help with organization.
  5. Write on them! You can write solfa patterns or rhythm patterns on them, use them for reading in teams or individuals.



I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my eggspert!! We use it for melodic reading a lot- working in teams students have to write patterns together. As a team, once they are finished with the task they ring their buzzer.  A feature that I LOVE about the wireless version is that you can turn certain buzzers off. So, if a team rang in once you can make their buzzer inactive so other teams can chime in. Additionally, if you have those students that keep ringing the buzzer when they're not suppose to you just turn it off as a consequence.

5.  Susan Brumfield's First We Sing Series
These books are top notch. If you're only going to get one, get her Teaching Guide. If you have a little bit more money to spend, get the two song books (and I hear from Susan that book three is almost ready!!! I'm giddy!!!). If you can afford it, get all the supplemental materials: the teaching strategies and activity cards.

6. Aileen Miracle's Planning in a Snap sets
These are phenomenal!!  If you're a novice teacher or an experienced teacher these are great for helping plan your month and provide supplemental teaching materials to incorporate into your plans.  They provide monthly plans, weekly plans and materials for the month!

I am currently working on games for this set:
I'm a little excited about all the games that are going to be in it and am trying to use some new formats to some of the games.  Be on the look out for a Treble Clef Club coming at the end of December and a Orff Instrument Club, which will practice different patterns on the instruments.  It will include diagrams of how to set up your bars and have the students singing the patterns before they play them.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week and weekend! Happy Christmas list making! :)

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