Saturday, November 30, 2013

Garage Band Free Today

If you have an iDevice (iPhone, iPod, iPad), the Garage Band app is free today. It is normally $4.99. There is also an app called Hip Hop Drum Kit that is free today. Go get them!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A new digital piano!

Woo hoo! Thanks to a very generous donation from Friends of Music, the elementary music room has a brand new digital piano. It was ordered on Thursday afternoon and was delivered before 9:00 a.m. on Monday. That's crazy fast!

I used it for the first time with second graders yesterday. They were playing mallet instruments (glockenspiels, xylophones, and metallophones) in a rotation. I was accompanying on the new digital piano. Since I needed to play the same song about 30 times in the class period, I changed the instrument sound each time I played it. The kids thought that was super cool. I can't wait to figure out what other cool things I can do with the new piano.

I am so very thankful for the support our classroom receives from Friends of Music. Every year they subscribe to several music teaching magazines that I use with the students. They also purchased half of the new risers we got last year. We are very fortunate have such an active music booster organization for our district.

If you would like to become a member of Friends of Music and offer your time, talent, or would like to make a monetary donation, please contact me and I can get more information to you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peter Pan

It's been an interesting couple of days. The good news is that I feel fine. The bad news is that I have no voice. That's kind of an issue for a music teacher. So we've had to put our regular plans on hold for a couple of days. The only benefit to having a music teacher with no voice is that the students have been able to watch part of a musical. We started watching Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby playing the part of Peter (yes, I did bleep out the two semi-naughty words). I thoroughly love showing students something they would probably not have chosen to watch otherwise. This is one of my favorite musicals and the kids are loving it. They are probably hoping that I lose my voice again soon so they can watch a bit more. :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Star-Spangled Banner

In preparation for Veteran's Day, the students at Bert Raney Elementary have been learning about and singing our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Grades 2-5 heard a bit of the history behind The Star-Spangled Banner. You can read about it here.

All grades learned about the proper etiquette for singing the Star-Spangled Banner. We discussed:

  • Remove hats or hoods.
  • Stand when the anthem is being played.
  • Put your right hand over your heart.
  • Look at the flag.
  • Sing.
  • Be respectful.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This year I have a little more access to iPads than I have previously had. One of the ways I am using the iPads is with the Edmodo app. I am using Edmodo with 4th and 5th graders. Each student has their own account. We've used them enough that they should know how to log in by now, but if not, please contact me for user name and password information.

Edmodo looks a lot like Facebook, but it is specifically for schools and students and is much more secure. For instance, students are unable to send messages to other students. They are able to post messages that the whole class can see (if I give them that option) and they are able to send messages to me. Parent accounts are also available. The parent account allows you to see items your child has posted, items I have posted, and any messages that are exchanged between your child and me. If you would like the code to create your parent account, please let me know.

So far I have used our Edmodo accounts to give additional information to students. They have had links to some videos that relate to what we've worked on in class. They also have access to their recorder music in their "backpack" of Edmodo. Students can earn badges (awards) for their Edmodo profile for completing various tasks. I will be giving badges for Recorder Karate belts and other accomplishments. Sometimes I have students access their Edmodo accounts during music class and work on tasks I've set up for them there so they are still engaged in learning while I have some time to work with smaller groups or individuals. It has been a great tool!

Students are not required to use Edmodo outside of the school day, but they can if they would like to and have computer/Internet access. The free Edmodo app is available for iPad/iPhone/iPod and for Android devices. You can also access it from a regular computer at yme.edmodo.com.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trick or Treat - Playground Ball Activity

Mrs. Ims' second grade class is doing a ball bouncing activity to a rhyme called Trick or Treat. Students say the poem while bouncing the ball every two beats. The purpose of the activity was to prepare to learn about half note, to practice keeping the pulse of the poem, and to give the children a solo opportunity. After the recitation of the poem, the students each had a solo to tell us their favorite candy. You'll have to turn the volume up really loud to hear the solos. This was an impromptu recording without much preparation. It is not polished (and was not meant to be). :) Look for your child if he/she is in Mrs. Ims' class. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Big Black Cats

Here are a couple of pictures of K/1 students playing instruments in music today. Students played ta (quarter note) on the woodblocks and ti-ti (eighth notes) on the glockenspiels in the song Big Black Cats. Students sitting by the stars were being singing super stars. Ask your K/1 student to sing Big Black Cats for you at home.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Free Ukulele E-Book

If you have a Kindle or the free Kindle App on some other mobile device, you may be interested in this ukulele eBook that is available today through Wednesday (Oct. 23). It is usually $3.99. The book is called 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn to Play Ukulele the Easy Way. I have heard good things about the book, but I have not used it personally. I just downloaded it and will take a peek when I have a moment.

Fifth graders may be interested in the book since they will be using the ukulele in class later this year. Fourth graders may be interested in downloading the book since it is free and they will get to use the ukuleles next year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recorder Express Game

We're going to trying out a lot of fun, new activities this year (especially technology activities!). One of these activities is for fourth and fifth graders playing recorder. It's a free, online game using your recorder and Recorder Express, which is one of the books we use in class. We will be creating accounts in music using your school email accounts, but if you can't wait and would like a sneak peak, go visit the JoyTunes website. Ask your parents first!

You need your recorder and a microphone on your computer for the game to work. I'll have a few microphones available for checkout at school. Mac computers have a built-in microphone, so you don't need another one.

Music Teacher Friends: If you sign up using this link, my students will gain access to more music from Recorder Express. We appreciate your help!



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Preparing for the new year

Wow. I really dropped the ball with the classroom blog last school year. Last year was a little crazy since I was teaching technology and music. This year I am back to only teaching music. I'm hoping that frees up a little more time to blog about our classroom activities. I really love sharing what the students are doing.

This week I was able to get back into the music room to start putting things back together for the upcoming school year. The floors are newly waxed and everything looks clean and shiny. I'll post some pictures of the classroom as soon as it is ready for students.

I have a newly revamped website for our music classroom. It's not completely done, but I've got a really good start. You can visit it at https://sites.google.com/a/isd2190.org/music-at-bert-raney/home. This is a different address from the previous music website, so please bookmark it and use this site from now on.