I will be presenting a one-hour session today at Fall CUE 2019 on "Main Street Music: Social Studies, Soundscapes and Poetry.” Click on the image below to view the presentation slides, which contain additional resources at the end! To read more about this integrated unit, as well as other sound-related projects, read my previous blog post.
Chapter 1: Even with Sunglasses, the Sun is BRIGHT.
We try to fit the mold of education. Shades on, let it come. Administration making framework and guidelines. Parents having expectations that we can’t quite comprehend. It’s safe to dwell in a tinted land where we always look good and can look safely at the bright sun…yet we won’t take off the shades until we’re home.
What if I told you that by teaching with SOUND we might have to betray the “sunglass method?”
Shades are cool. .but why shield yourself of something that provides so much growth, brightness and light to so many beings? Yes, too much sun is bad for the complexion, and yes, we all need some cloudy overcast times once in a while. We are human, after all. Yet, in order to grow as healthy humans, we need to step out of our comfort zone. Embrace the realness.
Teaching with sound might just help you stretch and grow more than you know. Why is that? Because you grew up listening to music, hearing the sounds of breakfast in the morning, noticing when your dog barked or when your sister was in the bathroom brushing her teeth. Experiencing the verb of the venue at your first concert. Sound is an everyday element of great proportions…for your students. Why not embed it in your teaching?
For the past two years, I have taught digital music and sound art electives to middle school students and taught integrated sound to 1st graders. Out of left field, right? Yet, students thought abstractly and created “Audiobiographies,” music to fit the “mood” of their Main Street and created Foley sound effects to help personify the scene in their video. Students can grasp and understand the impact of sound when given the opportunity.
Here a some project examples created by 6th-graders and 1st-graders (Main Street Music):
6th-grade Electives: Project Examples
Chapter 2: I was Born Not a Musician, but an Enthusiast.
You most likely did not start learning an instrument at an early age. If you did, that’s legit. I sure did, and it changed my life (but it’s not the requirement of awesomeness).
How did music or sound effect you as a growing human? Did you have favorite songs, musical styles, bands, friends who liked certain bands? Did you find yourself changing moods when things got noisy…or too quiet? This all paints a picture of how sound fit into our individual mold as we grew.
Even if you never laid hands on a musical instrument, think for a second…HOW did sound transform your life?
Chapter 3: Bringing SOUND to the ADE Table.
I recently was accepted as an Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2019. Sweet! I attended the ADE Institute in Bethesda, MD a couple weeks ago and was BLOWN AWAY by the high level of talent and creative thinking all of the other ADE’s brought to the table. I REALLY want to help students connect globally and with empathy via sound. I had the amazing opportunity to present a two minute “pitch” to the 350-person crowd around an idea I’ve had for a while: “How might we develop students’ creative expression with sound and music to build empathy and global connections?” After the pitch, I met with a group of about 50 educators from the Americas to create practical ways of implementing this idea in the classroom. WOW was I amazed by the input/output of ideas.
Chapter 4: Summary of Crazy Cool Idea Formation.
I figure you probably want to see some of the ideas brought to the table. Here you go:
The top five ideas were marked from each group’s idea formation and I am so grateful for this group collaboration. After helping to facilitate this session, I am so glad I was able to bring a new way of thinking to lesson design.
Below is a rough list of many of the big ideas teachers developed. Oh, and by the way, most of these teachers have never taught with sound before. How might YOU use these sound-related ideas in your teaching?:
Audio journey of a typical day with sound effects and different voices
Share with world
Reflect on regional/cultural similarities and differences
Audiobiography + Visuals
Capturing community voices
Song collaboration (Carol Ann McGuire)
Each school/region adds a song section or instrument layer
Music pals (pen pals)
Interview musicians from different parts of the world via FaceTime
Students identify important songs from different countries
Record same phrase in different languages
Creating sounds for a story/character
How can we design music for people with “exceptionalities?”
Sounds/songs to math algorithms
Record a favorite book/chapter
Accessibility to Sound: visually, tactile, color of sound. “How do people experience sound (non-auditory)”
Playlist of sounds organized/shared by creator- based on map locations?
Global field recordings
eBook of home story/region story
Personal theme song
Sounds for colors: what sounds do they make?
Creating music for film/media
Study of multiple cultures/instruments
Collaborative music-making in class
Colors + sounds (Mr. Holland’s Opus)
Collection/database of worldwide sounds/music
Different tones mean different things: crying babies
Silence: how does it effect each of us?
Sound/music connects us to different cultures
Audio Scavenger Hunt: record sounds at home: what sounds happy/funny/etc.: compile in Keynote or Pages
Caption This: creating emotional soundtrack for a video with sound removed
UN 17 Goals for Sustainability: creating a “song” for each goal
Telling another person’s story through sound/music
Look for “anti-empathy” in speeches/new stories/etc.
Use a T-chart to look at examples empathy vs. non-empathy
Chapter 5: What’s Next?
This school year, I am planning on teaching the following 6-8th grade electives (subject to change):
Music for Movies
I am also planning on collaborating with Susan Maynor and Erika Moser on a 2nd-grade collaborative project this fall. More to come. Excited to share in the process!
How are YOU using sound in your teaching? Would LOVE to hear about it.
Insta: @soundteaching, @emmo48
You know how I posted about a recent 1st grade project I did at Hillbrook? Well, I wanted to share with you the awesome end result!
To summarize the project:
Students recorded short interviews with a partner using Apple Clips.
They added effects to the clips to make them look cooler.
They drew illustrations about one or two of the questions they asked/answered. Their homeroom teacher (Margaret) laid down some legit ground rules of drawing (has to have at least 7 colors, etc.). They turned out great!
Students added a soundtrack via Clips.
Students had a gallery walk to view each others’ interviews.
Now for step 6:
Students uploaded (mostly independently) their Clips videos to a Flipgrid “grid” that I created beforehand. They did great!
Check them out: https://flipgrid.com/112d6d99.
Overall, a fun project for all :)
I love learning new things!
Recently, our front desk laptop at Hillbrook was bugging out, shutting itself off in the middle of a process and then showing an “international prohibition sign” (official name). #nobueno
The first time it happened, Deborah (front desk associate) brought the laptop to me with a real-life frowny face. It completely halted her workflow and it can definitely be a bit scary to see a symbol like this on a computer screen (I have to write notes to myself all the time, since I’m jumping from one thing to the next all day):
I gave her a loaner laptop and then proceeded to boot up the computer in Recovery Mode, run First Aid in Disk Utility and finally re-install Mojave. It worked…for about two weeks. Then, it happened again! ERG.
This time, re-installing the OS left me looking at a fun message on the screen: “mac OS could not be installed on your computer.” Hmm. I was at a bit of a loss. I love me a good challenge, though! #lifemantra
I did a little research and discovered that it is pretty straightforward to install a clean OS from a separate startup drive (seems obvious, right?). I had never HAD to do this in my years of experience as a technology specialist, so therefore never actually learned. It’s awesome when you are presented with a healthy challenge, stretch your mind and resources and land on solid solution ground.
Thanks to this SUPER helpful article from Apple Support, I was able to create a clean OS installer using an extra flash drive.
After creating the new install disk, I booted up in the disk (option + power on) and reinstalled the OS via that route. It totally worked!
A few small tips:
Make sure you have an external drive that is AT LEAST 16 GB.
Make sure the drive is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
This article saved the day…and I am an even BETTER technology specialist for it! #newknowledge #growth
Who knew that working with 1st graders could be so rad?!
This is the second project I have been a part of with that grade level and it has been fun learning more about how this developmental age interacts with themselves and with technology. Let me tell you about a cool mini project we embarked upon:
My friend Margaret (1st grade lead teacher, new to Hillbrook) wanted more ideas for integrating technology in her classroom. Her previous schools did not have very large technology budgets or integration for that matter, so didn’t get many integration opportunities in the past. She needed the first part of the school year to nail down student behavior norms (she has a super tough class this year) and reached out in January about me coming into her classroom with a fun tech-related project. She had no particular expectations, so I had to think of a few ideas that would align with curricular goals for her students*.
*Note: Technology doesn’t ALWAYS have to align with curricular goals, but it is very important to make it RELEVANT to students. This could mean bringing in something academically unrelated to what they are learning, but it should relevant enough that students are able to create a strong connection to it, even on a subconscious level.
The Apple Clips app was (sort of) recently released, and not many teachers are using it at our school, so I decided to introduce students to the app by way of interviewing each other in partners! Since Margaret’s students were learning how to ask questions of another person and listen attentively (CA English Language Arts Content Standards, 1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies), this would be a great medium with which to practice such skills!
We first gave them an overview of the project via a short video we made in 5 minutes that day before. It was fun creating something quickly with Margaret, who was very enthusiastic about the idea!
It’s important to double-check that the Clips app is available and working on student iPads BEFORE starting the project. We have 1:1 iPads that stay in the classroom for lower school (K-4). As I am also the person in charge of managing and distributing ALL iPad apps, I had pushed the clips app well ahead of time. However, there is a known glitch with several Apple-designed apps, where an Apple I.D. is required for use. UNLESS of course, you know a work-around (which I did). With our jamf Pro database, we can delete the app and reinstall it again via Self Service. Comments are welcome if you would like to know more about how we use jamf Pro for most everything!
Students began by thinking of 2-3 “favorites” questions to ask their partner. They video-recorded a clip of them introducing their partner, followed by 1, 2, 3, however many clips they wanted for each question they asked. They could also add visual titles (forgot the real name) to show the words on the screen as they said them (so awesome).
They then drew illustrations by hand that depicted one of their partner’s favorites (or their own). After taking a photo of the illustration within the Clips app, they moved the image to the appropriate place in the timeline.
After this, they had the option of adding a visual effect to one or more clips!
Our last step (happening next week) will be to add an optional soundtrack, export the video to their camera roll on the iPad and upload to Flipgrid!
I hope this gives you one idea about using Apple Clips with 1st graders! They have really enjoyed using it and have caught on quickly. More posts to come on working with 1st graders as a technology specialist!
Hey, and welcome back from the holiday bustle!
I am feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a full week of visiting family in Michigan and having another whole week to my own devices (tech pun intended).
Over and out for now!
This post includes the slide deck and links to resources from the “AudioBiography” workshop as part of the Center for Progressive Education Conference 2018 in San Francisco. Follow my posts on Twitter at @eh48 or on Instragram @soundteaching for further insights!
We all do it once in a while.
"I'm taking a vacay here" or "a long weekend there" and "I need to disconnect from tech" for a few days (or weeks). What is it that makes technology sometimes feel all-consuming, a slow soul-suck that wants to hang on like a giant lake leech?
It started with Facebook.
A game-changer that shifted society's way of communicating and connecting. A powerful engine of youth-driven tech bliss, which then seeped into the everyday lives of their parents and grandparents. What started as a "cool new way of learning about one another and re-connecting with past friends," turned into a massive engine of artifacts, fragments, political/social movement, rhetorical questions and un-prompted answers. A new single super-highway that evolved into a metropolis. What if you don't want to "live" in a metropolis? #suckstobeyou
Then came mobile apps and quick-firing fingertips that don't want to lose their mobile momentum. Like the invention of the microwave and the need for quick, cheap food (due to world war craziness), we have again as a society followed the wave of innovative bliss. "This is something we have NEVER experienced before. Let's check it out, yo!" There's nothing wrong with being a curious, ever-learning society with growth mindsets and such, but we do need to understand one thing:
Curiosity does not equal conviction.
We enjoy these toys that seem self-evident. But, not all tech is created with an equal objective. We must be aware of WHY we have this thing or that app. WHY was it created, and to whom is it relevant? Some of us still use microwaves to cook everything, but others choose to cook the majority of their food using an oven or stove top. Not because they don't believe the microwave is a useful technology, but that they like to cook with their own two hands and eat food that is more naturally grown. It doesn't make one person better than the other, but we all have a different version of what is RELEVANT in our lives. With a greater density of technology options, it becomes so much more important to answer the question: What do I really NEED to make my life more fulfilling?
I go in phases myself. Sometimes, I truly want to create things. I am an ARTIST, after all, and often get the urge to compose music, write poetry or blog! Sometimes this requires paper and more often a laptop/iPad/iPhone. Frankly, a lot of technology out there makes it more efficient to create art. Plain and simple. I can put a digital music arrangement together on my laptop much quicker than recording each part live into an 8-track or whatevs. I can convey my own thoughts so much faster by typing rather than writing on paper. However, I still have moments where I truly want to journal and/or draw in an actual journal on nice paper with a nice pen. Because I was not put on this earth to use technology. I was put here to be me, whatever that means.
Let's get back to the original question: why do we disconnect (from technology)?
We disconnect from technology (and other things, frankly) to create a balance between your own drive and the motivations of innovation. As humans, we need to be self-paced. We need to control how we see the world and at what speed. Sometimes this means really diving into something new, that really intrigues us and fits into our "speed" at the time. Other times, we need to lay back, go back to first gear, ignore the microwave and re-connect with the analog properties of the everyday world. It's pretty beautiful, actually. Beautiful that we have that choice.
Don't feel ashamed if you have to touch the "disconnect dial" once in a while. We are blood-pumping, breathing human machines that need some analog TLC on the occasion that our innovation-brain needs a vacation. #longsentence #importantsentence
Why do YOU disconnect? Comments below. #hollaatyogirl
We ALL know how frustrating technology can be, am I right?
Believe me, I've been working in the educational technology industry for 5+ years, the technology training industry for 5+ years, the technology support industry for over 5 years and the corporate A/V industry for a year. Sometimes it still happens. The RAGE.
Don't worry, I don't show it to other innocent humans. But it still happens, and it's all perspective.
Summer tech. work is INTENSE. It's a lot about making lists upon lists and always aware of deadlines upon deadlines. It's also about what can wait until mid-September? Good skills to have, though. Being able to tell a heap of work that "you ain't worthy of the beginnings of my year, yo. Wait in line like the rest. You second best."
New iPads are LEGIT to setup. So fancy and nice and...they require DEP scoping, yo.
We got over 100 new iPads this year to replace older ones in the line-up. Cool. Don't forget to scope 55 of them (manually) to the correct DEP pre-stage enrollment group in JAMF (based on the graduation year) and leave the rest for the other general enrollment group. Cool. No biggity.
Let's make sure each Lower School classroom gets the same model of iPad...no easy feat. Did some math and some magic and we GOOD. However, 3/4 through wiping all LS iPads and setting them up in Active Directory bindings, they stop "checking in" with our JAMF database. WTF.
Then, our printer policies stop pushing out and pretend like there's no driver in the freaking driver's seat. #ERRRRRG
I called my buddies at JAMF support (super cool and helpful peeps). They on it. I had to send multiple Terminal commands via our MySQL Database to dig deep. It's still an open case. I get the feeling these issues are related. If this shiz doesn't get sorted in a week, ain't no one getting a computer that can print (I think).
...you know what?
I am a human using non-human tools in a human world. I need to remind myself that my humanity is more important than the inner-workings of a human-made metal machine that doesn't know how to order an Americano from an indy coffee shop.
There's always a solution stemming from a creative human brain. Always.
The bottom line is that you should never completely trust in a techno workflow and that you are strong enough to design the solution, with or without the techno.
Chill nights be tight. There's something so right About a dream that's real, With so much appeal.
All it takes is patience In what may conspire. A path that only some faith will inspire.
Keep leading me higher And higher. This pain will lead me to fire.
Another "iPad Collection Season" at Hillbrook just wrapped itself up in a nice bow.
We used a different strategy this year (compared to previous years): collect 4 grade levels of iPads in 1.5 days instead of 1.5 weeks. It seemed a bit daunting at first, since it takes a lot of energy to guide multiple groups of students through the collection process, in addition to hauling said iPads from one side of campus to another after collection (with only two of us collecting). It was worth it, however, to have a faster timeline and more efficient process. Ultimately, it gave students a longer period of time with their iPads, which helps when teachers are still assigning final projects and assignments that are dependent on the use of an iPad.
If you are curious about the process we use for iPad Collection (in middle school), check it out below:
- In the fall, when iPads are deployed, have students create an empty folder titled, "2018 Work." They can upload items here throughout the year if desired. This isn't exactly what we for "student portfolios," but it's a way for students to quickly keep things that are important to them.
- Starting 1-2 weeks before iPad collection: have advisors/teachers guide students through uploading any content they want to keep for next year to the "2018 Work" folder mentioned above. Here are the general instructions we give students for this process.
- Have advisors/teachers remind students to: have their name and grade level CLEARLY visible on their case, remove any decorations from their case, locate and bring their charger + cable and bring their iPads fully charged on collection day.
- (Optional) Make a special announcement to the whole school mentioning all important items from step 3. BONUS: do this in character, calling yourself "Collector Gadget" and using a thick east coast accent and improvised routine (I have done this two years in a row!). Feel free to make up your own character ;)
- Gather a BUNCH of milk crates/rolling carts and label them by grade level. Have at least one bin solely for collecting chargers. Grab some electronic spray cleaner and some micro-fiber cloths as well.
- Create a spreadsheet listing all students, separated into tabs by grade level. Make columns for "iPad," "Charging block," "Charging cable" and comments. This will be crucial for keeping track of missing items or broken screens.
- On collection day: go through these steps with students. It helps to teach them how to properly tie their charging cable. Also, it helps to setup a "cleaning station" for wiping their screens.
- Use your spreadsheet to check off items as they are turned in. It took us about 20-25 minutes per group of 20 students (give or take) with two and sometimes one person checking in.
That's about it!
I am usually the only Tech person here most of the summer, so it's important to me to have iPads as organized as possible before the school year officially ends. This summer, I will fix broken iPads, swap out cases, update our MDM inventory and profiles, rotate iPads in or out of inventory and get ready for another rockin' school year!
What do you do at YOUR school for iPad collection? Comment below!
I am sure many of us in this situation of consistent glitchy-ness would continue to use the site indefinitely, no matter how frustrating (assuming it is a useful site otherwise). In these two situations, I decided I did not want to sit there and let these seemingly obvious glitches keep swimming down the stream of internet subconsciousness we all float upon (some of the time).
I wanted to be an advocate for change!
So, in both scenarios, I contacted the support team for the site (by phone if possible) and explained that nothing was immediately wrong on my end, but I wanted to bring to their attention a glitch that I had experienced many times and that they should know about it!
Both companies were extremely helpful and pleased that I was actually going out of my way to help a company become better.
Now, I am not trying to boast or make myself look like a better human being than everyone else. I simply want to spread the word that it's very gratifying to know that your observations, quick communication and few minutes of time can not only help a company improve their user experience but can spread positive and proactive thinking across industries.
So, go find some glitches!
Hey guys! The Hillbrook Art Show 2018 is about to wrap up. It's been quite the artistic year over here and I wanted to share with you some personal experiences with 6th grade Sound Art.
As I mentioned in a previous post or two, I have been teaching a new 6th grade art class focusing on SOUND. It's been a very fun and eye-opening experience for both the students and myself (being my first time teaching a class of my own outside of percussion ensemble) as a new medium for self expression and storytelling.
We created several small projects over the course of the class (I had 4 groups of 6th-grade students that rotated between 4 art classes throughout the year):
- Sound Reflections (Listening for five minutes to a sound artifact and either writing or drawing their interpretation/story based on their connection with it.)
- Soundscapes with LoopyHD (Students made observations in the form of writing and audio recording of sounds that encompass the area around them. They then recreated the sounds they previously heard by recording new sounds in the LoopyHD app.)
- Short Videos with Foley Sound Effects (Students got to meet and see a cool demo by a working Foley professional! They also created their own 30-45 second video clips (or grabbed a licensed one from Vimeo) and recorded all of the sounds themselves!
- AudioBiography Final Projects (Based on a chosen personal "theme," students composed their own audio (including Foley sound effects) to help embody that theme or idea. A visual element was required in addition to sound. Students used GarageBand, LoopyHD and iMaschine as primary audio creation tools and chose between iMove, Padlet, Thinglink or Scratch + MakeyMakey for their final presentation medium. Check out all of the awesome student projects below (be ready for some interesting variety):
Quarter 1: bit.ly/2ILnZRQ
Quarter 2: bit.ly/2rHMOoe
Quarter 3: bit.ly/2IlMguk
Quarter 4: bit.ly/2II2CB8
For the Art Show this year, I made sure to take 360-degree images of each class. Then, I uploaded either links to or the actual project to a hot spot under their picture. I setup two iMacs at a table with links to the AudioBiographies (and other projects) already open in several tabs (on Thinglink). I also laid out several pairs of headphones with headphone splitters so visitors could listen simultaneously (great way to connect with others in an abstract way!).
All in all, this has been a fun and challenging year of stretching and discovering what students can create with sound. Can't wait to teach this again next year!
#fyi I am always available for more information about any of the above-mentioned projects or any other thoughts or questions you may have.
To connect with Hillbrook teachers about audio-integrated projects we have done or are in the process of doing, fill out this form. We would love to talk to you and provide more information about these projects!
Description from our "Audio App-titude" session at CUE 2018:
"Is music just for music class? Is sound something you hear, but never write about? Incorporating a multi-sensory experience is instrumental in designing a more differentiated learning environment. This session will highlight a few audio apps and tools that can bring a new level of engagement to the (non-music) classroom. "
What makes me second-guess everything that I see?
The answer is not in what makes it you or me,
But it is troubling when I forget to breathe.
To feel claustrophobic beyond belief
Is like listening to your own blinking heart beat.
It is not as if there is no hope.
Only a sense of being out of scope.
I do not feel helpless or out of touch.
My inner strength feels very robust.
The pot hole inside is gaining ground.
What I really need is to feel profound.
What can I do to fill the hole?
All of my elements will be in control.
I need you there to see this through,
For what comes from your journey is in me too.
Digital Tools Used/Mentioned:
- Loopy HD (iPad)
- iMovie (iPad)
- GarageBand (iPad)
- iMaschine (iPad)
- Padlet Backpack (iPad)
- Thinglink (Web)
- Scratch (Mac/Web)
- Final Sound Project Guidelines
- Loopy HD Info
- Loopy HD Tips
- iMaschine Info
- GarageBand for iOS Guide
- Foley Sound Recording Video
- Cue SF Home Page