The Friday Five: Music & Culture

With all of us being home during the day, things are moving, but in the evenings, it has been more important to me than ever to have music playing. As music is such an amazing support for the mind and spirit, today’s Friday Five focuses on some great music and music education resources.

  1. Even though live concerts are canceled through May 10, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra offers an amazing collection of audio and video concerts and is live streaming some amazing pieces on Fridays and Saturdays through April.
  2. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming a free series of Live in HD presentations of special performances recorded over the past 14 years. A pretty awesome lineup!
  3. The Grammy Museum offers some amazing mini-lessons for a variety of ages, including drawing to music for K-5, music of the American Civil Rights Movement for grades 4-12, electronic music production and more. They are also putting exhibits from their archives on their website each Friday during this COVID closure, and have recordings with musicians and industry professionals posted.
  4. The Minnesota Orchestra has created a “Minnesota Orchestra at Home” with a “Watch, Listen, Learn” focus. From 2- minute classical music breaks and small concerts from musicians in their homes to an animated film for children, “Perfect Square,” there are some great resources here for sure.
  5. Finally, the New York Philharmonic has a fun Kidzone! Online Learning, a launching point from which visitors to virtually go backstage with the orchestra, learn about the instruments, complete virtual puzzles and quizzes, composers, make their own music, connect with recorded Young People’s Concerts, play games, and more. Take time to click around, the concerts and games are engaging. (Note, some but not all of the Kidzone features require Flash.)

Clearly these are only five of the many resources out there supporting music education. Even if your favorite musical organization doesn’t normally have materials on their website, it is worth checking out again as they may be doing some special digital programming during this COVID time.

Play on!

The Friday Five: Fun & Games!

Maybe it will be a five minute video, five resources, or something else that fits with five, but this week, the Friday Five is back. With the shift for so many to distance learning or physically distancing (hopefully sill finding ways to be social from 6+ feet away), it is important to find ways to still have fun! With that in mind here are five resources focusing on gamification, gaming, and some fun with learning. Cheers to Friday and having some fun!

Jeopardy Labs has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Great for teams as it can keep score, Jeopardy Labs supports synchronous group or solo play and could be fun in a virtual meeting or class.

Wisc-Online’s Game Builder offers 20 different game templates for creators to start from, and their “Arcade” has many games created by the community, organized by subject.

PurposeGames has pre-made games but also has seven different types of games/quizzes users can create (including a favorite of mine, the image quiz!)

If you have a little more time, creating a Digital Breakout can be fun and a good challenge for students, even to solve virtually! The grad students I taught last fall had a blast the night we featured a Digital Breakout during our small group time! BreakoutEDU has a game template to get started, but Tom Mullaney created a great template and a Google Search for “Breakout with Google Sites and Forms” will result in more examples, print instructions, and video tutorials.

Finally, it seems to be remiss to not remind, we can always see if we can travel back in time and survive the (virtual) Oregon Trail! Even the high school students I know have lost themselves in this one for a while.

Remember stay safe, and caulk the wagon!

Thank you Big Deal Media…

Every fall for many years, I have looked forward to the release of Big Deal Media’s Big Deal Book for K-12 Technology. The collection of resources, PD opportunities, grant ideas and more is a fun way to dig into the school year. I also love that it is in print and ebook form and is easy to share with colleagues. Big Deal Media’s K-12 Technology Newsletter is another great way to keep the ideas flowing throughout the year.

Today I also want to thank Big Deal Media for the opportunity to write a post for their blog, Teaching4Tomorrow. It is fun to be able to share ideas with an expanded community of educators. For the past year or so, digital tools to support the 4C’s have been a focus of presentations and professional development I have been offering and when I started writing the post, it was pre-COVID. Now, with that added lens, I hope the ideas shared help even more educators who are navigating digital teaching in new ways.

Teach on!

Art, Distance Learning, and Mo Willems!

Well, the schools in Minnesota are delivering education from a distance through at least May 4. A daunting task for everyone, including art teachers! Well, today our 2nd grader was excited (for the first time in this virtual school scenario) when his art teacher sent a video of Mo Willems and his first “Lunch Doodle,” a new series produced by the Kennedy Center. Outstanding!! We have four original drawings in our little’s sketchbook and big smiles. Mo Willems even did a final doodle that spoke to the spirit of everyone being connected, a perfect message for this challenging time.

This is a fantastic resource for all art educators, and artists both young and young at heart. Kudos to the Kennedy Center, Mo Willems, and art instructors everywhere.