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!

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.

Spicing Up Note Taking….With Google Drive!

Yes, a computer can be used as a replacement of paper and pencil for taking notes, but I would love to see a regular piece of paper do what we did in class for the past couple of days (and as quickly)!

Yesterday my Constitutional and Criminal Law class started to delve into the 5th Amendment. As we “unpacked” the amendment (thank you for the help, Teaching Civics/Civically Speaking and the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education – both have great civics resources), my students took notes on a Google doc. After we discussed “indictment,” they learned about the news search feature on Google and they found two news articles involving indictments, added the links into their notes, wrote a brief summary of each story and then shared their findings with a neighbor. We repeated the process with the term grand jury.

Today I wanted the students to further explore details about a grand jury. Using some of the content from long ago and a source that I can no longer find online, I created this Google Doc with fact sorting and photo identification activities for my students to complete. They added the content from this activity to their notes page from yesterday’s class. The categorizing of bullet points was impressively effective at generating thought and discussion (I will certainly use that strategy again in the future), and the photo exercise went so well I am trying to find other places the concept could be used.

A great day in the classroom. Cheers!