Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hearing Voices

School began Monday at my school. Excitement was high from both teachers and students. I'm going to like this class!

IWB Challenge #1.

During Math the first day, I introduced my Skip Counting Songs Notebook page during the course of the lesson. Students couldn't wait for their turn to move the magnifying lens over the number of the counting song they wanted to sing. By clicking on the corresponding number, the mp3 file would play and the sing-a-long would begin. They would've sang all period if I'd have let them. I promised there would be a song or two everyday and they could choose which ones it would be. They were happy and so was I.

Through the years, I've used music to help students remember important concepts. By teaching skip counting songs, my students succceed more quickly when it's time to recognize counting patterns and memorize their multiplication facts.

Here's the creation information. Last week I recorded myself singing the songs I've used in class for years while accompanying myself on the piano. The ditties came from various sources - a really old Melody House record album, workshop jewels, and original melodies from a former teacher. Playing by ear enabled me to pitch them in a comfortable singing range. My college voice professor told me I sang like a 9 year old. He was right, but little did he know I would be teaching 8 & 9 year olds someday and that skill would come in handy!

You should have seen my living room last Friday afternoon! Microphone on the piano, wires strung across to the footstool where my laptop sat with Audacity cued up and ready to record. After a little practice I was ready to save each file. Then it was a simple step (after downloading and installing the lame encoder file) to convert each one to an mp3. To make my Notebook page, I added a little clipart at the top and inserted the numbers in individual windows. I attached each "big number" to its corresponding sound file by clicking on the insert menu.

In past years, I would sing acapella and teach the students the songs by rote. Now it's a simple click on a number, the music begins, and students can sing along while I write the counting sequence on the Notebook page using my AirLiner wireless slate.

Inserting my voice into Notebook was a snap. I'm already planning my next project!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's About Time

Today begins a new chapter in my learning. Not only is this my first blog, today also begins my 20th year in the classroom. But that's another post.
Today I became an official challenger in the whiteboard challenge. I'll keep you posted on the results.