Sunday, January 24, 2021

Scratch: Size and Pitch

The challenges of distance learning have led me down a deep rabbit hole to learn how to code. I have been using Scratch to create interactive music experiences for my students learning at home. If you missed my other posts on Scratch, click this link.

I use fairy tales to help introduce the kindergarten students to the Orff instruments for the first time. I "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" we compare the sizes of the billy goats and the sizes of the bars. The bigger bars sound lower and the smaller bars sound higher. We also change our voices to sound higher and lower. In this Scratch game, the students click the goats and troll for sound effects.


In Goldilocks, we continued to explore size and pitch and compared the different size xylophones. Papa Bear becomes the bass, Mama Bear becomes the alto, and  Baby Bear becomes the soprano. Goldilocks is the glockenspiel. In class, we get to take turns rotating through these instruments while I read the story. With the Scratch game, they get to play all the sounds. They can click the character or click the instrument.


I hope your students enjoy these games! 


Click for more Scratch games created by me.

Click to join the Facebook Group Scratch for Music Educators.

Scratch: Triplet Games

 

The challenges of distance learning have led me down a deep rabbit hole to learn how to code. I have been using Scratch to create interactive music experiences for my students learning at home. If you missed my other posts on Scratch, click this link.

These games focus on triplets. "Loose Tooth" is a poem I learned at an Orff workshop using a body percussion ostinato. We would transfer the body percussion to unpitched percussion. This game allows students to change the rhythm of the ostinato. You can click each beat to change it from quarter note, triplet, or quarter rest. The instruments below can performed by clicking but it is easiest to use the number keys. I have embedded audio of the Loose Tooth poem so they can accompany with their ostinato.


After teaching "Loose Tooth" during student teaching, my mentor purchased this book as a gift-"A Tooth Story" by Margaret McNamara. I inserted a melodic phrase which also used the triplet rhythms. This Scratch allows the students to perform the melody of that phrase while listening to the audio of the story.


"Carnival Time" is a poem and song I composed. I brainstormed carnival words which would fit the quarter note and triplet rhythms. In a normal lesson, students would divide in groups and be given manipulatives to compose a phrase using the carnival words. They would get to choose instruments to perform for the class. In the Scratch game, the students click each beat to compose a phrase. The beats cycle through all the carnival words as well as a quarter rest. They can use the number keys to choose from several percussion sounds. If they click play, "Carnival Time" will begin in ABA form with the B section featuring the student's composition.



I hope your students enjoy these games! 


Click for more Scratch games created by me.

Click to join the Facebook Group Scratch for Music Educators.

Scratch Melodic Games


The challenges of distance learning have led me down a deep rabbit hole to learn how to code. I have been using Scratch to create interactive music experiences for my students learning at home. If you missed my other posts on Scratch, click this link.

The projects I'm sharing in this post focus on melody. In Tideo, the students will play the Tideo phrase at the ends of each line. In the video lessons, we examined the staff notation and used hand signs to sing in solfege. In a normal lesson, we would transfer this melody to the Orff instruments. In the Scratch, the song will play and a yellow box will appear around the notation for each phrase. Students use their number keys to play the melody.


I would normally use "Home" by Phillip Phillips with recorders. We would play the chorus on recorders and play the refrain on the xylophones. On Scratch, students will use their number keys to play both on a virtual xylophone. A yellow box will appear around each melody to show the students when to play.


"The Ballad of the Beetles and the Bedbugs" allows students to play a melodic ostinato to accompany the song-a broken bordun. Then, they have a chance to improvise a melodic section. This is one of the first lessons introducing melodic improvisation. I love using the baseball analogy. I compare Do to homebase and ask the students to end their melody on Do.


I hope your students enjoy these games! 


Click for more Scratch games created by me.

Click to join the Facebook Group Scratch for Music Educators.

Scratch: The Mitten & The Cold Lady

    



The challenges of distance learning have led me down a deep rabbit hole to learn how to code. I have been using Scratch to create interactive music experiences where students can play virtual instruments. If you missed my first post on Scratch, click this link

My latest projects involve books-There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow (Lucille Colandro) and The Mitten (Jan Brett). Both these stories are additive, starting with one character/item and adding on more and more as the story progresses. Additive stories are great to turn into sound stories adding musical sounds to represent the characters/items. This helps students focus on listening to the music and learning how to keep their instrument quiet when it is not their turn.

While teaching virtually, these lessons would be impossible without the help of virtual instruments. I used Scratch to code the games. I recorded myself reading and singing the story. This will begin when they click the play button. When they click the pictures of the items/animals, the image will change to an instrument and play that instrument sound. The images of the animals for The Mitten were taken from the free mask printables provided by the author Jan Brett.

I hope you and your students can enjoy these Scratch games. Again, you do not need a login to access Scratch. It is completely free. Simply share the link and they will have access to the game. 


The Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow



Click for more Scratch games created by me.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Music Educators Coding With Scratch

Coding. Did I ever think I would be teaching myself how to code? Nope. But, here I am jumping down the rabbit hole. Who knew it would be something that would expand my skills as a music educator?

I elected to be a cloud teacher for the district through December. I am the sole elementary music educator for 1400 cloud students. So, all of my teaching must be delivered asynchronously. With this large amount of students, creating instrument kits was out of the question. So, I started searching the web for interactive music instruments to include in my virtual classroom. That is when I discovered Scratch.

Scratch is a website where anyone can program interactive games, stories, and animations. This is completely free and you do not have to log on to access the games. I first found interactive instruments that were created by others.  I featured them in my Virtual Classroom. You may click the image below to visit and take a peek.


I started including these instruments in lessons. I provided a link for the students to go to the virtual xylophone and try to play a song using their number keys. That seemed to be successful, but I wanted the students to be able to see the notation of the song and also play along to a track. So, I learned how to remix a Scratch project.

Scratch is also an interactive community where you can view projects created by others and also remix them. Remixing is a process of using someone else's project as a starting point and altering things to make a new project. For my first remix, I used a xylophone created by another user and added a new background and playing track. I have embedded it below. Click the space bar to begin the audio track. You can use the numbers or the letters to play the pitches, but it is easiest to use the numbers since they are in chromatic order. Our kindergarten through 2nd grade have touch screen Chromebooks. They would be able to touch the bars to play. The touch aspect would also work well on tablets or iPads.


After I got a taste of remixing, I had to learn more. My next projects used a guitar and strumming chord patterns. I used "Monster Mash" to get students in the mood for Halloween. For those students who do not celebrate, I offered an alternative-"Don't Worry Be Happy".  I learned how to animate using motion. The bat and bird fly over the correct chords. The characters also have speech bubbles which tell the strumming patterns and the upcoming chord. Both projects are embedded below. Click the green flags to begin. You can use your letter keys to strum the chords or you could click the letters with your mouse or touch screen.


 


For the next project, I decided to combine the two options to play harmony and melody. I used the song "Skin and Bones". Students can play the Dm chord by clicking the guitar or using their space bar. The glockenspiel can be used to play the "Oo-Oo-Oo-Ooo" phrase. They can click the bars or use the number keys. Click the green flag to begin the audio track.


I'm sure I'm not done creating Scratch projects. I'll try to keep you updated. If you click the link below, you can view all the projects I have created in Scratch.

Music With Mrs. Dennis on Scratch


If you are interested in learning how to code with Scratch, you can follow these Facebook Groups.

Teaching With Scratch


Scratch For Music Educators

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Using Google Forms To Submit Photo/Video


I would like to share how I use Google Forms for my students to submit photos and videos of their work. It has been a wonderful feature to manage responses and media from such a large amount of students. 

I have two videos below. The first video shows you how to create your Google Form. The second video shows how to view and organized the responses. If you have any questions, comment below and I'll try to provide guidance.

Creating Your Google Form



Viewing Your Google Form Responses


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Nontraditional Instruction: Family Music Interview

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools nationwide are forced to close and implement instruction from home. My district is calling this NTI (Nontraditional Instruction). The lessons I create must be accessible for all students, even those without access to technology. We are creating packets each week that get dropped off and collected by the bus drivers. I will be sharing all my lesson ideas for free for those of you who are in this same desperate situation.

This NTI lesson is titled "Family Music Interview". I wanted the students to connect with an older relative and compare/contrast their school music experiences. Students have the option to respond on a Google Form or with paper and pencil. Below are screenshots of the paper that was sent home.



I have this available for you as an editable download. Click the link below. It will open as a Google Slide. Make sure you edit the portion for digital submission. You could share a url link to the platform of your choice. You could include your email, but your inbox may fill up very quickly. If you choose, you can delete the digital portion all together. If you are curious about using Google Form for submission, I will be sharing a tutorial very soon. Check back by the end of the week.

Click to Download an Editable Copy


Click here for other NTI Lesson Ideas