Thursday, August 29, 2013

"120 Singing Games" 58% off!

This is one of my favorite resources! I am posting about it now, because I discovered that it is on clearance right now on

That's 58% off!

 It normally retails for $162! I know I paid more than $100 for my used copy years ago purchased from If you do not have this book in your library, do not miss out on this outrageous deal!

The instructions for the dances are very clear and include helpful diagrams. There is also a very extensive movement glossary in the back of the book. Here are just a few of my favorite games and dances from this book:

"Old Betty Larkin" -a circle dance which is a mixer to trade partners. Grades 2-5 always enjoy this dance. Check out a previous post on this song.  

"Pop Goes the Weasel"-a triple circle dance for Grade 1-5

"I've Been To Haarlem"- double circle moving with partners and then separately in contrary motion. My students love to "wring the dishrag" and separate from their partner!

"Old Brass Wagon"-I love a dance where the lyrics tell you what to do!

"Paw Paw Patch"- a Kentucky song and a great dance to teach K and 1st how to "peel the banana"!

"Alabama Gal"-a "peel the banana" favorite!

"Obwisana"-an African rock passing game (we use beanbags)

"Tideo"- an arch-forming game
A full index of the contents is available at

If you already have this great book, share your favorite game or song below!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Aurasma in the Music Room

Augmented Reality!
(This sounds like something from a sci-fi novel; but, I promise it is not as complicated as it sounds!)

I recently attended our district's technology conference and was introduced to the app Aurasma. With this app, you can bring any image to life.  Take a look at this video:

Did anyone else imagine the newspapers on Harry Potter when watching that video?

 Applications In the Music Room

Do you remember my post last September about displaying student work in the hallway? I took pictures of students actively engaged in music making and dancing and accompanied them with the state and national core content standards. Now, these pictures can come to life! Through the Aurasma app, anyone can walk down the hallway and view videos of my students making music together.

Take a look at this video:

I also have plans on using my instrument posters inside my classroom to trigger videos of actual musicians playing each instrument. I will post and share when this project is completed.

How to Get Started . . .

Create A Private Channel

I have created a private channel for my school videos. In the app, select the Profile icon in the bottom right corner. Select "My Auras" and tap the + sign. It asks you if you would like to add an aura or a channel. Select "Channel." You will be asked to name the channel and add a thumbnail. At this time, I have not found a way to edit the thumbnail later. This is your only chance to add a thumbnail. The thumbnail I created was not fancy. I used WordArt and Clipart on Microsoft Word to create a simple logo and took a photograph of the computer screen. It's kind of grainy, but at that time I just wanted to get started creating Auras. Double check that your channel is set to private.

How to Create an Aura.

First, you need to select a short video (approximately 45 seconds maximum). Watch the video below to get a capture a still picture from your video and create your trigger image for your videos.

(If you are not familiar with the Snipping Tool used in the video, follow this link.)

After you have printed your trigger image, you can open Aurasma and overlay the video. Aurasma has a video tutorial demonstrating the basics of how to create an aura.

When selecting the video to overlay on the trigger image, you can rotate, reposition, or resize the video until you get it exactly where you want it. To reposition, just touch with one finger and move it. To resize, use two fingers to stretch bigger or pinch smaller. To rotate, use two fingers and twist.

How to Share Your Private Channel

In order for others to view your auras, they have to become a follower of your channel. When you view your channel under the Profile icon, there is a purple "Share" button on the right side of the screen. It gives  you the option to share via email, SMS, Twitter, or Facebook.  I selected "Email" to get the URL link to my channel. I used this link to create a QR code which is posted in the hallway above my pictures.  A google search will connect you to several QR creators, but I used the QR Code Generator. You could use any QR reader to scan the code, but I use RedLaser.

Scan this QR Code to follow the Music With Mrs. Dennis channel.
Then, use Aurasma to find 2 hidden auras somewhere on this post!


 After you fall in love with Aurasma, share it with your colleagues! Here are some ideas generated by some teachers in our district:

Classroom Library- The teacher can use the cover of books as the trigger images and record a video talking about the book. Better yet, have students give short reviews of the book after they finish reading a book. The next time a student looks for a new book, they can use Aurasma to view the videos and help make their selection.

Science/Art Projects- Take videos of the students talking about their science or art projects. For example, they can explain the process they used to complete the project or their favorite part of the project, etc.

Homework Help- If worksheets are sent home and the teacher feels the students may forget what to do (MATH!) the teacher can video themselves working out the first problem and overlay that video onto the worksheet. When the student or parent are struggling at homework time, they can open Aurasma and check for a helpful video example.

Interactive Anchor Charts- Attach videos of lessons to anchor charts hanging around the room so students can use them as reference tools weeks, or even months, later!

Here is another helpful link for using Aurasma in the classroom: