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1. Have students blog (or write) reflectively
How often do we ask students to reflect on their learning? Blogging can be a great way to help them go deeper with class projects or practice logs. Another favorite of mine is having students reflect on a performance or recording of themselves. In writing about it, they are able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of their learning. This can also open up opportunities for class discussions to take place through the comment section online - which evens the playing field for some quieter students who would not speak up as often!
Relates to: literacy, critical thinking, technology, communication skills, student collaboration, assessments
2. Get out and share!
Relates to: community, relevance, learning environment, students' strengths
3. Find & watch relevant YouTube videos!
YouTube, and various other video platforms, have changed the way people share media and provided a track to instant fame. Many modern musicians have built their fan bases largely from viral YouTube videos! Tap into that excitement, and show students videos that include their instrument in less traditional settings. I also have a tradition called "YouTube Fridays", where we watch a relevant YouTube video and students complete a brief listening assignment about it. This connects them to the world and lets them see the cool things they can do with their instruments,while also honing their listening skills!
Relates to: relevance, connectedness, differentiation, technology, critical thinking
4. Explore Online Music Tools
There are so many cloud-based programs that allow students to play around with different aspects of music. I have shown students these tools in class, and had them go home and send me a video later that night of something they made using these websites. There is also so much authentic learning that occurs as they try to recreate what they hear in their head on the screen! Some of my favorites are:
Noteflight for composition
Pencil Code Jam for coding
Chrome Music Lab for musical fun and creation at all ages
Relates to: technology, connectedness, relevance, differentiation, students' strengths, critical thinking, student collaboration, coding
5. Make an instrument!
Relates to: technology, content, connectedness, student collaboration, critical thinking, makerspaces, community, students' strengths