Audio Tracks Middle School

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Students use Chromebooks with AudioSauna to learn the basics of digital audio creation. They started with a basic sampler and layered synths on different tracks.

Long ago, prior to my journey to becoming a teacher and doctoral candidate – I was awarded a BFA in music. I had attended the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College. My degree centered around music composition and audio production. With beginning my teaching career in 2010, the time spent towards music has been minimal. Last year, I explored a program called AudioSauna which would run a digital audio program within your browser. Best of all, it was very Chromebook friendly.

This year, I really started to work with students during my technology class to create playlists of student work. My focus has been on working with 6th and 7th grade students. I have created a simple Blendspace to get started that has been included below. Please check back for more samples as they are completed! Click below to view the embed lesson.  As I continue to teach students about digital audio, I will be creating more resources.

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8-Bit Graphic Design

As a change of pace, I decided to create a one day project for my 5th grade graphic design class. I found an online web based pixel editor geared towards creating 8-bit inspired art. Using the program Piq, students created their own 8-bit inspired art and uploaded it to their Google Classroom.

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  • sheryl avornu's picture art
  • KB's art
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  • emily castro's awesome pixel art

 

Using Comments in Science Class

thoughtsHaving used a few different LMS packages over the last few years, I thought it was time to bring back allowing students to academically comment on material. I chose to do this with my 5th grade science class, which has been using the NGSS all year long. I have been piloting a blended and flipped curriculum with them since the start of September. Since viewing lessons I have created for them in Blendspace is business as usual, I planned a period for them to dig deeper into the lesson itself, leaving detailed comments for each informational slide. The results, have been great. Students had extremely targeted responses to each slide, which were all organized by subtopic. As the commenting continued, we decided to see how many comments both 5th grade classes could collect altogether. Prior to trying this out, students would review for a unit test – creating review documents on Google Classroom. As a change of pace, this worked extremely well. In the past, students were normally conditioned to leave simple feedback, sporadically referencing class material.

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In 45 minutes of class, students had amassed 176 comments. On their own, they found the “help requests” button – signaling slides that they wanted to review. At the end of the class, I had decided to frame their commenting as a way to earn extra credit on the unit test that would follow the next day. If you would like to try this, I would suggest creating a Blendspace account. The best way to start using this for students, is to have them review for a test. It sets the purpose and focus for targeting their interactions initially with the program. Expand on this by pairing it with your own curated learning material.

3D Printing with Tinkercad

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A collection of images from our interview along with write up. Click to enlarge!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to show what I do at my school with 3D printing. Check out the write up and attached video for more information. The interview was conducted for CEI (Center for Educational Innovation. PICCS is supported by the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), which is granted from the U.S. Department of Education. The interview was conducted during a project my 5th and 6th grade students were working on. The students were designing New York City landmarks, with a process from sketch to model. Scholars needed to visualize their designs first using Google Draw to obtain the basic geometric shapes necessary for their models. Using these basic sketches, students began to model their creations using Tinkercad to great results. The process of the initial design workflow greatly influenced the creation of models that were possible to print using our Makerbot Replicator 2. After our class, we sat down for an interview were we expanded on our vision and student work. This project was the culmination of a year and a half of work with a new graphic design program piloted at my school.  Leveraging free web based applications, we were able to significantly cut down on the startup cost to get the program going.

 

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Click to see each stage of the project!

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5th Grade Science w/ Google Spreadsheets

graphAs my work continues on implementing the Next Generation Science Standards for my 5th grade classes, we have been examining the cause of seasons. Students are supposed to have the understanding that with the Earth changing position relative to the Sun, it will receive different amounts of sunlight based on the tilt of the axis. To illustrate this, I set forth to have students take data for various points over 12 months. Students used the amount of daylight we received in New York City for each month. My lesson had to continue to provide a science background while teaching these 5th graders the basic navigation of a spreadsheet. To accomplish this, I used Google Classroom to provide students with an assignment that had my lesson in it. I also, provided a copy of a custom spreadsheet I created for the assignment. Students were easily able to input the data for themselves, while creating some very interesting graphs. To add some basic functions into the spreadsheets, I had them take the average amount of daylight for each month based off of the 7 days they provided amounts for. This illustrated a strong correlation between the direct amount of sunlight we received in the city to the changing months leading to the seasons.

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This lesson was great for taking students to the next level in terms of a challenge. Much of the Next Generation Science Standards require students to represent their learning with a model or graph.  There really is no simpler way than to use Google Classroom. By creating this assignment as a Google Classroom assignment, students were kept directly into the classroom workflow that they have been working with for the past month. Besides the new teaching towards using spreadsheets, they were not thrown for a loop here. To them it was a new way to demonstrate that they understood what they were learning.

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