Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh Don't Forget!

Towards the end of the last school year, I happened to come across a really neat website that I thought would be quite useful for my students.  If you haven't heard of Oh Don't Forget before, then let me introduce you to a wonderful tool.  Like the website states, it allows you to create scheduled text messages that are FREE to remind you of things you can't afford to forget.  I can recall the number of times I would cringe to the phrase, "I forgot that it was due today." After testing the simple-to-use website a few times, I realized the educational technological benefit this resource could play in my classroom.  Now, I am sharing it will fellow teachers to share with their students. 

Here's what you do:
1. Type in your phone number. (Don't worry it won't store your infomration.)
2. Type in the date and time that you'd like the reminder. (Caution: The reminder text has to be set for more than an hour into the future!)
3. Type the reminder message. This is what you will see when your phone alerts you.
4. Click create and you're done!

This would be a great tool to share with students and parents!

Music in the Classroom...Thanks RCA!

Somehow the sound of music has been absent in my classroom since I left the high school arena.  As I think back, I am not really sure why that was one component I didn't keep in my middle school classroom.  However, I found a renewed interest after visiting the Ron Clark Academy two weeks ago.  I saw the power of music in more than one content area and the impact it played on student learning and school culture.  I became excited that I decided to get straight to work that same night on finding ways to incorporate music once again.

Prior to teaching in middle school, I used songs like "Mission Impossible" and the Jeopardy Theme song to increase a sense of urgency in completing missions or time to answer game questions.  Was it because I transitioned from teaching high school social studies to middle school science why I couldn't figure out how to make it work? I am not really sure, but not being sure isn't a good enough reason to continue to ignore the benefits of music in the classroom.

In about another week, my eighth graders will embark on the Energy Unit. So I pulled the main concept, conducted an internet search, and found some really great music resources.  However, while the lyrics would do the job, I knew my students wouldn't get into the elementary tunes.  So what did I do? I did like the folks at RCA and found a song that was on the radio (which is hard if you don't listen to the same music as your students) that students liked (thanks to my daughter).  I realized the song was a bit longer than the lyrics I found online so I had to get creative and come up with a new verse and a bridge.

Now it was time to build interest among the students on the team.  I got the buzz going around that we were going to do something cool and that Ms. Prince was going to share a rap with the team on Energy.  I had students who jumped at the opportunity to help me put it together and even wanted to put a few moves to it.  While I don't have the flexibility to take my students and do some of the great things I witnessed at the RCA, I am hoping that our music debut will open up some doors for us and show the potential of music to our administration and school community.

I hope to revisit this topic in a few weeks to share the impact music played in my classroom learning environment.

Until then, keep a song in your heart (and your classroom)!

Keeping on my journey...
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