Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

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Tech Bite: Listening lessons with Word Clouds

March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, everyone!

As we are gearing up to go back to school in a few days, I thought I would share a simple way that I have integrated a bit of hands on technology into my classroom.  It is easy for the tech to take over and become the focus of a lesson, but in Music class we want the music to take center stage. Additionally, not every school has a class set of iPads for all of the children to use. The ideas I am going to share today not only puts the music as the main focus of the activity, but it can be accomplished as a whole group or in learning centers once the students are familiar with the program.

What you need:

– laptops or computers

– a listening example of you choice

In the past I have had my students write a list of adjectives on a piece of paper to describe the music they are hearing. This time I shook things up by adding the laptops and a website called Tagxedo. Just like Woddle, Tagxedo allows you to create a word cloud with words of your choice. Inputting the words is fairly straight forward and the program allows you to choose the color scheme and shape of your cloud.

In my classroom, I used this activity to introduce the students to one of the songs they will be performing in the Spring Concert. Once they all had a laptop (we have a cart, but this can easily be done in a computer lab) I played a recording of Bashana Haba’ah.

As the students listened to the choir singing, they typed a list of words that described the music.  I encouraged them to use appropriate music vocabulary (ie. Tempo names, dynamic markings, instrument names, etc.) I asked the students to come up with as many words as they could think of. I have to admit, their lists were far longer when using Tagxedo than when we have done this on paper. They love to fill their word clouds with as many words as possible!

Once they had created their list of words I gave the students a few minutes to choose a shape for their word clouds and a color scheme.  I told them that the shape should reflect the music in some way. Full disclosure, I did not tell the students anything about the song beforehand, not even the fact that it would be part of our concert repertoire. As the song is in Hebrew, none of my students understood the words. Their responses were based solely on the music.  I think they turned out beautifully. The end result looks great printed out and hung on a bulletin board or posted on your classroom blog/website. The kids are itching to take theirs home!

This is a very basic listening activity. It can work with tech savvy 1st graders, yet the “big kids” love it, too.

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