GoNoodle

It’s time for state-wide testing in my neck of the woods.  Even though we are not allowed to have computers on during the test, you might want to consider using GoNoodle after the test, particularly for students who have been sitting for awhile. They also recently added a feature called, “Flow,” which helps with stress.

I mentioned GoNoodle a while back in a post I did on “Physical Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break.”  Shortly afterward, I started meeting with my new Kinder GT students twice a week.  On Fridays, they miss Kinder Cafe (when the students go to the gym once a week to dance to different songs) to come to my class.  Last year, the students didn’t seem to mind.  But, this year I nearly had a mutiny on my hands. Even though, they only meet with me for an hour on Fridays, and we barely sit down the entire time, it was clear they needed a “Brain Break.” So, I thought I would give GoNoodle a try.

GoNoodle is free.  You can register your class (no individual student names necessary) and then get started.  It’s a fun way to gamify being physical for your entire class.  I usually choose a student randomly with Class Dojo to pick that day’s GoNoodle activity. (“Let it Go” and “Everything is Awesome” are huge favorites.) There are lots of videos to choose from – some including more physical activity than others.  Go Noodle keeps track of the time spent on the video, and gives the class points toward the next level.

The students enjoy the goofy looking characters and the silly pieces of trivia they offer.  But, of course, they enjoy the music and dancing the best.  Admittedly, not a lot of dancing goes on with “Let it Go.”  It’s actually more of a sing-along with dramatic magical gestures :)

If you are wondering about the appeal to older students, you might want to check out this post from @TechNinjaTodd about the way he uses GoNoodle with 5th graders.

Note: If you are in a district that blocks YouTube, you may have some trouble accessing some of the videos. Our district allows us to log-in, but the first time I tried to go directly “Be Happy” through GoNoodle without logging in, I had a group of very disappointed Kinders!

a selection of the GoNoodle Brain Breaks

a selection of the GoNoodle Brain Breaks

Two More Fabulous Ways to Use Aurasma for Education

As I mentioned in “Trends for Education in the 2013-2014 School Year,” augmented reality is going to be big in education.  Really big.  It has the potential to allow students to experience learning in so many different ways.  For kids who do not learn best by reading or listening to lectures, augmented reality could definitely be the key to engaging them.  This is why I recently started a Flipboard magazine called, “Augmented Reality for Education.”  A prime example of the ripple effect of Augmented Reality was yesterday’s post about the ColAR app and International Dot Day.

Aurasma is another free app that can be used to create augmented reality experiences for your students.  You can see an example of how I used it for a presentation for teachers in Monday’s post, but the real power of AR is when it’s placed in the hands of the kids.  If you have not tried Aurasma before, you can find some excellent introductory resources here and here.  You can also find a list of my own posts on Aurasma here.

I recently found a couple of great example of Aurasma being used with students, and shared them on my Flipboard magazine.  But, since there are only about 20 people currently subscribed to that magazine ;) I thought I should share them here, too.

The first video, which you can find here if the embedded version does not work, shows how Aurasma could be used to help a student with a standard worksheet when the teacher is not readily available.

The second video, which is  located here, shows how a music classroom can be brought to life using 2-dimensional photos.

Summer Art

This week, I am focusing on providing resources to “Squash the Summer Slide” as ReadWriteThink puts it. Parents often ask me at this time of year for ideas to keep my students challenged over the summer.  ArtsEdge is a great site for classroom ideas, but here are a few links to articles that might be especially interesting to parents who are looking for unique activities to occupy all of that extra time.

5 Activities for the Car and Grocery – I especially liked the idea of transforming a magazine photograph.

Summer Boredom Busters -  I did not see a lot of new ideas in this article, but there are a couple of website resources that could be helpful for finding art events happening around you.

Strike Up the Band; Creating Homemade Instruments – I think I might actually be able to make the straw oboe!

Set a Poem to Music  -  This is an actual lesson for 5th grade and up, but I think it could be modified for any age.  Wouldn’t it be fun to pick a picture book written in verse and make it into a song?

For other summer suggestions, you might want to visit my posts from Monday and Tuesday.

Painted Pie

“Painted Pie” is a video you will probably want to view more than once.  The post-Impressionist artwork alone is stunning.  But, even better, is the sweet story of a homeless boy who is searching for a human being to connect with him.  The moral of the story, that you never know how many lives you can touch with small kindnesses, reminds me of another couple of videos I have featured on here, “The Kindness Boomerang” and “Monsterbox“.  The film was created by Havish Thota, Kudzai Gumbo, Mehdi Farrokhtala, and Abdulrahman Alansari.  It has already won several awards.  The accompanying soundtrack, “Little Person” by Jon Brion is a masterpiece, as well.

In the classroom, I would, of course, ask the students to verbalize the moral of the story.  You could ask them to retell this silent movie in their own words.  Before even showing the movie, you could play the soundtrack, and ask the students to come up with stories that would go with the music.  If you are studying art, you might see if they could write a similar story based on another work of art.  Random Acts of Kindness Week is fast approaching (February 11th), and this would be a good way to introduce it.

I found this video on the “Kuriositas” blog.  Though the “Kuriositas” blog is not meant for a young audience, I encourage adults to check it out, as it features many interesting videos, pictures, and stories.

Here is the link to the video in case the embedded version does not show below:  http://vimeo.com/57146618

Painted Pie from Mehdi Farrokhtala on Vimeo.

Choruzz

I have not used Choruzz in my classroom yet, but I can see the possibilities.  This site allows you to create your own playlist of songs.  There is no sign-in or registration required.  Once you create a list, and “publish” it, you are given an embed code and a unique URL, so that anyone you would like to share it with can access it.  You can check out a practice playlist I created at this link.

Last school year, one of my more successful lessons included a center where students could listen to a playlist on my iPod, and choose the song that they would pick as a theme for the novel we had just read.  They really enjoyed it, and there was much discussion within each group about the pros and cons of the songs.  Their written explanations were very thorough.  I could see using Choruzz for this activity, so that more students could access the playlist – or even do the activity at home.

My cautions would be that the videos for the songs are included, and that there are some ads that run at the bottom.  I have not seen anything inappropriate in my short experimentation with this, but will be exploring it further before I offer it as an option for my students.  Another possible obstacle would be that district filters might block the site.

Choruzz has a lot of potential for classroom use.  If this particular site cannot be used educationally, I would love to see a similar one that could be used in a classroom setting.

Hands Symphony

I found Hands Symphony on one of my favorite resources, KB Connected.  I think that it is a great site for composing a tune to email to someone you care about while at the same time spreading life-saving information about CPR.  Even if you aren’t planning to e-mail your composition, your students will have fun with this creative way to make music.  I thought it was appropriate to post a site sponsored by the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day:)