Sharing Is Caring…
I’ve written before about using interactive whiteboards in the music classroom but sometimes it’s really useful to see what other practising music teachers are doing “in the trenches”.
There are a number of music teachers that regularly share IWB files that they have created and tested with students in the classroom. Each of these resources is designed to enhance music literacy, creativity and listening activities and to add an interactive element.
The files these teachers have shared are designed to work with specific brands of IWB. The most popular brand of IWB – Smartboard- is well represented, with the majority of the shared files in the Smartboard Notebook format. There are also a number of Promethean (ActivInspire) files as well.
What this means is that if you have a matching brand of IWB at your school, you can download the file and start using in your classroom straight away. The file will include interactive elements, audio examples that wil play when touched, moveable shapes and images and more. What’s more, you can customise the file to suit your own students.
But I don’t have a Smartboard!
If you have a different brand of IWB, all is not lost. Promethean board owners can open Notebook (Smartboard) files directly in the ActivInspire software. Unfortunately, the reverse is not possible: Smartboard owners cannot open ActivInspire files.
So, is there anything you can do? If you have found a Smartboard Notebook file but own another brand, you can use the free SMART Notebook Express software to view and use files. The software will allow basic editing – draw, erase and add text – but that’s about all. The software is available to use online, or as a downloadable version if you don’t have frequent access to the internet.
Some teachers share the IWB file in a PDF format so that you can see static versions of each slide, or in a Powerpoint format which will allow some editing and interaction. If you don’t see a PDF or Powerpoint version available, take a moment to send the teacher a nice email requesting one – I’m sure they won’t mind!
Even simply viewing a file can be useful. At the very least it will allow you to see what the teacher is trying to achieve, how they have set the activity up, and their choice of images and layout. All IWB software has the same basic features, so it’s often possible to recreate something you’ve seen in your own software. Many view-only files have inspired my own creations for interactive whiteboard workshops and online courses.So, without further ado, here are some top sources of IWB files and other resources produced and shared by music teachers.
*Please note that some teachers share their files via the official SMARTboard and Promethean repository websites and that you will need to register (free) before you can download the files*
Cherie is a SMART Certified Trainer who regularly shares the bright, colourful SMARTboard files she creates. Cherie’s SMART Notebook Lessons are gathered here on her website. Make sure you hit the “Previous Entries” link when you reach the bottom of the page. Cherie also posts useful videos of real live students in action and writes about her use of iPads in music education as well.
Worth a look: Too many to mention! Perhaps start with the 18 SMARTboard Musical Adventures and Assessments, 18 Activities for Young Children and The Orchestra (a SMARTboard file plus a Stand Up Symphony craft project)
Ashley Queen is an elementary music teacher who enjoys incorporating technology into her music classes and sharing her SMART Notebook files on her website Elementary Music Resources. Her Smartboard files are bright and well-designed and can be found on her website here. Ashley also regularly shares her discoveries of other teacher’s Smartboard Notebook files.
Worth a look: The Rhythm Lego Gallery and her other Lego Rhythm Template Files
Dee Tiller of Dee’s Place Online blogs about her teaching experiences with elementary students in San Antonio, Texas. Many of Dee’s available SMARTboard files can be found on the download page of her Wiki DeeTillerMusic. And if you’d like to learn more about how to put together your own IWB, take a look at Dee’s Just Getting Started in SMARTboard post and her How To Create Your Own Lessons for the SMARTboard (more advanced techniques).
Worth a look: Different Voices
Lisa Sheppard – a Melbourne-based Kodaly music teacher – is a Promethean IWB-user and runs the Hey Presto Productions website. Lisa is a practising teacher who also prepares and sells her ActiveInspire files for Promethean IWBs. Lisa has a few free files you can download and a useful tips and tricks page.
Worth a look: Music Stave Basics
An elementary music teacher from Ohio, Kelly has been publishing her experiences with using an interactive whiteboard and other technology in her music classroom for a couple of years. Not only does she share free Notebook files, Kelly also regularly uploads videos of her students using the board during lessons – an invaluable “fly on the wall” experience for other teachers. Kelly’s collection of free downloadable files can be found on the right side of her home page – in a box titled SMARTboard files.
Kelly has done conference presentations on the topic of using an interactive whiteboard in the music classroom and she published a wrap-up here (which includes videos of her students using the IWB in class) titled I Have A SMARTboard, Now What?.
Worth a look: Dynamics Lesson
Amy Burns – elementary teacher at Farhills Country Day School in New Jersey and the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom (highly recommended) has an extensive collection of IWB music-related links on her website. It’s worth spending some time here to go through them all! She shares a large number of her own SMARTboard files (at the bottom of the page) and they include games, melodic and rhythmic activities, and music history/styles.
Worth a look: Balloon (throw a soft ball at the IWB to reveal a short melody)
Amy also presents at conferences on the use of technology in the elementary classroom and you can see her in action below in part 1 of video series from the Soundtree online conference in 2010:
Although he doesn’t share free IWB files on his website IWB Music, elementary music teacher Will Braune does share a series of web-based resources that work well on an IWB. He describes his experiences using the resources with his own students and shares other tips and ideas.
Worth a look: Isle of Friday Afternoons (an article about using one of my favourite online IWB resources!)
In addition to an extensive collection of SMARTboard files, Allison Friedman also shares interactive Powerpoint files about a range of topics for the music classroom on her Mrs Friedman’s Resources wiki (I suspect the Powerpoint files may have been from her pre-IWB teaching days). Many years of work are represented in the files on this page and she has resources for almost all age-groups in the elementary school, from Kindergarten/Foundation through to year 5. As is the trend with many other teachers, Mrs Friedman now makes a number of her resources available through her Teachers Pay Teachers online store, but some of the ones .
Worth a look: Jazz Lesson (K-5) and High & Low (K/1st)
Music teacher Rebecca Dennis blogs at her Music With Mrs Dennis website and shares her adventures with technology in the classroom,including her experiences with a Promethean IWB. A collection of her ActivInspire flip charts can be found in her Interactive Music Flipcharts post.
Worth a look: Once I Caught A Fish Alive
Tanya is a general music teacher from Colorado who demonstrates the way she uses her Smartboard on her website The Kodaly Aspiring Classroom. She has a collection of free SMARTboard files which include rhythmic and melodic activities, plus a beginning recorder file.
Worth a look: Sol-fa Pentatonic Mittens
Interactive Whiteboards in The Music Classroom Online Course
If you’d like to learn how to make your own resources like these (no matter what brand of IWB you have), you can sign up for my Interactive Whiteboards in the Music Classroom online course. The course runs a couple of times a year and is available in the “down times” as a Replay Pass. All sessions are recorded so you can either attend live, or catch up at another time by watching the videos.
**Next course starts 30 October 2013. Limited places available.