Friday, February 28, 2014

The best laid plans...

My biggest plan this week was to have 3rd grade rhythmic centers focused on syncopation. While I did get them started, they are off to a rough start due to a sick child at home. My second group will be a day behind so I'll have to extend it a bit more than I had planned. So far, so good though.

I thought maybe I would highlight the technology center that I used for 3rd grade's practice. I did a homemade I Spy PowerPoint and it's not only great for music practice, but it's a great vocabulary and math skill builder. The initial home screen looks like this (but without the watermark of course):

It's not the best picture, but I just took objects from around the house (it helps to have overstuffed toy bins and overflowing craft drawers to select from!) and placed them on a white background. I'm not great with a camera and my professional photographer husband was not available that day, so I had to play around with different places around the house. Luckily, we have some great skylights upstairs and I was able to get some decent natural lighting. After some editing in Photoshop, I got a pretty clear image to use. (If you'd like to use my image, feel free to contact me in the comments and I'd be glad to send you the image without the watermark!)

After inserting the image into my first slide, I prepared several other slides containing my syncopated rhythms. Then I went back to the first slide and I drew a grid of squares on top, using the draw tool. It looked like this when I was done drawing them and making sure the boxes were clear, with no line colors:

After that, it's just a matter of hyperlinking. If you've never hyperlinked before, it's a great tool to make a PowerPoint interactive. In fact, I know PowerPoint gets a bad reputation these days but I find it to be an incredible tool in the classroom.....just not for presentations. I hardly ever use it as such. Anyway, right click on your first box and select "Hyperlink". In the next dialog box, select "Place in this Document" and then "Slide 2" (if that's the slide you want it to go to). Do this to every box, and make sure each box is linked a different slide (Slide 3, Slide 4, Slide 5, etc.).

Here's the trick need a way for the kids to get BACK to the "home" screen after they are done reading their rhythm.  Easiest way....insert a clipart of a house on your first rhythm slide and hyperlink it. Except this time, select "Place in this Document" and "First Slide."  Copy and paste it to every slide except your home screen. If you want to get fancy, insert a text box with the words, "Go home" under the house. :)

Now you have your own interactive game! As far as it being a vocabulary/math game as well, come up with questions like "I spy with my eye....a polygon in a primary color," or "....a vowel,"....or " of your five senses," or ...."half of 10."  

3rd Graders spying a form of transportation
(Just a note - when we play in a group, I sing "I spy with my eye" on the solfa that we are concentrating on (drm or low la for example) and they have to echo me before I say the clue, but for the centers, I simply made little cards with a detective on the front.)

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving me a comment!

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