Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Resources for Teaching and Learning About Classical Music

Open Culture recently published an article about Musopen's collection of free recordings of performances of the works of more than 150 composers. You can stream the music from Musopen for free. You can also download five recordings per day for free from Musopen. The recordings could be useful in a music appreciation course. Looking at the Musopen collection prompted me to look at some other resources for teaching about classical music.

Keeping Score is a comprehensive website full of educational materials about composers, scores, musical techniques, and symphonies. There are two elements of Keeping Score that should be of particular interest to educators. The most immediately accessible section of Keeping Score is the interactive education elements that contain videos, images, and texts that tell the stories of composers. The interactive section also features explanations of musical techniques, the history of notable events and themes in the symphonic world, and analysis of various scores. The second section of Keeping Score that teachers will be drawn to is the lesson plan library. In the lesson plan library teachers will find lesson plans developed to incorporate elements of the Keeping Score website.

Classics for Kids, produced by Cincinnati Public Radio, offers lesson plans, podcasts, and games for teaching kids about classical music. The lesson plans are designed for use in K-5 settings. All of the lesson plans are available as PDFs. Activity sheets are also available as accompaniments to recordings of classical composers. In the games section of Classics for Kids students can develop their own compositions or practice identifying music and composers. As a reference for students, Classics for Kids offers a dictionary of music terms.

Three Tools for Commenting on PDFs

In history classes I have often had students read primary source documents or copies of them in PDF format. For many students the challenge of reading primary source documents is understanding the vocabulary and or the context of those documents. If you have students use PDF annotation tools they can add questions and notes to documents as they read. When they share those annotated PDFs with you, you have a ready source of discussion questions. Here are three services that your students can use to comment on PDFs.

Marqueed is a service that allows users to create and discuss collections of images and PDFs. Using Marqueed you can highlight and draw on images as well as PDFs. You can share MarQueed files or keep your files private. Likewise you can create private and public collections of files.

If you upload a PDF to Google Drive, you can add comments to it. That comments won't be attached to specific parts of the PDF. The comments will appear in right-hand margin under the comments button.

Crocodoc is a simple service that allows users to quickly share and edit PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoint files.To use Crocodoc just upload your file, select your marking tool, and get to work. Crocodoc provides a unique url for every file you upload. Share that url with the people you want to have comment on your PDF, Word file, or PowerPoint slides. You can also embed your file into a blog post or webpage and allow people to comment on it there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CNN Student News Explains Syrian Conflict

Today's episode of CNN Student News begins with a segment on the current state of affairs in Syria. Students watching the segment will get an overview of the history of developments in Syria and the current stance of the U.S. and other countries regarding Syria. The segment is embedded below.

After watching the CNN Student News segment you might want to have students jump to this CNN slideshow to explore more information about key developments in Syria.

Finally, this Associated Press video does a good job of summarizing the causes of the current conflict in Syria.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo for the AP video. 

A Small Collection of Resources for Teaching About 9/11

Tomorrow is the twelfth anniversary of 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I have assembled a small list of resources for teaching about 9/11. Those resources are described below. Visit Larry Ferlazzo's blog for a very long list of resources about 9/11.

Understanding 9/11: A Television Archive is hosted on The Internet Archive. It is an assembled collection of more than 3,000 hours of news footage from September 11, 2001 and the six days immediately following. You can explore the footage in a timeline grid format. I spent time watching some of the news footage and it took me right back to many of the same feelings that I had almost ten years ago watching it live from a FedEx sales office in Tempe, Arizona.

Story Corps offers three animated stories of the real experiences of people affected by the events of 9/11. All three videos are embedded as one playlist below.

Video - How to Create a Padlet Wall for Your Classroom

Earlier this week I published an updated version of my guide to using backchannels and informal assessment tools in your classroom. In that guide I included ideas and directions for using Padlet. I received a few questions about Padlet via email so I put together a short video to demonstrate how to use some of the Padlet settings. The video is embedded below.