Flipping the class with emails and videos requires organization and file management. Here is how I do it…
As I mentioned in my last post, my recorder students are accessing their recorder assignments via recorderkids.wikispaces.com site that I created. Since almost all have access to either an iPad or smart phone or both, my students have completely flipped the learning and are working from home to master each belt in recorder karate.It wasn’t planned; it just happened because of all the technology available at home. The availability of technology enables flipping the class with emails and videos.
The Video Tells All
Through their parent’s email address, the students are sending me videos of their learned pieces. I listen to the playing on the video and respond via email. If the student’s playing demonstrates mastery of the musical concept, I email them back saying they have passed the piece or belt and that their video has been accepted into the Recorder Hall of Fame. Here is an example of one that made the cut, but only after three tries. It is so important to insist that the children show their fingers in the video so that incorrect fingering can be addressed. In the beginning, I made the mistake of passing off pieces that sounded correct only to find out during the next class time that the student was using incorrect fingering all along. For example: fingering from F# to E to D. If the video is the proof of mastery, make sure it shows everything. In the case of Recorder Karate, an audio recording will not do. Giving specific instructions and demonstrating good and bad video taping preps the students and saves time and disappointment when flipping the class with emails and videos.
Writing Emails that Motivate
As I’m writing this post, four more emails from my students have popped up! Responding to them is kind of like writing thank you notes for wedding gifts…. I have to stay up on it every night or I’ll get way behind! In my former life, I traveled and adjudicated piano competitions. It’s easy to come up with nice things to say about a performance, but it is challenging to encourage and correct a performance at the same time. “Now that you have learned all the notes in this piece, let’s focus on the finer details like: phrasing, dynamics, and correct rhythms!” haha! Here are a few examples of emails I have sent to the children in response to their videos, and emails I’ve received from parents regarding this whole new adventure of Recorder Karate videos. I share these only to give you examples of the dialogue going on between teacher and student. Flipping the class is hard work for the teacher, but the children own the learning. Our most important role is one of affirmation and, well, just plain loving on the children through our words. Our responses can have an incredible impact on our students long after this unit of study is over.
Keeping the Emails Organized
As soon as I have responded to each email, I move the email to a special folder in my email Inbox. Moving the emails helps me keep track of those that still need a response. I also have a back up in case I need to download the video again. Still, I have to go back through my email often because it is easy to overlook one when they all start coming in at once each night. It doesn’t take me long to listen and respond while I’m working on my computer, and though some might think it is too much extra work, I find it to be the most exciting way to touch my students’ lives individually.
Keeping the Videos Organized
When I receive the video, I listen to it, and if it is good enough, I upload it to my Dropbox folder called, “Recorder Karate Videos 2014.” I only download and upload from my desktop, not my iPad. The reason is because I can download, SAVE AS, and put the video directly in the Dropbox folder without having to have two copies of the video: one on my desktop and one in my Dropbox. I rename the videos with the student’s name and piece. It isn’t hard to just MOVE the video from my desktop’s download folder to my Dropbox, but it is an extra step that isn’t necessary if “Save as” is always used. Hint: Always use “Save As” so you can tell it where to go!
Sometime in the next few days the student will drop by my music room to pick up an earned recorder karate belt and a bead to add to their recorder strap (shoe lace). They also move their name up the recorder wall.
If I stay organized, current, and thoughtful, flipping the class with emails and videos allows assessment and encouragement to work beautifully together.
Have you flipped your recorder class? Do you have any hints for Flipping the Class With Emails and Videos?
Aurasma how-to is coming…….