As you will see from this AppSmashing Debussy Project, iPads Have Transformed My Music Classroom
Going to 1:1 iPads in my school, completely transformed learning in my classroom and me as a teacher. Here is just one example of the quantity and quality of work Apple technology promotes with my third grade elementary music students. Take a look at this AppSmashing Debussy Project:
During this past 9-week term, the Frenchman, Claude Debussy, was the focus of our composer study. Third grade students were able to use their iPads to elevate and extend analog learning in the following ways:
Students used Popplet lite to MindMap 5 adjectives describing the sound of “Clair de la Lune.” Students saved this to their camera roll. Some of the students used Popplet lite to map the important facts they learned about Debussy. The saved popplet was imported into in their Debussy Book.
I used PicCollage to create a 9-image collage of Debussy’s life and works.
Using the Debussy collage in ThingLink, students tagged the collage to post research about his life, inventions, world leaders, artists, education, family, jobs, etc. The link to their ThinkLink was added to a picture in their Debussy Book. Students can only share the link from their iPad version. I used the HTML code to place it here for you to see.
Students used Google Earth to locate “23 Square Avenue Foch, Paris, France,” take a picture of Debussy’s home, and across the street, a picture of the big tree that has been around since Debussy lived there. Since we are studying France this year, they also researched Debussy’s home in relation to the Eiffel Tower, the Paris Conservatory, and the Louvre Museum. Students used the prompt: I see… I think…. I wonder….. to record their thoughts about Debussy’s life in Paris in their Debussy Book.
I created a listening map using Explain Everything. This video is a snippet of the real version. Students played the linked mp3 file and moved a little doll to the steady beat in the A-section of “Golliwog’s Cake Walk.” The B-section is all about rubato – the give and take of the musical pulse. Using two dolls, students had to keep up with the flexible tempo in the B-section. For the first time in my teaching career, I could SEE my students “getting” what musical rubato is. Students exported the listening map as a movie to their camera roll and then into their Debussy Book.
Using the Aurasma app, videos of the cobblestone streets where Debussy walked and the lounging Parisians along the River Seine fascinated the students. On the cobblestone picture page in their Debussy Book, students recorded how they imagined Debussy walking along this beautiful river and across the bridges.
Collaborating with our Art teacher, students used the Doodle Buddy app to paint over a Renoir nature scene. While listening to “Clair de la Lune” and “La mer,” they were taught not only how to smudge the colors to create an impressionistic picture, but why the artists painted that way during this time period. Students saved their impressionistic painting to their camera roll, imported it into their Debussy Book, then recorded a few interesting facts about impressionistic art.
Students used Garageband to learn and practice the differences between the diatonic and whole tone scale. Using the iPad camera, they filmed each other playing the regular scale and the whole tone scale. Here is one student’s video: <a
Using Garageband, I guided students in creating a whole tone composition just like Debussy. After listening to the blurry sounds of music built on the whole tone scale, I gave them several prompts to create a multi-track composition in ABA form. Here is one example from a student who takes piano lessons.
To get their composition out of Garageband, students opened their file in iMovie and exported the movie file to their camera roll. Then they were able to import their “movie” composition into their Debussy Book. I want to give a shout out to Paul Shimmons for finding the work-around for exporting a Garageband file so that it can be put back on the iPad (Book Creator) without using a desktop computer or iTunes. Check out Paul’s amazing resources at
iPad and Technology in Music Blog at https://ipadmusiced.wordpress.com/
Putting it all together – The final Debussy project is being put together using Book Creator. We will either save it as a video or an epub when we put the final touches on the Debussy projects this week. I’ll post a few of them as soon as I can. It would help if I could see them more often than every 6th school day!! Snow days… sick days… etc.
The depth and breadth of learning is made possible because of iPads in my music room. My 3rd grade students are now able to curate information, show what they have learned, and demonstrate understanding by creating something that was previously inconceivable. After 2 1/2 years of 1:1 iPads, they are quite capable of using the iPad as a learning tool, and smashing apps to create new things. This is just one example of the kinds of discovery projects I love to design for my elementary students; my passion is finding new ways to take my students deeper and wider as we discover music together. Technology in my music room has completely transformed my teaching and my students’ learning. What about you? Take a minute to share what techie project you are working on this week with your students! Don’t keep it to yourself!! 🙂 I went first, now it’s your turn!
I’ll post the completed Debussy books soon!
Iron sharpens iron!
May the force be with you!