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Fourth Grade

Music and Technology Integration in Fourth Grade


Flipping the Recorder Unit of Study

Using available technology, I have flipped the learning and increased mastery. Read about the flipping here.   The videos below were originally linked to Aurasma on the Recorder WALL of FAME.  Touch a play button on the image below to see “Flipping” in action.


Google Site for Recorder Lessons: RecorderKids15

Using my iPad, I broke down the learning process for each recorder piece and created lessons using Explain Everything. I linked all the resources on a Google site,  https://sites.google.com/site/recorderkids15/, for 4th graders to access from home. When I first started, my students used whatever available technology they had at home to access the Google site and make videos using their parent’s smart devices. The last two years, my students have been able to take their iPads home with them each night. Additionally, we use Seesaw, the Learning Journal, as a digital portfolio and students send in their recorder videos through that platform. No email is required and parents see everything that is uploaded to Seesaw.

Flipped learning is individualized. The lone wolf made it to the top before anyone else!


Building Flipped Lessons with Explain Everything

The reason I use Explain Everything for flipping the recorder classroom is so that I can create a step-by-step lesson within the file AND my students can look at the score while making a video.  To me, that is important because I can see if they are fingering the notes correctly and I can catch and quickly correct a student who is playing with their right hand on top, etc. Students don’t mind the extra steps because they earn beads for completing and recording each page. My goal is to teach them how to break down the piece and then put it back together at the end. Explain Everything allows me to do that easily.

Here is an example of a beginning student working through the rhythm of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” It’s easy to embed an audio file on an Explain Everything page.




Here is an example of a student working through the steps to “Amazing Grace.”  You can skip ahead to see what it looks like when a student adds a video on the page.


With Explain Everything, I can also embed a brief tutorial video and an accompaniment file so students may play along. They love it!  F.Y.I, During class, it’s also super easy for me to air-drop an Explain Everything file with a specific and brief lesson for students who need help or students who need another quick challenge. Our students use Explain Everything so often that it is just another tool, like a pencil.

Once my students complete the steps and record themselves playing the required piece, they upload and “Open In” Seesaw. The file uploads as a video.  Any work we do during class is seen in real-time, so I know who hasn’t complete an assignment. Often, I have them line up by calling out those who have uploaded their work to Seesaw, like an exit ticket.

Student-Driven Recorder Repair Shop

Students did so well when the learning could be done at home, they started creating their own Recorder Repair videos for extra credit (beads). Each Recorder Repair image is linked to Aurasma (Augmented Reality) so students can quickly scan the image for help during class time. Access the Recorder Repair Shop here.

Flipping the Recorder Classroom with Seesaw

Here are some of the benefits of using Seesaw the Learning Journal when flipping the recorder unit:

  • Sharing Links: Students can connect with the Recorder Kids Google Site either through a bookmark that now lives on the home page or through the link posted in the Music folder on Seesaw.
  • Screencasting: Students can record audio while drawing or creating text labels. Their simultaneous annotations and audio are captured as a video, effectively creating a screen casting feature. This comes in handy during instruction.
  • Options: Many times, the students now have multiple smart devices at home and they will look at the music on one device and use the back camera to make a video right in Seesaw. That’s even easier. But, during class, if I see them using incorrect hand placement or fingering, I will insist on them making a video that includes their fingering or they won’t earn the bead.
  • Instills Pride: Students will work diligently to make an acceptable video because it’s easy to do with Seesaw.
  • Comradery: Students can work together to record duets during class time, and by tagging each students, their parents get to see the fun they are having.
  • Innovation: Students can create duets at home and face-time using Seesaw…. check this one out!!


or this one:


  • Authentic Audience: My students have an authentic audience in their parents and their peers. Next year, we will be connecting with other classrooms through the blog feature and that will be so exciting.
  • Commenting (with emojis) is super easy for everyone, and students LOVE getting comments from their parents.

  • Empowers Students: Seesaw empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school.
  • Improves Behavior: Behavior problems are almost non-existent because I have a relationship with each child. Even the quiet children get my undivided attention as their work gets noticed and receives feedback.
  • Timely Instruction: Because students are learning every day, I can identify and fix mistakes that would likely go unnoticed until the next week’s lesson.
  • Builds Trust: My students know that Seesaw will take them directly to me and I will always help them.


Have you ever felt this way about learning something new?


  • Immediate Notification: Seesaw’s immediate, visual updates actually get seen by busy parents and give families an opportunity to provide encouragement.
  • Teacher accessibility: When students add to their Seesaw journal, uploaded content is organized by student, and is immediately accessible to teachers from any device.
  • Teacher control: Teachers approve all new additions and comments before anything is shared with parents and families.
  • Student Driven: During class, we are able to make impromptu videos to demonstrate understanding which can quickly be checked.
  • Reinforces Procedures: It solves the problem of students surrounding the teacher to pass off a piece. My rule is that there has to be a video in Seesaw to pass anything off.
  • Improves Work Flow: I can quickly connect students to a Recorder Repair video in a folder, on the Google Site, or create one on the spot all within the Seesaw app. I no longer have to create the video, save to photos, and attach the file to an email. Students can “copy and edit” an image of a recorder piece and add sound to it. It won’t show their playing but it will be heard.
  • Extends the Classroom: Learning happens all during the week and I can send messages to students to ask how they are doing, give encouragement, and send extra pieces to them if they need a challenge, or another piece on the same level.
  • Enables Differentiation: I can tailor my instruction and differentiate as never before.
  • Easy Uploads: Uploading a complete video from Explain Everything involves: save > export > open in Seesaw.
  • Flipping the Recorder Classroom with Seesaw

    Flipping the Recorder Classroom with Seesaw

  • Seesaw is FREE
  • Seesaw has unlimited storage
  • Seesaw File Size:
    • Audio Annotation on Item: 5 min
    • Audio Comment: 2 min
    • Video Length: 5 min
    • Video File Size: 500 MB
  • Evidence of Growth: Seesaw makes it easy for students and teachers to review progress over time and demonstrate growth.
  • Digital Portfolios: The Seesaw portfolios are a great asset at parent teacher conferences and even student-led conferences.

Motivating and Displaying Mastery: The Recorder Aurasma Wall of Fame

To motivate and share student mastery, I used technology to create a Recorder Wall of Fame. Each unique image of my students triggered the playing of their recorder video. By the end of the unit of study, there was a video of their playing at the beginning on the left and their highest level playing on the right. Unlike a QR code, Aurasma videos begin playing immediately when scanned. This makes moving across the bulletin board a very exciting augmented reality experience.

Sharing Teacher resources

Resources for my presentations on flipped learning may be found on this Google Site.


Results of Flipping with Technology:

Before Flipping the Recorder Classroom

This is my Recorder Karate accomplishment board BEFORE flipping. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I was teaching to the lowest level with no clue how to individualize instruction. Waiting on the struggling students and holding back the quick learners frustrated everyone.

Flipping the Recorder Classroom with Seesaw

Typical results before technology/ flipped learning

Now look back at the top of this post to see the difference Flipping the Recorder Classroom with technology makes in my students’ learning. The results are undeniable.

Chladni Patterns, Tonoscope, and Green Screen Magic



Can we SEE sound and vibration? To explore cymatics, the study of sound and vibration made visible, my 4th graders created Chladni patterns with a tonoscope. In fact, the Chladni Patterns, Tonoscope, and Green Screen Magic made this an unforgettable introduction to sound.

Students used the tonoscope to create Chladni Patterns and Green Screen Technology to explain what they learned.

Chladni Patterns, Tonoscope, and Green Screen Magic



The original post is here.


Commercial Jingle Cross-curricular Project

Fourth grade students study the regions and states of the United States. Leading our team of teachers, I designed a cross-curricular commercial project.

  • In homeroom, students learned about regions of the United States and were assigned a State and grouped into regions.
  • Led by their core teachers and based on what they had learned during class, students came up with a problem related to their assigned region.
  • The Science teacher guided students to design a product to fix the problem, an invention that needed to be sold.
  • In English, students learned about writing commercials, how to sell and how to use descriptive words to grab attention. Students, working in their regional teams, wrote the text to sell their invention.
  •  In Art, students learned about logos and design before creating and painting their own logo for their product
  •  In Music, students learned about and compared commercial jingles before composing a jingle for their product. Using Garageband, students composed the backing music for the commercial and submitted their work for approval via Seesaw.
  • The entire commercial was filmed together using Green Screen, combining the Logo, their costumes and props, background images that supported the commercial, etc.
  • Students worked before, during, and after school to film and were responsible for every stage of the project.
  • To edit the videos, I taught the entire grade how to use the Green Screen Doink app to edit their own work. Students used iMovie to pull it all together. When needed, I assisted in the editing, and animation in come cases, with them by my side.
  • The final Commercials were shared as an end-of-year project in the Theatre before their parents and the entire school.

More details here.

Touch each star on the thinglink below to view completed commercial projects by fourth grade students.