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Third Grade

Music and Technology Integration in 3rd Grade


AppSmashing Debussy Project

When 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 adjectives to describe the sound of “Clair de la Lune” and the important facts they learned about Debussy. The saved popplet was imported into their Debussy Book.


Students created a ThingLink to post researched information 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.

Google Earth

Debussy's_house,_Sq._de_l'av._Foch Students used Google Earth to locate “23 Square Avenue Foch, Paris, France,” take a picture of Debussy’s home, Debussy's Treeand across the street, a picture of the big tree that has been around since Debussy lived there. Students 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.


Experiencing Rubato using Explain Everything and a Rag Doll

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, I created interactive images that, when scanned,  triggered videos of the cobblestone streets where Debussy walked.  On the cobblestone picture page in their Debussy Book, students recorded how they imagined Debussy walking along this beautiful river and across the bridges.

Doodle Buddy

Renoir BlurCollaborating 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 impressionist 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:

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.

Book Creator

Putting it all together – The final Debussy project, their Debussy Book, was put together using Book Creator and exported as a video. Here is one student’s final project.

My Reflection

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.

State Musicians and Green Screen Infomercials

In this cross-curricular project, third Graders, who study South Carolina for the entire year, researched a famous musician from our state and curated their information using the Book Creator app. We used Green Screen Technology to further illustrate what was learned, turning facts into an Infomercial for “Television.” With technology, students were able to do research, email their musician or fan club, curate information, listen and watch their famous musician, make the connection to SC both on the map and in popularity, and demonstrate their understanding with an authentic audience: their parents and the entire (K-4th grade) student body.

Here is a thinglink collection of their group work. Each star links to a SC Musician video.

Students practiced together using their iPads:

Students create their own ways to share information:


My Musical Heritage Project

Link to blog post

With the Musical Heritage Project, students were able to demonstrate their digital learning skills by using their iPads to interview family members and create a presentation. The purpose of the project was to identify the role of music in everyday life, celebrations, and special events, beginning with their family. Students asked questions such as: Did anyone play the piano, play in a band, attend a concert, hear a famous performer? What music was performed at family weddings and parties? What music is heard in the car, played in the home, or purchased digitally for media players? After completing the interviews, students created an iMovie video or used Book Creator to collect all of their interviews. Final projects were shared during class and uploaded to Seesaw for family members to enjoy. Students earned a Musical Heritage Digital Badge for completing the project.

The video below is one student’s completed project; a collage of other student interviews may be found on the original blog post here.

Several technology tools were used in this project:

  • The Creator 7: A digital badge for this project was created using the Logo Creator 7 software. Students stored their earned digital badges in BookCreator.
  • MadLips Movie App: I created a funny video to grab parents’ attention using the MadLips movie app and embedded it in the flyer.
  • SMORE: Using the online digital flyer, I created an interactive newsletter with information about the Musical Heritage project.
  • SMART Lab activity: Students used individual iPads to shout out ideas for questions to ask in the interview. Students’ real-time responses and final votes were recorded on the SMARTBoard.
  • BookCreator: I created a template for the Musical Heritage project in BookCreator and air-dropped the file to students. Using the template, students added one page per interview that included audio and video files.
  • iMovie: Students used iMovie to edit and create their final Musical Heritage video.
  • Seesaw: Students exported their movies and/or ePub as a video using Seesaw, the Learning Journal.


Sound and Science Curation with Book Creator

Third graders connect music and science and used their iPads to curate their discoveries.



Interactive SMARTBoard Learning

Third Graders play a solfege Review game on the SMARTBoard.

Steady Beat vs Rhythm

Students demonstrate mastery with the iPad and upload to their digital portfolio.