As I started my choir this year, I incorporated technology in a way that hadn't before with choir, to save time and be more efficient. Today, I thought I'd share those strategies in case it helps save time with your choir!
Sign-up with Google Forms
Before I started recruiting for choir this year, I had a conversation with my friend Matt (who I interviewed about children's choir in this podcast episode.) He mentioned that he was using Google forms to sign up students for choir, and I was so excited to try it with my students! In the past, I've always had students fill out half a sheet of paper with their information (like name, teacher's name, grade level, etc.) and then I collect all of the half sheets and enter the information into an Excel spreadsheet. Matt's idea, though, was ingenious, as it saves SO much time! Instead of them handing you a half sheet of paper which you then have to enter, I simply include a link in the parent letter home which they then go to, fill out the information, and then it pushes it to a Google spreadsheet with all of the necessary information. Brilliant!
You might try a URL shortener so you don't have a super long web address to share with parents. I've used Bitly, and just found out about tinyurl, in which you can customize the short web address.
Sign-in with Google Forms
Once my students are all signed up, it's time for the first rehearsal! In the past, I've had students sign into choir on attendance sheets posted outside my door. This works fine, but I have to admit that one of my least favorite tasks is to take the sheets off the wall, then enter the information into an Excel spreadsheet. I loved using Google Forms to have students sign up for choir, so thought I'd try it for sign-in! I am lucky enough to have eight i-pad minis in my room, so I use them to have students sign in. I split up the kids by their grade and first letter of their last name, so the 3rd graders whose last name starts with A-L go to one iPad and the third graders whose name starts with M-Z go to another iPad, etc. I have signs posted by each iPad, so students know where to go. Here is an example of the form I use. To create this, in Google drive, I went to “new,” then “form,” then added the question “What is your name,” chose multiple choice, and typed in student names. To add more student names, click “click to add option.” Then, when you're done editing, click “done.”
After I created each form (you might have several, depending on how you chunk up your students), I then had to get it to my iPads. Instead of worrying about going to Google forms on each and every iPad, I instead made a QR code for each form and printed out this list of QR codes for easy access. Then, before each rehearsal, I scan each respective QR code on each iPad and the sign-ups are ready to go! If you don't have as many iPads as I do, you could make longer lists (like one per grade level), and put one on your iPad, one on your smart phone, and one on your computer and have each grade level or group go to the respective device. The Google form pushes it to a spreadsheet, and your information is all there! Instead of taking down the attendance sheets and entering into a spreadsheet, if you do it this way, you already have all the information you need!
Which technology tips have worked for you with your choir or musical ensembles? Feel free to comment below!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts in your original blog post about technology tips for choir. I would like to share my answer to your blog’s final question of what technology tips have worked with my choir. One technology tip I use with my choir when instructing our vocal jazz history unit is a web 2.0 technology tool titled Book Creator (https://bookcreator.com/) in order to have my students practice the art of digital storytelling. Book Creator is a simple, digital storytelling, book-making tool with a small learning curve that allows students to creatively include images, videos, and audio into their books to engage the readers. My choir students will use this tool to create, publish and share their own books about both male and female prominent jazz vocalists and even include some beginner jazz vocal techniques. Digital storytelling is a great way to integrate technology and engage students in deeper thinking about the vocal jazz history unit, as well as help them become powerful communicators. The process of crafting the digital story builds communication, creativity, visual and sound literacy, and project management skills. Book Creator is truly an engaging and fun way to build 21st-century communication skills and make personal connections to the vocal jazz history curriculum through digital storytelling. Since I cannot leave a picture in this Blog reply, the following link is an example of the image a page (featuring Ella Fitzgerald) that might be created by the students using Book Creater. https://drive.google.com/file/d/16jAqnZU2LgpveRVrhNjbFwybidFaebQN/view?usp=sharing
Additionally within the vocal jazz history unit, I will use the following technology tools and tips to help the students reach some of the music education national standards. The students will preview the unit and first use EdPuzzle (Edpuzzle.com) to watch a video while at home and answer questions. Returning to school the next day the students will participate in a Google Slides presentation using Pear Deck (PearDeck.com). The next technology tool the students will use is a Jeopardy style review game to help them before completing their final assessment. Finally, in addition to the final assessment, the students will work in a program called Smart Music (SmartMusic.com) to sing along with a selection of music in the jazz vocal style.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts in your original blog post, and I hope my technology tips might be useful to you or some of the other people visiting your site!
Good luck in the next school year,
Thanks for sharing this idea, Dave! Very creative!