In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about assessing musical literacy while distance learning. Today, I’m going to dive into how to assess performance.
Of course, this is a bit inauthentic, as we are not making music together, but rather, separately in our homes. However, it is still possible! Here are my favorite platforms for assessing performance.
This platform is so awesome! Flipgrid is a free website that allows you to record videos, and comment on other people’s videos. Many classroom teachers are using it to interact with students during distance learning; my principal has used it to interact with us as a staff. It can also be used to have students perform. You could ask students to simply sing a greeting to you, to sing a known song, to speak a chant while performing the beat, to play the recorder, to play the ukulele, and more! I’m also using it with my band students, for them to earn belts (so I have a separate thread for each song.) Kids can add emojis, hats, and more to make the experience even more fun and engaging! You as a teacher can then send the student feedback, which they receive as an email, and/or record a video to respond to their video.
My colleague Katie Minneci (who sometimes co-hosts my podcast with me) has used Flipgrid for a “Share Day,” in which students share a talent: music, dance, whatever! She had planned on doing a Share Day right before school closed, so is now doing it online instead. I’m also using this platform right now to create a virtual choir with my elementary choir, and a virtual band with the elementary music teachers in my district! More on that later!
I wrote about using SeeSaw yesterday to assess musical literacy, but because it has the functionality to record, it could also be used for performance. There are already some templates in SeeSaw’s library to assess performance, including:
- This activity for students to record “Rain Rain Go Away,” by Katie Schork
- This activity for playing “Good news” on recorder by Amy Burns
- This activity for drawing and singing the melodic contour for “Pumpkin Pumpkin,” by Manju Durairaj
You can also create your own! I find it helpful to look at someone else’s activity first when creating, because some teachers are experts at using SeeSaw, and know how to write directions so students can be successful.
There are several platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, Teams, and Schoology that allow you to video conference with students. Before deciding on a platform, it's good to check with your district technology team to see what is approved. In my district, for example, Skype, Teams, and Schoology are approved, but not Zoom.
If doing a video conference with an individual student, or with a class, you could listen to students perform one at a time and assess. It’s likely going to be difficult to perform together, because of lag. (I’ve also heard that in some cases, Zoom lowers pitch by a half step, so watch out for that!) However, if you listen one at a time, you’d be able to assess tone, understanding of rhythm, fingerings, etc., and give immediate feedback to students.
This is a free iOS app, that allows students to take a selfie, draw a line on their face, and record themselves speaking or singing. Then, they can add filters, stickers, etc., and then watch their performance! Here are some screenshots from the app's page:
And here is a video of me singing, so you can get an idea of how it looks!
I've used this with my own students (and my seven year old daughter) and it was a big hit! Because not everyone has an iPad, though, this could be something you assign as an option. For example, you could say “Please record yourself singing, using either Flipgrid, or Chatterpix, if you have an iPad and have downloaded the app.”
I hope this is helpful to you, as you explore assessment with distance learning! I’d love to see you in my FB group; I’ve posted a discussion there about today’s topic, so we can continue to learn from each other. Happy (online) teaching and assessing!