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Keeping Students singing during online learning

Singing with students during school closure: How to keep students singing while online learning

During this crazy time, you might be wondering how you can still have students sing and actively make music. Although it is definitely more challenging than in a typical lesson, there are ways to keep them singing. In this blog post, I’ll detail four ways to have students sing. This week, I’ll be writing all about online learning; you can sign up to receive daily emails here.

The Singing Classroom

The Singing Classroom is normally a paid website with tons of song and game videos, but if you sign up for a one month free trial and then email the company, they will send you an email address and password that you can use, to have parents and students log in to watch videos. You can invite students to sing along with the videos of known songs, and even to learn new songs! I added all the songs to which I wanted students to listen to “my songs” and then told them where to find “my songs,” and which songs to watch. I’m really excited about having students sing and watch fun videos of songs we would be singing, if we were at school!

The Singing Space

This is a wonderful Facebook group that anyone can join, including parents. Inside the group, members have been posting videos of them singing songs for kids. (Thank you to Anne Mileski from Anacrusic, who I heard about it from!) It’s such a heartwarming idea! You could ask parents to join (if they are on Facebook) then tell them to search for a certain video, or just have them watch whatever they want!

Learning Songs through Videos

I have made audio and videos of me singing for students, for sub plans, and that has worked well, so I’m going to bring this idea into online learning. Here is a video I made of me teaching “Bobby Shaftoe.” You are welcome to use this with your own students, by sharing the YouTube link, or embedding the video into a platform such as SeeSaw or Schoology. When I say “Talk to your teacher about,” you can tell students to just think about it or say it out loud instead!

You could make your own video by simply recording from your webcam, and teaching a new song just like you would in class. Screencastify is a wonderful free tool that you could use for this. Then, you could share the video in Google Drive or Schoology (if you use that platform.) You could also share on your website, if you have one.

Singing along with Videos

If you found a video with a song students already know, you could have students sing along with it. For example, my fourth graders already know “Oboshinotentoten,” so I’m going to have them watch this video of my former Kodály Level I class at DePaul University singing the song and playing the game, and sing along with it.

There are tons of singing games on YouTube. You could try searching for a song you're looking for, followed by the word “song” or “singing game,” to see if you can find something that could work.

I hope this is helpful to you as you wrap your mind around online learning. Tomorrow, I'll write about how to practice rhythm during online learning. Happy (online) teaching!

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