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Nearpod for Distance Learning in the Music Room

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Nearpod for distance learning in the music room: Ideas for creating a seamless lesson for rhythm, with videos, questions, opportunities for creating, and more!

In my last several blog posts, I’ve been exploring different tech tools for distance learning in the music room, from Peardeck to Flipgrid. I have enjoyed familiarizing myself with these tools, and now have one tool to add to the list—Nearpod!

I actually first started playing with Nearpod a few weeks ago, but didn’t really get it at first. It wasn’t until I saw my 7 year old daughter’s school work for language arts and math in Nearpod that I had an a-ha moment! Once I saw how it could be used, I was immediately convinced I needed to try it!

What is Nearpod?

Nearpod is a tool that can be used to put together interactive presentations, both for in-person and distance learning. It is a very comprehensive tool that can do a LOT. I’ll explain how I put together a lesson for first grade, to practice quarter rest.

The basic plan is free, but you can get premium for free right now, with distance learning, by clicking here.

Example of a Lesson

My first graders have just learned quarter rest, so in this Nearpod lesson, I had the following objectives:

  • Review quarter rest
  • Have students copy a pattern with ta, ti-ti, and rest
  • Have students compose a pattern with ta, ti-ti, and rest
  • Transfer their new knowledge to another song
  • Have students listen to a performance 
  • Have students respond to the performance

Here are the steps I had to take in order to create the lesson (and keep reading to get a link to add this lesson to your NearPod library!)

Making Videos

When planning to make a Nearpod, you can look at your lesson and decide which part of your lesson will include videos. I find myself much more productive when I “batch,” or do similar tasks all at the same time, so I record all of my videos in one sitting, when possible.

In order to do this in Nearpod, I made four videos: one showing rhythm icons for “Bow Wow Wow,” one reviewing rest with “Bow Wow Wow,” one of me writing rhythm patterns on a whiteboard, and one transferring their knowledge of rest to “Naughty Kitty Cat.”  

I made a couple videos with Screencastomatic, screen casting my screen, and a couple videos with Loom (Screencastify is also a great option!)

Creating in Nearpod

 Now, to put together in Nearpod, I first did a title page with a summary of what we'd do in the lesson, as well as a fun music GIF. I did this by creating a slide, and then formatting so there was a title and two boxes.

On the next slide, I created a slide that had a title, a text box, and a place for a video. The text box explained what we’d do on the slide, and I inserted the video of Bow Wow Wow rhythm icons.

I did the same for the second slide, but inserted the video of the rhythm for Bow Wow Wow, with ta, ti-ti, and rest.

On the next slide, I inserted a text box and the video of me writing patterns with ta, ti-ti, and rest. 

The next slide was a “write it” slide. To create that, you go to “insert slide,” then choose “activity,” and choose “write it.” I asked students to copy a pattern that I had inserted. Students can use their mouse or finger to write the pattern.

On the next slide, I also inserted a “write it” slide, and had students compose whatever pattern they wanted with ta, ti-ti, and rest!

Next, I had a slide with a title, a text box, and a video of me singing “Naughty Kitty Cat.” Students could sing along and read the rhythm.

On the next slide, I explained that since we were just singing about a cat, we were now going to listen to a song about a cat, called “Señor Don Gato.”

After students watched the video (which is embedded from YouTube with no commercials), I asked an open-ended question, which you can add by going to “add slide,” then “add activity,” then choose “open-ended question,” and type your question. I asked “What happened to Señor Don Gato at the end of the song?”

This was the last part of the lesson. I was pleased that it included active music making, and included all four NCAS strands: performing, creating, responding, and connecting. Here is a link to the lesson, so you can preview it: https://share.nearpod.com/NftrhmZkLcb. And here is a link to the lesson, so you can add to your library and edit as you'd like: https://share.nearpod.com/e/y6EwXnZkLcb. (Please note, the website works best in Chrome, so if you try clicking the links and they don't work, copy and paste into a Chrome browser.)

Viewing the reports

After you send out the lesson, which can be done with a link, students do the lesson, and you can see their work by going to “view reports.” You can see what they've written, what they've answered, what they've viewed, etc.! So cool!

One of the tricky things about Nearpod is that students have to click “submit” when they answer a question. If they simply click the triangle to go to the next slide, you won't see what they've typed. When I sent out my Nearpod lessons through Google Slides, I included this visual so that students know to enter their name, their classroom teacher, and then “join session,” at the beginning of the lesson. Within the lesson,  I had reminders about clicking “submit.”

Other Features

Some other really cool features of Nearpod include the ability for students to record their voices, integration with Flipgrid, a memory game you can create with your own pictures, and the “Time to Climb” quiz (which my 7-year-old has done several times for math and language arts; it's her favorite!) As I explore and create more on Nearpod, I'll write more blog posts.

Other Lessons

Looking for other Nearpod lessons? The sets below include lessons in Google Slides, with bonus Nearpod links!

Do you use Nearpod? I'd love to hear all about it! Feel free to comment below, and happy “online” teaching!

11 Responses

  1. Aileen–Thanks for this post, it was really helpful. I explored your lesson and was unclear how to “submit.” Perhaps you had the feature disabled or is it because as a guest I was not logged in? Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Jeni! Yes, in “preview” mode you can’t submit. If you add it to your library, you should be able to. 🙂 Glad it was helpful!

    1. Hi Ariel. It allows you to ask questions and receive answers from students, and it allows you to integrate other interactive features, such as the “Time to climb” quiz, 3D tours of places around the world, memory games, and more! Plus you can see from the very start who has watched and engaged with the lesson.

  2. Thank you for this tutorial! It’s nice to have another “tool in the toolbox.” When you were using your pointer on the worksheets with the the circle, what programs were you using? I use pointerpro and screencastify. Unfortunately, the pointer doesn’t show up, only the cursor.

  3. Thank you! I have been searching for a simple platform to use in case we return to distance learning in the fall. I love the personal touch of your own kitty and the author’s kitty in the lesson.

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