Looking for what to assign students when they are working independently on Chromebooks? This blog post details five of my favorite activities for Chromebooks in the music room!
Before I begin, some background: I have six Chromebooks in my classroom–not enough for all students to work independently. However, each classroom in my school does have a set of Chromebooks, so on days that I have students using them, they bring their cart, or their Chromebooks in their hands. If you aren't sure if your students have their own Chromebooks, talk to the classroom teachers or your administrator to see if they'd be able to bring them to music class.
Often, when I assign work on Chromebooks, it is through our LMS, or Learning Management System, which is Schoology. You might have Google Classroom, Canvas, or another LMS. Or, if students have the ability to scan QR codes on their Chromebook, you could make a QR code for the assignment, have them scan, them have them work!
Some of my favorite websites for Chromebooks include:
- Chrome Music Lab: There are SO many fun activities in Chrome Music Lab, from creating melody with Melody Maker, to creating rhythm, to creating art and then hearing it played with Kandinsky!
- Incredibox: I love this website for layering loops! One word of warning: students will have to “dress” men with no shirts on to create their music, so you may want to warn them before hand. There are also power ups that students can receive for using certain loops, and then they can watch special videos!
- Blob Opera: This website is LOTS of fun! Students can create opera-style music by moving the blobs, and they can also hear performances from around the world!
#2: Google Slides with Peardeck
When distance learning first started, I discovered Peardeck and fell in love. This is a Google Slides add-on which allows you to gather answers from students, have them create, have them reflect on their learning, and more! Then, you can see all of their work inside the Peardeck dashboard. See this blog post to read more about Peardeck.
Students could reflect on something they've just learned in the whole group, or they could do something in Google Slides, then continue onto the Peardeck to answer questions, reflect, etc. If students are working independently, it works best to give them a “student paced activity” link.
In this blog post about distance learning, I discussed HyperDocs. The idea of a HyperDoc is that it is a Google Doc or Google Slides in which students can explore a certain topic, such as instruments of the orchestra, dynamics, a specific composer, etc. Students love the ability to choose the activity, but it's structured enough that no matter what, they are learning something about the topic you choose!
If you are member of my membership (or would like to join), there is a whole section about HyperDocs, with a blank template and sample HyperDocs you can use!
Last year, when I was 100% virtual with my students, I was able to create many Seesaw activities and use them in Kindergarten and second grade. This year, teaching in person, I've been able to transfer many of the Seesaw activities to the in person classroom and have students complete the activities on Chromebooks, whether it be for composing rhythm, writing on the staff, or choosing music for a playlist. Check out these blog posts about Seesaw:
#5: Virtual classrooms
Back during distance learning, “bitmoji classrooms” were all the rage. In these types of activities, students can choose from a wide range of activities by clicking different items in a music classroom (often built in Google Slides.) This gives students agency and choice in a fun and engaging way.
The good news is, bitmoji or virtual music classrooms can still be used in person teaching! I've used them several times this year, to allow students to choose activities yet still practice musical concepts. Here is one that I've created with my friend and colleague Sarah King:
I hope this is helpful as you implement Chromebooks in your music room. Happy teaching!