More Than Music! Guest Post by Montana Educator

By Shelley Emslie

Four years ago, I was introduced to Soundtrap by a colleague; ironically, the music teacher, Brianne Fuzesy, and I have not looked back. My approach is not linear, nor is it conventional. I do not teach about note value, rhythm, or beat. In fact, my students just dive in;  head first! Often, grade-level teachers shy away from Soundtrap because they are not the music teacher. Well, I am here to tell educators, Soundtrap, can be a part of your classroom; regardless of your musical background! In fact, this multifaceted platform can easily be integrated across the curriculum.

Across the Curriculum

Are you looking for ways to engage your students during writing?  Offer the option to record their story using Soundtrap.  In addition, they can add music behind their words which adds a whole new element to the project.  Before adding music, have a discussion about the types of sounds which best convey the mood of their writing.  Soundtrap will unleash their creativity!

In Science, allow kids to craft a thirty-second piece of music accompanied by a voice-over to explain their learning.  Haven’t you ever wondered what mitosis sounded like? Leave it up to the kids, they know! Best of all, each student interprets it differently and you end up with an incredible array of sounds, as well as some in-depth explanations of mitosis.  

Art and Soundtrap fit together like peanut butter and jelly.  Seriously. My favorite activity is to have the kids pick a picture from the artist we are currently studying, and enter Soundtrap.  While observing the picture, we talk about the five senses, do a whole group show and tell of loops, sounds, and beats we found. We try to inspire each other.  Then, I let them loose in Soundtrap. For the final act, we project their picture on the SmartBoard, play their music piece, and we have a concert of sorts.

Math, are you kidding me?  No, I am not. Do you have kids who are struggling with math facts?  Great, well not great, but Soundtrap can help! Have an older student create a little song to help others remember the order of operations or basic math facts.  Listening to older students rap about 4×4 = 16 is funny, but catchy, and the younger kids will appreciate hearing it from someone other than their teacher or parents!

Grammar?  I told you I am not a linear thinker!  Using correct verb tenses, strong verbs, and proper sentence structure is a must, but simply teaching individual grammar lessons is not the best approach.  Why not have the kids create a podcast? The catch? The entire conversation has to be in past tense or present tense, you pick the stipulations based on the skills you are working on in class.  Pair the students up and have them collaborate on a Social Studies project where they become historical figures and conduct interviews. Now you have made the Social Studies unit more relevant and it’s sprinkled with grammar!

Soundtrap Provides a Voice

The activities mentioned above are easy to implement, but most importantly, they allow every type of learner in your classroom to have a voice.  Let’s be real. We have students who finish in record time and need extension activities to meet their needs. We have kids who are not engaged at times.  We have quiet ones who would rather poke a pencil in their eye than say something out loud. How do we meet the needs of every student? Soundtrap. This extraordinary tool helps to reach our diverse classroom needs, I encourage you to give it a try!

Guest Post by Shelley Emslie. Shelley is a Google for Education Certified Trainer, EdTechTeam Teacher Leader, and has been teaching for twenty years at Swan River School in Bigfork, Montana. Her passion lies in differentiating curriculum and bringing innovative ideas into the classroom using GSuite tools, as well as some incredible web based programs, and apps. Shelley has never let her two-stoplight-town impede her innovation; rather, it fuels her desire to bring the latest technology to her rural students and ignite excitement for learning!

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