'Getting Started Guide" for Music Prodigy with S-Cubed

Three years ago, someone from Music Prodigy contacted me to see if there was some way that we could collaborate together with my S-Cubed Sight Singing Program for Beginners.

At that time, I had never heard of the company.  After a quick google search and a conversation with a music colleague who is a technology guru, I had an idea!

I could create one-to-one homework examples.  So, I sat down and looked at every sight-singing example I created for my S-Cubed program, and I created a homework example that reinforced the skill sets we learned that day in class with the sight-singing example.  Having never used the program at that time, I had this dream that I would assign a daily homework assignment with Music Prodigy.
That isn't the way I've ended up using it most of the time, but I liked the idea, and I went with it.

The folks at Music Prodigy put the examples up on my homepage, and as I always do, I jumped into the deep end.

I am a person who learns by "doing'!

I loved the program from the first day I used it because the students get immediate feedback, a grade and most importantly, practice!

...But I had no idea how to use the program.  I must have sent 20 emails in the first few months asking questions at support@musicprodigy.com.  The customer service was fast.  As music teachers, we always need it yesterday, and they were on top of it!

So, recently, when they reached out to me and asked me to proofread their "Getting Started Guide" for S-Cubed/Music Prodigy, I was thrilled.

I wish I'd had this document when I started!  I still have lots to learn, so I know it will be helpful going forward as I continue to use Music Prodigy with my singers.

Here is your "Getting Started Guide" for using Music Prodigy with S-Cubed!

It's a free download, so grab it!  This document will help those who are already using Music Prodigy with S-Cubed and those who are considering adding Music Prodigy.

If you've already purchased S-Cubed from Teachers Pay TeachersJW Pepper or from any other outlet where the program is available, you can "Add-on" Music Prodigy for $149 without having to purchase the entire program.

For more information on Music Prodigy and S-Cubed, click here!

Accountability: Grades Matter in Middle School Chorus-Classroom Management

It's early November.  School has been in full swing for months now.  Habits have been formed in our middle school choral music classrooms.   We are reaping what we've sewn in terms of classroom management:  the good, the bad and the ugly.

I often hear adults complain about the ills of modern technology and the effects we think it will have on our young students, but we can choose to do the opposite.

We can choose to attempt to view the world through their lens.

How can we use technology and how our middle school singers receive it to meet them where they are and get positive results?

For example, I am using Google Classroom with my students, and I absolutely love it.  I am slowly working toward using less paper.  I can use google forms for surveys.  I can have them record themselves and upload the recordings into the classroom.  I can record parts for challenging songs and allow them to listen to them and work on them outside of class.  I use Music Prodigy with my students to help them practice and improve their sight singing abilities in combination with S-Cubed Sight Singing Program.  I use Remind to send texts to the students.

All of these new ways of reaching the students in the phone in their pocket, their chrome book, their i-pads or whatever devices they use are completely different than they were 10 years ago, and they allow us to give instant feedback to our students.

This is the key:  instant feedback.

Middle School students expect it now.  They post on social media and then refresh over and over again to see what the response is.   Even adults have begun to expect instant information.  We see a tease on a news show before a commercial, and we mute the television and go to "google" and find the information before they return from the commercial break. 

As electronic grade books exploded, I noticed that more and more of my students set notifications on their phones so they see every single grade a teacher enters.

Back in the day, that wasn't possible.

So, I decided to rely more and more on this form of communication to give information on their daily performance in my class.

When I enter their weekly participation grade, I am speaking directly to the student.  I have an opportunity to give feedback that I didn't have before using electronic grade books. 

So I use it...a lot. 

And they notice.

If I enter a grade of less than 100, and I place a note in the "notes" section about why the student earned that grade, I often see a change in the behavior the following week.  Likewise, I use feedback and grades to encourage students who are quietly showing awesome leadership.  Here are some examples from this past week:

I have classes as large as 84 students, so using the electronic grade book to communicate about their work has been very helpful.  The number in the grade book speaks, and you also have the opportunity to share specifics about why you gave that number.   I simply follow the rubric in my syllabus.   The feedback can be extra important at this time of year when we want to help our middle school singers stay on the right track.

Now, if we could just find a way to use Fortnite to teach them to sing...

Have a great week!