Monday, December 5, 2016


Two Great Websites: Saving Time and Increasing Results!
by Mike Steffen

Many new apps and programs are being developed each year to assist band and orchestra directors. Below are examples of how two veteran directors in the Kansas City area are using technology to increase results in an efficient way. Both directors have included their email addresses so you may contact them if you have any questions. Check these programs out to see if they will help you in your classroom!

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Taking a tour of the Sightreading Factory
by Marti Whelan, Discovery Middle School
www.sightreadingfactory.com

In the Liberty School District, we have been using Sightreading Factory for the past two years. Sightreading Factory is a subscription-based website that generates sight-reading material on demand for band, orchestra, or choir at six different levels of difficulty.

At Discovery Middle School, I have a teacher subscription, and I project 8-measure examples on the screen at the beginning of class. I usually do two examples each day -- one that is rhythm only and one for them to play. This takes less than five minutes and is the way that I bring them together after they do their individual warmups. Even beginning band students can do the level-2 rhythm sight-reading.

I have seen a huge improvement in my students' sight-reading ability since I have been using this. You can try it out for free on their website. You can check out four screenshots of the program below.

 

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

Note: Click any of the screenshot images to go to the site for a closer look.

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

 

Marti Whelan
Discovery Middle School
Liberty School District

Marti Whelan (mschonbergerwhelan@liberty.k12.mo.us) is the band director at Discovery Middle School and a private bassoon instructor in the Liberty School District. She is currently in her 28th year as a music educator. Marti received her BME from Central Methodist College, where she played under the direction of Professor Keith House. She attended graduate school at UMKC and studied bassoon with Marita Abner. She is a graduate of Lee’s Summit High School and was a student of Russ Berlin and Jim Oliver. Marti is co-principal bassoonist in the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra, and has been a member of the group since it was formed in 2003. Past groups in which she has played include the Columbia Community Band and the Boone County Bassoon Band. She finds playing in ensembles to be a source of both joy and stress relief in her life. Marti lives in Raytown with her husband Jim and their dogs.

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Getting schooled on Schoology
by Bryant Knapp, Summit Lakes Middle School
www.schoology.com

Wouldn't it be nice to have a simple and quick way to grade playing tests? Making tasks simpler is not likely how technology is perceived by teachers. As I sat in a summer class where Schoology was introduced as the next technology push, I thought "I just started to get used to Google Classroom, I am not doing this again!" This ever changing platform environment can leave your head spinning because of the time invested to create the content, but Schoology provides some unique stand out features that produce positive changes in your ensembles. But, there are so many tools that can do the same tasks, is Schoology really worth your precious time?

In a word, yes. A topic constantly discussed between directors is that of assessments. For larger class sizes, especially with only one teacher, playing tests are a significant investment of class time. Also, an unruly pile of rubrics to keep track of and put in the grade book clutter your desk. What if Sally wants to know why she got a 12 instead of a 15 on her playing test last week and you can't remember how she played? Schoology actually alleviates these issues quite quickly.

Schoology allows a teacher to push out assignments/playing tests to students. Rubrics can be created and attached within Schoology easily with flexibility no matter how simple or complex the criteria desired. Students have the option of submitting an audio and or video recording which is useful to see embouchure/sticking issues. Grading is simple and quick as you click on the earned score in the rubric while listening to the student's audio/video recording. Schoology currently communicates with the Powerschool grade book, and grades are synced with the push of a button.

Schoology has more options for written quizzes with varying question formats that are also graded automatically. The aesthetics of Schoology reflect Facebook with the ability to post announcements, assignments, videos and any other content you deem necessary, but in a private closed format for only teachers and students. While Schoology is not in every school yet, if presented with this new platform hopefully you won't be as reticent to look into its useful features. Request a demo on their website to check it out. You can check out screenshots of the program below.

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

Note: Click any of the screenshot images to go to the site for a closer look.

Click the image to go directly to the site for a preview

 

Bryant Knapp
Summit Lakes Middle School and Hawhorn Hill Elementary
Lee's Summit School District

Bryant Knapp (bryant.knapp@lsr7.net) is currently Director of Bands at Summit Lakes Middle School and Hawthorn Hill Elementary as well as working as a marching tech with the Lee's Summit West Titan Pride Marching Band. He began his teaching career at Lone Jack High School where he taught 5-12. His bands consistently received "1" ratings at State Contest. Bryant has played principle trumpet with the Lee's Summit Symphony for the past 11 years and travelled and competed nationally and internationally with the Fountain City Brass Band. Mr. Knapp resides in Lee's Summit with his family. He and his wife Kelli of 13 years have three children. When not involved in a musical endeavor Bryant enjoys playing and coaching soccer and enjoying time with his family.

 


Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative

Can we assist you with anything? Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.

 

Springfield Amanda Meyer, Melissia Goff and Josh Garoutte (417) 882-7000
Columbia Bridgett Randolph, Chuck Appleton and Nate White (573) 256-5555
Liberty Mike Steffen, John Bell and Rob Goade (816) 792-8301
Joplin Jennifer Wassenaar and Amanda Meyer (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Jeff Lawless, Kale White and David Gorham (918) 286-1555
OKC Charlie Bartrug and Kirby Swinney (405) 896-8111
NW Arkansas Chase Cavalier (479) 464-8877
St. Louis Troy Bunkley and Becky Long (636) 229-1904
PMC Admin Eric Matzat, AAron Bryan and Zach Houser (417) 882-7000

 


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