Activity #1 Music4Kids and Meter
Objectives and Materials
The learning objective is students will understand the difference of 2/4, ¾ and 4/4 time signatures and be able use their knowledge to write music with standard music notation. For this first activity, students will write one measure of music for various time signatures on the iPad app “Music4kids” using quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and quarter rests. For this class of 26 fourth graders, I needed 13 ipad minis, 13 splitters, 26 headphones, 1 full size teacher iPad, and the app “Music4Kids” downloaded on the ipads.
First, I paired the students up according to their seating chart of odd and even numbers. Then, I showed the students how to walk to the back counter and evaluate the different cords in the iPad. The black and white circle cords are for the headphones and splitters, thus they need to be left plugged in. The flat white cord is the power cord and needs to be pulled out. The headphones are put on top of the ipad and it is carried to their seat with two hands. When students are in their seat, they unwind the headphone cords and carefully slide it on their ears. After I finished the “how to get iPad demonstration” I had the even row partners get the supplies. With the big iPad to demonstrate I showed students the blue background and yellow bird “Music4kids” app and had them start the program by pushing “Make a tune.” Each student touched the screen once to add a quarter note to the staff. We discussed how many beats 2 quarter notes equal and what time signature it needed (2/4). Then we added a third quarter note and discussed ¾ time signatures. Finally, we added a fourth quarter note for 4/4 time. After each step I allowed the students to play their composition and try to count the beats as they listened. I then showed students how to switch to half notes and we wrote a measure with half notes only in 2/4 and 4/4. Then, we wrote a measure of 4/4 with one whole note. After this practice of switching from one note value to the other we practiced writing a half note and then quarter note for ¾. We also practiced switching to quarter rests. Now that students were comfortable with the program I had one student take the iPad and write music to fit the time signature I called out. Students switched back and forth for who would write the music. If they liked their song, I showed them how to take a screen shot to save their work.
I feel this lesson was good for the developmental needs of my students. Some of my students know how to use an iPad, but most don’t have to deal with 2 headphones and splitters with cords. I went slowly step by step so each iPad will be taken care of correctly. I like having an iPad that is big to demonstrate what students are supposed to do. This way, if my ELL students do not understand my English, hopefully they can follow the visuals. I also like having pairs of students because they can help each other find the app or ask questions to each other first before asking the teacher. I think writing a measure of music with musical notation is a good challenge for 4th graders. It is not too long of an assignment, but it is something that without training, adults could not even do.
This is a screen shot of the Music4Kids program. This group chose to work with the brown foxes. This was one girl’s final assessment of if she could write one measure in 4/4. She wrote a half note, and 2 quarter notes for her 4/4 measure, so she passed.
During the step by step practice time, I was walking around the classroom informally assessing each group to see if they needed extra guidance. Because of the partners, most groups did not need help. There was one group that did not follow instructions and switched their program to French and so all their instructions were in French and they couldn’t get to the note writing program. Since I was walking around, I was able to fix this quickly.When one student had the iPad and I called out a time signature, I used it as a test. I walked around each row and told each student if they had the right amount of beats, too many, or too few. I had ten students correctly, and two students, incorrectly write one measure in ¾. I also had ten students correctly, and two students incorrectly, write one measure in 4/4. 83% of my students were able to achieve my objective of writing one measure of music for various time signatures on the iPad app “Music4kids” using quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and quarter rests.