Module Reflections

Module Reflections

Module 1 Reflection                       

Despite the advent of numerous technological advances, many educators, parents, and administrators maintain the viewpoint that what worked for them should work for students today.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that what worked in classrooms 20 years ago is no longer successful, or in some cases, practical.  Students rely heavily on technology outside of school, yet while in school are stripped of their cell phones, iPods, and laptops.  I have seen the removal of these items become the focus of school personnel, while I think the solution lies in how these items can further help students learn.           

 I was working as a shadow in a kindergarten class at a time when all of the teachers were getting smart boards installed in their rooms.  I had only been out of college for 5 years and had no idea how one functioned- I can only imagine how veteran teachers less technical than I felt!  I witnessed firsthand how the technically advanced teachers were called into their coworker’s rooms for technical advice and instructions.  I also got to see how the kindergarten teacher integrated the smart board into her daily routines.  This piece of technology allowed them to interact with calendars, do math, and even observe eagles in a nest on a live webcam!  There was nothing wrong with the way the students were learning prior to the smart board, but their learning was enhanced and brought to a higher quality with the help of this piece of technology.           

When I read about the various teacher preparation programs in the textbook, I was impressed and a little jealous.  I wish my teacher preparation was as thorough as some of the examples!  The text referred to teaching as a “sink or swim” profession, and that is so true!  My two years of teaching were very isolated and frustrating.  I did not have the support of a mentor and believe that having one would have made my time teaching less stressful and more beneficial to my students.  It is my belief that more teacher prep programs should follow the footsteps of these programs.           

 My virus protection is Norton Internet Security 2011.

A Beginner’s Guide to Integrating Technology

This site contains a wealth of information for someone just beginning to use technology in the classroom.  I could have used this resource a long time ago!  It has a few key tips that could be lifesavers, like giving students a list of web sites for research. Most of the information on this site I have already learned through experience.  As far as screening websites goes,  I have also discovered that sometimes teachers can access web sites in their accounts but students could not access those sites from their student accounts.  Giving quizzes online is something I never tried but would like to try in the future, especially if computers and internet access were more readily available.   

Voyages of Discovery

This site is a clear example of how technology can allow students and teachers to learn at the same time.  Students can be transported to a different place and see things that they would never be able to see in the regular classroom, and perhaps see history in the making as new things are discovered.  These images and video clips can be integrated into a science or math lesson, or used as a writing prompt or ideas for a research paper.  

Best Practices of Technology Integration

The various lessons on this page are like gold to a teacher.  From a music perspective, the unit titled “Follow that Star” caught my eye because this could be used by a music teacher as well as a regular classroom teacher.  It encompasses many academic disciplines and is a wonderful example of what a quality unit should look like.  My administrators were always talking about integrating disciplines, and I am sure this unit would have made them happy. 

Experience Using Technology           

 My personal experience using technology in the classroom was limited because the school’s technology was limited.  We had two computer labs, one for middle school and one for high school.  Teachers had to sign up for time slots in advance.  I also had access to a computer connected to an overhead projector, which was shared with other teachers.  Since I taught music, most of the technology I used was with my middle school music appreciation class.  For our big assignment I had the students create power point presentations in the lab, researching their information on the internet.  I used the classroom overhead projector when I talked about things like musical instruments ( I was able to have their picture and then play a short audio) and to show clips pertaining to the history of rock music.  Overall, though, access and use of technology was fairly limited.  PDAs would have been beneficial in my classroom, or any classroom, regardless of the subject matter.  I also could see how, with the right equipment, listening centers or even a class website would allow students to flip through various genres of music over a short period of time, comparing and contrasting what they hear.

Module 2 Reflection

This module really made me think about and analyze how I look at web sites on a daily basis.  I will admit that I am guilty of assuming that students have some research skills and already know how to weed out the good web sites from the bad.  After reading through the material, I have realized that students would benefit from some real guidance when it comes to researching on the internet.  I never really considered analyzing web sites a skill before.

As a music teacher, I am embarrassed to admit that I know very little about copyright law.  It is something I want to look into further so that I can teach students the do’s and don’ts, especially when it comes to music.  There is so much music that is illegally downloaded and students need to know that it is a crime and does have consequences.  It only makes sense that this information would be taught in a music appreciation class.In the text, I was once again jealous that I did not have the preparation and mentor experience that many of the new teachers in the examples had.  These programs seem like they will take a lot of dedication.  I am not convinced that schools nationwide have the sort of dedication that it would take to transform them into the programs that the text depicts.  It almost seems too good to be true.Modeling and enforcing cyber ethics in my classroom would be simple and probably only take a few extra minutes when I am doing lesson plans.  Citing sources on class materials would show students how to properly cite materials in actual situations.  It would show students that everyone borrows ideas once in a while and that it is okay if you do it the right way.  Enforcing cyber ethics would be as simple as adding required citations to assignments, perhaps even a works consulted list.  Having zero tolerance for plagiarism would show students that you mean business when it comes to citing materials.

My experience with filtering software in schools was fairly limited.  From what I saw, I think that it gives teachers a false sense of security.  Students were always finding ways around blocks to game sites and social networking sites.  I also found that the filter worked differently for teacher accounts versus student accounts.  Teachers could access some sites that students could not, which made it difficult when teachers wanted students to use a site for research and it was unavailable. I feel that web site evaluation techniques are extremely important for students.  It is definitely a skill they will use for the rest of their lives.  Looking at the web site address and if there is an author listed is the first thing someone should do when visiting a site.  If a site passes the first test, checking to see if there is a date of when the site was last updated is important.  The third thing a person should do is check for objectivity and evaluate the quality of the writing on the site, as well as the quality of the links provided.    

Online Assessment

The web sites depicting learning strengths could easily be given to students on the first day of classes.    A teacher can use this information when developing lesson plans to help meet student’s needs.  The instructional methods site allows a teacher to evaluate different teaching methods at a glance, enabling them to add strength and variety to their lesson plans.  The fourth link listed on the module just took me to a search site with a bunch of links to other things.   

Module 3 Reflection

My personal goals to become a leader consist of focusing on further education myself and improving my confidence in the classroom.  Every month I will read one publication that will help me become a better teacher.  These publications would range from discipline in the classroom to effective teaching strategies to music specific strategies.  After reading the module, I got many great ideas how to better use technology in the classroom.  It was clear that technology cannot replace good teaching, it simply enhances it.  Some of the tools, such as those for ADD students, would likely benefit students without ADD, especially those who have a ton of energy.  These tools were great because we already have many of them, and I didn’t know a lot of them existed!  I also noticed that a lot of these tools will take some trial and error for the teacher, but that’s what most of teaching is!

The text examples show that excellence takes time, hard work, and patience.  Those who achieve greatness have those three qualities mixed with vision.  It is surprising how much money some schools are willing to put into technology, while others are not willing to invest much at all.  What any school needs to keep in mind is that no matter what sort of technology exists, teachers should be well-informed in how to effectively use it in their classrooms.

Microsoft Template Gallery for Teachers

This site has been added to my favorites folder.  Time is so important to teachers and not having to reinvent the wheel for every little thing is invaluable.  It also serves to give teachers ideas for new projects as well.  These templates will help make projects look nicer, help keep the teacher more organized, and serve as inspiration all at the same time.

Create a Graph

I like this site because a teacher can take data from anything and turn it into a graph.  It takes less time than actually drawing a graph, allowing students to play with more data and see how they can manipulate the results.  This would give them a better understanding of how graphs work.  They can also take the same information and make a couple of different kinds of graphs to see how the information looks differently in varying formats.  This could be valuable in a music classroom by doing a poll to see what sort of music the students like, but anything from what they had for lunch to scientific observations could be used.

Chain Stories

This lesson plan utilizes an important technology skill- email.  It was written for ESL students but would be fun in an English class as well.  Depending on the time limit, completing the activity in one class period would keep things fast-paced, but what would the students do during the two-thirds of the class when they are not writing?  I could use this idea in my music class by having students create a story based on a classical piece of music.  They would listen to the piece, then invent a story to go along with it. 

Assistive Technology on the Internet

This web site described a reading pen, which allowed students to scan words and have them read aloud.  It would be very useful in the classroom when students must read material that is beyond their level.  It would be especially helpful for older students whose reading level does not meet their actual grade level, thereby making reading in core classes more difficult.

I provided this link as well because it gives step-by-step instructions on how to decrease the amount of information displayed on the computer screen, helping students focus better.  This would greatly help students who are easily distracted while on the computer, especially when doing research for a project or paper.  It would eliminate some distractions and allow students to finish assignments quicker, and likely produce better work.I have not used either of these tools before.  I would definitely consider modifying a computer to eliminate distractions for students.  The reading pen would cost money and has some flaws, but it would be an awesome tool to have in the classroom.  

Research Supporting or Contesting the Use of Word Processing

I found the article by typing the phrase, “pros of word processing” into a Bing search engine.This information makes sense and should not be a surprise.  Technology cannot replace good teaching, it only enhances it.  If the teacher makes sure students get a basic groundwork of writing and encourage students not to rely solely on the computer, the benefits outweigh the negatives.     

Module 4 Reflection 

As a music teacher, I was never really concerned with meeting standards. Most of my lessons met the music standards naturally without much thought.  So when I began reading Module 4 and saw the description of Backward Design, it was intriguing and something that I filed in my memory for later use.  It makes total sense, but is something I had never really thought of before.

Although alternative assessments aren’t anything new, it occurred to me that most of the teachers that use them are the ones who aren’t afraid to invest time and energy into their classroom.  Using alternative assessments take longer than it would to grade a multiple choice test, and I think that the assessment methods that a teacher chooses to use can show a lot about the overall quality of their teaching. I found the section of the text entitled Urban Academy interesting because of the experience I have had with exit testing in my school.  My school in Alaska had something called the High School Qualifying Exam (HSQE) that all students must pass in order to receive a high school diploma.  These tests were very high stress.  Students who did not pass the test, or part of the test, their junior year had an especially stressful time taking the test their senior year.  Many teachers taught to the test in order to boost student’s scores.I like how Urban used real projects to demonstrate student’s proficiency.  Including professionals gave their projects even more credibility and encouraged students to take the project seriously.  It is a model that other schools should use to improve the quality of education that students receive. The high school I attended (located in PA) had senior projects instead of testing.  I chose to write and perform a piece of music for mine.  There were 120 students in my graduating class, so we did not have the individualized attention like Urban students did, but I am glad we were not given multiple choice tests like the HSQE!

Understanding by Design

This web site was intriguing and something I bookmarked to look over more closely later.  Beginning with the end in mind is something I have done, but not given much thought.  Having a clear ending would benefit my teaching and help me to be more focused.  As a music teacher, the majority of my classes focus on performing in concerts, but I do have a music appreciation class in which I can refine my lesson planning skills and where I have more of a choice of what I want the end results to look like.

 Six Facets of Understanding

This web site is helpful because I have often caught myself breezing over some of the important parts of understanding.  Sometimes, I have assumed that students already know what I breeze over.  Other times, especially in my music appreciation class, I move quickly through different topics in order to cover as much material as possible.  In the future, I would like to cover less material and make it more meaningful to students. 

Rubric for the 6 Facets of Understanding

If a teacher wants to truly evaluate a student’s understanding of a topic, this rubric would be extremely helpful.  It would also tell a teacher whether or not they are truly teaching so that the students understand based on student’s results.  This is another site I have bookmarked for future reference.  I would use it more in my music appreciation class, but it could be tweaked for use in all of my music classes.

Module 5 Reflection

 I have actually used power point in my music appreciation class in the past.  I used it to go over instrument types.  I liked using power point because I was able to include pictures of the instruments, and clicked on the instrument to hear a clip of that instrument playing.  I think it was much more interesting for the students this way.

I have also had my students create power point presentations.  By the middle of their seventh grade year my students were very familiar with power point, so I was able to give them simple directions regarding the project and let them loose.  I have found that it is useful to require the students to write the information on all of the slides before they begin using templates or colors and backgrounds.  This way, if the student runs out of time they will have gotten the most important part done. I was not aware of all of the software available on the internet, especially for music.  I have recently found a site that allows you to compose music and print it without downloading anything to your computer.  This is nice because in a school it is almost impossible to download programs to computers because of all of the logistics.

This class has definitely made me more open to using the resources on the internet in the classroom.  The benefits of using these resources are well worth the extra time and planning that they would require.  Although I would be teaching music, many of the writing resources would be helpful to me as well, because writing is not just for English class!  I would also like to try an online quiz taking site in the future. 


I am a huge fan of templates because they save so much time.  Teachers do not have time to invent every worksheet or handout or organizational tool.  Templates let us get the job done faster and more efficiently.  They give us ideas for things we probably would not have thought of on our own, and let’s admit it, some of us just aren’t that creative! 


This site is helpful to a teacher by explaining some of the more intricate details of images, how they are created, and how they work.  I found the list of image types and their abbreviations especially useful.  The tips on editing photos was also helpful, especially  if a teacher is editing class pictures and wants to either print or post them online. (With parental permission, of course.)  ;) 


This site is cool because it links to different sound files.  This would be a good site to give students to use when making presentations.  It is always nice to have resources like this to use in the classroom.  I especially liked the music instrument files because I can use them in my music classes. SoftwareThe kinds of software that would work best with my students would be something music-related and something that students of differing levels could use.  Drill and practice software related to pitch-matching, as well as tutorials related to playing instruments would be the most useful to me.  In these sorts of software, students work at their own level, so a larger range of students (from special needs, to gifted, and all those in between) would be able to participate successfully.

I found free ear training software online.  It covers an extensive amount: intervals, chords, scales, etc.  It could be used as a reference in the classroom, for example if I were talking about different chords, I could use this site so that students can hear the difference.  It can also be used by students to practice on their own.  The site is easy to use and tells students whether or not their answer was correct, but does not tell them the correct answer.   I do not like that it doesn’t give the correct answer and this may be frustrating for some students. 

Multimedia Lesson Plan

Students will research a famous musician and write a historical report. Students will record their own voice reciting the report using multi-track digital audio software. Students will import CD tracks and mix them into the multi-track session to create an audio history of the famous musician. (Lesson plan found on

This lesson plan covers a multitude of skills.  I think the students would learn some valuable information and that this would be a quality project to include in my music appreciation class. 

Module 6 Reflection

I have to admit I have not really tried using integrated projects in my class.  Most of my classes are band and choir, but I would have the opportunity to play with integration in my music appreciation class.  It would be possible to do so in band and choir, but it would be much more difficult since we are usually preparing for concerts.

I would use laptops in my classroom to have students create projects like power points, do research, compose music online, and play educational music games online.  I do not have much experience with handhelds, so that would be new territory for me.  I know that it is possible to beam assignments back and forth, so perhaps there would be a way for students to beam compositions to each other?  It would be cool if they could compose a couple of measures, then beam it to another student to add a couple more, and so on, until an entire composition was created.  Then we could play it for the class.There were a couple of points from the text that jumped out at me.  First was the great benefits of project-based learning.   It didn’t surprise me as much as reinforce to me how important it is for kids to take ownership of their learning.  I also found the concept of looping of interest, because I did not know that it was still done.  After reading about it, it makes total sense as to why it is beneficial.  I found it very interesting that special education referrals decreased in looping classrooms.  Looping is done in a sense in the music world a little more than other areas.  Typically a band or choir student will have the same teacher several years in a row.  I did not teach long enough to see it as a teacher, but as a student I saw the bond that grew between students and their music teachers over the years, and it can be a pretty neat thing.

This is an awesome site for kids, especially in science class.  It allows them to learn about frogs in fun ways.  Since I am a music person, I liked the frog songs page.  Even though I teach music, this would be a fun site to allow students to visit (probably more on the elementary age) when they are finished with projects and have free time.

This site is a very good tool that I added to my favorites list.  Playing Jeopardy before a test is a fun way to review, and having a template to use via power point is invaluable.  In order to get students to review for a test, I could even have THEM make the games on their computers, which would get them to pick and choose the important topics we have covered.

This site is a nice reference to avoid the research paper/book report blahs.  It gives plenty of ideas I can use in my classroom in place of the typical writing assignment, yet the students still learn quality information.  I especially liked the press conference and board game ideas, pertaining to famous composers. QuizmakerQuizmaker was easy to use until I finished the quiz.  I found the html code confusing and wasn’t quite sure how to use it.  I think it would be difficult to use if I wanted my students to take the quiz online, because from what I read they would have to copy and paste the code for the quiz I have created in order to access it. 

Concentration Game Generator

I typed words into the generator, but when the game was displayed all of the tiles were blank???  It is a good idea, though…  I could use it to help students learn the foreign words often found in music, such as forte/piano, crescendo/decrescendo, etc.

 Instant Online Crossword Puzzle Maker

This is a quick and easy way to make a crossword.  I used tools similar to this to create crosswords for my students in the past, and they are very helpful.  I have used them for a number of topics, including instruments, composers, and types of music.  A con is that this may be confusing or difficult for special needs students.  An adaptation for these students might be to give them a word block containing answers to reference. 

Easy Test Maker

This really was easy to create.  I like how fast it is, and how it will print an answer key.  I did not see an option to have the test online, but if you wanted a paper test to hand out, this would be the way to go.  I also liked how it had different formats to choose from.  I chose to experiment with a multiple choice test, asking about famous composers.  A con about this site is that it may prohibit teachers from getting creative with their assessments, because it is so easy to just give students a pencil and paper! 

Module 7 Reflection

 Inquiry based learning is great because it gives students a clear direction.  They are no longer learning without a goal or a purpose.  Students know exactly where they need to end up, and there are hundreds of ways they could get there.  This allows them to learn at their own pace and makes their learning more meaningful, two things every teacher strives for.   Although more difficult in a music setting, inquiry based learning is still possible.  For this module I developed a lesson plan asking students what instruments they would choose for an orchestra.  This is a more complex question, but simple ones are just as effective.  Incorporating spreadsheets in a music classroom is difficult, but with a little imagination it is possible.  It would be much easier to do so in a music appreciation class.

I was surprised at how many schools are now focusing on the emotional development of students.  I have not seen that in any of the schools I have worked in, but it would be a great asset.  One of the high schools I worked in really focused on drop-out prevention, but did not take this personal approach that likely would have helped them.  Students need to feel like they are important, like they belong, and like they have something to contribute.  Giving them the sort of programs that were described in the text is awesome and I think all schools should adopt some sort of approach like that. 

Ancient Greek Gods

This site would be a good resource to use when studying music compositions.  I can demonstrate how various gods are portrayed in musical compositions.  Students could then choose a god that interests them to research and find an appropriate sound track that represents that god.  This would show students how music can tell a story or relay an emotion.

Ask a Biologist

I wandered onto the coloring pages of this site and found a lot of really good educational pages.  They don’t really relate to music, but the ecosystems page was interesting.  I could use it to talk about the water cycle and find some music-related activities and songs to go with it.  This would probably be more geared toward elementary-aged students.

Spreadsheet Resources

I liked this site because there are many different spreadsheets to choose from.  Not really any fit into the music classroom itself, but there were some that I could use as a teacher.  Music teachers usually end up going on school trips, so the trip cost estimator caught my eye. 

Module 9 Reflection 

Getting parents involved in their student’s education is extremely important.  Educating students is not the sole job of the teacher- it is a team effort of parents, teachers, and other adults actively involved in the student’s life.  Holding an open house once a quarter would be one way to get parents into the school.  Free refreshments could be offered, student work displayed, and even a skit or small performance could be performed.  This would help get parents into the school, allow them to network with other parents, and let parents see what their student’s classroom life looks like.

As a music teacher, I know that many music programs have a fundraising committee.  This committee meets on a regular basis to plan fundraising and help plan various trips.  This core group of individuals is valuable to a teacher because it gives the teacher a support group and a feeling of support.

I have always used an active virus protection so have not had any bad experiences with viruses on my computer.  I am always careful to make sure my virus protection is updated because I know that all it takes is one little window of opportunity for a virus to sneak through.  As far as filtering software, I think that in a school or public setting, it can give a teacher a false sense of security.  I have seen many students in computer labs surfing the internet unsupervised.  Just because there is filtering software does not mean it is fail proof, and students are always finding ways around it to access their favorite social networking or gaming sites.

One of the main things from the text reading that stuck out to me was the example of the community program based on the needs of the community.  I think it is awesome that there is access to health care and mental health services right on the school campuses.  So much of a student’s learning is affected by things that we teachers do not have control of.

The online mentoring program is something I would really like to look into and see what I could do in my music classes.  I think it is a great idea and I would have loved having a mentor as a student.

The module 9 scavenger hunt’s links to the computer basics quizzes would be useful to go over with students when just beginning the year.  It is always helpful to go over the basics with students, and a lot of times we use abbreviations that we do not know what they stand for, or we don’t know the names of parts of the computer that we easily use.

Upon some internet research, I could not find evidence that the state of Alaska has mandated filtering in schools or libraries.  In 2008 libraries that do not have filtering software risked losing state funding.  I am not sure if this regulation stuck or was overturned.

This virus site was very informational about the different kinds of computer viruses.  It contains information that I am not yet familiar with and have bookmarked the site to review it in more detail later.  It would be a good site to refer to before developing a lesson about computer viruses for my students.

The tech and learning site contains all sorts of teaching tools that seem very useful.  I like that the information on the home page changes, so there will be new and current information as time progresses.  The information on grants and contests will be useful when I begin teaching again, because I will be looking for funds to increase the technology in my class.

The Boxtops site is a good reminder of an easy way we can raise money for our schools.  Many of the household items we use and by have boxtops on them.  It is a good way to get parents and students involved in helping out the school.  I have seen coloring pages with spaces for boxtops, which makes it fun for students because they glue the box tops on the page then color it, and then bring it into school to turn in. 

 The ASCAP Foundation (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) offers grants generally amounting to $2,500.

FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education) offers grants and has detailed explanations on what they are looking for in their applications.

This is a good article that talks about music grants, and the different kinds and organizations that give them.  

Scavenger Hunt

1.         Why is it important to keep your computer’s antivirus up-to-date?It is important because there are always new viruses coming out, and you need to keep your computer’s list of viruses current so it can detect them.

2.         Can a virus get on your computer if you have up-to-date virus protection?  How?Yes, although it is more difficult for you to get a virus if your protection is up-to-date.  If you click on a link or download a corrupt file you could expose your computer to a virus.  This is why it is important to only click on links or downloads that you know are safe.

3.         What should you do if you suspect you have a virus?Run your antivirus program ASAP.

4.         When using a public computer, like in your school, what can you do to help protect personal information, like your passwords?Always make sure you log off the computer when you are finished.  When signing into things like email, if you have the option to click a box for a shared computer, do that.  When you are done checking your email, make sure you log off.  Simply closing the browser does not always log you off of your account.

5.         Name three good search engines that would be appropriate for school research.

Tekmom for students Wikipedia Allmusic     


This class has given me a lot of options and ways to integrate technology in my classroom.  After seeing the great resources on the internet, my teaching can be greatly enhanced by some of those resources, especially in my music appreciation classes.  My main concern is how often I would be able to get my class into the computer lab in order to use these resources.  My other concern would be how the filtering software at the school would affect some of the resources I would like to use, such as online notation programs.  Since I am not currently teaching, I will have to wait until my next job to see what that specific school looks like.