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- Claire Burns, Learn Me Music

Royalty-Free, Public Domain Clip Art

Clipart created using CLKER and PicCollage
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  As my gift to you, I wanted to share with you two of my favorite source for graphics and clipart that I use for my printables and products.


from Clker.com

is a royalty-free, public domain source for clip art.  What is so cool about this site is that the images are created by the users using vector designs.  You could actually create your own vector illustrations using this site to share with others!

The sheer volume of clipart available on this site is pretty incredible.  It is the first place I always go when creating my products, maybe because I am cheap, maybe because I am resourceful, maybe because I am lazy!  I'm not sure what is true but I do know that I love this site!!!


I also love the free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android called PicCollage.  Its also free and its great for creating your own images.  I use this app more for things like above, for "catch" images.  Its a great app.  Check it out!!

Created Using PicCollage

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Winter Olympics 2014 Music Class Activities

I confess….I am an Olympics-addict.  I love the Summer Games, I love the Winter Games, I love any of the Games.  I feel like as soon as the last Games ends, I am counting the months until the next one.  Has anyone else figured it out it is a much longer wait from the end of the Winter Games to the beginning of the next Summer Games (usually 26-28 months) than the end of the Summer Games to the next Winter Games (usually only 18-20 months difference)?  Crazy, huh?
Anyway, besides the friendly competition and the obscure sports (who loves curling? Me!), I also love the music.  The Olympic Games are known for some excellent musical traditions, from the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the lovely John Williams' compositions we know so well.  One of my favorite albums of all time is Summon The Heroes that I bought the summer of the '96 Olympics in Atlanta.  As an Atlanta native, the 96 Summer Games were a SUPER HUGE deal to my family and I and we did it all - pin trading, Centennial Olympic Park, Underground Atlanta, and even some events.  We actually got to go to a lot of tennis as we lived 2 miles from the tennis complex (which I might add is now sadly torn down and paved over….sniff).
Anyway, I digress.  Back to the music….I love John Williams' and I especially love him as a music teacher because I can focus on an American composer instead of always talking about the white-haired European ancients (no offense, Beethoven and Mozart…we love you too!).

Olympic Fanfare and Theme

With the 2014 Winter Olympics starting tonight, I thought I would share my lesson using the Olympics as the theme.
We start with listening to the John Williams' version of "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" with the listening question below posted on the board:
Most hands will immediately shoot up.  At that point we discuss the Olympics.  And where they're being held right now.  

Then we discuss John Williams and what an important composer he is for American music and especially film music.  

Then we compare and contrast Williams' and Arnaud's versions.  As a little aside, I did a bunch of research because I was very confused.  But here's the deal, Leo Arnaud, a French-American composer wrote "Bugler's Dream"(which we know as Olympic Fanfare) in 1958 for Felix Slatkin's album, Charge.  John Williams' used Arnaud's piece as material for his version commissioned for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.  Williams released an updated version for the Summon The Heroes album for the 1996 Atlanta Games.  That's why the two pieces sound almost the same; however, Williams' piece is obviously more complex and more orchestral and thematic.  I prefer for music class to use Arnaud's version because the form is more accessible.  Anyway, we listen to the two versions. 
 Then we use Arnaud's version to create movements for the corresponding formal sections of the piece.  There are some distinct tempo changes in the piece which is great since we are already working on tempo in most of my classes and we can reinforce that concept here.  

I didn't include all the form listening slides in order as that would make this post WAAAAYY TOOOOO LOOONG!  So below is a link to a download that includes all the slides in PowerPoint format as well as both JPEG and PDF format.  Also included in that download is a printable poster of John Williams to hang on your "Composer of the Week" poster - you have one, right?  

Russian Folk Dance

Since the 2014 Winter Games are in Sochi, Russia, this is also the perfect time to pull out one of my favorite folk dances.  "Sasha" is a traditional Russian folk dance that has been recorded and arranged by the Amidons of the New England Dancing Masters.  Their materials are EXCELLENT and I totally recommend ALL of their books and CDs.  However, "Sasha" happens to be one of their two free dances available on their website.  They have the sheet music and a FREE mp3 download - can't beat free, can you?  This dance is magical and I have had great success with various grade levels with this dance.  I actually like to teach this dance much slower than the recording for the success of the learning process.  Then we can speed it up when we feel confident.  That allows me to reinforce tempo concepts (adagio, moderato, allegro) as we practice.  Plus, the kids keep getting more and more excited as we continue to speed up the music.  So fun!  I have made various tempo versions of the mp3 from their website for your use in your classroom.  I don't think the Amidons will mind as I have given them credit for it and am offering it for free.  

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Augmented Reality with Aurasma: Part Two

So earlier this week I started a series of posts on Augmented Reality in Education using Aurasma.  If you didn't catch post one, read it first before continuing on!

Now that you've read up on Part One, step two is actually creating your own trigger images, overlays, and auras!!  Woohoo!

I had this privilege this morning of presenting iPads in the Classroom: Tips and Tricks for Effective Implementation at the 2013 Georgia Educational Technology Conference.  It was an awesome experience!  I was nervous, excited, and inspired all at the same time.  I feel blessed by the opportunity to share a little of my experience with technology with other educators.

Part of my presentation was on Aurasma.  I created a quick reference guide for creating an account, channel, trigger images, overlays, and auras using Aurasma for my conference.  This perfect timing to also share it with you!  So please download the two handouts below and start creating your own Auras!

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Augmented Reality with Aurasma: Part One

Augmented Reality is not a new concept, but the concept in education is one that is blowing up in schools.  I discovered this concept this fall while perusing my Pinterest boards.  Mrs. Dennis over at Music with Mrs. Dennis posted an amazing Augmented Reality tutorial featuring an app called Aurasma.  Her tutorial post is thorough, thoughtful, and applicable not only for the music room but education in general.

I am not attempting to create a tutorial since she has already done such an amazing job!  You should read her blog post first before continuing on here….so click it and read!  Then come back!


Ok….so now that you're back, here are some things I have learned, discovered, and done with this App.  My school, Clark Creek Elementary STEM Academy, was recently the first stop on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) Bus Tour.  I posted about this experience yesterday.  Read up on that too!

As a part of the bus tour, we provided groups of our tour members with iPads equipped with Aurasma so at they toured, they were able to experience Augmented Clark Creek Reality around our school.  There were probably 30-40 Auras around our school.  It was a huge hit and people were totally blown away with this "new" technology.

So you can see what I am talking about, follow these directions….

  • Use your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone, tablet) and download the free App Aurasma.  (the purple"A" up there is the app icon - look for that image to make sure you download the correct app)

  • Once inside the application, slide through the tutorial and skip the account set-up if prompted (you can create an account later which you will want to do!)  Select the "A" aura button to bring up the menu.  

  • Using the Spotlight tool (looks like a magnifying glass), search for Clark Creek STEM.  Our channel is the one with the RedHawk.  Select our channel and then select "Follow" and "Like" to follow and subscribe to our channel auras.  

  • Return to the viewfinder in the app by selecting the broken square to the left of the viewfinder.  

  • You can now use the camera scanner to view some auras.  Let's try some.  Hold your Aurasma viewfinder over the following images.  

If you saw videos pop up on top of these "trigger images," then you did it correct!!  Congrats!   

Stay tuned for Part Two of my Aurasma posts to give you more tips and suggestions for using this amazing technology for educational purposes!  If you want to make your own auras, please refer to Mrs. Dennis' awesome tutorial over at Music with Mrs. Dennis

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