Composer Of The Month Pic Collages
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Welcome to the first blog post written by a guest author! The author is Justin Kamp – a K-3 and 6th grade General Music teacher in Milton, Wisconsin. Justin is in his fourth year of teaching and likes to incorporate technology into his elementary music classes.
In this article, Justin shares a Composer Of The Month project that he does with his Grade 3-6 students.
– Katie Wardrobe
Students will create Pic Collages about specific composers with enough information to show what they have learned throughout the month.
Music Education Standards
- Make connections between music other subjects
- Understand music as it relates to history
- iPad (or PC or Android device – see note below)
- App: Pic Collage Kids (rated 4+) or Pic Collage (rated 12+)
- Somewhere to write a list of words
Note: Justin uses Pic Collage Kids on iPads. The main Pic Collage app (the “non-kids” version, rated 12+) is also available for Android devices and PC laptops.
In the classroom, all of the students learn about a different Composer of the Month. Throughout the year, students learn about a composer from each musical time period, exposing them to new music that they can learn to enjoy.
I use a variety of activities throughout the month as the students learn about the composer using their iPads. Activities range from using QR codes to take them to a video of a famous composer, to student use of iMovie to create videos that share information about the life of the composer. My favorite activity that we do with the composers is the Composer Pic Collages.
At the end of the month, my third grade classes create Pic Collages using the app Pic Collage Kids (the kids’ version of Pic Collage app) which is FREE!
We brainstorm a list of words about the composer that would assist them in finding quality pictures to help teach someone who didn’t know anything about the composer. For example, for Mozart we listed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, piano, violin, Austria, etc.
Before the students start scouring the depths of the internet looking for the perfect picture of Mozart, I talk about copyright and the importance for all of us to be good digital citizens by using public domain images (or Creative Commons licensed images) and giving credit to the owners. Then I ask my students, “How would you feel if someone took your whole Pic Collage and said that it was their own?”
We use the website Photos For Class which filters inappropriate content out, only finds public domain or Creative Commons images, and cites the image at the bottom of the picture. This website doesn’t always provide as many options or variety of some pictures for the students; however, it provides a wonderful teaching opportunity about being good digital citizens!
If a composer or word provides limited photos on Photos for Class, then one alternative is to use a “safesearch” in Google and use the search settings set to find images that are labelled for reuse (see below).
After the students have searched for all of the pictures (I usually ask them to find a minimum of 5) and saved them to the Camera Roll on their iPads, the fun really begins!
Creating a Pic Collage step-by-step
- The students go into the Pic Collage Kids app and select the “freestyle” design, maximizing the amount of creativity they can show.
- They select the photos button and import all of their pictures from the camera roll into the PicCollage.
- Students can drag and drop and shrink and grow their images in any way they want. Photos can be layered over or under one another by simply tapping the image they want on top.
- Backgrounds can be added by tapping any white background area and selecting the background button. Students can add patterns, colors, or use one of their pictures as the background.
- Text is also added by tapping the background. Students select style of font, color, and size, and must add the composer’s name and the dates they were living (ex. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – 1756-1791).
- Some students even choose to add text to explain what the pictures are showing. I ask them to do this if they couldn’t tell exactly what that picture was before they searched for it. Usually it is for a picture of a city or country that doesn’t mean anything without a label attached to it.
- When completed, the students export their Pic Collage to their camera roll. We have Schoology (a learning management system) in our district where the students can upload the Pic Collage into their section. This allows parents to access the class and look at their child’s work.
- Finally, we use Dotstorming (a brainstorming and decision-making website) to vote for a “winner” or the most informative, best looking Pic Collage from the class.
- The winner gets their Pic Collage printed in color (OOHH! AHH!) and it is hung up in the music room until the next composer collages are made.
Student Pic Collage examples
Below are a couple of Composer of the Month Pic Collage examples from Justin’s classes.
About the author
Justin Kamp is a K-3 and 6th grade General Music teacher in Milton, Wisconsin. He is entering his 4th school year and has been an “iGuide,” technology trainer for his building for the past two years. The School District of Milton is 1:1 iPads K-8. It is his goal to incorporate technology into his classes, whether it is a full blown lesson, or using the SMARTboard for smaller activities.
Connect with Justin
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