Saturday, December 21, 2013

Using Garage Band in Language Arts/English

We recently showcased Garage Band to our 21C teams and it is incredible.  Our friendly neighbourhood Computers in the Classroom Consultant (who taught everyone how to use it wonderfully), cited the fact that at the height of their career, The Beatles had equipment that could only mix 4 tracks, while the free version of Garage Band allows the creator to use 16!!

And though the main focus was on music creation, I couldn't help but wear my Literacy hat to think about  how you could use Garage Band in Language Arts (Ontario).  The Oral Communication strand is all about speaking for a specific purpose and audience and the Reading strand speaks to "reading fluency."

Struggling readers continue to be struggling readers because they don't practice.  They don't practice because they don't enjoy reading.  My daughter is a perfect example.  She is my reluctant reader.  She would rather scrub toilets than read anything.

When we were preparing for the presentation, I asked her to recite a stanza of a poem for me and to help me put it to music.  She absolutely refused until she realized I was talking about Garage Band and then, low and behold, she rehearsed a poem by Langston Hughes and recorded and re-recorded probably close to a dozen times.  I was amazed!  And that's when it hit me, kids would practice their reading fluency and oral communication skills without complaint if we had them do it in this context.

Other ideas for using Garage Band for Literacy and Language Arts:

-turn a story into a radio play
-retell an Aboriginal tale or a short story
-create a prayer to music
-teach rhythm and rhyme using the free instruments
-have a poetry slam-- partners or triads mix poems with music around the same theme
-use for student self-assessment of oral skills

Our Math consultant immediately thought about using Garage Band for fractions...

Like many tech tools out there, their original purpose can be re-purposed in the classroom to amazing results!

When I explored the internet for other ideas, I found this great post by  @edapps that showcases some great ideas for using Garage Band in Classrooms.