Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wixie in Kindergarten!

The number one program that kindergarteners learn in our computer classes is Wixie.  Our computer teacher loves Wixie and uses it for almost all her activities.  Writing fact vs. opinion, counting and number sentences, history timelines...why not music! 

Wixie is a subscription based program that my school uses entirely online. Students know their log-in names and can work on a project in the lab, in their classrooms, or on the iPads!  Teachers can create and assign projects too!

I am always looking for new projects to utilize my class iPads.  I spent spring break updating the iPads and started exploring Wixie a little.  Kindergarten had been singing the silly song Aiken Drum and I was trying to brainstorm a way of letting the students create their own Aiken Drum men.  I knew we could make a big one on the SmartBoard, but I wanted them to be creative and have freedom to create their own unique Aiken Drum-and in turn, compose their own version of the song!

When tinkering with Wixie over spring break, I found the "cloner" option which makes any object infinite!  This is exactly the same as the infinite cloner in Smart Notebook.  I picked out all the fruit and veggies (and a few extras) from the sticker library (saving lots of time and whining kindergarteners) and created a little template.   

Since kindergarteners already know how to use the basic tools of Wixie, we did a quick 2 minute explanation of how the touch screen is different than the iPad (duh, Mrs. Cabello, we know that!) and they were off!  They came up with quite the silly Aiken Drums!


This isn't computer class or art class, this is music class!  Where is the music!!  Well Wixie has a nifty little record button on the main page that lets the user record audio and attach it to the page!  BAM!  Music class!

Once students finished making their own Aiken Drum character, I moved them to a quiet spot behind my desk or piano so they could SING their unique songs that they composed!  I let it be pure kindergarten voices with very little help from me.  (We had made class characters at least twice and sang the tune over and over and over so I was sure they were prepped for success.  It was also a great way for me to assess singing voice!)

Here's one of my favorite songs from kindergarten.  The best part is that they can't always remember what the names of the fruits are!  Don't worry, they eventually remember!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Stretchy Band DIY

 I'm on spring break right now...aka I'm bored!  We just finished our 4th/5th grade musical before break and even though my husband and I spent tons of time at school rearranging my room and switching out a bulletin board, I was still itching for a project.

I've always wanted a stretchy band, but could never force myself to spend the money for one thinking it would only be used a few times in the year.  I had some fabric from the musical left over and decided to make one for myself!  Final price: $19.06

The big question:  WHAT'S INSIDE????

I asked some other music teachers on facebook and the consensus was something stretchy!  Here were the possibilities:

1: 2" elastic
2: bungee cord
3: surgical tubing
4: fitness resistance tubing

Elastic sounded too easy to me so I asked my sewing expert mother who agreed it wouldn't be the sturdiest choice.

So off to the hardware store I went hoping to buy bungee cord by the foot.  Alas, I can only dream.  It didn't seem right to link the bungees together so I went back to the drawing board.

After researching medical supply stores in my area, I learned that I could buy surgical tubing at the hardware store!  Aisle 7 to be exact!

I bought 10 feet, which is just a little too small for my classes of 15-20 students. I can use this test stretchy band for my small preschool class of only 5-6 students.  

So here are my DIY instructions!


Surgical Tubing (10ft per 8-10 students)
Cotton Fabric (multiple colors)
3 Zip Ties


1. Cut fabric stripes into 20"x5" strips. 
In order to get the "scrunch" you will need approximately 2.5x casing per tubing.  (example: 10ft. tubing = 25ft. casing)


2. Sew short ends together to form one long piece.  
Remember "right sides together" and keep all your seams on the same side.  I also made a point to back stitch the ends for durability.  Kids will be pulling and stretching!

3. Fold in half and sew down long side.
Remember, "right sides together!"

4.  Turn
(I hate this part.  Absolute torture.  Thankfully, my husband was willing to help so we tag-teamed it, but still, awful!)  My mother always says to use a safety pin to help.  Here are some pinterest links that might work too! Ribbon Technique  Saftey Pin Technique

5.  Insert tubing into casing
You'll start to see the "scrunch" here!

6.  Zip tie tubing together 
Overlap the tubing about an inch and place 3 zip ties on overlapping sections starting with the middle.  Pull VERY tight and snip off ends.

EDIT:The zip tie idea worked great when my husband and I pulled, but the stress of a kindergarten class was a different story.  My friend Sally Utley from Sally's Sea of Songs told me that the REAL stretchy bands are simply tied together with a square knot.  (Left over right, right over left)  So far that has worked better!

7.  Hand stitch casing together
Fold both ends in to create finished edge.  Insert one color into the other and hand stitched closed.


My husband and I have pulled and stretched as hard as we could and everything bounced back!  I'm excited to try this with my preschoolers!

Btw: I just ordered a 50ft roll from Amazon and I'll be making a much larger one for my whole class next week!