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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Top 3 Tips for Using Google Slides in Elementary Music

Between hybrid and virtual teaching, I have become a huge fan of Google Slides. It does everything I need all in one place so I don't have to switch between programs, or get my students (or myself) to learn how to navigate multiple platforms. After using slides in virtually every lesson this school year, here are the top functions I come back to over and over again that have been most useful for me as a general music teacher.

1. Drag and Drop

If you aren't using Slides this way by now you are seriously missing out! For most of the work I have students complete as an assignment to turn in, I use some form of drag and drop worksheets. For composition, I have them drag the notes they want onto the staff from a note bank at the bottom. For instrument identification I have them drag the names or pictures to its match. It is such a great assessment tool! The key is to create the "worksheet" and save it as an image, set that as the "background", and then insert whatever elements you want students to drag and drop as images. Then you can create as many copies of each item as you need and put them all on top of each other! Here is a tutorial on how to create them: 

2. Video Viewer

I love the fact that I can insert videos, whether from a YouTube link or one I create myself, into the slides themselves. Even better, there is a feature to set the exact start and end time for the videos, and you don't have to worry about ads interrupting YouTube videos (although you'll still get banner ads at the bottom), so you can find the exact portion of the video you want to show in class and set it up so it will only play that part without unnecessary distractions! Here's a tutorial for doing that:

3. Insert Audio

Similar to the way you can embed videos, I use audio files with my slides often as well- it's great for creating a simple play-along or having students sing along with a recording, by putting the part I want students to play, or the lyrics I want them to sing, on the slide and then embedding the audio recording in the corner so I can click play and keep the visual up without switching windows to start and stop the recording. I've even used them to have students aurally identify things like major and minor tonality or instrument timbres by inserting audio clips of each one and having students drag and drop the audio files to the matching word (see above!). Here's a tutorial for inserting audio and using some of the basic formatting options:

One more "pro tip" if you want to get super fancy: you can change the image of the audio file to not be that ugly grey speaker icon, so you can actually make it visually fit in with the slide or make it more easily identifiable if you have multiple audio files on the same slide! Here's a tutorial for that:

I could go on and on with more useful features, but those have to be my most-used ones beyond the very basics. If you have been using Google Slides as well, I'd love to hear your top tips as well- leave them in the comments below! You can find more posts related to pandemic teaching on my page below:

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