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Sunday, January 11, 2015

4 Free Online Professional Development Resources for Music Teachers

1. Try a MOOC(massive open online course). These courses are offered for FREE to anyone with internet. They aren't any old courses taught by Joe Schmo though. These are courses taught by professors from legitimate universities.

Where can I find it
Coursera has hundreds of courses from well known universities across the globe. Music specific course offerings include Jazz Improvisation, Introduction to Music Production, and Teaching the Violin and Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation. General education course offerings include  K-12 Blended & Online Learning, Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century skills, and Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms.

edX is similar to Coursera but does not have as many music and education courses. Though, it is worth checking out! Some music specific courses up on their website now include Vocal Recording Technology, Intro to Music Business, and Jazz Appreciation. General education courses include The Art of Teaching, Critical Issues in Urban Education, and Leaders of Learning.

How it works
You can sign up for courses through the website. Some courses may have already started, some may be starting in the future - this information will be posted in the description. The course is structured like a typical college course. It week has it's own assignments, videos, forums, and more! You can do as much or as little as you choose. Certifications can be earned, usually for a fee. Even if a course has already finished, you can often still join and review all material that was put up during the semester.

2. #TweetIt. Twitter can connect educators from all over the world. Hundreds of educational twitter chats happen weekly. These 140 character discussions can pack a lot more punch than you might think.

Where can I find it
Twitter hashtags are used to connect those who wish to participate in the chat. Check out this list to find a list of common educational hashtags. #musedchat and #elmused are two music education chats I have participated in.

How it works
Each chat occurs on a specific day and time. #elmused happens each Tuesday at 9PM EST and #musedchat happens each Monday at 8PM EST. If you find a chat and you're not sure when it occurs, usually a search of the hashtag on Twitter or Google will let you know.

You'll want to use a program such as TweetDeck or Hoot Suite to keep up with the chat. These programs allow you to track a specific hashtag and will update the tweets in that hashtag automatically. It will appear more like a group chat this way.

Topics are usually chosen in advance. One person acts as the moderator. Sign on at the time the chat is supposed to start and feel free to introduce yourself by stating your name, what you teach, and where you're from. The chat begins when the moderator tweets the first question, usually indicated by a tweet that begins with Q1, which stands for question one. To respond, start your tweet with A1, which stands for answer one. Follow A1 with your response to the question and be sure to end your tweet with the proper hashtag, or else those participating will not see your tweet. The next question will be indicated by the moderator when he/she tweets Q2 and participants then respond with A2.

Chats can be fast paced so don't feel pressured. Tweet as much or as little as you'd like!

3.Pin It, Scoop It! Social media isn't all pictures of cats and viral videos. There's a whole other educational side to it!

Where can I find it
Pinterest is probably the most well known social media outlets. I love Pinterest because I can organize all of my boards instead of having a single stream of things I have "liked" or "favorited." 

If you like Pinterest, you should check out Scoop It! Similar in concept with

How it works
Pin or scoop blog posts, articles, videos, worksheets, and countless other resources to your own feed. Follow specific boards/topics by searching or a user's whole profile. One feature I really like from Scoop It is the curation option. Users have the option to write a blurb about the posts and are usually a bit more descriptive than Pinterest descriptions.

4. Facebook Groups. Many teachers have a Facebook so why not do something productive while you're there?

Where to find it
There are tons of music specific groups on Facebook. I belong to several, including Music Teachers and Band Directors. A simple search can help you find others.

How it works
First request to be in the groups. They are closed so an admin or someone already in the group will need to add you. Then post a question, answer one, or do a search! Teachers are talking about everything from lesson ideas and auditions to classroom management and admin/parent questions. Be sure to read the guidelines before posting. There are certain rules that apply to each group, especially regarding ads and products.

To follow a Facebook post without commenting on it, find the thread you want to follow and click on the gray down arrow on the top left of the post. Select Turn on notifications.

Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Follower and Feedback Frenzy Giveaway Jan 5-10

Happy new year! I am teaming up with some other fabulous music teacher friends to give away a $10 credit to our stores!  
Keep Reading!  You are rewarded with a wonderful Giveaway at the end!


Why follow my blog, TpT store, pinterest, or Facebook page?

1. In it for the freebies? You bet. Who doesn't love freebies? Following me on Facebook gives you access to a fan exclusive freebie and flash freebies(paid products available for free for a short amount of time).
2. Stay up to date. Keep up with new product releases, info about sales, and bloggin'.
3. Get to know me. I love following other music teachers! As the only music teacher in my building, sometimes it gets a little lonely. Interacting with other music teachers through social media is fun part of my day.


Why give feedback?

1. You get MONEY. Yep. You heard me right. If you purchased something on teacherspayteachers, you can leave feedback for credits to use on future purchases. I have been able to get a few items on TpT for FREE simply because I gave feedback on my purchases.
2. Helps sellers. Feedback lets the seller know what's working and what's not, what buyers want more of and what they may not be interested in. I've gotten some really great ideas from the feedback posted by buyers.
3. Helps buyers. It is much easier to make a purchase when you see other people happy with what they bought. 

How to leave FAIR feedbak

Read Descriptions Please don't rate a product low because it is not what you expected or you would have liked it a different way. Most sellers write detailed descriptions and often have a full preview available. If what you've purchased is not what you expected, CONTACT THE SELLER FIRST!  TpT Sellers are probably some of the best customer service reps out there - let us try to please you before less than 4 stars!
Give us some details  I get a lot of  "Thanks" and "That is great." and I have been known to leave that in a hurry too.  What I would really like to know is why that is so great!  (Of course, I'll take a 4 star "Thanks" over nothing any day! ;) ).  If you want to leave less than 4 stars, please contact the seller first and give them a chance to make it right. Many times it is an easy fix for the seller. Need to contact me? musicwithmissw@gmail.com the way to go!
Typos TpT Sellers are human.  We make mistakes, even with proofreading.  Sometimes I have looked a product for so many hours that the words just run together.  If you find a typo in my product, please let me know and I'll update it ASAP. The Q&A section on TpT is excellent for this in addition to email.
Technical Problems Sometimes this is the Seller's fault, but 99% time something has gone wrong that is out of our control.  Please contact the seller first and let us double check.  We may then refer you to TpT.  TpT is run by humans who once again, are not perfect.  Sometimes something goes wrong on their end.

Now go leave feedback and enter that giveaway! You can receive two entries per day from January 5-10 by leaving feedback on any paid or free items in my store and an additional entry by sharing the giveaway on Facebook! Also check out the wonderful music teachers' stores below! They are giving $10 for their stores as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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