If you are looking to incorporate some music into your classes, Incredibox is a great place to start. This website lets users create their own songs using a group of human beatbox characters. Just drag, drop and listen. It is an easy site to navigate and students can use the many different melodies, effects, and beats to create their own compositions and use them as original background music. One of our history teachers had students create their own rap songs about absolute monarchs and used incredibox as the background music. By having students create original compositions, write their own lyrics, and perform these in front of their class, they demonstrated a high level of understanding. Here is a brief tutorial on how to use incredibox:
We all know that students learn differently than each other, some thrive in a traditional class setting while others prefer more creative ways to show mastery. In short, this is what Howard Gardner famously began writing about in his book, Frames of Mind–an idea he called “the theory of multiple intelligences.” In his work, Gardner documented “the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways.” By letting students write their own songs or poems about a topic, and setting that creation to music, students that might not have had success on a written test are given another option to show mastery. On another level, educators like Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe have written extensively about the idea of transfer in education. “You can only be said to have fully grasped and applied your learning,” they write “if you can do it without someone telling you what to do.” By having students learn a concept, like absolutism, and then transfer that knowledge by creating original songs about monarchs, they will hopefully demonstrate an understanding of that topic. And, by creating fresh beats using incredibox, they might have some fun in the process.