As a former resident of New Jersey, snow days were exciting regardless that we usually had a few a year. Now that I live in South Carolina where snow days are almost non-existent, I love them even more. Thanks, Leon, for the two glorious snow days last week.
I use an application called Remind101 to send messages and reminders to my choirs. It’s a beautiful thing, sending texts to their phones and having no ability to respond/complain. It’s been an awesome classroom tool this year, and I plan to continue using it. On our first snow day, I sent a message to all of my choirs wishing them a happy snow day and to be careful if they were traveling.
Then after a few hours I thought we could have some snow day fun. I sent out a message that we were going to have a cover video contest. If they emailed me a video/audio file of them singing one of their favorite (and school appropriate) songs, they would receive extra credit, and that the winner would receive a rehearsal pass for any assignment. As a bonus, I told them if I had 10 submissions by a certain time on Thursday, I too would do a cover video.
It was a lot of fun to see a different side of my students, and a great way to hear them sing individually in what may be a more comfortable environment for them. Some sang a cappella, some accompanied themselves on an instrument, some made videos and some recorded a voice memo on their phone and emailed the sound file.
Assignments like this can be highly informative, especially for kids who are shy to sing alone in class. I’m thinking that asking them just to sing may be one of the easiest assignments to grade. Of course, you could make modifications to meet other needs:
Have each student record their part of a piece you are rehearsing and provide a rubric of the techniques you are observing.
Have students create videos demonstrating the proper way to sing/shape vowels.
Assign quartets and have students do virtual voice part tests together.
Change the lyrics to a popular song to be about your choir, your school, a musical concept, etc.
The possibilities are endless, and it’s a great way to engage your students and keep them singing over breaks or days off…or snow days!
And of course, they had 11 submissions by the time I requested, so I held up my end of the deal and made a video for them. Here was mine…enjoy!