If you’re like me and teaching synchronous virtual music classes right now, you may be struggling to keep students engaged in this nontraditional format. It is all too easy for students to log into a class meeting and then tune out- mentally or physically! Sometimes it feels like I am just singing and talking to myself! In my experience teaching music online, I have found that the best way to keep students focused is by sending them an interactive activity to complete during our class session. One of my favorite virtual tools is Google Jamboard. 

This free Google app is kind of like a collaborative white board: users can add drawings, text, sticky notes, and more! They can be used in tons of different ways during a class meeting. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:

Open-Ended Questions

You can write a question at the top of the page and have each student write their response on a sticky note. (Just be aware that Jamboard users are anonymous, so if you want to know who wrote each comment you will need to tell your students to include their name on their note!)

Four Corners

Ask a question with four different possible answers and put an answer in each corner of the screen. Have each student put their name on a sticky note and drag it to the corner that they think is the correct answer.

Rhythm Notation

Students can use the marker tool to easily write music notation. You can create more than one board in a single document and have students write individually or in small groups.

Arrange Music Notation

You can upload images of music notation and have students arrange them to create a new song or dictate a song they already know. Here is an activity that has the music notation ready made for you!

If you’ve never used Jamboard before, I strongly suggest that you spend a few minutes going over the expectations with your class before letting them loose on the site. Make sure they know what to edit and what not to edit. (And don’t forget that you can turn off editing at any time, just like with other Google apps!) I hope you and your students have fun collaborating with this amazing interactive resource.

Rachel Tanenblatt

Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Rachel with Music with Mrs. Tanenblatt

Rachel Tanenblatt is an elementary music educator in Baltimore, Maryland. She is in the process of getting her Kodály levels and enjoys teaching children to sing, play, and move creatively. Outside of teaching music, Rachel also sings semi-professionally and enjoys hobbies such as crafting and photography.