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How-To Use GarageBand in the Reading Classroom

November 5, 2016

GarageBand isn’t just an app for music teachers! One of my favorite parts of diving into the Apple Teacher program is my new found love of Garageband. This Mac and iOS program is so powerful and has plenty of uses in the classroom.

GarageBand is digital recording tool that lets students capture their voice with a microphone or play a variety of virtual instruments. There are teachers doing amazing work with GarageBand across the content areas and it’s the perfect tool for incorporating media into your lesson. The recording and music making features let students demonstrate their understanding of course content in a totally new way. Are you totally new to GarageBand or would like a refresher? Then certainly check out the free Starter Guide for an overview of the different features.

How-To Use GarageBand in the Reading Classroom

  1. how-to-use-garageband-in-the-reading-classroomBooktalk podcast: The audio narration feature lets students easily record tracks. This is perfect for student-created podcasts where they discuss a book. Next time a literature circle comes together to discuss a new book, have students create a recording of their conversation. Remember to give students an audience by sharing the link to their podcast recording. This audience could include family members, a local librarian or on social media.
  2. Musical accompaniment: The music that accompanies a joyful, suspenseful or melancholy scene of a movie helps set the tone for that part of a film. Ask students to choose a significant moment from their book. Then they can create a composition that illustrates the mood of that excerpt.
  3. Character interviews: After students have read a book ask them to take on the role of a character. A pair of students can also plan a mock interview with the character and use Garageband to record their audio.
  4. Global exploration: One of the cool things about GarageBand is the inclusion of different instruments from around the world. Whether you are reading a piece of informational text or exploring a historical fiction book, GarageBand can help bring the sounds of different cultures into your classroom.

How have you used GarageBand in your classroom? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

15 Responses to “How-To Use GarageBand in the Reading Classroom”

  1. Matt Weimann

    I just started using Garage Band. At the beginning of the year, my Tech Instruction Specialist helped my class make a classroom song. I turned out pretty awesome. We wrote our own lyrics and worked from “Sympathy for the Devil”. It was super fun. I blogged about it, and there is a movie:
    I’m in the midst of making a new song about fractions. Looking for online resources that help me and other teachers use Garage Band. I’m sharing this Friday at a district wide poster session.

  2. Mae Young

    I teach kindergarten in a Title 1 school. One way I get my students excited about expressing themselves and learning how to summarize a story is to create a podcast using GarageBand. I post the Podcast on SeeSaw and invite my parents to listen and leave comments. We love it!

  3. I have heard so much about GarageBand and your blog post has motivated me to first play around with it myself and then to use it with my students. I am really interested to use it around books and Literacy , thank you. I might try using it around some poetry with my Grade 1s but I liked all of your ideas. Thank you for the link to the Starter Guide. My weekend tinkering.
    Suzy Ramsden

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