The Love of Music – Of Stories and Gifts

This past Christmas was the second Christmas since my dad passed away in November 2009. In our family, we are still very much aware of the many gifts he gave to our family throughout his life with us. Time won’t change that I suspect. These gifts among others are love of family, love of faith, love of laughter, love of our Irish heritage and love of music.
Love of Music
I am writing today about the gift of the love of music. Music has a way of creating a mood, making memories and connecting people together. My dad loved to listen to all kinds of music. Irish music was a prominent favorite. The love of music has been carried on by family members in many ways. Some play instruments and sing. Others like myself take advantage of many ways to listen to and share the music.
Online Playlists
I created this playlist of some of my Dad’s favorite songs to give a small ‘gift of music’ to my brothers and sisters this Christmas. Listening to these songs sure brings so many nice memories of my dad.

At the outset, I had not used online music sites aside from Itunes very often. With free online playlists this was created quickly and at no cost. Online Playlists are easy to create and fun to use. Create an account on an online music site such as Grooveshark or Then sit and search your favorite songs, add it a ‘playlist’ and voila! You have created your list. These can be played on your computer or on your phone. Also, you can share them via social media such as blogs and facebook and twitter.

Technology Today – Telling Stories
Technology helps us to tell our stories.  We can tell these stories in ways never imagined years ago. The ability to create lists of audio and video content opens up a world of learning to our students too. Students easily construct meaning, tell stories and pursue interests to inspire learning.. It affords options to teachers never before available too! Though technology can often be pointed to as something that alienates us from one another, I believe that it also can be a great tool for connecting us. The pros far outweigh the cons. Through my online networks, I learn daily from others as they share professional resources and ideas. This will surely continue to expand in ways we can only imagine and some we can not. In schools it is important that we continue to explore the ways to best use technology to enhance, to empower, to connect – to tell our stories and to share our gifts.

Mom and Dad, 1945
Mom and Dad, 1945

Dad Songs 2 by Nancy Caramanico on Grooveshark

Teach Me Tools

Richard Byrne on his Free Technology for Teachers blog has posted this excellent online book on Web 2.0 tools. Read the post to learn more about it and the talented group of educators who created it.

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators

This great collaborative effort s a great handbook to share with Teachers and Students.

Digital Christmas

This video tells the story of the Nativity as it might be told today replete with Google maps, twitter , facebook and check ins on foursquare. I first heard about the Digital Story of the Nativity video above via Bishop Daniel Thomas and our Archdiocesan Communications Director, Donna Farrell.   It is a very creative update to a story for all times!

Below are some activities and resources. Do you have any to add?

Advent Resources for Schools, Families

  1. Advent Wiki for Schools – Advent project created by Catholic School Teacher @barbinnebraska allows schools to share their advent wreaths, nativity scenes and other Christmas displays by sharing them digitally with the world on the wiki she created.
  2. USCCB Resources
  3. Activities from the Catholic Educator Blog
  4. Word Cloud Activities by @artysteph26 via @shellterrell

Ereaders – Google Goes Cross Platform

Read more here and here from Google Visit the Google Bookstore here.

This is surely to make a mark on education’s options for ereading and anytime anywhere learning. One day students will be able to pull up ‘textbook’ materials and all reading materials via ebook on any device. When will digital replace print in schools? Should we ever go 100% digital in schools?

Ebooks and Open Book Resources
250 Places for Free Ebooks Online via twitter @webclassroom
Free Technology for Teachers
Many Books
Children’s Storybooks – MagicKeys