We welcome Charles Black back to the blog! When Charles visited Quaver HQ for our webinar in February, he told us all about his “Quaverized” classroom at Anderson Elementary. We wanted Charles to share with our Qmunity how he brought Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music to life for his students and how you can, too!
Take it away, Charles!
quaverize \ˈkwā-və-rize – verb – to create the presence of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music in one’s own music classroom teaching space, or in the minds of students as they experience the “Quaver magic.”
Yes, maybe one day we will actually see such a definition in the dictionary! For four years now, I’ve been recreating elements of the Quaver Video Episodes in my classroom. Now, Quaver is not only real through the concepts and musical lessons my students learn each day, but they actually find themselves immersed in the magical world they see on the screen.
I’ve had a lot of fun re-creating much of what we see and love about the Quaver World. I’m excited to share how it was done, and even show you how to do the same in your music classroom.
How to Bring Quaver’s World to Life:
My students absolutely love the lessons on beat and meter. The presence of the giant foot in those episodes is quite memorable. So, why not have one in your own room….one that even the kids can operate themselves?
What you need:
- Bigfoot pattern
- 4’ x 8’ sheet of 5/8” thick plywood
- 18-inch diameter wooden wheel
- Axle assembly
- Wood rod/handle
- Paint brushes
- Blue, brown, and black paint
1) Create a Bigfoot Pattern
My wife came up with the brilliant idea of freezing the video, making a print of the screen, and then tracing the actual pattern from the Bigfoot used in Quaver’s studio. I have attached the pattern, so you can do it just like we did.
2) Trace the Pattern onto the Plywood
First, we made an old-fashioned overhead transparency of the pattern. Then we projected it onto a 4’ x 8’ sheet of 5/8” thick plywood. Make sure the image is as large as can be on the board before you start tracing.
Teacher Tip: Trace the cuff of the jeans as a separate piece so it can be attached as an overlay – giving it that three-dimensional effect.
3) Add the Wheel
The backside was the real challenge. I wanted even the smallest students to be able to operate Bigfoot. The best solution turned out to be making an 18-inch diameter wooden wheel and axle assembly with one end attached to Bigfoot and the other balancing the whole thing. The back and forth motion from the wheel helps the toe of the foot go up and down on the beat.
To make it easier for kids to operate, I mounted a handle on the front side.
Now all you need are some paint brushes, plus some blue, brown, and black paint. Just wait until you see the faces of your students when they walk into the room after Bigfoot arrives!
Inspiration for the Timeline Train came from the train in the Musical Periods episodes. This ongoing project is a great way to bring my students into the “Quaverizing” creative process. They actually come to class with ideas of things to add to the timeline.
What you need:
- 12-inch shelf
- Picture frames
- Decorations for frames (optional)
- Card stock
- Battery-operated train
1) Build a shelf
I started by building a 12-inch “floating” shelf completely across the front of the room, above my whiteboard and Smartboard screen.
2) Create the time “frames”
I purchased seven inexpensive matching frames, and inserted the names and dates of each time period printed on different colors of cardstock. You can even decorate the frames, if you wish.
3) Find a “Marvelous Music Express”
I purchased a “Polar Express” train online with enough straight track pieces to cover the entire length of the timeline. I used a label-making machine to change the name of the train to the “Marvelous Music Express.” The train is battery-operated, and has a nifty remote control.
4) All Aboard!
Whenever we are having a lesson about one of the musical periods, we start the train at the beginning of the timeline and then stop it at the proper spot. The kids absolutely love seeing the train, and it really helps bring the visual timeline to life.
Who can ever forget the first Quaver episode on Beat, seeing those beats flying all over the room? Well, why not make your own Beat Jar?
What you need:
- Smooth styrofoam balls
- Red and black paint
- Large glass jar with a lid
1) Create your strong and weak beats
I made ours with smooth styrofoam balls that can be found at the major craft stores. Simply paint the large ones red, the small ones black, and put them inside a large glass jar with a lid.
2) Use it as a teaching aide
When I teach the beat and meter lessons, I let the kids come up and take out the proper number of strong and weak beats for each musical example. They then have to place the beats on the floor in the correct order.
Yes, it’s just plain fun to Quaverize. But, I must warn you….it’s addicting. Once you start, you will be hooked, and your students will catch it too. But, I can also promise that you will be amazed at how it will enhance and reinforce the reality and the impression of each of the musical concepts you teach using the magic of Quaver.