Distance Learning: Memes to Help, Part 2



As I type this, many of my music teacher friends and relatives are living through the planning or first day stages of distance learning experiences. Life has changed with plastic panels, new sit spots six feet apart (if you’re lucky enough to either have classes split or a large class), or new experiences on a cart. OR, you are navigating through recording your lessons and working around various online activities.

This is part two of a  three-part blog series collecting various tip Memes of the Day on my Facebook pageInstagram, and Twitter.  Because I’m retired, I’ve wanted to help, so I began posting these memes, but then realized having all of them in one place might be nice.

Distance Learning Memes, Part 1

Distance Learning Memes,  Part 3

Part 2

Use puppy pads to catch condensation in music class.

Use Puppy Pads for Condensation. 

Honestly, I can’t remember where I read this, but it’s genius. We had a package we never really used because our “adopted as grown” dog didn’t need them, but they lingered at the bottom of a closet for two years. Obviously, brass condensation, even at a distance, is a problem. With this simple solution, the student lays the pad under the general spit valve area, throws it away, and uses hand sanitizer at the end of class. 

Wrap old socks around mallets

Wrap Old Socks around Mallets. 

Admit it. At least once a week, you are going to lose the mate to a sock, especially if you have kids. Take that mate and wrap it around mallet handles, or put them over a yarn or felt mallet head. Yes, the sound will be softer, but generally, students cannot keep their hands of the heads. These socks can go in a travel laundry bag to be tossed in the washer at the end of the week.

Use craft sticks or pencils for rhythm notation in music

Provide Recorded Rhythm Patterns on SeeSaw for Dictation. 

 SeeSaw is a online portfolio platform I absolutely loved to use when I was teaching, and my kids did, too. Now, SeeSaw lends itself well to both distance teaching in the classroom and home virtual learning. This activity is geared more towards your home learning students. If they don’t have craft sticks, they can use pencils, straws, or other objects. (Please do not have them use chopsticks, however.)

I actually have this activity in a template free for you! You can edit it and adapt it to your own use.

A Capella app for music  class distance learning

Use Acapella App for Ensembles.

 If you haven’t used Acapella yet, it’s a neat tool that allows you to create harmony with yourself, or send a recording to someone else to layer another part. This would be especially gold for students who are doing virtual learning at home. Zoom, unfortunately, often has delays caused by various internet connections. Acapella is also a great way to have students focus on the parts of others.

Family Songs. 

I ran across a terrific unit to include family in the book The Family Folk Song Project. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented me from fulfilling this activity, BUT, there is probably no reason why you can’t, especially if your students are learning virtually. You might THINK a lot of your parents, guardians, etc., would not want to be involved. However, this activity can also include grandparents, aunts, and uncles, all through Zoom. The family can opt to record their Zoom session, provide an audio recording, or simply write the lyrics. It would be a touching way to help your students find out more on their heritage as well. You will just have to emphasize to the adults to choose wisely. For instance, Grandma might have been a civil rights protester in the 60s, and “Lift E’ry Voice and Sing” might have some significant meaning for her. Maybe Great Great Uncle Fred fought in World War II, and gets a kick out of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. Plus, you might find some new folk songs for your repertoire.

Greetings in music class during COVID

Use Non-locomotor Motions for Greetings. 

If I was teaching during COVID, I believe the thing that would make me the saddest would be having to turn away hugs. But, you could still incorporate non-locomotor moves in their distance spots to create greetings. Or better still, have the students improvise them.

Flashlight in music class.

Use Flashlights as Teaching Aids.  

You might not be able to walk around the room safely during COVID. You want to set an example about self-space and distancing. Use a flashlight or laser pointer to indicate a child on whom you are calling. IF you have a fairly reliable class, you can ask them to bring their own. Decide judicially, though, because you can’t just go up to them and take them away if they misuse their privileges.

Wrap mallets in Saran Wrap

Wrap Mallet Handles in Saran Wrap

Use plastic wrap on the mallet handles. Students can simply unroll the mallets, and let them fall into a container without touching them, and then toss the wrap away.

Part 3 of Memes to Help will focus on emotional and self-care ideas for you and your students…..

Starting on September 1, come check out Tuneful Talk Tuesdays on Facebook Live at 7:00 pm. Central Time at Dr. Stafford’s Musical Cures Facebook page. Topics include:

  • Children’s literature features
  • Instrument techniques
  • Classroom management ideas
  • Teacher care
  • Social emotional ideas
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Vocal techniques
  • Technology
  • And whatever else might pop into your brain (or mine!)

Please take care and feel free to share. You need each other.


Part 3  ?

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Hi there!

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have just completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.


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