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I have to make a confession. I’m a news junkie! I listen to stay informed and to see what's happening in our country and around the world. To be honest, a lot of what’s on the news radio and talk shows isn’t always upbeat. One group is upset at another group for many reasons. Other parties are not pleased at the progress of others. If I’m not careful, it can ruin my day. On Monday April 10, I decided to change the “channel’ on my drive to work. I switched off the news station and chose to listen to music from my iTunes catalog. My truck was blasting with some hits from Michael Jackson, rock anthems from AC/DC, cool melodies from Steely Dan, funk jams by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and I threw in some recent hits from Bruno Mars. I’m probably not alone in confessing that I do sing at the top of my lungs in the safe confines of my cabin. When I got to work, my mood was a lot more upbeat. There was pep in my step! All because of a song!

The thought came to me as I got to work. “What would happen if we all broke out in song?” The song Sing A Song by Earth, Wind, and Fire prompted my thoughts. If you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics of the tune, here they are:

Sing a Song by Earth, Wind, and Fire

So I created the following graphic and tweeted out the following phrase: What would happen if we all broke out singing? Sing a Song! #mondaymotivation #edtechafterdark #imaginED @AdobeSpark #earthwindandfire

Within minutes, one of my #PLN friends suggested I take this idea and make it a Flipgrid. As cliche as it sounds, the rest is history. In a short amount of time, the tweet caught on and now more people are joining in.

Connecting Teachers Through Song

It’s pretty amazing to see the effect one tweet can have! Connecting educators with others, much less sharing with each other is a monumental task for those of us who work at building teacher capacity. This little idea I had was very unique. Teachers can orchestrate a classroom of students, but when it comes to sharing in front of colleagues, that's when the room gets silent. Enter Flipgrid! Flipgrid is a video discussion community for your classrooms. It’s focus is to encourage students’ and educators to share their voices. Add a topic and your audience responds via video. Everyone can engage asynchronously via a website portal or an app. Pretty slick platform!

Singasong on Flipgrid

It has been a great experience watching the videos of all the teachers, their families, and even their children singing a song. Some individuals have shared that they can’t believe they are singing a song and others will be watching. One individual stated, “Here’s me beating my fear factor..” Takes a lot of courage to lower ones guard and become vulnerable. Needless to say, I think that teacher knocked it out of the park!

Another cool outcome of this is being able to meet educators from around the country and the world. It’s a great model of how a great tool can really make this world a smaller place. If students can see that their teachers are willing to overcome their own fears of singing in public, I believe it would make an enormous impact on them.

As of writing this blog, over 400 individuals have contributed to the Flipgrid with a song. Over 23,260 people have viewed the videos. That’s huge!! My hope is to keep this “movement” going. Little did I know that it would ignite engagement all over the country and the world! Through song, people overcame fear. Through song, people reminisced. Through song, we all connected!

Singasong @ ISTE 2017

On June 24-28, I was fortunate enough to attend ISTE 2017 Conference in San Antonio. This was my first time experiencing an ISTE conference. All I can saw is WOW! If you've never been to one, I highly recommend attending. I'm hoping this won't be my last.

I submitted a proposal for ISTE New Ideas some time in April of 2017 at the prompting of friends. Part of me hoped it would get accepted, but I was prepared to receive rejection email. No rejection! My proposal was accepted and then began the nervousness. I had about a month to prepare my 5-minute presentation. Long story short, I was glad when it was over but I'm ready to do it again! Check out the Ignite Talk video below.

Singasong Live

Continuing the adventures of ISTE 17, I had the opportunity of hosting #Singasong:Live at the Flipgrid booth at the expo floor. My good friends at Flipgrid made the event happen and I couldn't thank them enough for their support. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, if there would be anyone showing up. For 35 minutes, teachers gathered and joined my singing songs. It was pure awesomeness! The only downside to this was we had to finish due to noise complaint by the convention folks. How dare teachers have fun!

Singasong @ Flipgrid 8/10 Launch Party

On August 10 of this year, I had the opportunity to visit Flipgrid headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the livestream update. Flipgrid founder, Charlie Miller, asked me to end the event with another Singasong:Live. With the help of my good friend, Brian R. Smith, we sang "Let's Amplify" a parody of "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.

Let's Amplify

Singasong: What's Next

It's been an incredible journey! Singasong continues to grow as more an more teachers, students, and administrators share their voice. But what's next? Glad you asked, I recently started a new grid, Playasong, as an extension of Singasong. Musicians have a way of sharing their voice through their instrument, so what better way than to share your playing via a video. Pretty cool! There are more topics coming to Singasong in the near future. I'm pretty excited to get them rolling but it takes time to bring this ideas to fruition. Trust me, the best is yet to come. Until then, keep singing...keep sharing your voice. If not you, then who?

References & Credits

Mckay, Al, and Maurice White. Sing A Song. Earth, Wind, and Fire. Rec. 1975. Maurice White, n.d. Vinyl recording.

Diamond, Neil. Sweet Caroline. Rec. 1969. Neil Diamond, n.d. Vinyl recording.

Created By
Claudio Zavala
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All photos and graphics created by Claudio Zavala Jr.

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