Copyright Savvy: How to Find Music and Sound Effects You’re Legally Allowed to Use

This summer, I learned all about copyright law as it pertains to education. One of the major lesson that I took home from the course is that music copyright is especially complex. While attribution will suffice when borrowing small amounts of text or pictures, it’s not enough when borrowing music. Any clip of copyrighted music over 3 seconds must have permission and payment to the rights holder (usually the record company), which means that for education purposes, copyrighted music is not an option. Continue reading



ABCMouse is the new favorite in the Ed Tech world. It is an entire learning environment with lessons and activities designed to prepare little ones (2-5) for school. Users can either pick and choose the activities they want to try, or follow a pre-set path that works its way through a standards-aligned curriculum.


If you have an account, you can log in as a teacher and create student accounts, complete with avatars, ability levels, and pre-set lessons. Students can then log into their own accounts, and have everything set up for them to learn and explore the site. There are dozens of printables, too. 

For those of you with younger students just learning the alphabet, colors, numbers, and other basics, this is a fantastic place for interactive practice. It is free for teachers and librarians, and requires a subscription for parents. 

How to Use the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has an overwhelming amount of information, much of which is available online. With just a bit of effort, you can access and use this information with your classes. Jeff Dunn at the blog Edudemic has discovered a fantastic infographic to help us all understand the wealth of relevant, curriculum-aligned content available at our fingertips from the LOC. (Click on image to view larger.)

Teaching with the Library of Congress


This is awesome: educational hip-hip! Flocabulary is a subscription service (with some free content) that uses hip-hip to teach current events, vocabulary, math, and even bullying prevention, for kids in grades K-12. Take a look at their video for this past week’s Week In Rap, an overview of current events making the  news. In addition to music and videos, Flocabulary has activities and lesson plans to help students delve deeper into subject matter once their interest has been sparked by the music.

What’s especially exciting about Flocabulary is that it’s not some cheesy attempt to pander to kids; it’s really fun, factual raps that don’t feel forced or silly. Plus, the content is aligned with common core standards. It’s also affordable; a teacher subscription to both Flocabulary plus the Week in Rap videos is only $7/month. There’s also a free 30-day trial, if you’re interested in seeing what you think first.

Isle of Tune

If you have a lot to do today, you may not want to click this link. Isle of Tune is an amazing game that allows you to turn a simple neighborhood landscape into a musical journey. Each element (buildings, trees, cars) has its own sounds that can be manipulated and blended. It’s a fascinating combination of architecture and visual layout with music. It’s a very cool way to connect patterns to music, and to visualize different musical concepts. It’s also just plain fun. Be sure to check out some of the isles made by other users, especially the one for “Boys of Summer!”

TED Talks

Prepare to have your mind blown. This article explains what the TED Talks are better than I can. All I can say is that these short presentations have a way of bringing material to life, and inciting discussion, like nothing else. There are plenty to choose from (it can be overwhelming; it can also become a huge time suck as you find yourself watching talks for 6 hours straight…) on any topic you can think of, and many you can’t.

My personal favorites:

Theo Jansen’s Kinetic Sculptures

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