June 27, 2021

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Featured EDTECH Resources Reviewed by TeachersFirst

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It’s your last chance to register for our summer book study! Reenergize, refocus, and connect as you participate in discussions with other educators, explore tech tools and projects that fit your teaching style and classroom environment, and get your questions answered during a live Q&A with author Boni Hamilton!
Applications close tomorrow, 6/28 >>

June is African-American Music Appreciation Month!

African-American Music Appreciation Month was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to celebrate African-American musical influences that are an essential part of our nation’s cultural heritage: jazz, the blues, hip-hop, sacred music, folk music, and more.

Grades 2-12

Smithsonian Jazz

Designed to both inspire and teach, this site offers several online instructional modules that do a nice job of introducing the history and structural elements of jazz. Click the Education link to find lessons for ages 8–15 and other resources!

Grades 6-12

A People's Journey, A Nation's Story - African American History and Culture

Find resources related to African-American music by clicking Explore, scrolling down to Exhibitions, and then locating the Musical Crossroads section. This informative exhibit provides images and information about music from the beginning to present day.

Grades 4-8

Gullah Net

Gullah is the unique culture of some African-Americans who live on and along the coastal waters of South Carolina and Georgia. This site offers an engaging look at the music, customs, and folk tales of the Gullah people for students.

Grades 6-12

The Blues

Learn more about African-American cultures through biographies, analysis of the musical theory and compositional form behind the blues, and samples of blues songs that are in the public domain. Don't miss the links for Songs and Artists!

Bring Music into the Classroom

In this section, we’re sharing tools you can use to incorporate instruction about learning to play musical instruments in your lessons about African-American music. 

Grades 1-12


Master the drums for free with these lessons that include instructions on setting up your drums, reading sheet music, understanding basic music theory, and mastering your first song. Each lesson includes downloadable sheet music and video instruction.

Grades 4-12

Justin Guitar

Begin your free study by discovering how to choose the best guitar for you. Learn the correct body posture and finger placement while discovering the optimal practice schedule. Progress into beginner lessons on chords, music theory, and rhythm.

Grades K-12

Virtual Musical Instruments

Explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos. Select the instrument and follow the directions for using the keyboard to play different notes. Create melodies using different notes and rhythms. There is also a virtual guitar tuner.

Grades 6-12

Wolfram Tones

Instantly create and download music to your computer. Choose the tone style, select a variation, and adjust the tone using the generator, instrumentation, pitch mapping, or time controls. Save your tone to your collection or email it to friends.

This Week at TeachersFirst

We are bursting with professional learning opportunities for you this summer! This Thursday is our next bi-monthly Twitter chat. We also encourage you to register now for our Summer OK2Ask sessions that start next week. If you’re attending the ISTE Annual Conference, read more about our sessions below. Finally, we’re sharing a related blog post and kindly request your input in our weekly poll. 

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Attend one session or all four


If you’re attending the International Society for Technology in Education’s ISTELive 21 conference, don’t miss sessions from our staff members Melissa Henning and Ruth Okoye and contributors Darshell Silva, Kevin Bower, Stephanie Bass, and Karen Streeter!

Check out our sessions & add them to your conference schedule »

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Thursday, 7/1, 8 PM ET

Twitter Chat: Enhance Experiences with G Suite for Education

Come and tweet with us using the hashtags #OK2Ask and #TeachersFirst. During this chat, participants will define and discuss strategies to empower students with Google apps and explore strategies and resources for using Google apps to enhance instruction.

Share integration ideas for using Google apps in the classroom »

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Save your spot in upcoming sessions

OK2Ask Virtual Workshops

Our summer season of OK2Ask virtual workshops begins next week, and registration is open! Register now to attend “Tech Tools Smackdown,” “Facts Are Facts...Aren’t They?,” “Google MANIA - 10 Chrome Extensions You Can't Live Without,” and other sessions.

Join us for a summer of professional learning »

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Infusing Technology Blog

African-American History, Not Just for February!

African-American history has existed as long as the U.S. Add more African-American history to your lessons and teach your students about the influence of African-American music and culture with the multitude of resources in this blog post.

Celebrate African-American history »

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Share your thoughts with our community

Weekly Poll

This week our poll asks, "What is one thing that you can do to recognize African-American Music Month?" Share your reply and view the replies of other educators once you click to submit.

Celebrate African American Music Month »

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TeachersFirst is a collection of curated, classroom-ready content and ideas — including teacher-authored reviews of thousands of web resources. Built-in guidance from seasoned professionals makes effective classroom technology use trouble-free. TeachersFirst is made available free to K12 teachers by The Source for Learning, Inc., a nonprofit that has been providing educational resources for more than 40 years.