I will be the first to admit that I love web tools/apps that invite creative uses no one thought of before. Beginning Sunday, TeachersFirst will be featuring a review of Patatap, a seemingly simple musical gadget to make sounds by tapping your computer keyboard or tablet. You can even embed it in your web site. Many teachers might react to it as they would to party noisemakers or kazoos interrupting a lesson in their classroom: by taking it away and go back to the lesson at hand.
But what a lesson you would miss by closing out Patatap! Ask your students how it “sounds” to spell the term they learned today on Patatap (try typing in onomatopoeia for example). Some words have especially meaningful spell-sounds. Try the word we. It almost sounds like harmony of two souls.
What if we asked kids to listen to all the Patatap vowels or to letter combinations and use those sounds to help remember spelling demons. For example, sepArate has that lower pitched, letter-a snare-drummy tap in the middle, not the higher pitched e-snare. Even the SOUND of the word please “patatapped” sounds polite!
What if we asked kids to write sound poems or compose music using letters on Patatap?
What if we watched the colors and shapes that change to remind us of new terms: “Onomatopoeia starts with the popping bubbles of o.”
Ask your gifted or creative students how Patatap could help them compose and play word songs, rhythm combinations, or memory prompts to help them recite states and capitals or elements in the periodic table. The LETTERS of the chemical elements could have sounds, too. Unfortunately, the numbers have no sounds so compounds like H2O don’t work. Share the “tunes” link at the bottom of the page for examples.
Instead of taking away this mental kazoo, embrace it. Give your students the homework assignment of creating a way to use Patatap to help them study. Let them work with a buddy or small group. Your classroom will sing with the sound effects of learning. This one will work in your BYOD classroom, too!