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School Closed? FREE Sight Reading Factory! DISTANCE LEARNING IDEAS!

Sight Reading Factory is a fantastic resource to use at home, especially during a potential period of online learning. My school closed on Tuesday and now we are entering day 3 of uncharted territory!

When distance learning becomes necessary, Sight Reading Factory can be super effective. What could be even better than using Sight Reading Factory? USING SIGHT READING FACTORY BEING FREE!

Here is the message send from the co-founders of Sight Reading Factory:

If you’re looking for a remote eLearning solution for your music classes while schools in your district are closed due to the COVID-19 virus, Sight Reading Factory is offering free student accounts during the time your school is closed.

If you’re not familiar with SightReadingFactory.com, we are a cloud-based application for practicing sight reading.  With the assignments feature, students can record themselves performing a teacher-configured sight reading exercise directly through our online platform.  Students can then submit their recording to the teacher for grading.  SRF works on virtually any modern device – smartphones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, etc.  With SRF student accounts, teachers can organize students into classes/groups and can also view reports on their students to monitor their usage and track progress.

Our unique composition engine allows you to customize and configure sight reading exactly to the needs of your students and generate a virtually unlimited supply of unique sight reading exercises.  Click here to try out a free demo and generate some sight reading exercises.

Check out this page for more information on SRF student accounts and the assignments feature.

If your school will be closed due to the COVID-19 virus and you’d like to take advantage of this offer of free student accounts during the time your school is closed, please write to us at support@sightreadingfactory.com.

 Try Sight Reading Factory for free instantly!

How to Use Sight Reading Factory for distance learning!

Before doing anything I list below, just go to their website and try the demo on their home page; you do not need to give an email or fill anything out. Once you see how easy and effective the program is, you will be sold on the plan below!

This plan will work for you and your students:

  1. Contact Sight Reading Factory at: support@sightreadingfactory.com. They will provide you with one code to disseminate to your choir
  2. Log onto Sight Reading Factory as a teacher and create a class. Just click on CLASS and then create a NEW class. You can create as many classes as you want. I suggest keeping this simple. Perhaps you could have a beginner and advanced class, and have your students self-select into the appropriate class; you could create a class for each chorus that you have.
  3. Create an assignment(s) – and select a due date. Next, they ask for a key signature, time signature, length (number of measures), tempo, and a few other/less important things. The bottom line is that the options are restrictive enough that you won’t get confused. Create as many assignments as you’d like. Each assignment will meet your specific parameters but each student will receive different assignments. It takes well under one minute to create an assignment. The best part about this is that you can just “duplicate” the same assignment over and over again; since every example is brand new, students will receive a different assignment every time, even if your parameters remain exactly the same!
  4. Send the code out to your students and they can instantly join the class(es) you’ve set up. They will see the assignments when they join your class!

Try Sight Reading Factory for free instantly!

The purpose of your assignments

Assignments can be as simple or challenging as you wish. I suggest keeping them simple as the goal is to keep our singers positive and engaged through this difficult time.

Try Sight Reading Factory for free instantly!

How assignments work:

Students will click on an assignment and have endless tries before submitting their take to us. (Students can sing directly into any computer mic.) They can even hear the correct notes played alongside their recorded performance. This means, they will have a clear sense of how they did before submitting. While students cannot redo any exercise, they can try over and over again; when they try again, a new exercise will be generate that meets the exact same parameters.

When they submit an assignment, we will know how many times they tried to complete the assignment (how many different assignments they attempted).

Try Sight Reading Factory for free instantly!

How to Grade in this Current Climate:

Our goal is to motivate our students and keep them involved. I would suggest grading on a simple scale. 4 = outstanding, 3 = excellent, 2 = fair (passing), 1 = needs improvement.

Since our students are at different levels, we want to encourage all students to be successful. A score of a “1” is for a student who doesn’t submit an assignment or makes little effort. I would recommend a passing score of “2” for any student who makes an effort. A score of “4” is for students who excelled on the exercise and a “3” is for hardworking students who make a serious effort with a decent result or talented sight-singers who don’t make the effort to refine their effort.

If put into a 10 point scoring system, it could look like this:

  • 10 = outstanding
  • 9 = excellent
  • 8 = fair
  • 5 = needs improvement

Try Sight Reading Factory for free instantly!

One more GREAT Sight-Reading Factory Idea!

This is not only another effective idea, but it is an alternative for students who do not have the same access to a modern computer/chromebook/mic. All they need is access to email and a printer.

On Sight Reading Factory, create an 8-measure exercise that meets your parameters (for example, 4/4 time, key of D major, notes/rests no faster than 1/8 note, range of an octave), and make a PDF of each exercise.

From there, send the PDF assignments out to your students and ask them to label the pitches below the notes (d, r, m, f, etc) and the rhythms above the note (1+2+3+4+). If you have google classroom or another method of submission, have them submit it to you. You can always send a sample 8-measure exercise with an answer key for all students in order to ensure they understand the concept.

Last Words

We are living in a scary and confusing time right now. Health comes first. We must take care of ourselves, our families, and our community.

By | 2020-03-22T21:39:29-04:00 March 11th, 2020|Distance Learning, Homework, Sight-Reading|

About the Author:

Adam Paltrowitz is a master educator, composer, conductor, and clinician. During his 21-year tenure as the Director of Choral Activities at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in New York, his groups have toured throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. He also has pioneered a philosophy that every student is a soloist. Adam's choral program has also gained great acclaim for the cultivation of eight student-run a-cappella ensembles; some of these ensembles have performed on national and local television programs. His compositions and arrangements have been performed by choirs around the world. Adam earned his B.S. in music education from New York University, M.A. in vocal pedagogy from Columbia University - Teacher's College, and Ed.M. choral conducting from Columbia University - Teacher's College. ​Adam resides in Manhattan with his wife, Blair Goldberg, a professional Broadway actress, and their daughter, Lyla, and son, Nolan.

5 Comments

  1. Sarah Patterson March 12, 2020 at 5:59 am - Reply

    This is such a generous initiative. My 7th graders all have SRF accounts but my younger students do not. We are currently preparing for a school closure (Melbourne Australia) and knowing this could be an option for my students is so reassuring and helpful. Thanks for spreading the word!

  2. Adam Paltrowitz March 12, 2020 at 7:16 am - Reply

    It’s my pleasure! Please circle back if you have any questions or need additional help!

  3. Noriko Nagasawa March 21, 2020 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Thank you for your blog on SRF. I started using it in class recently and I like it, and happy to see kids showing motivation to improve reading. I know NYC went into lockdown. I hope you and your family stay together strong and healthy during this scary time. I miss my students, teaching, and working to together to make music. I want my students to be singing since singing has many health benefits. Please share your ideas about having your students keep singing in addition to improving music literacy.

    • Adam Paltrowitz March 21, 2020 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for your comments and concerns regarding my health and safety in NYC! I will be following up soon with more ideas regarding this unprecedented time.

  4. Scott Ponzani March 22, 2020 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    SRF is wonderful! And, thank you, Adam, for your ideas.

    I suggest directors review levels (starting with SRF’s own) and choose ones they see fit. An alternative is to limit levels but not choose for the students. I have singers within a wide range of abilities in sight-reading. I let them choose the level. If they are successful in an exercise, they receive points equal to that level. Once they acquire a certain number of points, they can trade them in for a treat (choice of seat for one rehearsal, for instance). The ones that need to choose the lower levels then get more practice! Yes, it’s extrinsic rewards, but it raises motivation until the singers realize the intrinsic benefits of sight-reading ability.

    I assess with a four-step rubric on pitch, syllable and rhythm.

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