Recently in Audio Books for Teachers Category

A Great Review from the USA

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Here's a great review we've just reviewed from the USA from the excellent 'MyDevotionalThoughts' blog by Ruth Hill. Thank you!!! So glad you enjoyed the story and found the educational resources useful!

Rockford's Rock Opera Website Review

A couple of months ago, I discovered a fantastic educational website for children.  And since I am a music teacher, I knew right away that I wanted to review this website.  It sounded exactly what I wished I could have had when I was an elementary music teacher.

The site is Rockford's Rock Opera.  It is subtitled "The Creatures Have a Secret."  I am enthralled by it!  It has an interactive portion of the site where students age 11 and under (and possibly even older--it depends on the child) can play the story, read along, read the songs/lyrics, and so much more.  I think what intrigues me even more is that it has an ecological message.  "Being Green" is all the rage now, and I am thrilled that the site uses music and so much more to get the idea of responsible living across.

As a music teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed the educational area.  There are lesson plans that cover each area of the story and opera.  They are perfect for cross-curricular teaching.  There are lessons for music, reading, art, science, and so much more.  I only wish I had a class right now so I could teach these fantastic lessons!

This site is free to a certain point, and after that, one has to become a member.  If I were a full-time teacher, i think I would investigate more of the paid areas.  I love pre-made lesson plans and interactive sites like this.  Not only does it inspire the students when a teacher brings technology like this into the classroom, but it is ideal for "filler" time.  There are always those students who finish early, and this is the ideal thing to keep those students on task and under control.  And for making up absences?  Fantastically easy! 

What I am most happy about is that it uses the term "opera," and makes this genre of music less scary for children.  If you ask just about any school-age child (my daughter included) to tell their thoughts about opera, you will hear all sorts of things.  Some students confuse "opera" and "Oprah."  Others have the concept of opera where "the fat lady" sings a song at the top of her voice.  It was my perception as I grew up as well.

I cannot recommend this fantastic website enough.  In fact, I would say this would be ideal for homeschool as well as public/private schools.  It is appropriate for almost any subject, and I would highly recommend the full area of the site--you will not regret it!

Thanks again to Ruth and the MyDevotionalThoughts blog where this review appears.

New Read Along Story Coming Soon!

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Just writing about a new feature that'll be available soon on the Rockford's Rock Opera website. As well as the free audiobook stream we're introducing a new read along audio story. This is, in technical terms, a text synchronized audio book for children and adults. 

We're doing it following many requests from teachers and parents who love the story and have recognised the possibilities it offers for all aspects of learning. As you may know, Rockford's Rock Opera is now in use by many, many thousands of schools around the world (in the UK, Key Stage 2 primary school pupils are a particular focus as well, we're very glad to say English as a Foreign Language students). It's used to teach about ecology and extinction but also about language, writing, listening and storytelling skills.

We hope the new free read along story will be available in the next few weeks. SImply check back to the Rockford's Rock Opera home page and it will be clearly visible.

If you have any further suggestions about the site and how it may provide even better resources, please get in touch.

Keystone Species - from Rockford's Rock Opera Free Audiobook

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For all of you who know the message behind Rockford's Rock Opera and the download ecological musical story you'll know that we place great emphasis on the importance of ALL LIFE, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

The story also highlights the fact that man tinkers with the natural balance of nature at his peril... a fact made all too obvious in the following true story:

Parachuting cats into Borneo! A Cautionary Tale.

In the early 1950's, the Dayak people of Borneo suffered a terrible malarial outbreak.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) had a solution: to spray large amounts of DDT to kill the mosquitoes that carried the malaria.  The mosquitoes died; the malaria declined; so far so good.  

But there were unexpected side effects.  Amongst the first was that the roofs of the people's houses began to fall down on their heads.  It seemed that the DDT had also killed a parasitic wasp which had previously controlled thatch-eating caterpillars.  Worse, the DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were eaten by cats.  The cats started to die, the rats flourished, and the people were threatened by outbreaks of typhus and plague.  

To cope with these problems, which it had itself created, the WHO was obliged to parachute 14 000 live cats into Borneo. Operation Cat Drop, now almost forgotten at the WHO, is a graphic illustration of the interconnectedness of life, and of the fact that the root of problems often stems from their purported solutions.

(Quoted in Rachel Wynberg and Christine Jardine, Biotechnology and Biodiversity: Key Policy Issues for South Africa, 2000)

Music, Free Audio Books and Learning

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I found this on the web and thought it very relevant to our experiences with Rockford and the many emails we've received about the use of the songs and lyrics in education. Certainly there seem to be many, many enlightened teachers and parents around the world who are already using music in the teaching environment:


How is it that for most people music is a powerful part of their personal life and yet when we go to work or school we turn it off? The intentional use of music in the classroom will set the scene and learning atmosphere to enhance our teaching and learning activities. Plus, using music for learning makes the process much more fun and interesting! Music, one of the joys of life, can be one of the joys of learning as well. The following pages give you suggestions for when and how to use music during your teaching or training. With these techniques, you, the teacher, can orchestrate a classroom environment that is rich and resonant-- and provide learners with a symphony of learning opportunities and a sound education

Music helps us learn because it will

establish a positive learning state
create a desired atmosphere
ild a sense of anticipation
ize learning activities
change b
rain wave states
focus conce
increase atten
improve memory
cilitate a multisensory learning experience
release tension
develop rapport
provide inspiration and motivation
add an element of fun

Reprinted from the book Music and Learning by Chris Brewer, 1995

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