Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: Automatic Music Transitions

If you're like me, when you're teaching, you lose track of time!  You're all excited about the topic and pretty soon hands are waving in the air and students are telling you that they're late for lunch, recess, special, dismissal, whatever!  Then you're all racing around and pretty soon the lunch ladies are mad at you!  Well, that was me, anyway...  I can fix that for you!  Program your computer to automatically play transition music for you!  I have mine set up to play different songs for different transitions every day.  It's one of the best tricks I've ever learned!  My schedule looked like this last year:

Go to the gathering spot at 8:20 - Good Morning by Mandisa and TobyMac
Guided Reading Transitions at 8:45, 9:00, and 9:15 - I Like to Move It (from Madagascar, but I only use a 17 second ring tone for these transitions)
Unified arts time (my prep!) at 9:30 - Ain't Got Rhythm from Phineas and Ferb
Lunch at 11:20 - Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Chip-Man and the Buckwheat Boys
Recess at 12:15 - The Best Day Ever from Spongebob
Dismissal at 2:40 - Return to Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins

My kiddos know exactly what each song represents and line-up or move accordingly!  I don't even have to look at a clock - and neither do they!  It's a lifesaver!  So let's get you started.

First, download your tracks and make sure you know where you saved them.  I made a folder on my desk top I called "Class Songs."  Crazy, huh?   I got most of my songs from iTunes and the ringtones (for shorter transitions) from Zedge.  It's a free site.

If you want to see the images in this tutorial larger, just click on them.  Then click your browser's back arrow to get back to the tutorial.

Once you have your songs, open your computer's Control Panel.  (It's under your Start button.)  Then open Administrative Tools.
Once you're in your Administrative Tools folder, open Task Scheduler.
Click Create Task in the right-side window.
You'll see a new window with some tabs at the top.  Start with the General Tab.  Name it something you will be able to identify it by - Morning Routine, GR Break 1, Recess, Dismissal, whatever.
Don't click OK yet!
Open the Trigger tab at the top of the window. and click New at the bottom of the screen.
A new window will open up.  Click Weekly, and click in the boxes of the days you'd like the music to play.  Pick your Start Date and the Time you'd like it to run.  Then click OK.
Open the Actions tab from the top of the window.  Click New.  
Open Browse and find the song in your desk top folder that you want to play for this activity.  Open it and click OK.
1 last step before you click that final OK.  Open the Conditions tab at the top of the window and make sure the first 2 boxes under the heading Power are checked.  I do this so it's easy for me if there are days I don't want the music to play, like state testing days.  If you don't want the music to play, just unplug the power source from your computer.  And that's it!  You'll need to follow these steps for each transition you'd like to program, but it's easy to do!
If you ever want to change a song or time, just go back to your Task Scheduler and click Task Library on the left-hand side.  It will show all of your tasks.  Click on the task and you can edit it.
Hope this helps you as much as it has me!  Enjoy!

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