Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday Favorite: Sound Buttons!

There are moments in the classroom that call for spontaneous applause, or canned laughter, or a drum roll.

For years I have had this urge to play sound effects in class. I never figured out how to pull it off, until recently.

I was playing with my new phone the other day when it occurred to me that there is probably an app for that. Sure enough, there is! If you search for "sound buttons" or "sound effects", you will find that there are tons of options to choose from. I have tried a few. I don't know if the one I am trying out is going to be my favorite, so I am not recommending a specific app at this point. They all look something like this:

Anyhooo . . . . imagine this:

*Gong* Bell work is over.

*Bugle call* Time to learn new math!

And there's a fraction . . . *Evil laugh* or *man screaming*

That's the right answer, Johnny! *Applause/WooHoo/Bingo!/Yes!*

I'm sorry, that's incorrect . . .*Buzz*

I am having wayyyy to much fun with this thing!

In related news, my students were smiling as they worked away on completing the square . . . with fractions . . . on a Friday . . . after losing a big football game the night before.


  1. I love this idea! I'll have to see if I can find one for my ipad because I'm always needing something for those awkward pauses.

  2. One of my friends used to play transition music in between drills and regular class work in her class, in order to encourage kids to transition within 60 seconds. One day I had to cover her class b/c she was absent, and I didn't have the music that she used. The kids started SINGING the transition song really loudly for 60 seconds!!! It was sooooo funny and cute.

  3. Hi, Amy,

    I didn't know this app existed. I used to use an mp3 of jeopardy for those awkward pauses...but I'll be looking for this app.

    I came across your blog via David Wees, and as a fellow mathematics educator I thought you might be able to help in spreading the word about an educational TV show for preteens about math that we're putting together. "The Number Hunter" is a cross between Bill Nye The Science Guy and The Crocodile Hunter -- bringing math to children in an innovative, adventurous way. I’d really appreciate your help in getting the word out about the project.

    I studied math education at Jacksonville University and the University of Florida. It became clear to me during my studies why we’re failing at teaching kids math. We're teaching it all wrong! Bill Nye taught kids that science is FUN. He showed them the EXPLOSIONS first and then the kids went to school to learn WHY things exploded. Kids learn about dinosaurs and amoeba and weird ocean life to make them go “wow”. But what about math? You probably remember the dreaded worksheets. Ugh.

    I’m sure you know math is much more exciting than people think. Fractal Geometry was used to create “Star Wars” backdrops, binary code was invented in Africa, The Great Pyramids and The Mona Lisa, wouldn’t exist without geometry.
    Our concept is to create an exciting, web-based TV show that’s both fun and educational.

    If you could consider posting about the project on your blog, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if you'd be interested in link exchanging (either on The Number Hunter site, which is in development, or on which is a well-established site with 300,000 page views a month) please shoot me an email. We're also always looking for input and ideas from other math educators!

    Thanks in advance for your help,