Northbrook teachers publish book about technology in the classroom

  • Northbrook District 28 music teachers Abby Blair, left, and Kathryn Finch just published a book on STEAM for music education.

    Northbrook District 28 music teachers Abby Blair, left, and Kathryn Finch just published a book on STEAM for music education. Courtesy of Northbrook District 28

Updated 1/27/2021 2:48 AM

For the past five years, Northbrook District 28 general music teachers Abby Blair and Kathryn Finch have collaborated on bringing technology into the music room to ignite student's creativity and imagination.

They combined talents, ideas and resources and shared it with other educators through their "Blair Finch Project" blog, as well as in webinars and clinics offered through the Illinois Music Educators Association and VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.


Their work is now making its way to the national scene with a new book by Lorenz Publishing, "Full STEAM Ahead: Lessons to Shift Instruction, Empower Students and Transform Your Music Classroom."

Mrs. Blair, who teaches at Westmoor School, and Mrs. Finch, who teaches at Meadowbrook School, provide examples and lesson plans on how to teach the many facets of music with a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math approach.

"I am proud of our work to transform our classrooms into an exciting learning space where students are inquisitive, critical thinkers that take risks and get excited about learning," Mrs. Finch said. "Students develop a growth mindset and learn they can be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, composer, artist, and so much more. That's a powerful message."

The two teachers have been regular contributors to "Activate!" magazine, also published by Lorenz, which led to them writing the book. Mari Schay, general music editor for Lorenz Publishing, said their book is different from anything else the company has published.

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"(Blair and Finch) are such creative thinkers. They have complex ideas that they are able to simplify and break down into manageable lessons for teachers and students," Ms. Schay said.

The lessons have been developed through real-life experience.

"The best part is that (the book) was all inspired by our students in District 28," Mrs. Blair said. "We have tried each of these lessons in class or lunch clubs over the years and developed them with the help of the kids fearlessly creating and asking 'what if?'"

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