Baroque Music Project with Garage Band

I met with Lauren and Spencer at Mitchell to plan a Fine Arts project using one of the laptop labs.

Our goal is to have students learn about a Baroque musician, explore some music from the period and then compose some simple "pseudo-baroque" tunes using Garage Band. We decided on a stations approach.

1) The Listening Station:
Students can analyze some Baroque tunes by visiting the "podcast page" I've set up.
(Here's another good site.)

2) The Composer Research Station:
We will ask the teacher-librarian at Mitchell to help us pull some material for this station.

3) The Garage Band Station:
The students begin by playing with some demo clips I put together for the activity. Braver souls can try composing from scratch. (I'll post some student samples once we get rolling.)

Assorted midi samples and handouts can be found here.

And I've put the student handouts up on Scribd. You can view and print them below:

Baroque Unit PDF

Portable Lab Orientation

I've been traveling around to the schools that have booked the portable lab and talking about set up and brainstorming. Having the iBooks in the school (in groups of 10 or 15) gives the teachers great opportunities to extend what they are doing in the classroom without having to move to the computer lab.

Here's my handout for the teachers:

What Do You Want to DoPDF

Introduction to Word: Pro-D Session

Earlier in the year, I was asked to give a Pro-D workshop highlighting some of the features of Word that can help make work easier for student and teacher alike. I created a Word document illustrating a number of "tips and tricks" and then we played with the document to practice each new skill.

My presentation outline, as well as the practice Word template download can be found here.

Comic Life: "What I Like"

Kathy M and Sharron brought their Grade 2 classes to the computer lab today to learn about how to use ComicLife. (This fun program is installed on all the Macs in the district and provides lots of great opportunities for students to show their thinking.)

Because students import pictures rather than draw them on the screen, all students can see immediate, "professional" looking results. Budding artists can scan their drawings or hold them up to the Photobooth camera and import them easily.

We began by reviewing with the kids the various elements found on a typical comic book page: the panels, the pictures, the speech and thought bubbles, the "impact" words ("POW", "CRASH") and narration blocks. We asked the students to create a 4 panel page with a title in the first square ("What I Like"), and then insert three pictures of themselves: happy, happier and a little sad. Then they added a 2 speech bubbles and a thought bubble: "I like...", "I really like...", "But I don't like...")

Students had a lot of fun trying out the different options and experimenting with the program. (Plasq has just released a Windows beta that kids can try free for 30 days!)

Here's a sample I made to demonstrate:
What I Like2

Here are a couple of "how-to" handouts (2 page and 6 page) that teachers might find useful:
Comic Life Mini Manual

Child Labour: Brochure and Video

I met with Eve and Linda's Humanities classes today to introduce the project for their "Child Labour" unit. Students are researching some aspect of child exploitation in the modern world and tying it to the conditions of children in the Industrial Revolution.

We asked the students to imagine that they are coordinators of an outreach group that is trying to raise awareness about the plight of children working in difficult conditions. Each student will pick some aspect of the issue: carpet making, athletic shoes, exploitation, etc. After some in-depth research, the students will take on the role of an advertising agency tasked with marketing the human rights issue the student is targeting.

Students were asked to imagine that May is "Child Labour" month, and as part of a nation-wide campaign, they needed to produce a brochure (using Word) explaining the campaign issue, as well as a short, 30 second "spot" (using Animoto) that could be run on television and Youtube to raise awareness.

The brochure is being produced using the "business forms -> brochures" template from within Word. In order to introduce the technology piece, we spent some time choosing a format and playing with inserting and manipulating images.

(Students were also given the option of downloading templates from the internet: sample set 1, sample set 2.)

Note: If Word seems too complicated, or the teacher is looking for a more straight-forward way to produce a flyer, check out the "Mybrochuremaker" site.
Here's a sample made using this service:
Child Labour Brochure

The 30 Second "Spot":
We took the students to the Animoto site and had them create an individual account. Animoto will allow students to create professional looking flash movies that can be downloaded or posted to Youtube. They can upload pics from their computer or their Flickr or Facebook account. After picking the order of the images and adding text, they can pick music from a library of tunes or upload their own. Students can remix the project numerous times and then pick the best one for public viewing.

Once they are finished, they then email the embed code to their teacher so it can appear on the class blog.

Here's an example of Animoto in action from another project:

Top Ten Lists: in iMovie

I met with Norma J and June L and Boyd today. We were putting the last few details on a "Top Ten" project June is planning for her Communications 11-12 class.

She and Norma have planned a reading activity using the Top 10 magazine series. Once they've had a chance to read and rate a couple of the titles, the students will be asked to generate their own ten winners in an area they are passionate about: food, cars, skateboards, singers, etc.

Here's the handout we will use to help them organize their project:

For more detailed explanations on using iMovieHD, there is also a *great* tutorial for iMovie at on the U of Texas site.
You'll find a webpage, with short video tutorials, and a link to an entire video walk-through as well as a handy PDF version to reference. Worth visiting. (Scribd version below)


The plan is to use iMovie to present the "Top Ten" lists to the rest of the class. Here's a sample I created to show the students.


For royalty free music: (best choice, great variety) (15 sec free downloads...lots of choices)

Sound samples: (great selection of mp3s, plus some tunes)

For IMAGES, (Watermarked) (don't forget to give credit!)

For Video CLIPS (Watermarked) (don't forget to give credit!)

ESL Book Report Ideagram - with Scrapblog

Angela Lo asked me to come in and brainstorm an engaging twist on the "poster project" she usually does as a wrap up for her Lit Circle novel study.

We decided to use Scrapblog as a way of helping the students represent their thinking.

Here's a sample we created:

We divided up the 9 different elements of her "Ideagram" poster project into 9 separate scrapbook pages.

Ideagram PDF

Students were asked to do some pre-thinking and bring quotes, images (on a memory stick) and some text-text, text-self and text-world connections. In the computer lab, students were given an overview of Scrapblog, shown how to create an account, and turned loose on the project. (We gave them 2 blocks)

The students then presented the finished pages as a slide show. The beauty of using SB rather than PPT, according to the students, is the multitude of creative elements that they can use. If the student chooses one of the many templates available, then they can resize, copy and reuse all of the embellishments, frames, background, shapes and colours. Add to this, the ability to import your own pictures and graphics and you have a super tool for presenting your ideas.

Your resulting Scrapblog can be shared via email, or even embedded in an existing page. Because the project is stored in an individual student account, kids can work on it at home or at school, and the finished product can be viewed as a slide show with music, or "stepped-through" much like a ppt show. Students also have the option of exporting each page as a jpeg and printing or incorporating into another project.

Here's a student sample: