Primary Cross-Curricular Music Project – Week #1

January 18, 2010

Finally the snow stopped long enough for the first year 6 class from Valley Park School to get to the CLC on Friday. I’d visited the class the day before to talk a bit more about the project and assign some roles. Work was already underway on the song to be recorded, which is about Machines – the current topic being studied, and some ideas had been explored by the Video Concept Group.

In terms of roles, I was delighted to have a volunteer to be the Director and general boss of things from the students, her first role was to fill in a Google Calendar with tasks for the upcoming sessions. The other pupils were split up roughly into two groups – the Music Video Group and the Publicity Group. During Friday’s session (9.30-12.00) the Video Concept Group firmed up their ideas and looked at some examples of storyboards before beginning their own. A group of dancers began choreographing a dance to a section of the music (based on Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion!)

The animators began designing their characters using Paint. I also spent some time training up two camera people to use the video and still cameras – before starting the filming of each pupil playing an instrument to be used in the video.

Meanwhile the Publicity Group were hard at work coming up with a name for the band (they decided on “The Equals”) and then designing T-Shirts. The three bloggers took photos of the proceedings and wrote their first post on the Posterous site (which can be seen here – please note this may become password protected at a later date). Throughout the morning pairs of students also tried out the Nintendo Wii, learning to play instruments on Wii Music.

Generally it was a very successful first session. We will perhaps have a struggle to get everything done in 4 weeks, but as always it is the process not the outcome that is most important.


January 11, 2010

So you want to post text, documents, audio, video and photographs online, at no cost, but you have no idea how to set up a website and even a blog seems a bit complicated? Well Posterous may just be for you.

This is an incredibly simple way of blogging – you sign up for an account with an e-mail address and simply e-mail Posterous with your content. The subject line of your e-mail becomes the title of the post, and any message appears as the text – the application puts it in reverse chronological order, like blogs do. More impressive is how it deals with multimedia content – attach a single photo to your e-mail and it will add it into the post. Attach multiple photos and it will create a gallery with thumbnails. Video and audio files appear in a media player, Word documents and PowerPoints appear as a Scribd document (so you can read and scroll through the document on the webpage, without having to open the file).

You can also add a bookmarking widget to your bookmarks toolbar, so that any text, video or image you find on the internet can be grabbed and sent straight to your Posterous page. Posts can be tagged with keywords so it i’s easy to find information on a particular subject.

This is the ideal site to use as a class blog, as you can document everything that goes on in the classroom quickly and easily, and it can be password protected (or individual posts can be made private). If you want students to use it, they will need their own e-mail addresses, and you can add any number of contributors to a single Posterous site. The only limit is the 1Gb of space each Posterous site is assigned.

I’ve used one this term with a primary school to report on the cross-curricular music project we are doing – with pupils writing the reports, taking photos and posting them to the Posterous blog here.

Here are a couple more examples:

Primary Cross-Curricular Music Project

January 8, 2010

This term we have big plans for a cross-curricular music project with Valley Park Primary School. It began with the purchase of our Nintendo Wiis, including the Wii Music software, and was inspired by the work done by Ollie Bray in Scotland using Guitar Hero as a starting point for transition work (see article here).

Two year 6 classes are spending a morning at the CLC over 5 weeks this term and will be completing some or all of the following:

  • Writing and recording a song based on work they are currently doing at school.
  • Creating a music video using the Green Screen, animation, photos etc to accompany the song.
  • Designing a CD cover, posters and any other merchandise for the video.
  • Planning a European Tour for the musicians, researching transport (including carbon footprint), languages spoken and interesting facts about the cities to be visited.
  • Learning about sound and pitch to fit in with science work.
  • Reporting on the work being done and contributing to a project blog.
  • And if there’s time – learning to play a few instruments on the Wii!

We’re very excited about the whole thing, and hope the pupils will be too. I’ll be updating the blog with our progress as the term goes on.

Let it snow…

January 6, 2010

A cold and snowy start to the new year at the CLC, as you can see from the photos. We are open as normal, although we’d recommend people park on the road and walk up as our car park is covered in several inches of snow still.