Do you remember the old Sesame Street song that encouraged all of us to sing a song?
C’mon, if you’re the same vintage as me, you know what I’m talking about. This one?
Ah, a stroll down memory lane. On that note…
What if you didn’t sing a song but just had to sing one note? I imagine it would go something like this…
Louie Zong asked his viewers to send in a single singing note and received over 200 responses! He then organized and assembled these notes, keeping them as true to their original form as possible, and added some beats, creating an entirely new song from their community’s voices.
We’re wrapping up the 2022-2023 school year, and several teachers in my district are continuing their journeys into deeper learning.
Rather than freaking out and focusing on end-of-year testing that means nothing (you know I’m right), I’m working with several 8th-grade classes on worthwhile projects.
One class is designing tourism resources for Bardstown. If you’re not familiar, the tourism industry is HUGE in this area thanks to two things: history and bourbon. Kentucky tourists spent $5.9 billion in 2020, and many of those dollars can be traced to bourbon tourism.
Students are working in groups to create materials for different tourist destinations in Bardstown. They got to choose the location, the format for their materials, and how they will ultimately present them.
Let’s connect this work back to the 4 Shifts and how we’re using it to foster deeper learning in classrooms:
Deeper Thinking and Learning
Students are researching famous local places. Some of them are taking tours after school hours, conducting interviews, and doing independent research
Students are discussing what information needs to be included in their information. What should be in a brochure? What do we need to mention in a video?
Students are using design tools that are used in the real world to create and publish their work: Canva, YouTube, CapCut, etc.
Could these projects be used as part of a tourism promotion? Perhaps. This work will likely be a “first draft” of a potential business or tourism department collaboration.
Student Agency & Personalization
Students chose the format and tools.
Students chose the topic
Any technology usage is secondary to the research and information presented. Technology is merely the tool conveying the message, not the message itself.
I could go on, but I’ll save a further discussion for the project completion. Suffice it to say the kids are very interested in these projects and what they are learning about their hometown.
I came in to assist in the combination of technology with content. Students are creating on different platforms and need to tie the information together. Several have made videos that we’ve uploaded to YouTube. We created QR codes and added them to the brochures. We’ve used royalty-free music for the videos. Some students even used AI (yep) to help write the script before recording voiceovers.
My point for sharing this work is this: diving into deeper learning can be fun for you and your students. Will some resist? Yes. Will some still find ways to disengage and not really accomplish anything? Yes.
But it’s all part of the adventure of learning. For them, and for us.
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Yes, you read that properly. The YouTube sensation Mr. Doodle (aka Sam Cox) bought a house in 2019. He then spent from 2020-2022 doing what he does best: doodling.
He made a stop-motion video of the process. Yes, this is all real.
While the doodle is a fantastic achievement, this also speaks to dedication and consistency, two things we should spend more time on with our students. Doodling an entire house is a big (ok, ridiculous) goal, but significant progress is made by doing a little bit at a time.
We could do with a few more people in the world dedicated to doodling a house. We could stand a few more people with the discipline to see more projects through to the end.
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Since the start of this unique project, more than 350 of the total of 1080 works by Johann Sebastian Bach have been performed and recorded in special ways. They include some remarkable highlights, such as the St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk, in Naarden, the Six Cello Suites at beautiful Amsterdam locations like the Concertgebouw and the Rijksmuseum, and Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 in Felix Meritis, in Amsterdam.
Informative texts, interesting facts and interviews with the performers provide a wealth of background information. All the works are performed by the Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians, and you can watch and listen to recordings of the complete works. In personal interviews, the musicians themselves talk about what touches them in the music or why they enjoy playing it so much. In order to keep close to Bach, the recordings are made at suitable venues, but we also look for unusual recording locations. Cantatas are filmed in a church, for instance, and chamber music at the musicians’ homes or at special locations in the Netherlands.
Of course, these works are available for performance by anyone since they are part of the public domain, allowing new generations to experience the work of a master and be inspired to create their own masterpieces.