Tag Archives: English

6th graders are uploading/sharing their finished StoryCorps-esque interviews today

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StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

Students interviewed someone at home and used Garageband to extract a 2-3 minutes story. These audio pieces were exported as .m4a files and then converted to either .mp4 or .mov files that were then uploaded to TheTube (our internal video server powered by Drupal). Finally, students gathered links to their audio files, a description of their piece, a direct quote from the story, and an image. These were added to a table on a collaborative GoogleDoc to loosely model how StoryCorps organizes their files.

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iMovie versus Garageband for podcasts

Marisa Guastaferro and I collaborate on a Romeo and Juliet podcast. In previous years, the students have used Garageband to put merge images, audio, and music. However, the finished product is a small video that is really ideal for viewing on an iPod and not a big screen. I used to use Quicktime to export their podcast into a bigger format, but it was still pixelated. This year, we decided to use iMovie to blend our projects. I found the above tutorial for creating a slideshow with soundtrack in iMovie.

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Enjoyed an 8th grade poetry class. Eve let me share a sonnet I wrote in 1992…

I was in Eve Becker‘s room earlier, trying to figure out why the USB Snowball microphone wasn’t picking up her students’ voices as effectively as it should. I think the sound settings in System Preferences keep defaulting back to the built-in mic rather than the Snowball.

Eve likes to record class discussions with http://ustream.tv – so, if a student misses a class for any reason, they can stay in at lunch and watch a recording.

While fiddling with the preferences, I enjoyed Eve’s introduction of sonnets as part of their poetry unit. I piped in that I wrote a sonnet in college, and the kids humored me by listening.

I also learned a new term, enjambment, which means the continuation of a complete idea from one line or couplet to the next line or couplet without a pause. “Enjambment” comes from the French word for “to straddle.” Giddyup.

Here goes:

It’s often said that five are just too much,
And one should stop at three or even four.
My mother seemed to have that rabbit touch.
The rabbi said be fruitful; She had more.
I sometimes thing the Yuppies know what’s best.
With 2.3, it’s hard to go astray.
No fighting over who deserves the rest
Of pizza or the first who gets to play
The latest of Nintendo. Peace presides!
No squabbling over turns to watch TV,
Or who it was that first began the tides
Of war. The answer’s like to be, “Not me!”
And though it seems that best is 2.3,
I find I’m happy with our four plus me.

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“Romeo and Juliet” Garageband podcasts in 6th Grade English

Marisa Guastaferro‘s 6th grade English students are working together in small groups to rewrite a scene from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The goal is for them to show understanding of the prose and dialogue by translating it into their own words. (The kids also watch West Side Story and compare/contrast the two stories.)

After, students will take pictures of themselves acting out key moments of the scene (like tableau vivant) and record their voices reading their script into a shared GarageBand file. We have them use a Logitech USB microphone and lay it on the table with the microphone upright between them to capture all of their voices equally.

The audio and images will be mashed together in GarageBand. Then, this file will be converted to an .mov file using Quicktime and uploaded to our Drupal video server that we’ve named The Tube (as it is similar to YouTube and we think it’s hilarious to preface anything related to The School with “The”).

Uploading video to The Tube generates embed code, so students can embed their finished podcast onto a shared class Google Site with the rest of their classmates’ projects.

In previous years, students painted enormous backdrops for their scene in Art and composed renaissance-era ambient background tunes in Music.

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