Gina Marcel (@fpgina) told me to test the new headphones she bought for the K-2 division at The School at Columbia University. They are the Universal Multimedia Headset with Microphone made by Gear Head. After playing around with them, I agree that they are truly amazing and useful. Up until now, I’d been buying USB headphones for the kids to use with their laptops. These are way better as they have a universal 3.5mm jack for input/output so they can be used on our iPads and other devices as well as our laptops. Also, the package comes with an adapter and connector if you really need that kind of thing. Thanks, Gina!
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.
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.
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.