Teaching Out Loud

Putting something out there, and hoping to get something in return

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AVADIN – Day 22 – Making Do With What You Have

The late night shows have had a bit of a renaissance on YouTube. Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, and Conan O’Brien how breathed life into their shows by sharing much of their comedy online. Jimmy has stars reading mean tweets, Craig has some of the best monologues in the business, and there is no match for the mind of Conan. But much of the humour is meant for that 11:00 pm and onwards crowd. Enter Mr. Fallon. He has some of the most creative bits, and with the prowess of the Roots behind him, he can really dig deep musically. One of the easiest entry points for school, and perhaps one of the most entertaining, is the “Big Hits with Classroom Instruments” segments. See these examples:

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Make your own music video
  2. Provocation for different music arrangements
  3. looking at musical covers


Here is a lip sync battle to tide you over:

AVADIN – Day 21 – A Day in the Life

I think that the NFB is doing some of most interesting storytelling right now. Take Bear71

A story of a bear living near Canmore, Alberta. You start with the capture and release of the bear, and then track it, and other animals as you navigate through out it’s home territory. The narration is deliberately thought provoking and extremely interesting, and gives students pause for deep philosophical and ecological questions. It also uses the webcam to immerse the viewer in the experience.

I suggest taking a look through the interactive section to see the stories that are being told.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Human Effect on Habitat
  2. Building a Habitat
  3. Talking in another voice

    Check out The Cancer of Time as an irreverent look at “Our chronic inability to do nothing”. It is a collaboration between NFB and a French Company. It is also an app on the Play Store, and the App Store.

AVADIN – Day 20 – A Picture Set to a Thousand Words

Poetry is a wonderful way to get down to the bare emotions. I remember I was struck by the power and emotion in this animated remembrance/call to action for bullying:

A staple of We Day, Shane Koyczan is wonderful at getting students to go beyond words and find the rhythm and energy of a piece. Students need to see how the text lifts off the paper and comes alive with performance.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Emotional Poetry
  2. Words with Pictures (art project)
  3. Anti-Bullying Poetry
  4. What makes a good performance

A good place to bring gravity to one of the oldest Internet adage “Feed ye not the Trolls”. Also from Shane Koyczan.

AVADIN – Day 19 – Stop, Grammar Time

The Internet is full of people with too much time on their hands. The trolls prowl for people who make the slightest mistakes and jump on those who don’t check everything. That being said, it is important to use our words well, because our word choice makes up a large part of that first impression. Enter a helpful PSA:

I find that humour is a great motivator, and that Glove and Boots do a great job connecting with kdis.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Make your own Language PSA
  2. Why word choice matters
  3. Do not feed the trolls (and other Internet safety tips)

Here is one of my pet peeves (some NSFS {not safe for school] language)

AVADIN – Day 18 – Higher, Faster, Stronger

Each spring, our school has Personal Best Day. It is our annual track and field day, but we frame it as a competition against ourself. The students get really into keeping track of their times/distances/heights and trying to get better. I use the following videos as a way to bring science into their ideas, and we talk about what we learn from each video:

High Jump

Long Jump

Softball Throw

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Track and Field Provocations
  2. Increasing techniques
  3. Expert additions
  4. Make our own science video

And now, Daft Punk and Hands:

AVADIN – Day 17 – Disaster Edition

Students need good, hard examples of how making mistakes make us better. There is none so visually evident as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge:

This is a great launching piece into the importance of accuracy, combined with sometimes we have to try to understand what we don’t know. I always like to put up the sentence “We don’t know what we don’t know” just to drive home the point that we have to try, just to understand what we need to learn.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Find out the whole story (research)
  2. Forces on Structures – Authentic Starting Point
  3. Why mistakes make us better

Same video as above, but in colour and no commentary

AVADIN – Day 16 – Flu Shot Edition

As we enter Flu season,it becomes imperative to make the students aware of just how easily a cold is spred. I find this next video to be a great intro both a Math and Health problems –

It’s important for students to be able to rationalize fears about what is happening around the world. You can touch on subjects likes vaccination/outbreaks and discuss what precautions we need to take.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. How long would it take to infect a class, school, community, country? (math probability)
  2. Why washing hands is important? Health precautions in class
  3. A look at how outbreaks happen… Move onto current crises like Ebola.

Ebola Resources: Here’s What You Need to Know (cbc)

AVADIN – Day 15 – Saturday Night is Alright for Drawing

It’s time for some drawing tutorials! I have a terrible time conveying artistic ideas, and I find that getting experts is the way to go. Take portrait drawing – I have a hard time teaching the basic concepts, but videos online allow students to watch, rewind and retry at their own pace.
How to Draw a Face:

or the more math based:

You can take these techniques and layer other art techniques, like micrography:

Source Wikimedia Commons
These create wonderful end of the year self-portraits with language built in. Google Image Search Micrography for more great examples.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. Self Portraits
  2. Micrography Portraits
  3. Many other art lessons

How to Draw a Perfect Circle Free Hand. Unfortunately not set to the music of A Perfect Circle

AVADIN – Day 14 – The Proof is in the Science

I have really been enjoying the Sick! Science channel on YouTube. The series provides simple experiments with a thought provoking question at the end. They are a great way to introduce the scientific method, with an emphasis on procedure. I find that Science Verse is a great companion piece. I also like that the students can see what they should be doing. It is much easier for them to understand the method, and to understand how necessary exact replication is.

Lesson Ideas:

  1. So
  2. Many
  3. Different
  4. Science
  5. Lessons
  6. Also, create your own science experiment on video

I scream, you scream for Ice Cream (made in a ziploc baggie)!

AVADIN – Day 13 – Gary Hecker, Foley Artist

In the process of teaching students how to make a movie, I find one of the coolest and most underestimated part of the production is the sound design. To drive home how important the sound is, I usually play a short film without the video, and the class plays “Identify that sound!” I like one with lots of animals, because many of the sounds are easily identifiable, but the true story is usually shrouded in mystery.

But to truly appreciate how difficult making movie sounds is, students need to meet a Foley Artist at work. Enter Gary Hecker, Foley Artist:

I love the look of wonder when they realize that the horse noise in the movie is some guy next to a microphone. You might think that it would break their sense of wonder, but I find that students are truly awed, and it adds an extra layer of amazement to what they watch.

Currently my students have created a stop motion animation (using construction paper) in PixStop, imported it to iMovie and are now adding sound effects using provided effects and their own imaginations. It is truly amazing to see the engagement.

Here are some other resources –
Soundworks Collection – This is the series that the Gary Hecker Video came from
Radio Broadcast of War of the Worlds from 1983 – A Great use of sound effects to create atmosphere

Lesson Ideas:

  1. What’s That Noise?
  2. Building a Movie
  3. Audio Literacy Part 1

Here is an excellent short to use for sound:

Ask the students where the story starts, and where it ends. I think that they should be able to identify the city soundscape and the forest soundscape.