So much has been happening – nothing extraordinary, just the usual illnesses, extra activities, uncooperative technology – and so we haven’t been back to the ning for quite some time.
It was nice to revisit yesterday. We showed the boys the slideshow of their bicycle artwork, and they were mesmerised. Having your creation take up the whole screen makes a difference to how it’s perceived, and seeing your work amongst the variety of art by all students is also worth doing. I can’t emphasise enough how important the sharing is. Why get students to create anything if nobody gets to see it but the teacher?
We struck a problem in showing the boys videos of their oral presentations. I uploaded them onto Youtube and set them to private. Since I could still see the videos when I looked on the ning, I didn’t realise nobody else would be able to. Now I’m not sure what to do, because obviously we can’t make the boys’ videos public on Youtube, but we would like to see them within the privacy of the ning. I’ve looked at Teacher Tube and Vimeo, and their privacy settings, but so far I’m not sure if this can be done.
Yesterday the boys brought in their favourite books from when they were young. It was touching to see the dog-eared, scruffy little books, some with bits of dinner on them (or maybe I’m just exaggerating), and each boy was given the chance to present their book, say what it was that they loved about it, recreate the context of this love, eg. hearing it being read in bed or on a parent’s knee. There were small sounds of recognition when cultural icons such as Spot or Franklin were presented. We had the boys reading their books out aloud. Interestingly, instead of the teenage dismissal I expected, the boys showed respect for each others’ loved and treasured books.
Towards the end of the lesson, we showed the boys a video of Lemony Snicket talking about his picture book The composer is dead. Far from the miserable, pessimistic person you may expect having read his Series of unfortunate events, he is the funniest person. Perhaps the only dark thing about him is his humour. I thought at one stage that Maria wouldn’t be able to surface from a particularly extreme laughing fit. All good fun. The book comes with a CD which is obviously essential, since the story is about an orchestra, featuring instruments, all anthropomorphised, and all suspects in the murder of the composer (‘decomposing’). Nathaniel Stookey is the composer of the music for this book, and we hear him being interviewed as well. I have the book and CD, and we’ll be ‘reading’ the book with the students next term. It’s just so easy to embed videos on the ning, and pull them out when you want to.
While we were on a musical theme, with a few minutes to spare at the end of the lesson, we showed this video of a graphic representation of Beethoven.