“Painted Pie” is a video you will probably want to view more than once. The post-Impressionist artwork alone is stunning. But, even better, is the sweet story of a homeless boy who is searching for a human being to connect with him. The moral of the story, that you never know how many lives you can touch with small kindnesses, reminds me of another couple of videos I have featured on here, “The Kindness Boomerang” and “Monsterbox“. The film was created by Havish Thota, Kudzai Gumbo, Mehdi Farrokhtala, and Abdulrahman Alansari. It has already won several awards. The accompanying soundtrack, “Little Person” by Jon Brion is a masterpiece, as well.
In the classroom, I would, of course, ask the students to verbalize the moral of the story. You could ask them to retell this silent movie in their own words. Before even showing the movie, you could play the soundtrack, and ask the students to come up with stories that would go with the music. If you are studying art, you might see if they could write a similar story based on another work of art. Random Acts of Kindness Week is fast approaching (February 11th), and this would be a good way to introduce it.
I found this video on the “Kuriositas” blog. Though the “Kuriositas” blog is not meant for a young audience, I encourage adults to check it out, as it features many interesting videos, pictures, and stories.
Here is the link to the video in case the embedded version does not show below: http://vimeo.com/57146618
I have not used Choruzz in my classroom yet, but I can see the possibilities. This site allows you to create your own playlist of songs. There is no sign-in or registration required. Once you create a list, and “publish” it, you are given an embed code and a unique URL, so that anyone you would like to share it with can access it. You can check out a practice playlist I created at this link.
Last school year, one of my more successful lessons included a center where students could listen to a playlist on my iPod, and choose the song that they would pick as a theme for the novel we had just read. They really enjoyed it, and there was much discussion within each group about the pros and cons of the songs. Their written explanations were very thorough. I could see using Choruzz for this activity, so that more students could access the playlist – or even do the activity at home.
My cautions would be that the videos for the songs are included, and that there are some ads that run at the bottom. I have not seen anything inappropriate in my short experimentation with this, but will be exploring it further before I offer it as an option for my students. Another possible obstacle would be that district filters might block the site.
Choruzz has a lot of potential for classroom use. If this particular site cannot be used educationally, I would love to see a similar one that could be used in a classroom setting.
I found Hands Symphony on one of my favorite resources, KB Connected. I think that it is a great site for composing a tune to email to someone you care about while at the same time spreading life-saving information about CPR. Even if you aren’t planning to e-mail your composition, your students will have fun with this creative way to make music. I thought it was appropriate to post a site sponsored by the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day:)
Rain Deer Orchestra is just a fun site that can easily be differentiated for various music levels. I am not sure why the site designer chose that particular way to spell the title, but it’s the songs that are important. Go to this site, and you can tap on the noses of the reindeer to play music. There are a couple of songs that have prompts to accompany them for those students who are just learning, and there is the option to “free play”. For the middle-of-the-road students, or as a class lesson, the teacher could play a few notes, and then ask the student(s) to predict which reindeer would make the next appropriate note.
This great post on Byrdseed Gifted, a fabulous resource for higher level thinking ideas, inspired me to come up with more ways to get music into my own classroom. To extend one of Ian’s ideas even further, I would like to use music to communicate some of my expectations. Students seem to forget, sometimes, what they should do when they finish their work. What if the background music answered this question? If I am playing Bach, for example, could this be the signal that they are supposed to check over their work, and then read a book? Or, could Beethoven mean that they can find another partner who is finished and do a center activity? Of course, this would mean the students would also have to be able to identify the pieces of music – an added bonus! Now that our school district subscribes to Soundzabound, I should have plenty of resources for creating a more harmonic classroom environment.
Before you click on this link, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. I have it on good authority from several people, including my eight-year old, that this site is addictive. To be honest, I had a hard time tearing myself away from the screen once I got started. What I love about this site is that it requires a combination of creativity, problem-solving, and musical talent. Basically, it allows you to compose music by building roads, adding cars to the roads, and placing various types of waypoints to create the notes. But you won’t understand the full potential of Isle of Tune until you visit it yourself. And, while you’re there, be sure to visit the isles that have already been created. You will be amazed at the ingenuity used to recreate popular songs and to invent new compositions. Even more exciting news – they are planning to launch their iPad app this week.