Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Power Speaking Music Videos Continued

We're now up to day 8, and the projects are nearing completion. The recording phase continued for several classes (each one hour). Many of the groups did multiple re-takes to get exactly the right scene recorded. I am getting tired of hearing these songs played in 5-second intervals over and over again

The editing stage will be next, and here's how it's set up:

Materials and Equipment
1. Book your lab or have one student from each group bring in their laptop for their group to use.
2. Movie Maker 2.6 or the Mac or Linux equivalent. You can download it from here and install it on both Vista and 7 Windows's a much better tool than what is shipped with those versions.
3. Pazera Video Conversion Suite - free, powerful, and easy to use. Convert mp4 to avi in a jiffy. Download it here.
4. Headphone splitters (from the Dollar Store)
5. Power Bars
6. A couple of USB drives/thumb drives (small ones are okay - the files are tiny)
7. You may need to download DivX codecs as well as K-Lite Codecs onto a USB drive if Movie Maker doesn't play your converted videos correctly (on the K Lite page, click on "mirror 1" or "mirror 2" to start the download) They are easy to install on student laptops if needed.

The Process
1. Set up your power bars so your students can get their laptops powered up. My room has very few useful plugs, so all our power bars have very long cords on them.
2. Give each group one of the headphone splitters and ask them to plug in their own headphones so the room doesn't fill with multiple songs at the same time .
3. Download copies of Movie Maker 2.6 and Pazera VCS and put them both on a couple of USB drives prior to class. Share these with the students so they can quickly get the software and get it installed on their laptops.
4. I very quickly went around and showed each group how to use Pazera to batch convert their mp4 vids from the Flip cameras to the avi flavour that Movie Maker prefers.
5. Students imported all their converted videos into Movie Maker and then muted the audio on all of them Some of these students had dozens of short videos, so this took them a while! They also imported their song into Movie Maker to use to help them time their videos to the song.
6. Once finished, students will save and export their final movies (we're not here quite yet - see the note below) and I'll share them with our school community and possibly chuck them into my Dropbox as well.
7. Three of my students needed the codecs, five of them didn't - no obvious connection to the type of operating system, so it was good I had those codecs available for quick installation!

The Sharing
Next Post!

- Posted from my iPad

Friday, 8 July 2011

Power Speaking Music Video Project - Day 3

Lots of work accomplished this afternoon! The teams were quite busy prepping props, discussing where to start and stop recording and, of course, recording various parts of their songs complete with lip-synching and gestures.

It was very helpful for teams to work together to help with recording. It also seemed to work very well to have the song playing while they were lip-synching in their video clips. We can mute this later in Movie Maker when we put all the clips together.

There's no specific lesson plan for this day since the students are all off doing what they need to do. Of course I still circulate to help answer question as necessary, but all-in-all, I was not needed.

Since tomorrow is Friday, we don't have an afternoon class together. This means we'll continue this project next week starting on Monday. So far it's been awesome!!

- Posted from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Power Speaking Music Videos - Day 2

Today was the big day - choosing groups, choosing songs and then starting to put it all together.

Materials and Equipment
1. Lyric sheets for all the songs from Day 1 (3 copies of each plus 1 for you)
2. Coloured paper, scissors, tape, chart paper and markers
3. Write all the song names on the board before class begins

The Process
1. I put my students into groups of three. Sometimes this is less painful than letting try to decide themselves
2. I dealt every student a card from a standard deck of playing cards. Next I had students in their groups choose the highest card amongst their group members (so now there were just 4 cards - 1 from each group). I had these students show their cards and then go to the board and choose the song for their group. The highest card went first, the lowest card went last - there was a LOT of good-natured begging and pleading at this point as students tried to negotiate to get the song they wanted for their group members.
3. I gave each group copies of the lyrics for the song they had chosen and explained how to read them, especially the parts where the chorus repeats itself.
4. I asked the groups to go through the lyrics and think of one gesture they could do for each line of the song. They could be as creative as they wanted to be and I reminded them that they would need to lip-synch the song too, so they should start getting used to the song while working (in other words, play it over and over again).
5. I showed students all the craft supplies, told them they could make or use anything they wanted in their music video and then moved each group to a separate spot around the school where their songs wouldn't disturb anyone and set them to work.
6. While they were working, I circulated to offer suggestions or assistance as well as help with any wacky vocab and grammar problems that came up. This was extremely creative and productive! We'll need another class to get this stuff done before we start recording. That's when the craziness will REALLY begin!

The Sharing
I'm kicking myself for not getting some pictures of today to share. I'll try to grab a camera tomorrow and snap some pics of all the awesome ideas my students have come up with so far!

- Posted from my iPad

Power Speaking Music Videos - Day 1

Today marked the start of a new 4-week study block at my school. This means that I have 8 shiny new students and 4 grizzled veterans this block . I love the fact that my veteran students help get the new students quickly up to speed on class routines, due dates, etc...

This block we're learning how to give an informative speech, so students will be learning structure as well as how to use PowerPoint effectively and how to use gestures in their speeches to add emphasis and memorability.

The afternoon projects for this block will be centered on the creation of music videos with the students lip-synching and using gestures for various words in the song in their video and then using the original song for the soundtrack.

Due to copyright limitations on the music (all pop songs), we can't upload these, but we will share the final products with other students in the school.

Before the Class
1. Gather a selection of songs from the top 40 that have a good beat and no profanity and are, of course, in English. My plan is to choose enough songs for 4 groups for 3 weeks with a few leftover (14-16). I might change this plan after this week and allow students to choose their own song for weeks two and three.
2. Download a copy of each of the songs you choose to share with students in class. Many of my students already had these songs on their various phones, 'pods and 'pads.

Materials and Equipment
1. The song "The Eency Weency Spider"
2. Lyrics for "The Eency Weency Spider" handout (1 copy for each student)
3. Speakers for your playback device
4. CD with each of the songs you selected on it (or load them onto your own playback device)
5. Print copies of the lyrics for each song (enough for each group member and one copy for you)

The Process
1. Tell students that they are going to get to listen to some music, but not for relaxation . Since we are learning about gestures, they will be adding some gestures to a song to make it more interesting and memorable. You could make this even funnier by telling them what an awesome dance song you have for them.
2. Give each student a copy of the Eency Weency Spider lyrics. Give them a chance to ask questions about any new vocab. We had fun with teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy and teensy-weensy . Spout was a new one for my students as was the phrasal verb wash out.
3. Now have students just listen to the song the first time while following along with the lyrics. You can sing along if you want to
4. After rockin' out, put students into groups of 2 or 3 and tell them that you want them to add some gestures to the song and that they will get to do their gestures with the song when you play it again. They can write ideas on their lyric sheets if they want to but the group must all do the same gestures. They should try to add one gesture per line if possible!
**A note about gestures - on the board I wrote and explained the following:
*Can help

1. make your speech more interesting
2. make your speech more memorable
3. make your speech easier to understand

Gestures should be...
1. Big and Obvious
2. Culturally Clear
3. Timed Carefully: I caught a big fish.

'Big and Obvious' means that your elbows need to be out from your body and the gesture needs to stand out. 'Culturally Clear' means that your audience will understand what your gestures mean. To help explain timing, I said the fish sentence with my arms outstretched the whole time (to show the 'big')- WRONG; then I said it again, but put my arms out only after I finished - WRONG; then I said it again, gesturing with my arms only on the word 'big' - CORRECT

5. Now give students approximately 10 minutes to create and practice their gestures for the song. Circulate to offer assistance as needed.
6. Play the song again, watch the students' gestures and stop the song if anything looks out of synch. We had several false starts with giggle attacks , but eventually we got through the whole song. Then we played it a couple more times to show off We talked about how difficult the timing was and admired each others' creative gestures before moving on.
7. On the board I wrote down the artists and songs that the students could choose from: Taio Cruz - Dynamite, Pink - Please Don't Leave Me, Tinie Tempah - Written in the Stars, Adele - Rolling in the Deep, Jessie J - Price Tag, Bruno Mars - Grenade, Avril Lavigne - What the Hell, Jack Johnson - You and Your Heart
8. This was the end of our hour, so I asked my students to start thinking about which song they like the best and then choose their top three. I told them we would choose songs for their groups tomorrow.

The Sharing
Nothing to share yet, but just wait until we're done! It's going to be awesome!!

- Posted from my iPad