Our 7th and 8th graders used the Six Hatsthinking technique to brainstorm ideas for a possible Veterans Day presentation. This method, used by companies like IBM, prompts participants in a discussion to adopt certain thinking styles. To illustrate the concept, I showed students a video in which the director coordinates all the car colors in traffic to be the same. In the same way, members of the discussion prioritized and synchronized different styles of thinking.
Additionally, these students used a bracket format to decide on Student Spotlight topics and finished off the Resulting Video. This project introduced a variety of SketchUp, Garageband, Musescore, and WeVideo techniques we'll use throughout the year.
Our 6th graders used the Observe, Collect, Draw book to analyze student-selected pieces of music. They also created a drawing based on Picasso's portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Using an exercise from 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,' students turned the original artwork upside down to see and draw it as positive space, negative space and lines. Other 6th grade activities included the Student Spotlight selection and group music improvisation based on a student-created chord progression.
The 5th grade group analyzed parts of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which is part of the Core Knowledge curriculum. We began by discussing preconceptions about classical music, and explored how, sometimes, its trappings of formality and academicism can prevent us from fully listening to it. Then students engaged in active, creative listening. By engaging their imagination, they associated stories and images with the music. We used Notezilla to investigate the notational devices used by Beethoven. Additionally, I brought the symphony into Garageband, which permitted students to isolate different instruments and their interaction with each other. Through this, we could explore the great creativity and craftsmanship Beethoven brought to this piece.