Learning DMX

We’ve just purchased a DMX enabled follow-spot for our school drama area. It’s just shame my brain isn’t DMX enabled to operate it!

There’s quite a few tutorials around but this one from UniqueSquared (the first in a series of five) is short, pithy and has turkeys!

The second video covers DMX addressing:

The third one hits DMX switches (and binary) – great Maths lesson here:

Part 4 gets into wiring multiple units:

The last part compares software and hardware solutions to controllers:

From LearnLizard comes this longer video – 9 minutes – on programming lights:

 

Earth Sandwich

For the uninitiated, an ‘Earth Sandwich’ is created when

“two slices of bread are simultaneously placed on opposite sides of the Earth”

with of course the obligatory ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ from the two people on different sides of the world. Like these below from the Irish Examiner news site.

There’s lots of info on creating an earth sandwich at www.zefrank.com/sandwich  and this tool ubasics.com/dighole will help you in working where your earth sandwich counterpart will be.

Unfortunately for Australians, the ‘top’ of our earth sandwich ‘bottom’ is going to be mid-Atlantic Ocean, although Perth ALMOST matches Bermuda (missed it by ‘that’ much!) and some parts of New Zealand just squeeze in, with their ‘tops’ in Spain.

Even if Aussies can only be part of an open sandwich, the concept is a fun one to explore with students.

  • Which countries are on opposite sides of the Earth?
  • Who could dig a hole through to China?
  • Who are on opposite sides of the equator?
  • What are antipodes?

 

Climbing Kanchenjunga

Climbing Kanchenjunga

The R-6 students 'Climbed Kanchnejunga' today- in fact they overshot the summit by 2000m! All up, the students completed over 450 circuits of the trek up the Ardrossan Road hill into Maitland, with some individuals doing eleven laps of the 800m course. A big thank you to the Davies family for their help in setting up the forest track and to all the families and community members who have sponsored the students. All proceeds are going to the 'Happiness Home' orphanage in Nepal.

Posted by Central Yorke School on Friday, 29 June 2018

My R-6 students ‘Climbed Kanchnejunga’ today- in fact they overshot the summit by 2000m! All up, the students completed over 450 circuits of the trek up the hill into our town, with some individuals doing eleven laps of the 800m course! All proceeds are going to the ‘Happiness Home’ orphanage in Nepal.

Australian Song Lyrics Analysis

Two questions.

Who is Australia’s most erudite lyricist?

And how can you embed the General Capabilities in secondary music lessons?

Aussie Song Lyric Readability

In answer to the first (but no spoliers here, let me tell you) you’ll need to read all the way to the bottom of  How complex are Aussie song lyrics? Analysis shows our wordiest songwriters to find out. The article looks at readability scores, length and the difference between being able to read the words and having the life experiences necessary to understand them. Along the way there’s fine (YouTube linked) examples of our best talent, from Paul Kelly and ‘Dumb Things’ through to Kasey Chambers and ‘Nothing at All’.

Embedding General Capabilities

Now let’s use the con concept of assigning readability scores to song lyrics as a way of embedding general capabilities into music lessons:

Start with the article. It will make a fine primer and Australian-artist orientation for students before delving into lyrical analysis.

Now have students collect lyrics from their favourite artistes and paste them (the lyrics, not the artists)  into Word.

  • Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  • Click Proofing.
  • Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
  • Select Show readability statistics.

Word will also give a word count for the text. Record the results and organise them in Excel. Their efforts might look a little like this, from The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade:

Click for full size view: from ‘The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade

Questions to ask. Which artist pitches (hah!) their lyrics at the lowest reading age? Which at the highest? Who has the longest word count? Shortest? What’s the average readability? Who uses the longest words? Shortest? What correlations can be found across genres? What other generalisations can be made?

So what General Capabilities have been covered? You can certainly tick off:

Literacy

  • Comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing
  • Text knowledge
  • Grammar knowledge
  • Word Knowledge

ICT

  • Investigating with ICT
  • Communicating with ICT
  • Managing and operating ICT

Numeracy

  • Estimating and calculating with whole numbers
  • Using fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios and rates
  • Interpreting statistical information

Critical & Creative Thinking

  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas
  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions
  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas

Resources

 

 

Free Music Resources

Matthew Hindson, Composer. Deputy Dean at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Curator, Australian Music Program has a number of useful free music resources on his blog.

Free Manuscript Paper: Five different styles including a compact 18 stave version.

Free Music Fonts: There are 14 different fonts including a recorder fingering font, a guitar strings font, a sax fingering font and a tempo indications font. My two favourites are the Rhythms and StaffClefPitchesEasy fonts.

Free English language hyphenation dictionary: A great resource if you’re a songwriter. I organised this (massive!) text file into Evernote for easier access.

 

Australian Curriculum General Capabilities Checklist

I needed a quick way to record my use of the general Capabilities in my my programs. I tried a few different configurations, but this one seems to work well.

There’s a title section at the top for unit title, year level and date. The capabilities are in two sections: ‘Supporting students to become successful learners’ and ‘Developing ways of being, behaving and learning to live with others’. There’s a checklist of elements for each capability with a small section for notes. I use this to jot down what I’m specifically doing in that unit to teach / assess the element.

Since using the checklist, I’m discovering that I’m actually teaching to the capabilities more than I thought. The element descriptions are a handy reminder of the scope of each capability too.

Two versions are available for download: a Word file that you can edit and a pdf version.

Download AC General Capabilities Template (pdf)

 AC General Capabilities Template (docx)

Rainbow Tone Rows

My Year 6 music class experimented with serialism and tone-rows but using a diatonic scale (A B C D E F G) rather than a chromatic one (ie with all the semitones).

I used the phrase ‘Rainbow Tone Row’ to link in with out use of BoomWhackers.

Although this does somewhat negate serialsims goal of removing the influence of key from compositions, it allowed for easier composition and the use of our decidedly diatonic glockenspiels and BoomWhackers.

I demonstrated the technique on the board and then had students perform. The methods on the sheet (including writing the tune a third higher) are not authentically serialistic but the aim was to provide the students with readily accessible composing techniques. After students had tried their hand at writing and performing their (own diatonic) tone rows, we chose one student’s piece to perform using the performance grid. The class divided into four groups, with each group ‘soloing’ and performing with others.

Downloads

    

Extension

A quick search of YouTube will turn up many videos on serialism.

Advanced students may like to try composing the chromatic scale. There are lots of resources around but mostly aimed at secondary students. This 12 tone serialsim worksheet at TES.com might be useful.

Australian Curriculum links

  • Explore dynamics and expression, using aural skills to identify and perform rhythm and pitch patterns (ACAMUM088)
  • Develop technical and expressive skills in singing and playing instruments with understanding of rhythm, pitch and form in a range of pieces, including in music from the community (ACAMUM089)
  • Rehearse and perform music including music they have composed by improvising, sourcing and arranging ideas and making decisions to engage an audience (ACAMUM090)

ACARA COPYRIGHT

© Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2010 to present, unless otherwise indicated. This material was downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website (Website) (accessed [7/5/2017]) and was modified. The material is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Version updates are tracked on the Curriculum version history page of the Australian Curriculum website.

ACARA does not endorse any product that uses the Australian Curriculum or make any representations as to the quality of such products. Any product that uses material published on this website should not be taken to be affiliated with ACARA or have the sponsorship or approval of ACARA. It is up to each person to make their own assessment of the product, taking into account matters including, but not limited to, the version number and the degree to which the materials align with the content descriptions (where relevant). Where there is a claim of alignment, it is important to check that the materials align with the content descriptions (endorsed by all education Ministers), not the elaborations (examples provided by ACARA).

 

 

New Australian Readers’ Theatre series published.

Yay! Blake Education’s new ‘Australian Readers’ Theatre’ series has arrived from the printers! It’s been great fun working as series consultant with editor Vanessa Barker and publisher Lynn Dickinson and to have six plays included alongside those of the talented Sandie Eldridge, Catherine Bauer and Elizabeth Klein. It’s a great series (all photo-copiable) with lots of Australian humour and drama. No primary school should be without a copy!

 From the Blake website:

“A Reader’s Theatre performance is a dramatic reading without the need for stage actions, or elaborate sets and costumes. It provides teachers with an opportunity to stage a play without the challenges that come with designing and building sets and creating costumes.

Each book in this series contains 10 photocopiable Reader’s Theatre plays written by Australian authors covering a wide variety of genres. Each play has ACARA curriculum links and Teacher’s Notes with information about:
  • the script’s plot, characters and setting
  • introducing the play – main topic, characters, ideas
  • vocabulary discussion and list of tricky words
  • interpreting the story
  • rehearsal and stage movement
  • performance and staging ideas
  • post-play review

Photocopiable assessment checklists for pre-performance, peer evaluation and oral performance assessments are included, as well as two worksheets for each play.”

Book Cover - Australian Readers Theatre Lower Primary

Book Cover – Australian Readers Theatre Lower Primary

Australian Readers’ Theatre – Lower Primary

Book Cover - Australian Readers Theatre Middle Primary

Book Cover – Australian Readers Theatre Middle Primary

Australian Readers’ Theatre – Middle Primary

Book Cover - Australian Readers Theatre Upper Primary

Book Cover – Australian Readers Theatre Upper Primary

Australian Readers’ Theatre – Upper Primary

Red Beach School New Zealand Compass Rose Performance

A big shout out to Jill McTeigue and the students of Red Beach School. Loved your photos from Compass Rose! Your sets and costumes look gorgeous and I hope you had a great time putting it on!

One lovely touch; Red Beach borrowed our original prop ‘Compass’ (to the right in the featured photograph) and it appeared in their school’s production. What a wonderful sharing across the ocean!

 

Emergency Radio Drama Unit

This year’s theme for World Radio Day was ‘Radio In Time of Emergency‘.

I developed this drama unit for Year 5 & 6 around that theme with a focus on improvised dialogue, characterisation and structure.

The lesson sequence is based on the 5Es teaching model, familiar to many teachers from working with the Primary Connections science modules. I find the structure admirably suited to drama units with its Engage / Explore / Explain / Elaborate / Evaluate cycle.

The full unit plan with Australian Curriculum outcomes and a pdf of Emeregency Scenario cards can be downloaded below.

Lesson sequence

Focus

 

Lesson content

Engage

  • Develops shared norms
  • Determines readiness for learning
  • Establishes learning goals
  • Emergency radio samples: Hindenberg, Nepal, aircraft landing.
  • Emergency / disaster photos. Improvise a radio broadcast as the different scenes appear.
  • Mime using different radios – hand-held, walkie talkies etc.

Explore

  • Prompts inquiry
  • Structures inquiry
  • Maintains session momentum
  • Emergency situation cards: short scenarios of amusing emergencies.
  • In groups, leader improvises the scene as the rest of group mimes the action.
  • Swap: group mimes as a ‘reporter’ improvises the narration of the action.

Explain

  • Presents new content
  • Develops language and literacy
  • Strengthens connections
  •  World Radio Day: discuss the themes.
  • Share the World Radio Day UN video.
  • In groups, respond to the themes – create a short scene demonstrating each. Emphasis on serious responses.
  • Hot-seating: journalist, refugee, radio broadcaster.

Elaborate Facilitates substantive conversation

  • Cultivates higher order thinking
  • Groups select a scenario for broadcast eg. Nepal earthquake, bushfire, refugee, bomb threat, flooding.
  • Students develop a script. Characters include broadcaster (DJ), reporter, ‘involved civilian’.
  • Recording of script, editing with sound effects, music, voiceovers.

Evaluate

  • Assesses performance against standards
  •   Facilitates student self assessment
  • ‘Braodcast’ of radio programmes.

Resources

Unit OutlineEmergency Scenario Cards 
Drama - 56DK Unit 1 - Emergency RadioEmergency Cards