My nine-year-old came home with a project from his gifted services teacher last month linked to Art History Month. He was asked to select an artist, musician or playwright whose work has stood the test of time and determine which of the Habits of Mind this person demonstrated.
My son selected Vincent Van Gogh, probably because the art teacher at my son’s school had delivered a great lesson on Van Gogh recently. We got books from the library, found websites, and my son started taking notes in Inspiration.
After a while, he thought that one of the habits of mind that Van Gogh demonstrated was “Listening with Empathy and Understanding,” because of his compassion for the poor. He consulted with his art teacher, who suggested that “Determination” would be another hallmark of this artist. Another online connection through a professional learning network (an art teacher who is a friend’s mother) suggested that Van Gogh’s experimentation with color might demonstrate “Creating, Imagining, and Innovating.”
My son browsed online galleries, collected the paintings that he thought best represented each of these Habits of Mind, and began assembling his tri-fold board. He’s done a nice job on it, and I’ll post a photo of it here tonight.
Somewhere in the process, he asked me if we could do something using some of the technology that I use every day with students in the district where I teach. I wasn’t sure what that would look like, but he collected the paintings in a folder on our computer, and started keying in some notes about what he wanted to say about each one. He really liked the idea of using the green screen effect and the Alpha Tool in Keynote, so we assembled the project there.
I was really proud of him for learning so quickly how to import, crop and edit photos in iPhoto, export them to Keynote, layer the photos after removing the green, and then resize himself appropriately for the paintings. It reminds me a bit of the book Katie’s Picture Show.
He then set to work writing his own scripts for each slide. He rehearsed them and recorded them (patiently, as I had not done that before, and we kept making mistakes.) Then he happily ran off to play while I worked on exporting the Keynote to a QuickTime movie so that his school could show it.
But then disaster struck. The exported version made all the timings go wrong. So we re-recorded the audio and re-exported it. It was even worse than the first one. Suggestions from my online PLN came in, and we opted to try to reconstruct the whole thing using Audacity, GarageBand and iMovie. So that meant having to re-record the audio AGAIN.
He got most of it done Sunday night, but was just too tired. So get this — he got up at 5:45am on Monday morning to record the last four audio clips before I went to work. THAT’S dedication.
Anyway, it took a little tweaking and editing, but he completed it. He added some cool transitions. (Gotta love Keynote for those!) And he selected the parts of Don McClean’s song that he wanted. I’m proud of him for wanting to do something different, something 21st century and beyond the trifold board. I’m proud of him for recording all of the narrations three times. And I’m really proud of him for all of the tech learning he’s done in the last week.
So proudly, proudly, I share with you… his presentation.
Please leave your comments for him here or on the fliggo site.