Thursday, 4 May 2017

Musical Storytelling - CFE 5/4/17

Danielle and Joyce

This morning’s activities began in the garden, where John led us through some musical storytelling activities. 

We started off by discussing how language can take different forms through sound, gestures, and movement, and how these can vary greatly across cultures.

Next, John had us go around the circle naming our favourite activities from the CFE so far so that we could find a common theme for our musical story production that was to come. The most common favourite activity was “digging in the dirt”, so we decided to create our story about the day in the life of a garden beetle, our collective favourite bug.

Our task was to depict a day in the life of our beetle by drawing pictures on a giant piece of paper. We started off by drawing a timeline across the sheet of paper to provide us with a simple direction. We could then draw out time specific scenarios our beetle would go through in a day. While some of us drew pictures of our beetle tunnelling in the soil, fending off robins, or mating with his female love interest, others wrote the narration for our story on a big white board.

In order for our drawn and written story to match, we communicated frequently on what our intentions were. We mainly focused on drawing out the pictures first and then translating it into written form. 

John emphasized the need to have a fact-based story, and he encouraged us to do research on our phones to keep true to the real life of the beetle. 
Drawing out the spectacular adventures of our beetle

In addition to conducting cell phone research, our group was lucky enough to have a connection with a beetle expert. Susan called her brother-in-law Keith in Kentucky and we were able to ask him our burning questions and receive very informative details about the beetle, which we included in our story. For this type of project in the classroom, you could ask students to become the experts and have them do research on their own and come back with facts ready to be used.

Narration of story with sound cues
After we completed the drawn and written components of the story, we moved onto developing the presentation of the story. John provided us with different objects we could use to produce the sounds involved in our story, We were thus adding the musical component of the storytelling of our beetle. Some of us produced the sounds from the object provided and some of us produced sounds using our body. This process involved a lot of experimenting with different sounds and discussion about what drawn scene would fit with what kind of sound. To ensure everyone's engagement in the musical storytelling, we were each given a role to play and were responsible for producing the sound at the right time. One person was responsible for narrating the story while the rest of the group produced the sounds on cue with the storytelling. 
Making popping sounds using our hands and mouth

As John mentioned, we did this activity in half a day but it could easily be done in a couple weeks with a group of students. This activity incorporates problem-based learning, place-based learning, and it is student-directed. I would definitely consider doing this activity in my future classrooms to develop and enhance students' ability to work cooperatively in groups. 

For our activities in the afternoon, we split up into two groups. Claudia and Dilpreet were responsible for making scarecrows to patrol our garden and keep our precious crops safe from garden predators. The rest of the group were responsible for different parts of the garden. I was part of the 'creating a pathway' group where we basically dug up weeds in order to pave a beautiful dirt pathway. Although the sun was beating down at us, it was extremely satisfying digging up weeds and getting to the very end of the roots.

Lastly, for the final portion of our time in the garden, we got together as a group to discuss our workshop. We focused on the Scavenger Hunt component of our workshop and had a discussion on the different stations we would have. It was a free-for-all where people bounced their ideas off each other. We reached the conclusion that we will have 7 stations and once all the groups has completed all the stations, they will have the required tools and materials to plant a seed in a handmade newspaper pot. Once a group completes the task at a station, they will be given an item. The items include:
- newspaper strip
- wooden pot maker (two parts)
- soil
- spoon
- seeds
- water

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