In drama we finished a unit about creative movement, which is basically dancing, but with more of a storyline and purpose. For our final assessment, we got into groups of two or three, and make up a sequence that follows a storyline. I was in a group with Rhiannu and Layna, and we made our dance about not listening. We used the song ‘Freak the Freak Out’ from the TV show Victorious, because the idea in the song is similar to our plot. It starts out with me walking in, wearing headphones and dancing around, but in most of the dance moves I accidentally hit the other two, who had just been sitting down. They start to get really annoyed, but I don’t notice until the beginning of the chorus, and I “unplug” the headphones. After that we all start dancing together. However, at the end of the song, I put the headphones back on and Layna and Rhiannu sit down again, as if nothing ever happened. Here is our video:
Because creative movement isn’t exactly the same as dance, we used real movements, and tried to make them more dramatic and creative, so that they could be used as dance moves. We mainly did this in the beginning of the song, because I didn’t want to literally smack my friends in the face. For the first move I slide between them, causing them to roll away from each other. In another one, I swing my arms around from one side to the other, which makes both of them duck to avoid being hit. In one other move I reach out my hands, elbow them in the side, and then push them away from me. In other parts of the song, we also took real movements and made them different by adding something, making them more flowing, or something else. When you’re changing the movements, you have to think about the smooth/jerky and fast/slow. Most of our movements are smooth, but a few of them were more angled and jerky. I think we kept the movements at about a medium pace, because nothing was ever extremely fast or slow during the song.
We had to include lots of things in our sequence. One of them was symmetry and asymmetry, which we definitely used, because lots of the movements were the same, and we also have one where we all bend in toward the middle. We also had lots of parts where we were doing completely different things, and that was asymmetrical. The second thing was balance and the use of level and body position. I think that we had a pretty good balance of different levels, because sometimes we’re sitting down, standing up, and at one point we even make a pyramid. I think that our timing was good most of the time, but we made a few small mistakes here and there. At first we didn’t have very good transitions between each sequence, but I think it got a lot better after we practiced more. I think that most of our gestures were clear, but we could’ve had more facial expressions (we look really bored sometimes). There was an area marked by tape that we had to stay inside so that we would be in the video, but during the pyramid, Layna’s head is cut off a bit, which we probably should’ve thought out before. The last few things: we all used the prop at some point, the story makes sense, and we stayed focused the whole time. Overall, I think we did a great job.
One thing that was a bit difficult for me was the beginning of the song, because I couldn’t hear the music through the headphones, and I kept missing the cue. When we actually performed in front of the class, the music was a lot louder, so I could hear it and everything was fine. I know we also had some difficulties with the timing, especially how long to keep the headphones on. When we passed them around, one person would always have them for only a few seconds before they had to pass them to me, because we spent too much time walking around with them on. We didn’t exactly find a solution for that problem, but luckily when we filmed we got it to the last person in time.
The unit really gave me a new perspective, because it isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you say the word ‘dance’. Most people think of moving your arms and legs in cool ways, or ballet, or even tap dancing, but not really just taking an actual action and making it a dance move. I think that our group achieved some great things, because we really captured that idea and used it, even if you don’t notice at first. When you think about it, a lot of our movements look realistic. Watching other groups’ performances also helped, because all of the ideas put together are really encouraging, and it shows how much we’ve learned over the course of this unit.
We finished a second podcast in English, and this time the theme was a mystery or detective book. I read ‘A Murder is Announced’ by Agatha Christie. After we finished all the recording and put it into Miss Cox’s dropbox, it was put on podbean. Here’s my podcast:
I had a few comments on my first podcast too. One of them was from a high school student, and it helped me by encouraging me to explain more about which parts of the book I liked. Miss Cox also gave us comments on a google doc, but I fixed most of the problems. I think that working with others will really help my learning for my next podcast. When you’re with other people they can give you feedback, and you can also compare work with each other. Doing this is quite an advantage, because then you get a hint about if the audience will like your podcast. I think that I rushed my recording in a few places, so to improve for next time, I should slow down a bit.
Just before spring break, we finished our final tutorials in tech class. During the process, we had to use unstructured work time, so we had to organize when we were going to do different steps. I’m quite happy that we’re done with it because there was a lot of hard work involved, but it was also really fun to make. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my tutorial is about how to multiply and divide fractions. I made it to help people that want to learn how to, because if my tutorial wasn’t useful, there wouldn’t be any point in making it. Now that we finished, I am happy with my final tutorial, because I know I put a lot of effort into it, and did the best that I can. I also think that it turned out pretty well, and I think (at least I hope) that someone, somewhere will think that it’s useful.
This is my finished tutorial:
Throughout the process of making my tutorial, I learned a lot of things. First of all, it’s very important to plan out your time and the different steps you have to go through to get to your final product, because if you don’t know what to do, you can’t get anywhere. I was planning to practice, but ended up just recording each section separately using voiceover on iMovie. That way, if I just recorded two or three times, it would work out fine. Of course I also learned how to make a good tutorial in general, using the class criteria we made at the beginning of the year.
One thing that was quite difficult for me was when all of my audio went wrong. For some reason it looked like everything was there, but I couldn’t hear it (and no, I didn’t have the mute button on). I could easily replace the music, but all of my voiceover clips were gone too, which would almost be like starting all over. Luckily, I noticed that on one of the voiceover files, there was a little yellow triangle with an exclamation point inside it. I just deleted that one file, and everything went back to normal, I just had to re-record that one part.
Most of the other things were easy to do, especially adding titles, and transitions, and cropping the image. I added a simple title that had the name of each step in the top-left corner of the video, and used the same transition to connect clips, so that was quite simple. I also cropped each video a little bit, so that I only included the part of the screen that I needed. (I had recorded by filming my screen while I kept clicking the undo button on Doozla – that way each step showed up with one click.) It sounds kind of complicated, but it’s really simple once you know what to do.
One of the 3 main criteria that my tutorial meets is having clear directions. I think that in my tutorial all of the instructions are clear, and easy to understand. Whenever I needed to, I went over a step again, and I didn’t go too fast. Before I filmed my tutorial, I asked a few friends if the directions were clear, and they said they were, so I went on from there. The second criteria is good quality. The quality of my video was good, so that the audience would be able to see clearly what to do. I also think that the quality of the voiceover clips I used was clear, so people could also hear what to do. The last criteria I think my tutorial meets is being on topic. The whole time I was talking about how to multiply and divide fractions, and I didn’t stray into other subjects. Having your video on topic is a good thing, because otherwise people might get bored or confused and find a different tutorial.
There was one other step in between that we had to do: the analyze step. We had to look at at least two tutorials that other people in the grade made. I looked at Helen’s and Marina’s. From Helen’s I learned how to make a splatter painting correctly. Before I watched it, I didn’t know that you were supposed to tap the brush, which is a lot cleaner than just flicking it everywhere. I thought it was really good how she put parts of the video in slow motion, which is a really good technique, because it shows the audience exactly what it should look like. I learned about how important repetition is from Marina’s, especially when you’re teaching a language, which she was. Her tutorial was about how ‘J’ in spanish sounds like ‘H’. She repeated how to say different words several times, which was really helpful, because it emphasizes the correct way to say things.
I think that there are some other things I could learn how to do to make my tutorial even better. Originally, I was going to film myself drawing with a pencil and paper instead of on Doozla, but I couldn’t figure out how to film it. I think it might be good if we could learn an easy way to do that in class, not necessarily for me, but maybe in the years to come. Some things are really hard to do or show on Doozla or other computer applications, so as long as we can film the paper, it would be good. Otherwise I think that my tutorial turned out great, it was just that the process did take quite a while, but at the same time, there was a lot of effort put into it.
Now that our whole tutorial unit is finished, I feel a bit sad, but really proud of everything I’ve accomplished over the time. I really learned a lot from this whole process, because we had four sections, with four stages, which makes you really learn a lot. I’m very proud of my finished tutorial, and I think it will help lots of people, with learning how to multiply and divide fractions, and how to make a good tutorial.
In PE, we just finished our unit on gymnastics. At the beginning of the unit, we practiced individual skills, like cartwheels, and vault tricks, but at the end we had an assignment where we had to make up a routine. We worked in small groups, and I was with Helen, Charlotte and Aruna. In the routine, we had to include several things, like one type of roll each, three different things on the vault and some group balances. When we did our actual performance last week though, Aruna was sick, so we had to do the final filming without her. Here is our video:
In our routine, the skills we used on the mat were forward, backward, and log rolls, cartwheels and roundoffs, group balances, and I did a back walkover. On the vault we did several different things too: there was the twist, the knee-tuck, the simple star-jump, and the flip. I think the way we put everything together was good, and the movements were flowing, because we had some things on the mat and some things on the vault, then a bit more on the mat and the rest of the vault skills. To finish off, we had our finale on the mat. Some other groups put everything on the mat together and everything on the vault together, so some of the audience got a little bit bored.
For me, the most challenging skill was the back walkover. I learned how to do them in third or fourth grade, but I hadn’t done one in a while, so I had to do a lot of practicing to get used to it. When we first started planning the routine, I was just going to do a roundoff, but when we had extra time and I was fooling around, I tried a back walkover. At first I couldn’t do it very often, but I realized that the key to success was momentum. I could only do it when I was going fast enough, which was why I decided to do it after the roundoff. When we did our final performance, I was secretly worrying that I would mess up and fall on the mat, but luckily, I didn’t.
The skill I enjoyed the most was probably the flip on the vault. The feeling was amazing… it was like I was flying through the air. When we started practicing, I was going to jump onto the vault, and flip from there, but I ended up doing it differently. I ran, bounced off of the springboard, and put my hands down on the vault instead of my feet. From there I flipped around onto the big mat with a bit of help from Miss Buehler, one of our PE teachers. I think doing that was a lot more fun than my original version, because everything goes faster, and I enjoyed it a lot more.
During this unit we got a lot of time to practice. I think that most of the practice sessions were productive for our group, but sometimes we were just messing around. I think the problem was that we had five or six groups in the class, but there was only one vault. We had to set up rows of mats around the room, with one of them next to the vault so that the group there could practice the whole routine. We rotated between places, so that each group got a turn on the vault, but all of that time with the mats was wasted by some people in all of the groups. Most of the time we stayed on topic and focused, but after we had practiced everything and still had more time, we decided to waste it a bit.
Something that I think our group could improve in the performance is probably the individual balance, because we always got the wrong timing. We wanted to put one hand down and then one foot, but at least one person got it wrong every time. There was also the problem that it wasn’t really individual. We all did the same pose in a line, and then put one arm on the shoulder of the person next to us. Overall, I think we did a really good job, because we were still organizing things on the day of the performance, but everything ended up all right.