Here is the Koto ensemble performing OKOTO in the 2012 Yokohama International School Middle School Music Showcase
In Periods three too four, we had English class
We have just started our new unit in class, and we are going to learn about Movies and Videos.
At the moment, we are learning how the camera’s angle help the audience to understand more about the scene
and get across what the person making the video wants to portray and how that is important to create an impact and variety in the movie.
We were assigned to create short video clips from a high and low angle. As you can tell by the name, a high-angle take is when the scene is filmed from above the person. This effect can help the audience to understand that the person is vulnerable.
The opposite can be said about a low-angle which gives the audience the impression that the person is dominant.
Our whole class was divided into groups of two, and today we had fourteen students. I teamed up with Charlotte, and we used our iPhones to film. My role was to act like James Bond, or any kind of action Spy character. This was taken from a Low-Angle view. Charlotte’s role was to act like ‘Jack in the Box’ except jumping from a table, instead of jumping out.
Here are Snapshots of us performing. (Photos will be uploaded soon).
My idea of James Bond went well, and Charlottes ‘Jack in the Box’ was very funny. I acted like James Bond using my hands as a gun, and hiding behind walls. Charlottes ‘Jack in the box’ was very funny, and she put on a face that suited her jump. I think this worked well, because earlier I said that a low-angle can help or aid the audience to think that the person is very smart or dominant. When I acted like James Bond, I was trying to tell the audience that I was a spy and very smart and strong.
We had come up with lots of different ideas, and all of them were creative and funny. Unfortunately, Charlotte had trouble filming these, because I fell, failed or laughed. We had numerous tries, but all went bad. Charlotte is a good actor, but our ideas were not easy to perform. I think the high-angle of Charlotte was good, because it gave the audience a happy feeling. Not only that, it was easier to tell the audience that Charlotte was jumping out of the box.
I learned how high and low angle shots create different perspective to the audience. (I think this would be very helpful for future acting or for Drama class). I hope I can use this technique when taking pictures of cars and planes, something I love to do in my spare time.
In English class we all have been reading different detective books. We were all allowed to choose one book and read it. I chose Young Sherlock Homes:Death Cloud written by Andrew Lane.
I thought this book was very interesting and has lots of heart-beating moments. I would love to tell you the main characters but it is up to you to find out
After we read our mystery book, we had to review it by creating a podcast. To make our podcast, we used Garage Band, an application that comes pre-installed on a Macintosh computer. After we made our podcast, we had to hand it in to the teacher and she would decide our scores. Below is the podcast, and I hope you like it.
In P.E class, we have been learning how to do Gymnastics and making a dance using the following skills.
- Forward Rolling
- Backward Rolling
- Vault techniques
- Log roll
These are things we practiced in P.E Class before Spring Break, and we had to use these things in our P.E dance.
Here is our video using almost everything above. I hope you like it!
In our dance performance, we used several things. We used the “forward roll, backward roll, cart-wheel, vault and balances”. We used all of these different things and arranged it into a dance we thought looked cool!
Our movements were sequenced and I think they all went nicely together. I thought our introduction looked the best in our dance, since we had all sorts of different movements. Not only that, we practiced our movements in a dangerous way. When I say this, Johan and Arunansu performed Cart-Wheels near each-other, then forward rolling. Sean and I also rolled right beside each other, and we had to be careful not to roll into each other.
I had the most trouble performing a cart-wheel, because every time I tried doing it, I fell over. This is why you did not see me perform a cartwheel. After all of the lessons trying to do a cart-wheel, I never was able to do it. I was quite disappointed, because I think a cart-wheel is something that looks pretty cool.
I really did enjoy rolling in the air after I sprung on the spring board. I thought it looked very cool, and also the air “Wooshing” around you. Not only that, when you look around you, it is a really blurry but cool sight.
I think our group was using the time well, however in some classes I went off topic. However, my group quickly got me back into practicing, but I was not the only one getting off topic. Johan made a joke using our vault procedure. When I say this, we had a way of remembering the order of vault pattern. We used to say “Spin Spin, Da Da, Roll Roll” to remember it. This was Johan’s way of remembering it, and I said to him “We are not making sushi!” and he was giggling through the whole lesson.
I think I would have to improve landing after I do a vault, because every time I perform one, I never land on my feet, which is quite annoying when I see everybody land on their feet. However, I am happy not landing on solid ground what Arunansu did when trying to land!
I thought Gymnastics was very fun, and I wished it was longer.
During the last few periods of science class, we have been making drop-proof egg boxes. We did this experiment because we are learning different types of forces.
Our first challenge was to make a 20×20 box with any materials we wanted to stop the egg cracking from a 10-20 meter high drop. My group, A.J.E brought in a small box with styrofoam and bubble-wrap. We had tons of the stuff and made our box drop-proof that can withstand twice the vibration from our first drop.
When we were making the box, we designed to make it as safe as possible. We had a small tea box, so we decided to put our egg in it. We wrapped the egg in bubble wrap then safety placed it in the small box. Then we used the same method of folding a Japanese obento box to cover up it up. Then we got our 20x20cm box then taped sheets of cotton to the bottom and sides inside the box. Johan made a joke that it looked like a baby cradle, and I had to agree with him! Once we did that, we got our smaller box then placed it in the box. Then we filled in the remaining gaps with bubble wrap and styrofoam. After we did all of those steps, we taped the lid to the box and wrote “A.J.E Mail” on the sides and “Fragile” on the top!
We dropped our box, and it made a huge “Bang” when it landed. However, when we opened the box, the egg was intact and we had succeeded! We were one of the four groups that succeeded. Group #5 unfortunately did not survive.
Our second challenge was to make a 10x10cm box, again with any materials we wanted. Our group decided to use the same materials. We got our 20x20cm box, and cut into four 10x10cm pieces. We then taped it all together tightly then filled the box with the cotton we had. We used the same design by taping the cotton to the sides and the bottom. However, instead of using the tea box as the egg cover, we wrapped the egg in cotton then bubble wrap over styrofoam and the egg. We then filled the gaps with the remaining materials then taped the lid. Our second box was ready to roll!
The Second Test:
We again dropped the egg from the same height and watched it land. It did not make a loud “Bang” like what our 20x20cm box did. It made a soft sound, as if landed on a mattress. We watched everyone’s and they all made the same sound. However, some decided to use a parachute, but the parachute was released too late and made a bang. One team was disqualified, because they went over the 10x10cm limit. Luckily, we didn’t. After we did all of that, we opened the box and dug in and un-wrapped the soft ball of materials, and found our egg intact. We succeeded and were delighted. We weren’t the only group’s egg who survived, one more had survived. Unfortunately, the three other groups did not survive.
In Technology class, we have been planning and making our own tutorials. We are nearly at the end of this unit and we are finishing our “Create” category out of the four categories we need to complete. My reflection of my own tutorial is the last thing I need to do to complete and finish this stage.
After we made our tutorial, we were asked to watch other student tutorials in our grade. When we finished watching their tutorial, we had to give comments and opinions by answering these questions.
- What makes this a good tutorial? Why?
- What did you learn by watching their tutorial?
- What criteria does this tutorial meet?
I chose tutorials made by Alex Y.P and Justin C. You can visit their blogs via the following links. I thought both of these subjects were interesting to watch and also to use.
When I watched Justin’s and Alex’s tutorials, I learned to screen record for free, and also how to make a realistic house in Google Sketch Up 8. I thought these things are quite helpful, because I like to make installation tutorials, and I think using quicktime player is very useful. Not only that, I think Google Sketch Up would be helpful for class projects, for example for Humanities and other classes.
During the process of making my own tutorial, I learned a lot of different and interesting things. The most obvious point I learned was how important it was to organize exactly what I wanted to explain in the time allowed. It is easier to talk about preparation but doing it for real was less easy! Looking at it afterwards, I was concerned that the information I was giving was not really for beginners or related to my title. The biggest thing I learned was that I should have rehearsed more!
I am not really happy with my tutorial as I think I should have made one that had a more simple subject. It may have been easier to have just introduced the Koto to people instead of speaking about dynamics. I could have explained about the history of Koto, the wood used, the strings and how to pluck them with Tsume.
In the tutorial I made, I did not explain the topic very well because I should have shown how to read the notes instead of showing what the notes looked like. Other things I did not like were the location and lighting that I chose. I should have had a brighter place which showed up the koto more. The ending was also quite sudden. However, I thought my voice was loud and clear and I stayed at one tempo.
I think my tutorial would pass the following criteria: Sound quality, Language, Volume and Pacing. I think I did a good job at these things, but now realize that I need to improve others parts to fit other criteria.
To create a better tutorial, I would change my camera angle, location and lighting. I think I also need to take more time with planning what I want to say to the audience. Cropping my videos better and adding music next time is also something I should spend more time thinking about.
If you would like to watch my tutorial, please scroll down two posts, and you will find a post titled “Watch my tutorial!!!!”. I hope you enjoy and please comment on what I should improve next time.
In our Second art unit (Express yourself: Portrait painting), we have been painting a portrait of ourselves. However, this time we have not been using pencil, but paint. We used different kinds of paint to express ourselves and our feelings. I thought this was a time to really tell the world how I feel. In all our units, we always have a unit question. “How do our personal experiences shape our identity?” and our significant concept was “Our culture affects our identity.”
I did improve my painting skills and made some progress throughout each lesson. However, I did not plan since I was not on the day when we planned and made a example one. This affected my painting skills, since I did not paint for a year, or possibly more. But after a few lessons when we started our final painting, I got into it and knew what I was doing. However, I needed to plan my time a bit more efficiently, because I wasted a few lessons trying to paint my nose. All of those lessons turned out to be a disaster, and people started making jokes that I had plastic surgery. And after all of those lessons, I had at least eight plastic surgeries.
I felt good when I did my background, because it was a smooth background and I did not have to paint over again. Not only that, I thought the colour was pretty and it matched all of the colours around it. I do have to thank Mr. Curkovic for helping me make the colours and what paints I have to use.
The reason why I chose creamy colours, is because I am happy most of the time, and laugh quite a lot. I also feel happy when I make other people laugh. Not only that, I really do like blue, especially creamy blue colours.
I thought this unit was very fun and challenging. I thought I did a good job painting my clothes and the background. But because of this unit, I now can make lots of different things and come up new designs for other units in school.