2014 Student Projects







Mr. Matt Hamilton: Writing through Rock and Roll - Summer English Course

Divine Child High School, Dearborn, MI

The summer course focused on building writing skills through music and we incorporated the Voice Your Choice program as a project prompt. As an English teacher, I was interested in approaching writing from a genre-study perspective, but I also wanted to engage students' interests in music and the necessity to build analysis and evaluation skills. I think that music criticism and music journalism engage all of these skills, so we worked with a lot of model texts (Ann Powers: NPR, etc.) to build an understanding of how to talk/write about music and how to construct effective arguments about music.

Throughout the summer, students were asked to choose a band/artist that they felt should be inducted into the Rock Hall and they needed to produce several writing assignments that would support their decision through a variety of genres (album review, concert review, exhibit announcement, etc). What I'm attaching here are students' final projects, which represent the culmination of their writing and thinking over the summer. Students were asked to produce a full museum exhibit that incorporated artifacts and captions to explain and support their argument for induction.

Generally, students got into the assignments and they turned out very cool. I was impressed with the final projects that came in (especially after some of the writing assignments!) The way we progressed through writing to final project submission helped to focus - and during the summer, I was able to give feedback regularly. Visiting the Rock Hall was very helpful for all of the students; they were able to see what "real" exhibits look like so that they could develop ideas about what to include and what to write about. What I'm hoping to refine this year is the focus earlier on in the course - I'd like to be able to dig deeper into music analysis and evaluation. This course turned into almost entirely studies in music journalism, but it'd be really interesting to think more about why we like music and how we talk about music, and then develop vocabulary and language to support those kinds of arguments - and then compare with the criteria from the Rock Hall.

Project #1: Brett (Soundgarden)
Brett was perhaps most enthusiastic about rock music, but perhaps struggled the most with writing. The project was an excellent opportunity for him to focus his interests and learn how to express his opinions in some writing-heavy assignments, but also some multi-genre pieces. He produced a really impressive Prezi that incorporated multiple media pieces into probably the best project that I received.

Project #2: Tess (Regina Spektor)
Tess is a unique student who enjoys reading and studying, but manages to stay grounded and thus understands that complexities of an assignment like this: produce a professional, in-depth analysis while remaining relevant for audiences. It is obvious that her passion for Spektor's music is not fleeting, and I liked the extra background and analysis that she was able to bring into her exhibit.

Project #3: Laura (Justin Timberlake)
Laura is an exceptionally hard worker, and I was impressed that she created a website for her exhibit. I think this medium worked well for presenting her ideas and it turned out like a virtual museum, which was what I was hoping a lot of the projects would look like.

Elisa Lieb: High School Rock and Roll Methods

New Berlin High School, New Berlin, IL

Students enrolled in “Rock and Roll Methods” at New Berlin High School researched musicians who they thought should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and created PowerPoint presentations on their choices. The greatest challenge for these students was forming an argument for why their artist deserves this honor, and not just researching facts about each musician’s life and music. The students presented their projects and voted as a class for who should be inducted. Jack’s project won by a landslide; Jack did a fantastic job creating and supporting his argument with plenty of evidence, and he successfully convinced us of John Mayer’s musical excellence.

 

Bob Schofield: Music Technology

Paradise High School, Paradise, CA

This is the second time that Paradise High School has participated in the Voice Your Choice project.  Like two years ago the students in our Music Tech class decided to make a video project, but this time they added the twist of a newscast announcing the finalists to our Hall of Fame.  Just like two years ago this project was very popular amongst the students.
    One of the reasons I like this project is that it allows learning across the spectrum.  The students first have to decide what kind of Hall of Fame they want.  Different genres of music are suggested, and then students research and give a verbal presentation on those genres.  When that is completed the students vote a few times until the final genre is chosen.  This year the theme was Indie Rock.
    Once a genre is chosen the class researches Hall of Fame entrance requirements for a wide variety of halls (you’d be surprised how many are out there!).  From this we create are own rules and then we create our definition of Indie Rock.  Now comes the fun part!
    The students dig into different bands and performers.  They create a list of possible inductees, and then double check to make sure they meet our criteria.  From here the students are assigned different groups to research and then make a verbal presentation to the class about their group with the idea of convincing the class whether they should or should not be in our Indie Rock Hall of Fame.  After the presentations voting takes place and this year we came up with three finalists.
    Next the students needed to create the project.  Parts were assigned, scripts were written, parts were practiced, and filming took place.  Some scenes took one take, most took more!  After that we used green screen technology to add backgrounds, and then it was sent to editing.
    Students on the editing team had to take all the different scenes, introductions, credits, etc. and blend them into one cohesive program.  When you factor in the music, text, and other items of interest this turned out to be a long process.  I’m not completely satisfied with the end result but we learned a lot and the final project is much, much better than our first try.
    One of our biggest challenges was in deciding which groups should be inducted.  One of our pet peeves was Indie Bands who went out and made a lot of money.  Do you choose a group like Nirvana, who was very influential and yet maybe did not stick to the Indie format?  Or how about Smashing Pumpkins?  We spent quite a while debating our choices.
    Another challenge was the public speaking on film.  Most students did great when they had to present in class, but once in front of the camera it was a different story!  This class does no acting or anything like that, so we had to rely on our skills as they existed and then attempt to improve on them.
    As usual this was a great project.  My class enjoys it, the administration is impressed, and I intend on keeping it as part of my curriculum.

 

 

Mrs. Melinda Cales: Language Arts 7-8

Chapelside Academy, Cleveland, Ohio

This page has been created to showcase the work done by Mrs. Cales' 7th and 8th grade students at Chapelside Cleveland Academy during the 2013/2014 school year for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Voice Your Choice Program.  The original project was presented to students after a field trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on February 6th, 2014. Students attended a Rockn' The Schools Black History Month presentation from the Rock Hall and then toured the museum.The Project Based Learning opportunity directions provided to the students may be viewed below.

Mrs. Cales' class got into small groups created several prezis and mindomos about their selected Inductees. You can see all of the projects here. Students' names and their nominations are on the left-hand side of the website.

 

 

Samantha Varney and Schlee Weis: 4th and 5th Grade

University Park Elementary, Casper, Wyoming

The 4th and 5th grade students were given a project that required reading for research and writing a persuasive essay. Their project was to choose an artist from a list of artists chosen by the teachers. They were required to take notes on three areas: artist performances, music and accomplishments. The students then had to form an opinion of why their artist should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They then used their research to write a persuasive essay to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame explaining why their artist should be inducted. The essays are on the Beatles, Cyndi Lauper (and here), the Elvis Presley, (and here), Aerosmith, the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, the Journey (and here), the Eagles, and the Supremes.

 

After completing their essays, the students presented them to a high school music theory class.