I love Anthropologie.  It's not secret.  I spend too many hours perusing its website.  Because I "like" Anthro on facebook, I'm able to stalk it even more: reading its status updates and photo shares.  Well, today Anthro posted a feature from their web mag on India in five senses.  Sounded interesting.  I'm sitting here doing nothing, sipping some water as my spiced chicken and stuffed peppers bake in the oven, waiting for Kyle to get home.  So I check it out.  And it was one of those moments when teachers are out, living their normal out-of-school lives, and something hits them as a great potential teaching idea!  We are always on the lookout - consciously or subconsciously - for teaching material.

Anyways - here's Anthro's feature: 
I plan to use this idea in my Arts History class.  Students will already have used Pinterest to introduce themselves, and I was considering using Pinterest again to have students visually represent the Romantic Era and then write accompanying captions.    Now I think I'll have students make a PowerPoint - or if students have tablets, something like MoodBoard - to represent the sights, sounds, textures, smell, and tastes of Romanticism.  I also like that the Anthro feature has a paragraph introduction.  I can see students creating a title slide with the introduction and then dedicate each of the following five slides to a different sense.  I like using photo captions to lend some context to the images so that students have to justify their choices and articulate themselves both verbally and visually.  

This sensory tour activity would obviously work well in geography or cultural studies classes.  But what about English or Art when you analyze imagery?  You could have students read a work - The Great Gatsby with its color imagery comes to mind - and put together a sensory tour that visually represents what the author puts into words.  Then, instead of written captions, you could accompany the images with passages from the novel.  

I can also think of an icebreaker on the five senses.  With the start of the school year coming up, I always dread trying to come up with an engaging icebreaker that hasn't been done a zillion times before.  What about a "My Summer in 5 Senses" activity?  Rather than having students do the hum-drum "share 3 fascinating things about yourself!" which rarely produces fascinating results, why not focus in on memorable summer moments?  It gives students a chance to share the highlights of their summer and also briefly reminicse about their beautiful summer lives before school sprung upon them yet again.  To test this out, I'm going to reflect on my summer in five senses:

Sight - Sitting on the deck of the Delta Queen looking at the downtown Chattanooga sitting high on the cliffs with the river spread out before us and the mountains encircling the city was a beautiful, peaceful, and memorable sight.

Sound - I become a little obsessed with Cher Lloyd this summer.  I love her hip, poppy, sassy music.  Listening to her sing about "turning her swag on" was pretty spec.   

Touch - While camping in the UP, Kyle and I spent a long afternoon playing in Lake Superior.  We made muddy sand balls and whipped them at one another.  I remember really clearly the feeling of scooping up the wet sand, letting the lake water drain between my finders, and packing the sand together into balls before chucking them at Kyle.

Smell - Sleeping in past 6 a.m. each morning this summer has been grand.  Dragging myself out of bed, stumbling into the kitchen, and whipping up a quick cup of coffee on the Keurig to get the day started: even better.  There's nothing like the smell of coffee to make mornings more enjoyable.  

Taste  - It seemed so special but was so simple: Kyle and I shared an ice cream cone of hand-scooped Mackinaw Island Fudge while visiting Tahquemenon Falls in the UP.  Cool, creamy, and delicious after hiking around the park.

That was quite fun.  Ima do it.  Thanks Anthro!  For your beautiful clothing, gifts, and decor, AND for your inspriring ideas.
 

PhotoPeach

08/12/2012

 
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One of my goals, as I'm designing my online classes, is to expose students to a variety of free online web tools.  In our first semester of Arts History, we'll be covering six eras together and then students will select three from a list of options to research on their own.  Lots to pack in in 3 1/2 months of time.  Initially, I wanted students to make a coffee-table style book for the Medieval era using Shutterfly, but I realized it would be too time-consuming with too much time spent on formatting the project when the bulk of the time needs to be spent processing the content.  I went to one of my trusty online resources, http://www.21things4teachers.net/, for ideas.  If you've never visited this site before, it has great lists of resources depending on what you're looking for collaboration, visual learning, presentation, or digital learning tools.  



Picture
They provided a link to something called PhotoPeach, a site that allows you to make slideshows that play like a video.  They're pretty visually dynamic because rather than sticking on a single unmoving image for each "slide" the camera zooms in or out or across the image to make it look like it's playing.  The great thing about this is that you don't have to program it to do the zoom; it does it automatically.  You write a caption to match up with each image, and it will scroll across the image at whatever speed you choose.  The best part, I think, is that you can layer music over it.  The site has a selection of musical works, but even better, you can upload audio from any YouTube video to your presentation.  Seemed easy enough, but I wanted to make sure it would work to meet my project's learning objectives.  I opened the assignment file and scanned through my objectives and the criteria I laid out for my students, and I got started working on the project myself.  Whereas students will have to include three artforms in their presentation, I only included one.  It took me under two hours to complete the project.  Granted, I didn't have to do much research on the content like my students will have to, but I did do a little research to refresh myself.  But just two hours to research images and artworks for my slideshow, to write out all of my captions to meet the criteria laid out in the assignment sheet, to organize the images, layer music on top of it, refine my wording a few times, and voila.  And that's on a dail-up speed internet connection.  That's certainly less than half the time it would have taken to make a Shutterfly, and I spent the bulk of my time researching images and wording my captions, not assembling the format of my PhotoPeach. which I think is fairly new as it still has very few users.   

Seemed easy enough, but I wanted to make sure it would work to meet my project's learning objectives.  I opened the assignment file and scanned through my objectives and the criteria I laid out for my students.  Then I got started working on the project myself.  Whereas students will have to include three artforms in their presentation, I only included one.  It took me under two hours to complete the project.  Granted, I didn't have to do much research on the content like my students will have to do, but I did do a little research to refresh myself.  But just two hours to research images and artworks for my slideshow, to write out all of my captions to meet the criteria laid out in the assignment sheet, to organize the images, to layer music on top of it, to refine my wording a few times, and voila.  And that's on a dail-up speed internet connection.  That's certainly less than half the time it would have taken to make a Shutterfly, and I spent the bulk of my time researching images and wording my captions, not assembling the format of my PhotoPeach. 

The program could be used as an alternative to PowerPoint or Prezi, but it's meant to stand on its own, whereas students usually use PP and Prezi as visual aids to accompany an oral presentation.  It's also meant to be image-centered as opposed to text-centered, and you're very limited on how much text you can fit on a slide.  There's a plus side to that too though because it forces you to break the information down into concise, easy-to-process chunks.  I think it would be a great tool for students to tell a visual narrative, to give a history report on an important event, to do a presentation on an artist and show several of his/her works, or for art students themselves to create a personal portfolio presentation with a collection of their works and artist statements alongside each.  Teachers could also use it to design presentations to deliver content.    

Simple and quick with engaging results.  Highly recommended.  
 

    About Me

    A lover of literature and the arts and an advocate for global awareness and active citizenship, I spend my days with high school English and Social Studies students exploring why it all matters and how they can have a voice in the world.  This is my space to document and reflect on my practice, note happenings in education, and share my appreciation for the arts.

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