If Hannibal from the A-Team had been with me in Aberdeenshire on Thursday he would have said, "I love it when a plan comes together!" You know why, because my plan did and how... For those of you who know me and who may occasionally read my ramblings then you'll know that I am big Guitar Hero fan. Red hot and untouchable at it I know but hey, that's what years of dedication can bring. Anyway, I really wanted to see if this resource had a place in class so I put a few sets in schools with my partner local authorities and gave them some ideas about how I though it may be used. One of these was P.7 at Meldrum PS. Have a look at the photos and then read on...
Meet 'Full Moon'
Again, very much in keeping with my philosophy of teaching, the teacher here has used Guitar Hero to create a 'Collaborative Story' about which she has thematically linked and stuctured various aspects of the curicculum. Very much in keeping with the Primary approach of thematic based learning. The main story about which the learning has happened is that as a result of getting lost in the 'crazy world of Rock and Roll' with the Guitar Hero the class have created their own fictional band called Full Moon. Full Moon have just released their first hit single called Pure Black Magic and I'm sure it's going to go double platinum!
Here is a brief description of what they have been doing in class:
- English Language: The class have established a highly believable, interesting and fully 3-dimensional set of band members via a series of rock biographies that the have written. These biographies had to be heard/read to be believed, they were fantastic! They have also worked on their persuasive wrting by penning adverts to sell the guitars they made in D&T that feature in the class guitar shop called Streets of Steel. They have also ben working on writing song lyrics and have penned what will no doubt become a rock anthem, 'Pure Black Magic.'
- Design and Technology: The teacher asked the class to design their idea of a 'must have' guitar. Little did they know that they were going to create one using junk! This they were duly asked to do but the criteria was that no sellotape was to be used in the construction of their guitar. You can see their guitars hanging on the wall in the photos.
- Drama: The class are working with the Drama teacher to create a rock video for one of four rock songs. The children are busily preparing their routines and their costumes and the videos are due to shot next week. They also had an X-Factor style audition session where the children played the parts of Sharon, Simon and Louie to give critiques of the hopefuls attempting to get in to Full Moon.
- Art & Design: Band logos have been designed, album covers, European Tour posters, Tour T-Shirts that can be ironed on and costumes have all, or are being, designed.
- Science: The class have been investigating sound by looking at the pitch made by different guitar strings and how this is changed when you press the string against the fret board.
- Environmental Studies: The class have got themselves so involved with this that they are now planning a European Tour and as a result they are working on an itenary for Full Moon for when they play the major European venues.
The teacher of the class has had P.7 a few times now and she has stressed that she can't believe how this project has galvainsed, motivated, engaged and excited a P.7 class at this stage of their school career. She says that normally once they have been to visit their 'new school' then it's very much a case of them looking forward to that but with this project it seems the class don't have enough time left to finish the work that they want to finish!
As for the kids in the class....well, I was really delighted with what I saw. Children beaming with interest, excitement and a willingness to get lost in this collaborative story. Here's what some of them had to say (unsolicited and spontaneous I may add):
"Normally we do english, maths, technology, art all on their own but with Guitar Hero II it's all linked instead of one thing at a time."
"Guitar Hero is really good fun but its at the centre of it and it really boosts you on and it helps you work on your imagination."
There will be much more to come in terms of evidence and detail on the soon to be unveiled and long awaited Learning and Teaching Scotland's Consolarium website! Photos of the kids playing me at Guitar Hero (and possibly video) will be there too and yes, in case you were wondering...I wiped the floor with all-comers although one young upstart deigned to overtake me mid-way through Surrender by Cheap Trick!
Great stuff at Meldrum PS and testament to what thoughtful creative and exciting use of resources by a skilled teacher can do to get the most, and more, out of children.