No.7 - Right
Out of Thin Air
Brought to Us
and Part of Nature
Welcome to Issue #7 of The Creative Teaching Space.
This edition – Right Out of Thin Air – continues our focus on a range of creative strategies and ideas that open new territories for us in the classroom, training rooms and beyond.
In this issue I continue a focus on the Essential Learnings curriculum in Tasmania – Investigating the Natural and Constructed World – which has relevance for all teachers interested in developing student sensitivity and capacity to analyse the natural and man-made world.
Furthermore the many other strategies throughout the magazine suggest possibilities for where we can go with curriculum. I am always fascinated by the many ideas we can explore through the web. A journey into the exploring of sound files has led to an interest in alternative histories – see The Acoustic World of Early Modern England, down the page – and I am now reading a text on the history of smell. This of course moves across disciplines such as science, history, medicine, the media, etc. There are many ways of relating to the world, and its history, and it is a delight to find new interests – as it is a delight to encourage students on their path of discovery.
Enjoy what’s here and feel free to get back to me with any strategies that may be working for you in the classroom, the training room or any other educational environments. Experiment and be open to possibilities.
It is an amazing world out there and our interest in it is a great way of combating the negative and fearing forces so cynically perpetuated nowadays. Revel in other cultures, the past and possibility. There are many doors that can open – externally and/or internally.
Boy playing flute, Peru, 1954, Werner Bischof.
This Peruvian boy is walking past fields, across mountains, to a destination. Firm stride, concentrated, he hears the sound of his flute. This is the pied piper summoning a photographer, inviting us into his dream, his space. We are carried along. We contemplate the reason for his journey, what he is carrying, and from where he has come. What is the reality of this moment? Labour or play? Dreaming? The boy surrounds himself with an aura of sound, a world within his world, surrounding himself as he walks. His sounds echo through the valleys, peasants raise their eyes and smile. Again this is only one small part of many journeys: Now a sixty-year-old man dreams of his boyhood flute. Perhaps he no longer lives. His sister, newly introduced to a computer, recognizes a photo of a lost brother. She dreams of her brother. She hears the sounds of the flute echoing through a much-changed valley. The photographer has returned – but reality tells us a different story. Days after having taken this photograph Werner Bischof, a deeply compassionate photographer, was tragically killed in a jeep accident.
White Spacewalking Above the Texas Coastline,
Edward White is spacewalking, tethered to the mothership, floating in a soundless sea of poison. The earth shines blue. The ‘umbilical cord’ that attaches him to the ship curves and strangely adopts an embryonic shape. Here man is at the limits of technology, surrounded by risk, absorbed in the highly drilled and technical requirements of space travel. Yet, photography allows its own space – a space for reflection – a moment to pause and wonder at the beauty, and death: the arms of motherhood returning at the most unlikely of moments.
Details of this space walk from the NASA website:
What would it be like to space walk? How has the experience of space travel affected astronauts and cosmonauts? Encourage students to imagine such experiences.
Read astronauts' impressions of space:
The web presents us with increasingly sophisticated opportunities of exploring sound. We can communicate with others in real time, record our voice, download music, and sounds, as well as listen to streamed archives of radio shows and live music performances.
But first you may like to investigate the nature of sound. There are many sites on the web dedicated to sound and the human ear. Let your students explore a diagram of the human ear. Can they physically represent how it works via a group movement piece?
We have some understanding of how the present sounds. List the many sounds we hear in everyday experience. How, nevertheless, did the past sound?
Smith's text explores how England may have sounded in the past. Exhaustive research has revealed the types of daily sounds experienced. This included the sounds of blacksmiths, church bells, street vendors, musicians, horses, rushing underground rivers and the general sounds of a less private household world e.g. the fact of many people living together or the sounds of servants, maids, etc.
Choose a historical context and write it from a sound perspective!
In the review of the text Mark Smith: Listening to Nineteenth-Century America, further reference is made to how people may have experienced sound in the past: the over-powering sound of cities to a rural person, the silence of the country to a person from the city, the sounds associated with slaves as well as the threat and fear of slave silence.
In the review of Victorian Soundscapes JOHN M. PICKER, Harvard University reference is made to how people from the Victorian period may have experienced sound: imagine the impact of new machinery, telephones and recording equipment. How would people have felt?
Do you know that a possible recording of Queen Victoria lies in the vaults of the Science Museum in London? Read about the recording.
Explore archived recordings of sound artists. EarClips at the ABC website is a collection of new work for radio commissioned by the show called The Listening Room. It includes 19 three-minute sound clips.
The EarClips have been made by emerging and established sound artists and composers around the country, all drawn to the challenge of creating a three minute work – the length of a music track – expressing something of their personal lives and experiences in this form. In choosing the theme "my world, this time", we have sought a sense of what is in the air at this point of time in the year 2002 – what matters to these creative makers, what they are yearning to express whether it be global or national issues impacting here in Australia, or aspects of personal cultural identity. They range from responses to the recent dramas of bushfires and asylum seekers, to beach culture, drover's dogs, unemployment and steel city blues.
Kim’s song is delightful. Explore the Earclips.
Explore early Edison recordings online. Hear recordings of the human voice dating back to the 1880s.
Hear old cylinder recordings predating the first records. How have recording and playing devices changed over the years? Discuss.
Visit the extraordinary Library of Congress site that includes The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip. This archive was incredibly influential in bringing early styles of music to a wider public and in influencing the burgeoning folk music scene of the 1950s and 1960s. If it wasn’t for many of these recordings, and their transcription and re-recording by influential musicians, the state of 20th century American music would have been much poorer.
What would it have been like to make this journey? Explore the text: The Land Where the Blues Began: Alan Lomax. I’m sure that one day this will be made into an extraordinary film.
Listen to the singing of the song called This Old House. Recorded and trivialized in the 1980s by Shakin’ Stevens do we realize that the song is actually a metaphor that alludes to the breakdown of a body? Isn’t it interesting how meanings get watered down? Now songs such as this pop up in lifestyle television shows and adverts.
This Old House
ole house knew my children
ole house ar' full of laughter
gonna need this house no longer
ole house is gettin' shaky
ole house is gettin' feeble
Now let’s look at the Science perspective. Consider how the use of sound has influenced medicine.
How does sound affect our lives – positively and negatively?
‘In space no one can hear you scream’ – a great catch line from the promotion of the film Alien. Listen to the Sounds of space. After all, radio telescopes scan the depths of space for unusual sounds and it is expected that the first constructed sound may in fact be our first contact with another species.
Many natural sounds can be explored via the web. These give an insight into environments and animals.
Listen to the sounds of whales from the Acoustical Society of America. Consider this truth: there were once so many whales near Hobart that early settlers had to keep close to the shore when crossing the river Derwent. It was also reported that in the early days of settlement, people in Hobart found it difficult to sleep at night because of the sounds of whales. What animal sounds do we encounter through our lives? How important is sound as a sense in the animal world? How has man utilized his hearing when hunting?
The Acoustical Society of America also includes a rather fascinating sound of the large meteor that exploded on April 23rd, 2001 over the Pacific between California and Hawaii. It is interesting to consider that meteors and volcanic explosions may have been the largest sounds ever heard by humans. Here are some suggestions on the loudest and softest sounds. Students may like to guess first.
Listen to the sounds of Australian birds and Australian mammals. The Tasmanian devil makes quite an astonishing sound – a large reason why it got its name. When I first settled in Hobart I heard two fighting outside my window. A rude awakening I can tell you.
Read about the tragic events that are now affecting the beautiful and most misunderstood Tasmanian Devil – a retro virus that threatens to wipe out the species and perhaps jump to other species. Great concern surrounds this. Is it caused by man's environmental mismanagement? If so – when will some people learn?
For the interested, one can also explore many images of Tasmania wildlife.
What does Antarctica sound like? Investigate the Sounds of Antarctica. You may also like to discover the types of slang adopted in Antarctica. In any culture, even a man-made culture such as an Antarctic base, or a submarine, people develop a specific slang culture.
View Webcams and tours of Antarctic bases.
Hear the sounds of
VLF radio receiver at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Scrutinize the type
of language being used. Listen to the accents, the jargon and the general
feel of how people communicate in these contexts. What does it tell us
about how people communicate?
Listen to the tapes of Presidents talking at the Whitehouse. How do people communicate in this environment? Is it right to have recorded these conversations?
Listen to the future Prime Minister of Australia on a Jack Davey radio quiz show from the early 1950s.
The War of the Worlds radio broadcast caused deep panic in the United States as many people perceived it to be a real news report of aliens landing. Read about the phenomenon, and listen to the original broadcast.
Poetry can come alive in the hands of a good reader. Listen to poets reading their works at further poems.
Discuss and explore the types of things that wash up on beaches: old shoes, driftwood, marine animals, ambergris, shipwrecks, etc. Create stories based on what can be found on beaches. What stories do these found objects tell us? What other found objects do we encounter in our lives? What things have your students found? I can recall a fascinating Australian short story in which a man was repeatedly fascinated by strips of metal that he kept finding in gutters. Eventually he realized that these were left behind by street-sweepers.
Explore the romance of ambergris and its connection to perfumery.
Poetry referring to ambergris:
Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867)
is a temple where living pillars
How important is smell in our lives? Discuss pleasant and bad smells. What meanings do we associate with smells? You may like to use a blindfold – a student guessing an object from its smell.
The following support material is designed to support the teaching, and learning, within the Investigating the natural and constructed world component of the Essential Learnings curriculum in Tasmania. As with previous support material this is also highly relevant to teachers from other areas.
This component fits into the World Futures strand of the Essential Learnings framework which has a key outcome of students being World Contributors: willing to consider the consequences of scientific and technological innovations, make thoughtful decisions about their application, and act to maintain, protect and enhance local and global environments.
It is important to remember that the World Futures strand is one of five. The others being Thinking, Communicating, Personal Futures and Social Responsibility.
In past editions of The Creative Teaching Space we looked at the Being Ethical component of the Personal Futures – Edition # 5 and the Being Arts Literate component of the Communicating strand – Edition # 4.
This month’s component Investigating the natural and constructed world as part of an uncovered strand – World Contributors – picks up from previous Science professional development that I have conducted and the recent writing of articles in the science teaching area. As a result the ideas will be relevant to science teachers as well as teachers who wish to encourage a questioning of the world. After all, it is from sensitivity to the outside world, and an analysis and questioning of it, that one develops an analytical framework. It is also from sensitivity to the outside world, whether it is constructed, or natural, that one develops an understanding that knowledge can be a rather subjective or relative experience.
Here one recognizes that all is not what it is seems. Things can be looked at from different perspectives, peoples’ views differ and the world is not clearly black or white. This is where the challenge begins, the stimulus to explore how one is looking at the world, and newer ways of observation. It is also the point where feeling, intuition, art, creativity and imagination merge and inform so-called rational scientific thinking.
Understands how to use a variety of direct experiences and play to collect information about the natural and constructed world.
This is a great opportunity to build play and collecting into the curriculum. Don’t think that it should just happen at an early age as this requirement is a skill that can be dipped into again and again as the student gets older. There are many scientists and collectors from many walks of life, and ages, who continue to collect and ask questions as they get older.
Ask students what sorts of things can they collect from the outside world. Let students go on expeditions around the school collecting materials. Bring them back into the classroom. Explore the materials. Discuss unusual features. See if students can link and group items. What sorts of questions do the objects ask?
is a leaf.
Sort and present the information within the classroom. Most primary teachers are already very good at this!
Ask students to draw or write about the items. Use the act of translating, seeing the object from a different perspective as a means of sensitizing the student and opening questions and discussions.
Draw a tree. Interview it – A student in role. Don’t be afraid if it can’t answer the questions – use this as a means towards discovering answers. What would trees say if they could talk? Write a life in the day of a tree or leaf. Create a collage of objects. Create a poem stating observable facts that the students can recognize:
(You can even turn these into riddles where students have to guess the object.)
Explore the following site for information on trees: Exploring the Secret Life of Trees Teachers Guide.
Explore the man-made aspects of the observable world by asking students to make up questions, or record observations of the immediate school or of their home. Combine these into posters or poems.
The walls are hard. There is paint everywhere. Some things are really hard like bricks. When you tap some things, like drainpipes, they make a different sound to bricks. Why?
Ask students to record natural or man-made objects via their senses. Have a sight, sound, smell, touch and perhaps taste group – just remember safety considerations and boundaries that will need to be drawn.
Generally encourage students to collect materials, observe the objects through a role of an observer – note taker – or within the lens of the classroom environment. Sensitize students to the qualities of objects and how we may see objects from different perspectives: I don’t like twigs, they can poke you in the eye, twigs are really light and you can see lots of them on the ground. They crunch when you step on them. You can light a fire with them.
Students may even like to look at the world from different frameworks. Groups can be assigned to observe the classroom or world from: the ground group, those that look up, what can you see at eye level, soft, hard, light, dark, small, big, heavy, etc.
was a young lady named Bright,
Create limericks stating scientific principles!
There are lots of fun games that one can utilize to make students more sensitive to the world around them. Pass an imaginary object around the circle. Explore how it is handled and observed. Change the object during the course of the game: a baby bird, a heavy rock, it is now getting lighter, it is a balloon, it is sticky mud, it smells. Invite students to explore how we react to objects and their qualities. Groups can even express mystery objects through mime. Others have to guess the object.
A good sensitizing and focus game that I use with people with a disability – and is applicable to primary school children – is to ask the students to walk around the room and touch things based on commands: touch something red, black, blue, hard, soft, rough, smooth, quiet, loud, etc.
Just Playing: Anita Wadley
I'm building in the block room,
Experimentation isn’t just a part of science. It is a part of the everyday and experience!
Discuss how we learn
things and how experimentation helps us grow. Find the connections between
everyday experience and science.
Understands how to use a variety of techniques to collect information and resources to answer questions.
Here students can start to group objects. What are the many ways in which we can group things? Encourage students to draw connections between obvious and also quite different items. A leaf, a twig, and bark can be linked. How does a caterpillar or a shadow or light connect? Don’t be afraid to ask students to link rather difficult concepts! This encourages creative thinking, imagination as well as the posing further questions.
Ask students to take on a role of an object. Ask each student to research his or her qualities or characteristics. Interview each student in the role of the object. Play games where they have to link and group with other objects. Why are they together? Group according to other factors such as size, colour, habitat, etc. The Creatively Teaching Science in the Middle Years handbook on this site shows other creative uses of grouping. Group real objects – yet don’t be afraid to ask students to take on the role of objects and group or interview themselves!
Encourage students to identify qualities of objects. Ask them how this can be done: looking, smelling, feeling, cutting open, bending, etc. How can students start to explore the qualities of objects? Let them use their senses. Let them recognize that other tools can be used and that these can give different information: rulers, knife, magnifying glass, microscope, water, etc. What different things do they discover about the objects? What do our senses tell us? What do the tools or instruments tell us? How do the findings differ? Why do we use instruments or tools to look at things? All this is very much at the basics of science – the move away from the clearly observable world into new understandings based on the use of instruments. Let students discover these concepts.
Students may like to link Olympics statistics with the reality of their classroom. Just how far is the length that the longest long jumpers have reached?
Students may like to do all sorts of measurements: Predict heaviest object in room. How can one measure this? Guess weight, length, height of each other including various parts of the body.
Conduct basic experiments based on what floats, what sinks, what rolls, which is heavier, which is lightest, how does it smell, what sound does it make? Encourage students to record their findings in their own way. This encourages creativity and is a fertile ground for understanding the nature of classification, observation and how some approaches are better than others. Compare the approaches the students took and their successes and the challenges faced. Later you can discuss and introduce certain classifications such as metric measurement.
You can even talk about how we measure such things as smell: beagle sniffer dogs at airports, wine tasters, pollution testers, cooks, etc.
Once students identify faults in how they are observing or measuring things, including asking for help as well as recognizing new ways of approaching observation, encourage them to re-analyse their material. How different does the leaf look when it is under a microscope?
As students start to become aware that there is more to the world than opinion and at times limited perspective of the senses – I can see more with this magnifying glass – we slowly move more into the area of Standard Three where students start to identify a more systematic and social approach to evaluation. Consultation and opinion enter the frame. This develops even further into Standards Four and Five where issues and societal factors become more significant.
Understands how to pose questions, actively investigates them, and evaluates the findings against the explanations and observations of others.
Here one should simply encourage students to ask questions and then to identify the means by which they can answer them. This is also an important point at which one can introduce the fact that there are many questions that we still don’t know the answer to – how big is the universe? To not know the answer is to not be wrong. It is an invitation to guess, experiment and consider possibilities.
Students can draw detailed descriptions of collected objects. They might like to each draw e.g their own leaf. Place the leaves in a container. Other students have to match the drawing to the leaf. This shows the demand for detail in drawing items. Students may like to look at botanical drawings or anatomical drawings to see how scientists and botanists once recorded details in the days before photography. Students may also like to look at the Aardvark example for how difficult it is to accurately record detail in descriptions.
Establish frameworks for asking questions. Invite students to show objects and for others to only ask questions: why is it red, why is it heavy, why is it curved? Explore what questions can and can’t be answered. How might one seek an answer?
Collect verbal and written suggestions for how something may behave in an experiment. What will happen if we put this into water? Look at the results. Write up observations of results and compare them to the orginal guess. When are students correct in their guesses? Why? Why not?
Above all show that there are stages in analyzing the natural and man-made world. We have expectations: what would happen if I kicked that piece of concrete? Make a list of all the understandings that students already have pertaining to the area of study. Show how we have a world of experience that predates our formal studying in school.
This is often a world of survival where we know how to interact with the world e.g. babies placed on glass will not crawl over the edge of stairs and learn an astonishing amount very quickly.
How do babies of deaf parents modify their behaviour?
Discuss the many things that we already know about the world. How can these help us? Does previous experience sometimes badly affect our choices? Look at illusions. Discuss how people once thought the world is flat.
How do we know it is not flat? Is there sometimes a difference between our senses and the observable world?
Establish a culture in which students are encouraged to predict something before it occurs. Discuss expectations, how they are formed and compare them to the result. Show how experiments can be a surprise. You may also like to conduct basic science experiments that have unusual results. Show how this knowledge is used by magicians and others to create supposed magic. Often it is simple science!
Finally students can start to ask questions and investigate issues of concern to the school or local community. Here we move away from science and can explore the connection to the social sciences in which people and their behaviour can be measured. Ask students to identify a list of issues important within the community:
Why do people get fat? How can this be stopped?
Why does smoking affect health? How do we know this?
Why are some people taller than others?
Build up lists of Whats and Whys that relate to the school and local community. Once listed identify the beliefs under each statement and how the statements can be investigated. Identify the sorts of questions that are very complex compared to those that are more able to be investigated. Why? Consider investigating an issue and collecting findings to present to others.
Understands principles of fair testing and controlling variables. Compares their findings with those of others and evaluates against current scientific knowledge. Chooses appropriate questions for a variety of scientific investigations.
Here students should be developing even more sophisticated means of asking questions, gathering responses and comparing them.
Encourage students to feed their results back into the school or local community by presenting results of an investigation in the form of a speech, a debate, a poster, a school wide survey and report, a conference stand, a website, responses in an online discussion, a literature survey or taking part in community activities such as a Landcare program.
Students can explore and collect data from local areas. They can visit and collect samples from a beach – moving into an understanding of field trips. They can look at famous or current science investigations.
Students can explore the differences between personal observation as well as Secondary and tertiary information and how these all have a place in research.
They can investigate the graphing of results.
Understands how to select appropriate methods to investigate collaboratively-formulated, testable models, taking into consideration current scientific knowledge. Critically evaluates own results, and also those of others, and modifies ideas in the light of new information.
Once students have grasped a deeper understanding of scientific analysis they can utilize these skills within a practical model. Students can identify an issue, a means of investigating it and conduct an experiment and report back on the results as well as an analysis of the procedure – an awareness of how process is just as important as form.
Students can document how they reached their results and how the process can be very important even if the result was somewhat cloudy. Here students can grasp the understanding that often in experimentation the journey is just as significant as the end result. Results are not always conclusive and many great breakthroughs in science took many years of analysis and re-analysis.
Read science Quotes so that students can get a better understanding of the creative endeavours involved in scientific analysis. Who are these scientists?
Dictionary Science Quotes
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Albert Einstein
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein
The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away. Linus Pauling
I roamed the countryside searching for the answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plant and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightening becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life. Leonardo da Vinci.
Science is simply common sense at its best that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. Thomas Henry Huxley
Theory guides. Experiment decides. Donald E. Simanek
Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science. Jules Henri Poincaré
Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Albert Einstein
Students may like to look at the life of Vladimir Nabokov, the famous Russian writer, who also wrote in English.
At this site, you can hear his son Dimitri read poems and short stories as well as read Nabokov’s articles on butterflies. Nabokov was a highly esteemed amateur collector of butterflies whose observations and collecting showed an unusual ability to step between the literary and scientific worlds. Furthermore his skills were so highly recognized that he published in butterfly journals – lepidoptery – and he also had a number of species he discovered named after him.
Look at great moments in Science – bad breath is interesting.
Look at an Innovation timeline, including the history of Kitty Litter.
Read Famous scientific texts online.
Look into the connection between Science and Art.
There are a number of classical works of art that have a scientific focus. Discuss what is being depicted in the paintings. Why were these artworks made?
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, 1768, Joseph Wright of Derby.
See also Alchymist
Read about the connection between science and art in this case involving the Thumbprint of Jackson Pollock.
How else does science inform art? Look at art restoration.
Finally here is an
extract from the Foreword to 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke:
How rare it is to find a child’s drawings as a means of exploring history. Here in Oscar’s Sketchbook we can see an interpretation of another time and place.
This notebook is a rare and significant record of an Aboriginal child's memories of life in the late 1800s in far North Queensland. Oscar was an Aboriginal boy from the Palmer River people of North Queensland. His 'overseer' Augustus Glissan, the manager of 'Rocklands' Station near Camooweal, had noticed Oscar's drawing talents and in 1898 gave Oscar a sketchbook. Oscar drew from memory the life style, traditional ceremonies and interactions with Europeans from the places he visited like Cooktown. Glissan provided an index to Oscar's drawings interpreting what Oscar was depicting.
Explore the many inconsistencies of the English language.
George Bernard Shaw once coined the word Ghoti and how it pronounces fish e.g. If you take the gh it comes out as f as in laughter. 0 can be pronounced as i as in women. Ti can be pronounced as sh as in motion.
Explore the other inconsistencies in the English language and how accuracy isn’t always connected to meaning. Discuss. Encourage students to write their own passages.
Take It You Already Know...
tough and bough and cough and dough.
to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer
Reasons why English is hard to learn – courtesy of the staff room wall at Glen Waverley Primary School. You can get your students to make up their own misunderstandings.
We associate the Federal Bureau of Investigation with spies and movies and politics. This culture carries with it its own language and means of operating. There are a number of FBI files on celebrities available on line. Read them. How are they set out? What sort of language is being used? Read up on the biography of the person. Why were these files kept? What do they tell us about the ethos of the era? Students may like to use these as an inspiration for creating their own files on e.g. famous people or characters in novels.
Allow your students to consider the world from the so-called perspective of an adult. While the definition is rather dubious – when does one become an adult ? – give your students a chance to discuss and explore what being an adult is. Even if your students are adult, what does it mean to be adult, when does being an adult begin?
Spike Milligan has a number of beautiful poems that explore the loss of childhood – his children growing older.
Growing Up 11
that all there is? Goodbye!
Spike Milligan Hidden Words Penguin 1993
Opposite to taking a naive perspective set your students the task of what I call adultifying material. See a nursery rhyme from an adult perspective. There was an old lady that lived in a shoe – now here is an issue for welfare!
was an old woman
ninety little fellows
she gave the boys broth
was an old woman
Cole’s Funny Picture Book
Anyone who has heard a Froggy Went a Courtin’ by Bob Dylan will be aware of how it takes this children’s song and gives it, in tone, a real depth. Transform a children’s book into an adult text. Look at children toys – here they are seen as consumer items in which marketing plays an important factor.
Once, when teaching Negotiation Skills, I constructed a simulated meeting in which the Wiggles – an Australian children’s singing group – negotiated with Warner Brothers over a deal to enter the United States Market. This was an interesting session begun by my reading of a detailed article in Business Review Weekly, in which the Wiggles phenomenon was seen from an adult perspective. Perhaps your students may like to ‘adultify' the event of Christmas or take magic, or other illusions, and see them from a hard-edged adult perspective.
I can also recall hearing a beautiful song in concert by Loudon Wainwright III, exposing the saga of the Tonya Harding ice-skating incident:
used to be a nice thing
once there were no lutzes axels
Loudon Wainwright III
And let’s continue the Loudon Wainwright connection! Below is a song from a recent Loudon Wainwright III album So Damn Happy.
It looks at file sharing and its impact upon musicians. Read about the issues surrounding downloading and file sharing. (Free registration now required to access this article in The Guardian, which, up to this point in time, is a newspaper that does not charge for access to its archive.)
Isn't it ironic – a perfect example of the back-handed nature of popular media culture – that I got these lyrics from a site that encourages you to download this song. Forget it. Buy Loudon’s stuff. See him if you get an opportunity. He is a great songwriter who has written some of the funniest yet also insightful songs I have heard!
© Copyright In Clued - Ed 2009