Collaborative Project: Encompassing the Arts Across the Grades

The collaborative unit/project I created is titled Encompassing the Arts Across the Grades. It has been said that a name tells all. In this case, much can be assumed from the title. The Web 2.0 tool, VoiceThread is used, the main curriculum area covered is the arts, and the participants span more than one grade level of students. I would add that the language arts are also a major curriculum area that this project complements. “Encompassing the Arts” leads one to believe that more than one art form is involved in the unit. This is true, as visual and musical forms of art are developed throughout the unit. The creation of poetry using tools that develop the process of writing is how the language arts tie in. In a nutshell, this collaborative project involves 2nd grade students drawing a picture that depicts their favorite place to be, as well as one or two sentences describing it, each 5th grader studying and analyzing one of the drawings and creating a poem to complement it, and finally, 8th grade students will use their talents to create a musical composition that harmonizes not only with the drawing, but the poem as well.

There are several online components that complement and enhance each of the grade level’s existing curriculum and academic standards. Second graders are not only drawing using an online drawing program, but are fulfilling language arts standards by writing at least two complete sentences that adequately describe the picture they have drawn. The sentences will be one of two places or may be both. The drawing program, Palcu Drawing for Children, allows the children to use a text tool to keyboard their sentence(s) directly on their drawing. In order to fulfill the collaboration portion of the 2nd graders’ task, they use VoiceThread to upload their drawing and then use the text tool to once again keyboard their sentence(s).

Fifth grade students’ use of VoiceThread to fluently read and record the poems they create for each of the 2nd grade drawings complements the Minnesota State Academic Standards for Writing that are taught at this level.

Finally, the eighth graders’ use of one of the two online components, FinaleNotePad or JamStudio,complements the Minnesota Academic Standards for Arts K-12 at the 6-8 Grade Level, 6.2.1.3.1, which states “Improvise, compose or arrange a new musical composition using available technology to preserve the creation.” JamStudio believes “that in every person there is at least one great song waiting to be written” and that music is the universal language of the heart. Their goal is to provide the tool that can bring each student’s song to life. I believe that JamStudio will be more appealing to the students than FinaleNotePad. With the use of the Web 2.0 tool, VoiceThread, students will perform and record their musical composition on the same slide that houses the 2nd grader’s drawing and the 5th grader’s poem, thus completing the collaboration process.

As a finale, the link for the VoiceThread will be posted on my school web site, The 6~5 Hive Technology Site at http://www.freewebs.com/njacobson65hive. It is here that students will be able to access the VoiceThread with one click of their mouse. Their final task will be to make appropriate comments to their counterparts (5th graders to 2nd and/or 8th graders, 8th graders to 5th and/or 2nd graders, and 2nd graders to 5th and/or 8th graders).

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