This whole project will eventually be catalogued on the edubuzz MGS Guitar Hero Website – where we hope to produce a guide for anyone wanting to replicate the project. I have already talked about the background and stage one of the project here.
But in summary the whole transition project basically has three stages:
- Using Guitar Hero as a Context for Learning in P7 between Easter and the Summer 2008.
- Bringing all P7 classes together for Virtual Battle of the Bands in June 2008.
- Follow up work related to the context for learning in some secondary subject areas up until the September holiday weekend 2008.
This post will document Part Two of the Guitar Hero Project: The Virtual Battle of the Bands
I feel that one of the reasons that you get so many relationship difficulties at the start of secondary school is because secondary schools spend a lot of time working with individual primary schools but not very much time bringing the future S1 together and working with them as a collective group.
I also think that when you get new S1 classes they very rarely have anything in common to talk about, they struggle to strike up conversation due to fear of saying the wrong thing and may also have problems building relationships with teaching staff.
One of the philosophical ideas behind this project was that every primary school in the Musselburgh Cluster would use the same context for learning (Guitar Hero) between Easter and Summer. Each primary school would take ownership of the project so each school may have a totally different experience. But then we would bring all of the children together. Not in their schools but as their S1 practical sets (no more than 20) for a morning at the Grammar School.
The programme for the morning was devised by a short life working group and consisted of the following:
- Registration (Primary children made their own way to registration at MGS)
- Workshop One
- Workshop Two
- Workshop Three
- Summary and Conclusions
During the morning everyone had the opportunity to participate in a ‘round robin’ of three workshops. Each workshop was 45 minutes long. In no particular order, they consisted of the following:
Workshop One – Battle
of the Bands
Woking in their practical sets we had 10 PS2’s set up in the hall. The only requirement was to have fun and that they must compete against someone in their new class that was not from their old school. Originally I, naively, thought that the only real learning here was to have a bit of fun. But I had forgotten about the social interaction. During this workshop I saw children helping children that they didn’t know, laughing with (not at) each other and chatting about a common interest (the game).
Senior students supervised the event so there was also an opportunity for new students to ask them questions about life at the school.
Workshop Two – The Guitar Hero Challenge
These workshops were facilitated by the Guidance Staff. The first task was for the guidance staff to ask if there were any problems from the visit days (that had occurred two weeks previously).
The second task was to ask the question, ‘tell me and your class what you have been learning about during the Guitar Hero Project’. The feedback from the children during this section of the workshop (as long as it was facilitated well) has been fantastic. Remember that each school took the project in its own direction. It was a chance for the class to communicate with each other about a common interest, swap ideas and learn about learning in each others schools.
The third part of the task was to allow 20 minutes for the group to be split into 4/5 people and to come up with a band name, logo and jingle. One of the S6 students commented to me, ‘I can’t believe it, they have just come up with that in 5 minutes.’ This was an important part of the experience. I have a concern that secondary teachers do not know the true ability and creativity of the new S1. This is something we must challenge.
Logo’s and jingles were photographed and videoed and the best groups will be awarded prises in the new term.
Workshop Three – Guitar Hero Option
Each practical set had an opportunity to participate in a different activity. All of the activities had a different theme related to rock music or the game. The idea behind this was to capitalise on secondary staff and senior pupil expertise, but also to capitalise on the experience. When the P7 classes got back to their associated primary schools, because they would have been in different workshops (remember they participated in the morning as S1 practical sets) they were tasked with sharing their experience with the rest of the class.
The optional activities included:
Guitar Hero Orienteering – using maps of the school to navigate around the
school grounds to find the name of rock bands and answer the bonus Guitar Hero
Deigning a CD Case – using Microsoft Publisher.
Designing a guitar – using Photoshop (Mr Hall Skilfully doing to demonstration
Rock Drama – lots on mime and improvisation to rock music in this workshop. It was great to see four different schools collaborating and working together almost in perfect sequence.
Rock Dance – Led by S6, I couldn’t believe the routine they produced in 40 minutes. I looked like at least 3 days worth!
Meet the Band – Working with an S6 band and learning how to play ‘Smoke on the Water’ on the guitar as well as getting a tour of the MGS recording studio.
iTunes Challenge – A numeracy related quiz using Activote. I’m just not sure about the last question. I think might have been set up there?
During the morning there was also an opportunity for schools to display some of the Guitar Hero Work that they had produced over the last few months. It was all outstanding!