Mr Finlayson

Education and Technology

Posts Tagged ‘Literacy’

The Highwayman 2

Posted by alexfinlayson on September 1, 2009

flip_videoMy guys are steaming ahead with their music videos for Loreena McKennitts rendition of The Highwayman – all filming is complete – now were are focussing on editing. I thought I would share a wonderful little trick one of my girls came up with while using the FlipVideo and Movie Maker – it’s very simple, very effective and I hadn’t thought of it… so well done, erm… we’ll call her ‘Bess’

At the end of The Highwayman our heroes are resurrected as ghosts – it’s a haunting end – and by using a Flip Video, Bess has made a very effective image of that resurrection. By having an actor play dead and then sitting up WITHOUT moving the camera – the image can be manipulated in Movie Maker to give a very creepy ghost effect.

I’ve re-created it here using my own image… when I get my class blog up and running I’ll provide a link for that (all images are thumbnails)

Step one is to import the video MM1




Step two is to place the video on the timeline of Movie Maker and Capture an imageMM1




Step three is to place this image at the start of the timeline and extend its length (greater than the length of the video)MM3




Step four is to add any special effects you wish onto the video (Bess chose {slow down half} and {greyscale}MM4




Step Five is to drag the video ontop of the still image thus merging them.MM5



You can view the video on the right sidebar in my Vodpod Widget (I’m too cheap to pay for the video upgrade) It’s called Mr F’s Ghost – I have to say though – the one Bess did is much better.

All the best, Mr F


Posted in Education, Literacy | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Highwayman 1

Posted by alexfinlayson on August 26, 2009

My class are working on a poetry/media assignment  for which they are producing music videos set to Loreena McKennitt’s rendition of the classic Alfred Noyes poem The Highwayman.

We have studied the poem extensively (if you aren’t familiar with it – I urge you to read it – the TeacherFirst website provides a brilliant interactive study for your class)

and my guys are working hard on their filming, art work and animations for the video. One of the ‘extras’ of the assignment was to write to Loreena McKennitt – we received this in reply



Loreena McKennitt

How awesome is that! Many thanks to Loreena McKennitt!

You can listen to her song on YouTube

or here


Doctors order: let it load, turn the lights off, turn the volume up, get a nice drink, close your eyes and enjoy… repeat as necessary

All the best, Mr F

Posted in Education, Literacy | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by alexfinlayson on July 25, 2009


Storyline To Be A Drum

I hope you all check out this little gem – especially lower grade teachers – Storyline – Famous stories read by famous people.


It’s great, I’ve been playing around on it all morning and just had to write a little something about it even though its Saturday and I clearly haven’t used it in class.

Some of the celebrities might not be well known to the kids but when it’s the likes of James Earl Jones (who, lets face it, is the voice of Hollywood) I don’t think it will matter…

Presented by the Screen Actors Guild it takes well known children’s stories – To Be A Drum, The Polar Express, Sophie’s Masterpiece, The  Night I Followed The Dog to name but a few and shows videos (your choice of bandwidth) of celebrities reading them. The celebs I looked at were James Earl Jones, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood and Amanda Bynes – all were really well done.

In ClassStoryline Activities

Well as I said its Saturday and I haven’t yet had the chance to use this in class but I definately see it having a place.

  1. Reading group activites
  2. Individual readings
  3. Silent reading for lower ability kids (subtitles of text can be displayed on-screen for them to follow)
  4. As a class project – make a vodcast/website of the same thing with your kids doing the reading.
  5. Generic literacy activities – using some of the many Activity Ideas that come with every story.

Has anyone been using this? Care to share any ideas or comments? I’m going to see about implementing it into my literacy work this work – I’ll start with idea 1 but I reckon idea 4 with the poetry my guys are writing at the moment would be great.

Storyline James Earl JonesAll the best, Mr F

Posted in Education, Literacy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Myst – The Interactive Story

Posted by alexfinlayson on July 11, 2009

So here it is – the final product. Hope it works. It’s quite a large file so please be patient if your internet connection is as bad as mine out here in Central Queensland

One problem – the hyperlinks don’t seem to be working so you can only read it slide by slide – which kind of negates the entire point – but you still get the general idea.

I’ve attached a PPT file which you can download for the interactive experience.

The Myst Story

Please can you leave some feedback via comments that I can share with my class, thank you

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Myst Courtroom Drama

Posted by alexfinlayson on June 16, 2009

On Friday we had one of our culminating activities for the Myst unit – the long awaited Courtroom Drama. My guys had been looking forward to this for a long time and had completed a lot of work in preparation for the day.

The morning started with a simple question on the interactive whiteboard:

Which book will you choose?

Red / Blue / Green

I did not say anything to the class but let them come into the room and see the board – the discussions started immediately – and when they realised I wasn’t going to say anything – they really took the initiative. Before long there were three distinct groups in the room arguing over which book would be the best choice. Great fun.

I took the guys into an ajoining room with the labe/s Agree / Strongly Agree / Disagree / Strongly Disagree displayed in each corner – I then asked them a series of questions and got them to make a decision – quizzing them over their choices. I was surprised and pleased to find that this exercise achieved some very positive results – this is a weak group and my particularly reluctant writers thrived during this session – it was a fantastic experience.

I then got the guys together in the centre of the room and asked them to make a decision based on the brothers Sirrus and Achenar – which one did they trust? which one would they defend in court? Also, did anyone distrust both brothers enough to choose the mysterious green book? (all we know of the book at this stage is that it trapped Sirrus and Achenar – or so they say)

With a little ‘teachering’ we ended up with three roughly even groups and I gave the guys their resources for the session

  • A3 red cards with everything relating to Sirrus – transcripts of speeches, notes
  • A3 blue cards with everything relating to Achenar – transcripts of speeches, notes
  • A3 green cards with a transcript of Atrus’ speech from the digital imager

Each group also had 2 other sheets of card for their notes – they were to compose two arguments – one in defence of their choice and two, an accusation of the others.

Later in the day we had the courtroom set up – we rows of seats in a ‘U’ shape with myself behind a desk in the middle. Each team made an opening statement and then took turns to argue key points. During these turns other groups could raise an ‘objection’ which I would ‘overrule’ or ‘sustain’ (not sure who had more fun – me or the kids?)

I had a simple scoring system – everything was out of 5. I judged the quality of their statements, the effectiveness of the response and the accuracy of the counter-rebuttal.

In the end the blue team won – and it was thanks largely to one particular student who really struggles with written work but gave wonderfully concise, accurate arguments – he got my Student of the Week award solely for that.

It’s now Tuesday afternoon and the guys have just gone to Music, still talking about Friday, still asking for more of the same – you’ve got to love that!


Posted in Education, Myst | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »