The InspirationOn December 11, 2009, Ocoee Middle School performed "Gotta Keep Reading," a parody song to the Black Eyed Peas's song "I Gotta Feeling." Since then, many schools have been inspired by Ocoee and get their own school involved in a flashmob. Most of our choreography was borrowed from the performance by Roosevelt Elementary. I also had to edit some of the lyrics because we were not doing a Read-a-thon. Our flash mob was meant to inspire the students to continue reading throughout the summer break. Here is our performance:
How Did I Teach It
For the last 3 weeks of school, I taught the students the lyrics and choreography during their music class. About 3 days before the performance, we rehearsed each grade together during their special area time. The performance you are seeing is the first and only performance with everyone all together.
I made videos so the students could practice at home or in their homeroom classroom if they wished. THe links were placed on my classroom blog for easy access. There had to be a separate video for each grade. These tutorials can be found at the following links:
Preparations For a Smooth Performance
The soloists were chosen because they knew the song and movements very well. During their music class rehearsals, I had observed the students and selected "leaders" so that if someone forgot a movement they could copy the person in front of them. Most of the students were in height order (shortest to tallest) with designated leaders spaced throughout the line. The teachers were given the list so they could have the students in order before coming outside.
When we rehearsed outside with each grade level, we realized that the diagonal bus lanes caused the students to wander during the performance and their lines ended up crooked. So, I knew they would need some kind of marker to stand on. That morning I arrived at school very early to use sidewalk chalk to mark the pavement. At this moment, I cannot remember the spacing, but I believe there was a foot and a half in between each student. I used a long piece of yarn to help keep a straight line. I tied it to a bucket to keep it still and stretched the yarn until it was perpendicular to the curb in front of the school. I laid a yard stick down to measure and drew big X's where each kid should stand. I used a different color for each class in a grade so they would not get confused. I wrote the teacher's name at the end of the line closest to the school so the teachers knew where to line up their kids. (The teachers were also given a map, but I'm sure the chalk markings helped.) I was in front of the students (out of camera range) so that the student leaders could copy me if they needed.
Capturing the MemoryOur librarian was in charge of recording the event and editing the video. I used Audacity to record a couple former choir students to singing the song. I was able to use the GSnap tool to apply the auto-tune quality to the voice. Both of these are free downloads. I find out about GSnap by searching "TPain effect" on youtube.com. (YouTube is full of tutorials to do just about anything!) The audio and video were combined for the final product.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I tried to provide as many details as possible so that you may have a good idea of what planning and preparations it would take if you try to plan something like this. It was an awesome event and a memory the students will never forget!