HONOR the CREATOR – Course 5 Project Reflection



Here is my reflective video explaining the HONOR THE CREATOR Unit.  I taught this unit to Grade 7 MYP Design students.



The main purpose of this unit is for students to have a better understanding of copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons.  After learning more about these concepts, students create a music video to honor the original creators of the songs they used.  Students produced a variety of music videos, mostly they, either:

1. Created their own visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

2. Used Creative Commons visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

3. Used Fair Use to remix/mash-up copyrighted media.


Here is my unit planner.


Here are some examples of student work:

Masao’s Rhapsody in Blue Tokyo Mix

Melanie’s Video using Pop Danthology 2014

Shala’s Orange Love Music Video

Jules’ Pop Stop Motion Video

Jessie’s Video on Exploring Japan in Seasons

Ohmey’s “Am I Wrong” Video

Hina’s Video for April Showers

Overall, the unit was a great success.  I feel like the unit challenged both me and the kids.  We had some great conversations and there were endless STOP – Teachable MOMENTS!  I had a lot of questions I had to talk my way through – so many covers and lipdubs done on YouTube that aren’t pulled down, even though they seem to violate Fair Use.  In the end, I say that it is up to the original creator, in the end, it promotes their music too.  This is a really great resource I found after the unit, that I’ll use next year to promote more discussions.

As I assessed the videos, it was easy to see that most kids really “got it” – and a few kids I needed to check in with more.   Overall, most students earned a higher achievement level on this project than they did on the previous two design projects this year.

I wish I asked some students to share their final videos with the musician that created the music to begin with (where possible)- some of the kids created great music videos for these artists.  I’m thinking that I can create a resource of how to share their work – as all of this sharing is optional (next year).

I look forward to hearing your feedback.  I struggled to get everything into a 10-minute video, but I got most of the important things in it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how my COETAIL colleagues’ final projects went, as well, over the next few weeks!



Video Project Feedback Form

My 7th graders are finishing up their “Honor the Creator” videos this week.

The purpose of this project is for students to create a music video which shows that they understand Copyright, Fair Use and/or Creative Commons.  I am looking for their knowledge and understanding of these concepts and their video production and editing skills.

I have found that they often struggle in getting objective feedback of their projects to use when they reflect and write their evaluations and test their specifications, so I’ve created a model for them to use.

What do you think?

I want to tell the kids that they have to have at least 20 people evaluate their projects.   At least half of these people must be outside of their Design class.

Anyone interested in sharing some of the videos with their students?

I’m really struggling with whether I should keep the feedback form anonymous or not.  Should evaluators have to register their name?  Will this impact the feedback?  Will it prevent kids from evaluating their own product multiple times?

Any thoughts on this?

Improving my Honor the Creator Unit – The COETAIL Effect

Photo Credit: qthomasbower via Compfight cc

As a part of my COETAIL Final Project, I’ve decided to improve my Honor the Creator Unit, which I’m currently teaching to my Grade 7 MYP Design students.  The purpose of this unit is for my students to have a better understanding of the media they use, use it appropriately, and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a designer/creator in the digital world.

Last year, I taught this as an interdisciplinary unit with our librarian and the students created book trailers.  They used Creative Commons and their own media and we shared the book trailers through their YouTube accounts and on a loop in the library.  It was a successful unit, but this year my students are different.  They really wouldn’t love making book trailers.   Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say they were a class of readers and I needed to hook them in a different way.

At the beginning of the new year, NPR shares many “Best of” lists and I saw one on my Facebook feed: NPR’s Music 12 Favorite Music Videos of 2013.  That’s when I had an AHA! moment.  This class is really into social media and watching endless YouTube videos and sharing them.  So I changed the task a bit and added in more content that I have become more comfortable with after Course 2 of COETAIL.

Here is my Honor the Creator unit planner (sorry I exported it from Atlas Rubicon and the formatting isn’t great).


Improvements/Revisions I made on this Unit from last year:

1. Product change – It is still a video project, so I can continue to develop students pre-production/editing skills in Design class, but I think students can connect better to music videos.

2. Pre-assessment –

VIDEO EDITING: Students had a design challenge to create a video in a one-hour class.  Since they did it in class, I was able to walk around and really see what they were doing.  (Like taking a screencast of a Youtube video to get media – YIKES!)  This also allowed me to see where the kids where and how to prepare differentiated lessons for video editing skills for them.

COPYRIGHT, FAIR USE, CREATIVE COMMONS: This was a very easy “entrance ticket quiz”.  Here are my results.  I’m thinking I can only go UP from here!

I quantified their responses using the following criteria:

3 Deep Understanding, 2 Sufficient Understanding, 1 Minimal Understanding, 0 Incorrect understanding

3. Hook Videos – 

I used the recent copyright issues between GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys to make it more real-life.  I also showed students Scary Mary and DJ Earmworm’s Mash-up to have them analyze if they are Fair Use (this is modified from a Common Sense Media lesson).

4. The Creative Community – IRL (In Real Life) – 

I asked different creators/a copyright lawyer to share their experiences with copyright/fair use/creative commons.  I had high hopes for this, and got some great responses, but unfortunately with time zones only one could come in and speak to the class, the rest, I had to post on my blog for students to access.

Here are the blogposts I wrote on my class blog:

Design 7 – Video Pre-assessment

Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons

We’re Going To Watch Music Videos All Class

More Inquiry into Music Videos

I’ll keep sharing what is going on in my classroom as it is happening.  I welcome any feedback/ideas for this project.

Presentation in Design

Photo Credit: Colors Time via Compfight cc

We all have sat through horrible presentations and we have even made a few.  While I think mine have gotten better over the years, the current COETAIL Course 3 has made me rethink my presentations more.  After looking at a lot of good presentations like from the Learning 2 Leaders, I realize that mine still need a bit more work.  While I don’t think that I could ever be that super engaging, inspiring public speaker, I can at least make up for it in my presentation.

I have a few presentations that I need to revise.

Including most of these.


I think this presentation on the four design principles needs the most work, especially after going to Noah Katz Presentation on Visual Literacy this past weekend.  I’m embarrassed to say that I took the scaffold of this presentation from my wonderful first tech teacher mentor, Gaby Ezyaguirre, many, many years ago and the presentation hasn’t really had any “love” since. … and is that it’s about DESIGN, for goodness sake.  (This is when you know COETAIL has created a safe learning environment… when I’m really willing to post up embarrassing work!)

There is too much white spaces

It looks dated

There are no strong visuals

It does show some of the elements of design, but in a boring way, that I wouldn’t want my students to replicate.

When I first started teaching technology about 8 years ago, I was using this presentation to teach myself as well.  The not-so-pretty PowerPoint template it was created on is pretty bad too.  What is maybe MORE horrible is the amount of views/downloads this has gotten on Slideshare.net since I put it up there three years ago.

Here is my revised Elements of Design Presentation:


This presentation is definitely prettier than my old presentation.  I do worry about my students really understanding the information I am trying to present.  I will definitely have to provide other resources to my students and do more work in class showing examples of what the design elements look like on different forms of media, specifically ones they create: video, posters, presentations using different materials and software.

Now I definitely need to give Haiku Deck a lot of credit on this, as well.  They make it really difficult to create a bad presentation.  They have beautiful images and the formats only allow for limited text.  This forces the creator really to think about their presentation.

I will be presenting this to my seventh graders later in the year.  I’m thinking I’m going to give a pretest to my students before I give the presentation, then retest them after.  I am even considering giving the old and the new presentation to different classes.  While I definitely know this new presentation is more visually appealing, I need to figure out how to support this presentation to my students, especially students with oral comprehension difficulties and second language learners, who may need more support while I’m presenting.  I’ll try to remember to reflect back once I share this presentation with my students.

As far as the presentation uploaded to Slideshare, the more I reflect on this presentation, the more embarrassed I am by the presentation.  But, it has gotten a lot of views and downloads… but it’s also connected to my name/brand.  Should I just take it down?  I need to take a look to see if I can just revise/replace the presentation at that URL but I’m not sure that is possible.  I welcome any feedback regarding this.

Honoring the Creator: A Reflection

* This is a reflection to my “Book Trailer Unit” which included my COETAIL Course 1 Lesson Plan: A Lesson in Creative Commons.

It was serendipity that I happened to teach this unit while enrolled in COETAIL Course 1 & 2.  Last year, my friend who is also our  librarian and I were talking about books and creating interdisciplinary units between the library and my MYP Design Technology classes.  We are both avid readers and identified a lack of a community of readers at our current school.  So, we decided to take matters into our own hands.

For Grade 8, we created a unit in which students were given the challenge to create and nurture a community of readers at our school.  It was a good unit and we have tweaked it a bit to try and get a better outcome next year.

In Grade 7, I wanted it to be a little less open-ended with the products because I wanted my students to improve their video making skills on the technology side of the project.  I’m not sure how we came up with the idea to go with book trailers, but it was a perfect fit for us to work together to promote reading.

Here is the task sheet for the unit.

Here are the blog posts I wrote for my students regarding this unit:

Using Visuals & Creative Common Media

How Do I Create a High Quality Book Trailer

iMovie Tutorials & Help – A did mini-lessons for some students and differentiated instruction with a playlist

As part of the investigation, I introduced Creative Commons to my students.  At the beginning it was frustrating for everyone in the classroom (me included), as we couldn’t always find high quality media that was Creative Commons.  Part of the problem was the fact that as readers, we visualize what we read differently.  There are not exact images of these visualizations and deep connections with the text available on line.  Although this caused frustrations, it also sparked great conversations on reading and choosing strong images.

At the beginning, I struggled with finding good sources for them to find good media.  I initially “sent” them to SoundCloud Creative Commons to get music for their videos, but quickly found that there was a lot of inappropriate and explicit media there, but also, that their media isn’t moderated really well.  There were many songs that were uploaded by people who were not the artists or who themselves had illegally (I think) modified the music.  Another issue I ran into was YouTube Creative Commons, because you have to use their video editor to use their Creative Commons media.  It was also more difficult to give attribution to those creators at the end of their video, because once it was added, sometimes it was difficult to go back and find that information.

In the end, I found that Compfight, Jamendo, Creative Commons Search to be the best places to find CC media.

My students created some really amazing projects.  I am really proud of their work.  They worked hard, they honored creators & authors and in turn I hope that they are proud of their work.

At the end of the unit, I had my students take a survey so I could get feedback about their knowledge of CC and for them to give suggestions when I teach it next year.

Google Forms End of Unit Survey to Stuedents

I got some interesting feedback, some of it was very positive and they really seemed to gain a good understanding about CC.  I did get a few kids say things like,”Creative Commons is a website where you can get all sorts of medias from other people legally and reuse it”.  I want them to have a deeper understanding than this, but it is a start.

For question #2 – most of them were about legally using other work and many wrote that they would use CC media for projects in other classes.  I did have a few students share that they are considering CC as creators.  This is where I would like more students to go.  Maybe it’s too much to jam into one unit.  Maybe this is something I should develop more in 8th grade.  I need to think more about this.

I decided in the last few weeks was to encourage students (if they wanted) to use social media to promote their book trailers and reading.  COETAIL has made me less afraid of using social media in the class.  It is my students’ lives and I need to embrace it more.  I am motivated and engaged by using social media to learn, why shouldn’t they?  My students are no longer creating projects for me or for the other 18 classmates in the room, they are creating for anyone they want.  I want them creating real solutions to real problems and I want them to make an impact.  I don’t want them to create for a grade.

Two of my students got responses from authors.

Many students have 50+ hits on their unlisted YouTube videos.

My students and COETAIL brought this unit to a different level.  The unit took on a whole new life – one I hadn’t planned, but one that turned out much better.  I wanted to celebrate the reader, but in the end we really celebrated the creator.  As a technology teacher, I am really happy with that.  Next year instead of focusing on promoting reading (which is a great effect of this unit), I want to change my essential question to something along the lines of respecting creators.  Now I just have to wordsmith that idea.