Join in the Chorus

Over the past few weeks at The Huddle, we worked on a creative project using the NMFC club song “Join in the Chorus”. We asked a group of students to create a lip sync video collaboratively, based on “Join in the Chorus”.

We assigned roles to each member of the group so everyone was responsible for one element of making the video

  • music/sound production – cueing the song
  • art production – enhancing the visuals and setting to be filmed.
  • camera person – shooting the footage
  • actor / lip sync-er, person filmed
  • lyrics – supporting the actor with the lyrics

Using Samsung Slates, art production was probably the most creative role. Instead of sourcing props and costumes, this role involved drawing on the screen with your finger or a stylus to animate the video and enhance the visuals around the person being filmed. The Samsung camera allows you to draw your own pictures on screen and then shoot; or to use preset frames, filters and animated emotions – or a mixture of both.

Given some roles carried a heavier workload than others, students were able to rotate through roles and gain a fuller experience of film-making. The acting role was somewhat challenging and could be done in a group, which would have the potential to make reference to the team singing the song after they win a game.

Though we talked at length about how to make editing easy, probably the hardest aspect of the activity is to edit the song together so that lip sync is achieved. So we have more thinking to do with the editing process and applications that might suit this activity.

AFL club songs are great and I love “Join in the Chorus” http://www.nmfc.com.au/video/2013-06-02/join-in-the-chorus. The lyrics are rousing, joyous and speak to the heart – making all True Roos feel proud to belong. But the beginning of the song which the players sing at the end of matches, is not recorded in the official release of the song, so it doesn’t present an opportunity for lip syncing http://www.nmfc.com.au/fans/multimedia/theme-song. After we ran the activity, we wondered whether we should ask students to video a rendition of the Hearts to Hearts verse – we may try that another time!

The best thing about the whole activity, is that it just made us laugh. I still laugh watching and thinking about it and I loved the way the students had fun with this and threw themselves into it.

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Positive Education through AFL players’ stories

The Huddle is positioned perfectly to explore the values that guide people’s lives and help them to reach their potential. Using the stories of North Melbourne Football Club (NMFC) players, young people are able to identify what keeps footballers motivated, disciplined and ready to meet the challenges of being an AFL player.

All visits to The Huddle aim to build identity and a sense of community. The Schools Program also embeds positive education, digital technology and student creativity as a path towards students viewing them selves positively and feeling empowered. Middle and Later Years students from a wide range of schools visit The Huddle to further their understanding of self and others, through discussion with players, reflection activities and digital storytelling.

Recently I hosted groups from rural Victoria and suburban Melbourne taking part in The Huddle’s “Character and Careers” program where they listened to the journeys of AFL players at NMFC.

The program begins with the vocabulary, exploring strengths of character and building language to do this. The aim is to understand each word or concept by identifying connections and differences through an activity I call “a community of inquiry”. This supports us all to reach a common understanding about each word and for EAL students (bilingual students who are new to English) to uncover and discuss meaning. I use nouns on cards and I weave in verbs, synonyms and antonyms as well as paraphrasing with examples and stories to support students to visualize the concept in practice and to practise each word. From here, students may also identify strengths that they think would be useful in particular lines of work.

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The group then meets a player from the NMFC list, who is asked about his journey into AFL – from childhood to the present day – and his hopes and aspirations beyond football as well as the strengths he draws upon to meet the challenges of being an elite sportsperson in the AFL. Students ask a great range of questions and players answer openly. To complete the time spent with the player, the students are asked to identify 3-5 strengths that they think are most evident – the ones in the photo above were selected for Jamie MacMillan (player 34) with modesty being the quality they noticed to be strongest. The player will then comment and make any changes that he thinks are more applicable to him as a footballer.

After this focussed discussion time, individually, the students explore videos of players on the same theme which we have filmed at The Huddle. They report back to the group on the character strenghts that they noticed and give examples of these in action, drawing on the stories they have listened to. To complete the program, in pairs, they use Windows 8 Mind Mapping software – Nova or Mind8 – to consolidate their learning by documenting the stories around a key strength relating to NMFC players or to them selves.

I have found this to be an effective way of supporting students to understand others and to begin to reflect upon them selves. By scaffolding and recycling the language and by identifying strengths in others, they become more able to identify positive qualities and activities in them selves and to focus on strenghts rather than on weaknesses.

The Huddle creates a safe space for learning through discussion. The players are honest and articulate their hopes – they “speak to” young people which supports open discussion. Given events in the AFL over the past two weeks, the discussions have also included attitudes towards racism, where students have built understanding around the #racismstopswithme campaign and identified areas for improvement in their own schools. It is a privilege to provide a context where the issues and events surfacing from AFL in the media can be discussed openly with young people and used to build intercultural understanding and social cohesion.

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Emoticon

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The Huddle has developed a new program at The Huddle for middle years students where they explore how people overcome challenges through the stories of footballers here at The North Melbourne Football Club (NMFC). They identify the personal qualities they and the footballers draw upon to help them get through any challenges they may face. By creating a safe space at The Huddle, students go on to share their own stories in small groups and do a role-play to share with the whole group.

Emoticon has been a popular program and I have found the challenges that students are facing very interesting – moving to a new country, making friends in a new school, being bullied, being addicted to computer games, maintaining friendships, co-operating with siblings, learning in a new language, improving a skill, learning to be organized, hating maths, forgiving, fearing the water, hating their handwriting, feeling included in sport and so forth. Fairness often surfaces, and often relates to interaction with siblings which students agree seems to be an area rife with conflict. They have also noted that we often hold grudges longer and co-operate less readily with siblings than with friends.

Even more interesting has been the ability of young people to find solutions and support each other as well as seeing a light side to a situation while they are learning to deal with it and analyzing it – their ability to laugh it off!

Finding solutions is supported by group work and by the use of new technologies in The Huddle classroom. Once the students have reflected on their stories and identified a personal quality relevant to overcoming their challenge, they then go on to take photos and write captions – they make a poster about it using Comic Life.

As we may expect, young people are used to the camera and use it freely to express their emotions and relate their story. Students from diverse cultural backgrounds pose and pull faces to generate a story in a digital format using their own language and expression – and those who are literate in their first language also use it in their poster.

It is rewarding to see how students develop the language and concepts that enable them to discuss challenges openly. This is enabled by the honesty of the NMFC players and the challenges they have faced in recent times. Each player is interviewed to uncover a different sort of challenge, whether it be mental, physical or social – Lindsay Thomas and his lack of form in goal kicking in 2011; Leigh Adams and the “chicken-wing incident” in 2012; Majak Daw‘s entry into AFL and supporting his family to understand what being a professional athlete entails; Andrew Swallow as leader of the team; Jack Ziebell and the controversy around being reported in 2012.

The honesty and clarity of each player around their challenge and exactly how they overcame it, who supported them, the personal qualities and inner strength they had to find and the positives they gained from what could have been a negative experience all contribute towards a healthy discussion and open-minded outlook.

Having seen that other young adults, in this case NMFC players, are willing to share their challenges, creates a safe space for students to explore them selves and others.

To read about Emoticon from the perspective of NMFC Captain, Andrew Swallow, visit http://www.nmfc.com.au/news/2013-03-18/its-an-emoticon-game

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Arden St Oval Redevelopment 2013

The oval was dug up in 2012 to see what work needed to be done.
The oval was dug up in 2012 to see what work needed to be done.

Arden St oval redevelopment December 2012

The Arden St oval became a huge sandpit in December as workers dug it up, lay down sand and later rolled out grass for the oval to be of AFL standard and size. The ever changing visual of the Arden St oval is added to The Huddle’s program for schools students to inspire their movies about Arden St – what it means to the club and the impact on the environmental of inner Melbourne over the past 200 years.

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Arden St – lawn being rolled out for the players to use in March/April 2013.

Arden St Oval

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Gasometer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arden St oval is being upgraded to be of a size and quality for AFL. So we’ve been seeing it in transition over the past few weeks – from grass, to dirt, to a giant sandpit and back to grass again. It’s looking fabulous and we can’t wait to see it in use again!

I have some wonderful photos that we use in the Arden Street program to teach students about how the place has changed and how it has been used, so this is a good opportunity to revisit Arden St as it has been in the past and as it is today. The images are a good way of getting students to reflect on social spaces, the importance of gathering spaces for belonging and on how humans impact on environments. It also gets them thinking on how much care is taken to create and maintain sports and gathering places.

Arden St December 2012 – here it is dug up and then made into a huge sandpit:

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Below are some photos of Arden St from the 1900’s. They show the oval and the enormous gasometer which was such an important feature of North Melbourne until the 1970’s when it was removed. There are some great photos of players with the gasometer in the background – player Mick Nolan came to be known as “the galloping gasometer”. We always called it the gasometer but they often seem to be referred to as “gas holders”. There aren’t many of them I left in the world now as gas it stored differently.

This photo was taken in 1928:

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Locals used to come to Arden St for training in their own time after work – now players are professional sportsmen who come to Arden St everyday to work as players. You can see the gasometer in the background:

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Les Foote was awarded the Syd Barker medal 3 times. Here kicks the ball at Arden St in front of the gasometer:

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These photos show Arden St in the 1970’s and were given to me by a member but we don’t yet know what day they were taken on or who was playing. You can see how imposing the gasometer is. On this match day, a marching band and marching girls seem to have been the pre-match entertainment. The last photo with the banner at the ready for players to run through shows the old scoreboard and the Housing Commission flats in the background.

Arden St 1970’s – gasometer and marching band