I am re-posting my blog post from last year and adding a few other ideas well I've stumbled upon. This post is all about some fun and interesting ideas on how teachers can use Star Wars in their classrooms.
ORIGINAL POST FROM APRIL 2016:
Here are some resources that you may find interesting in using Star Wars with your students....
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Complete with iambic pentameter these works bring us Star Wars but in Shakespearean language
Star Wars in the Classroom: The next two ideas come from THE NUMBER ONE RESOURCE ONLINE about using Star Wars in education. This is a treasure trove of ideas, resources, lessons and a robust community all interested in sharing. For example check this out. Below is a screen shot of search on this site for "hero's journey". This brings up many examples of teachers in this community who have shared lessons on this subject.
From Democracy to Dictatorship. Here is a blog post I wrote for the "Innovate My School" site about how used Star Wars to help my students understand how historically some nations simply allowed dictators to rise like Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler just like the emperor's rise in Star Wars
8 Things Star Wars Can Teach Us About Writing. This post with ideas like "Even the Death Star Had a Weak Spot." and others helps would be writers by channeling lessons learned from Star Wars.
Star Wars Teaching Ideas. A Pinterest board from John Adamski
NY Times Post: Lastly, this blog post from the NY Times gives links to lesson ideas from everything from Yoda grammar on Grammar Girl's blog to the issues behind the Physics of Space Battles.
Oh, did you know that May 4th is the unofficial Star Wars day simply because of the pun "May the Forth Be With You". There tons of puns and memes floating around social media. But there is actually a page at starwars.com about this day and what people around the world do to celebrate.
One of my favorite apps for the iPad has got to be Green Screen by Do Ink. This post will share some ideas which I hope you may be able to share with your students or other teachers.
[Here comes the historical background section of this post]
My past with Green Screen goes back quite a few years ago to a conference when I saw Hall Davidson speak. I had heard of green and blue screen chroma key before, in fact I still remember seeing a special effects documentary on Star Wars in the late 70's when I was a kid which introduced this effect tool - and of how I love YouTube, because someone found and posted this special called The Making of Star Wars. This link will take you just to the part about the blue screen. But it was Hall, who was the first one to show me that this idea can be applied in education. I thought, "this is so fantastic and I would love to use it in my classes".
But, from there that idea just kind of sat. By that I mean (and I am sure this has happened to any of you have attended a conference before) I was inspired but didn’t do anything about. About 6 months later I had a student ask me if I was OK with her recording my history lectures on her voice recorder. I said sure, but really it took me back to the moment when I saw Hall present and I thought, “What if I don’t just have her record me, but what if I recorded myself not just with audio but with video?
So this was my plan; I would set up a video camera on a shelf in the back of my room and then I would stand in front of my podium and pin a piece of green fabric behind me. I would then conduct the lecture making sure to not move so as to always keep me in the center of the shot with the green fabric behind me. The magic came back on my computer in the editing phase of this project.
I would take my PowerPoint and save it not as a .PPT but as .JPGs which meant that I would have an image saved of every PowerPoint slide. I would then take these still slide images and my green screen video and drop them into the video editor which I was (and still am) using, Adobe Premiere Elements. It was in the program where I would be the images in the back layer and then my video on the front layer. Then by using the Chroma Key feature (that is the actual terms for green screen stuff) I would make the green disappear and I would be left standing in front of my PowerPoint lecture. I moved my video to the lower left so that I would not be centered and in the end I looked like your local weather man narrating, except of talking about the 5 day forecast I was talking Mongols, Mayans and Mutual Assured Destruction.
Recently I worked with the Speech Therapists at Rocklin Unified to demo the use of Virtual Reality with their students.
As a former history teacher, I usually think along the lines of the traditional classroom teachers. Even as new technologies come out I wonder about their use with teachers and students in classrooms. So, it was interesting to think like professionals who have different roles and responsibilities and wonder "how could I use this with MY kids"
Full disclosure!!! My wife is a Speech Therapist
The "Star Wars - Force Awakens" opens on the December 18th, and as you may know, I'm kind of into all things Star Wars. You see I was born in 1971 and grew up on all things Star Wars. I still think about the movies and I'm fascinated by it all. I mean, I still question why Obi Won-Kenobi would go into hiding from the Empire and only change his name to "Ben Kenobi"! Seriously? If I have to take off and run from the law my alias will not be Brian McDonald.
But I am heading to see the premiere with a bunch of high school buddies and yes I will bring my lightsaber and robe. I will share out some photos from this event later this week.
Now, back to Parodies:
Parodies have been around a long time and one of the most popular subjects to poke fun at is Star Wars. As a kid in the 70's I remember finding the first parody / fan film Hardware Wars hilarious. By the way, I DON'T recommend watching it - somethings should be left to memory.
Anyway, song parodies really began in pop culture in the 1960's with the likes of Allan Sherman with parody hits such as Hello Muddah Hello Faddah. But my generation knows one man who made them fun and relevant, Weird Al Yankovic. His "Eat It" and "Amish Paradise" are some of my favorites, but check out this Rolling Stone article about his top ten of all time.
Now in education music and pardoy have a role as well. I remember my first CUE Rockstar in Tahoe and seeing Diane Main (the queen of song parodies!) stand up sing to the whole audience one of her parodies. Talk about confidence! But this wasn't just fun. She showed how creating a song parody related to your curriculum content allowed for students to demonstrate their understanding of the content along with being engaged. Basically Project Based Learning in a nutshell. Here is a recent example of one Diane did teaching humpback whales, sung to Love Shack from the B-52's.
She even shared this great infographic on the Psychology of Music. If you are interested the programs to start playing with are Audacity for PC, Twisted Wave for Chromebooks & Garage Band for Mac.
And now to Star Wars - there are tons of parodies out there but here is my list of my top 6 parody songs.