Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Saturday, March 31, 2007

School's (Not) Out For Spring Break

Reana did it!

She used many of the tools we've been discussing in class since January - Jumpcut, Audacity, PowerPoint, the PrintScreen key, and more, to produce her Ides of March report.

For this third and final semester, all ninth grade students are required to produce one multimedia project per week. Get a head start. Begin working on a project/report over the holiday break.

Here are several of the reports you should be working on.

Sitting for Kehinde Wiley (mandatory)
The Ides Of March
Smokey Robinson
Cool Struttin' With Sonny Clark
Synthetic Sunshine
For Jesse Owens

Monday, March 26, 2007

Celebrating 50 Years of Smokey Robinson

Saturday, March 24, 2007

You Can Make It If You Try!

This is indeed the home stretch students and in the tradition of Philly's favorite, Smarty Jones, I expect each and every one of you to cross the finish line victoriously. However, there are several things that you must do to ensure that victory. Below is a sketch of what it will take for ninth grade students at New Media to make it to the winner's circle.

The third and final semester of our Humanities/Technology seminar will consist of a synthesis of Blogger, pbwiki, Flickr, Audacity, Google Docs, Google Reader, jumpcut and eyespot.

All New Media students will be required to work with these tools to produce at least one multiimedia project per week. To accomplish this, you must develop a handful of useful strategies to assist you in gathering and uploading images, recording and editing audio and ultimately produce self-contained multimedia reports that represent the topics we cover over the next two months.

It is imperative that you utilize your class and project time wisely. There should never be a dull moment when a student has nothing to do in the classroom. Your narratives, reflections and dictation transcriptions must be delivered to me via Google Docs. I will not accept any reports that are delivered in any other format.

For the benefit of those student who still are unsure how to use Flickr, Audacity, jumpcut and eyespot, in addition to our normal activities - dictations, video critiques, current events and reflections, next week, I will demonstrate how to best use these dynamic web based applications to ensure that your multimedia reports are as vibrant and sparkling as you intend for them to be.

H. Songhai

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Most folks who know me know that I am a huge fan of pianist and composer, Sonny Clark. Clark's heyday as a bebop and hard bop pianist was between 1953 and 1962. Clark played with many of the great jazz musicians of the fifties and sixties including Max Roach, Wardell Gray, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, "Philly" Joe Jones, Lee Morgan and Sonny Rollins. Sonny Clark was known for his lean and melodic right hand and for being one of the hardest swinging pianist of his day.

Over the years, I've been able to acquire every recording Clark made as a leader and many of the recordings where he's featured as a sideman. Some of my favorites are Candy, Go!, The Sound of Sonny, Tippin' The Scales and the Grant Green sessions. So when I come across a jazz reference book or click on a music/video web site, usually, the first artist I search for is Sonny Clark.

I came across PureVideo the other day while scrolling through the Read/Write Web blog. PureVideo, according to Richard MacManus, founder and editor of Read/Write Web is "a search engine for video and an associated portal frontpage, which lists popular videos at destinations such as YouTube and"

I thought this was an important find because over the last month, I've been encouraging all of the ninth grade students to take advantage of the slew of free, web based photo, video and audio editors available online- namely flickr, jumpcut, eyespot and Audacity.

Important lessons can be learned by watching, producing and publishing multimedia projects. One very important lesson to be learned is how to match images and audio together so that they seamlessly complement each other. That is what I am expecting all ninth grade students to do this semester- complement your narrative tracks seamlessly with your images and video.

Check out this video I found on the PureVideo web site. As big a Sonny Clark fan as I am, you can imagine my surprise when I entered a search for Sonny Clark and found this video by 60otaku. But before you watch the video, please read the biographical sketch of Clark from the Hard Bop Homepage. After you read the bio sketch, watch the video. Do the images complement the music seamlessly? From what you read about Clark, would you have chosen a different sequence of visuals? How would you have complemented this musical sequence?

The video is over 10 minutes in length. I'm sure you would much rather listen to Three Six Mafia ft. 8-Ball, MJG and Young Buck - Stay Fly, so I've selected just a three minute passage for you to consider and critique.


Let the entire video load fully in your browser then move the slider to the 4:51 mark to begin. End at the 1:38 mark. (The time meter runs backwards)

Please send me your feedback and suggestions via Google Docs or produce a response using jumpcut, eyespot and Audacity.
Lively up your text by using hyperlinks and relative vocabulary words from the Glossary of Jazz Terms.

Playing with Sonny Clark on this recording is Donald Byrd (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass), Jackie McLean (alto saxophone), and "Philly" Joe Jones (drums).

H. Songhai

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Please click the calendar image above for a more detailed view.

Today in class we talked about the Ides of March, Julius Caesar and the
relationship between the words Caesar, Kaiser and Czar. We also discussed several of the top political, environmental, and local issues affecting Philadelphians today.

This particular assignment is very similar to your first semester reflection (The Midnight Hour of My First Semester As A Freshman). After you send me your reflections via Google Docs, I will review it and then give you the okay to start building it in PowerPoint and ultimately upload your PowerPoint (JPEG slides) to Jumpcut. The audio portion of this report should be recorded using Audacity.

As always use hyperlinks to enliven your text.

Please begin this report using the language and lines we went over in class.

My Google Notebook page on The Ides of March, etymology and Julius Caesar.

H. Songhai

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Synthetic Sunshine"

This is a link to one of the pages that I created in Google Notebook.
Google Notebook is a discrete and handy application that allows you to bookmark web sites, images and other web resources with just one click. Google Notebook is similar to, except it's a little easier to access and switching "notebook pages" is quicker than logging in and out of your different accounts. It's perfect for serious web heads and researchers.

I created this "notebook page" to help you with today's discussion on Daylight Saving Time.

In several paragraphs, please answer the following:

What is the Energy Policy Act of 2005?
How does that act relate to Daylight Saving Time - 2007?
Why did Daylight Saving Time - 2007, call to mind images of Y2K?
How do you feel about the new Daylight Saving Time policy?
Who is your Congressperson?
Did your Congressperson vote for or against the Energy Policy Act of 2005?
Tell me three interesting facts about your Congressperson.

Please send me this report via Google Docs.

High achievers are encouraged to record their reports using Audacity and upload the report to Jumpcut or Eyespot. E-mail me the link.

All ninth grade students please add Google Notebook to your Google account and Homepage.

H. Songhai

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sitting For Kehinde Wiley wiki

The Sitting For Kehinde Wiley wiki is up and running. Several students have begun posting biographical, bibliographic and anecdotal info about their image choices on the wiki.

Most of you already have an individual wiki that you use for vocabulary lists, reports, projects and other school related work.
The sitting4kehinde wiki, on the other hand, represents our first real attempt at setting up a collaborative wiki for all of the ninth grade students to participate in and make contributions. Through this effort, each one will indeed teach one, therefore the information that you post must be clear and accurate if your classmates are to truly benefit from your reporting.

Thanks to Marques from 9-2 for suggesting and then making several format changes to the wiki thus making the overall wiki space a lot more pleasing to the eye and user friendly.

More about this tomorrow in class.

Up Next: Blog Watch Show #3, MySpace Show.

H. Songhai

Friday, March 09, 2007

More Sitting For Kehinde Wiley

For several days last week my classroom looked like a mini
soundstage. Click here for some examples of 9th grade students
sitting for painter, Kehinde Wiley.

See all of the photos in this collection.

H. Songhai

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is The Sign The Crime, Or The Times?

Despite the Paul Robeson House, The Marian Anderson Museum, The Johnson House, Freedom Theater, Philadanco, The University of Penn, Central High, and the Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia has the sad distinction of being called "Murder City." There were over 400 homicides in Philadelphia in 2006. So far this year, there are 60 homicides on the books in the city of Philadelphia.

I photographed this sign two weeks ago with my cell phone. It's a sign of our times in the "City of Brotherly Love." The sign is taped to the front door of the 7-11 store across the street from where my students attend school.

I shared the photo with my students today. We discussed the motivation, the meaning and the message behind the sign. We also talked about the spelling and the mechanics. I chose the image as our tag wall topic - our daily journal topic. The related question was: Is the Sign the Crime, Or The Times?

All Ninth Grade New Media Students:
Please answer this question and e-mail your responses to me.
Please prepare your responses in Google Docs.
High aimers are encouraged to record their responses in Audacity, compile a photographic/video complement and upload your media to jumpcut or eyespot.

H. Songhai

Monday, March 05, 2007

What Exactly Is Black Enough?

What Exactly is "Black Enough" The myth, the truth or the fallacy? The question has sparked a lot of discussion around the world - even at the high school level due largely to Illinois Senator Barack Obama, a black man, declaring his candidacy for the presidency of the United States of America.

Can you even imagine what it means to be the President of the United States? The manager of America - America the beautiful, with her spacious skies and her amber waves of grain?
Can you imagine having to remember the names of all the governors, all the senators, all the foreign presidents and dignitaries. Can you imagine having to deal with all the war zones, the poverty zones, the drug zones and the kid zones.

Imagine being the boss of the nation's economy, the ecology, the energy policy and the space program? Any man or woman who would put everything on the line and gamble to win that job must have thick skin and nerves of steel. Add race, sex, class, name and religion to that equation and you're juggling dynamite.

Nancy Giles, in my opinion, is one of the sharpest commentators on American television today. It's just too bad we only get to see her once or twice a month on the CBS Sunday Morning Show. Last Sunday Giles asked her viewers "What does not black enough mean?" She posed this question alongside some recent footage of Senator Obama on the presidential campaign trail. Senator Obama has been taking a beating in the media for either being "too black," "not black enough," or "straddling the fence." Most recently the Senator was criticized for talking with a southern drawl while speaking to supporters in Alabama. That's nonsense!

That said, on Sunday, Giles asked a dozen or more of the more important questions concerning "blackness" - questions that many of us would rather avoid.
These are important questions not only for democrats and republicans but for anyone who is unsure about what it means to be black on the planet earth in 2007. It is especially important for every man, woman and child who watches television, listens to the radio, watches movies, surfs the internet, and has a cell phone with camera and video capabilities. Did you see the video of the black teenagers giving a two year old marijuana to smoke? Close to 3200 people have watched that video (online) since it became public over the weekend. That's how quickly sound and image can spread today.

All NMTCS Students
For this activity please take the survey ----> What Exactly Is Black Enough.
ALL STUDENTS please post your answers directly on the survey and also post your survey responses on a Google Document.
Please e-mail the Google Document to me.

All students please type your name on the first survey question so that I know you took the survey.

The survey questions are drawn directly from Nancy Giles' commentary on the March 4, 2007 edition of the CBS Sundy Morning Show.

H. Songhai