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updated: 11/11/2013 8:41 AM

French students put memory to music

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  • Sixth-grader Tesandra Phillips, left, searches for music as instructional technology coach Christine Edwards assists Jaquai Seaton, Quajai Seaton and Mark Sutherland in editing footage for the class' ž12 Powerful WordsÓ film at French Academy in Decatur.

      Sixth-grader Tesandra Phillips, left, searches for music as instructional technology coach Christine Edwards assists Jaquai Seaton, Quajai Seaton and Mark Sutherland in editing footage for the class' ž12 Powerful WordsÓ film at French Academy in Decatur.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

DECATUR -- Some people find it easier to remember things when they're set to music.

That's certainly the case with Keosha Barber, a sixth-grader in Tami Roberts' class at French Academy.

"I can only do it with the song," Keosha said with a chuckle, and then sang the song her class used to help them remember the "12 powerful words" critical to successful schoolwork: trace, analyze, infer, evaluate, formulate, describe, support, explain, compare, contrast, summarize and predict. Because the lyrics also contain the meanings of the words, Roberts said, the students now know the words and their definitions.

"Those are words that will be on their standardized test," Roberts said. "By putting them to a song and kind of playing with them, they're becoming more comfortable, and it will hopefully relieve their testing anxiety."

Christine Edwards, an instructional technology coach for the Decatur School District, guided the kids through the process of making a video on their iPads with their own version of the song.

"This year, the staff at French Academy's been working on upping the level of question and having the kids understand the kind of questions they're asking and also having the kids understand the questions they're asking of them," Edwards said. "So if a teacher asks them to `analyze' something, what does that mean?"

Roberts' class shot the video with all of them singing the song, and used the app Garage Band to put music to it.

"We've been singing, we've been taking pictures, we've been recording our own music, and we're putting the final steps together," Edwards said.

The video will be available on YouTube next week, and a link to it will be available on the school's page on the district website, dps61.org.

The Garage Band app allows users to choose an instrument, record it playing a sequence of notes or chords, and layer it with other instruments. Tesandra Phillips demonstrated the app on Tuesday but couldn't recall the exact drumbeat used for the 12 powerful words song.

"I'm the shy and quiet one," she said, peeking up through long bangs as she worked.

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