Submitted by Kathie Burlow, Mississauga, Ontario

Idea posted November 12, 2007

At my now previous school, we did a CD project. The kids chose their groups, came up with a group name, created all the characters in their group (biography, clothing, etc.), created a jewel case and CD label bearing the group's name, and came with a CD title.

They had to come up with 12 original song titles that fit the theme of the group. As an example, I showed them what I had done: My group was called "The Microbes" and the CD was titled "Coughing in Your Face." Songs included "Ode To A Lung Infection," "Influenza In A Can," "Common Cold," and "Common Cold Strikes Again." The CD also stated that it was "Recorded in a Level 4 Biosafety Lab in Toronto." They had to fill out show-biz gossip pages about their characters, create a poster to promote the group and its upcoming performance (i.e. venue, ticket prices, vendors, time and place, etc.), and write and perform an original song.

We topped all of this off with a "Schmoozefest" starring all the groups. I bought some disco balls and used lava lamps and police lights to turn the classroom into a party atmosphere. Parents were invited to attend, and quite a few actually made it! I had a student from one of the classes be the videographer and I interviewed all the groups. They had to wear their costumes, answer to their character names, and perform their original song. We had an absolute ball doing this!

During the last week of classes in June, each class watched their own video and they loved it! Of course, the best parts of the video were those little unexpected moments. It was a great way to end the year!

UPDATE (11/12/2007): This is a continuation of the Group CD project idea I submitted a few years ago. Rather than have the students use a pre-made label for their CDs, we've started using a digital camera. When the groups are ready with costumes, I take an 8.5 X 11 "publicity photo" of the group which is posted outside the music room. This photo also becomes the front cover of the CD as well as the CD label itself. I just use Printshop to do this on the computer (and also add the group's name); you can tweak the photos to some amazing results. It's been very successful addition to the project.