Playing with Alice After School

Below is a collection of lesson plans for non-traditional classes–after school programs, weekend seminars, summer camps. Feel free to “Rip-Mix-Burn”.

Then is a set of “Lessons Learned”.

At the very bottom is the lesson plan I wrote nearly a year ago for my own Alice extra-curricular program.

Please go here for the latest Alice updates.

Here for the latest Alice 3.0 beta.

Lesson plans by duration

(all are targeted towards middle school girls)

If you have:

<=15 minutes

This lesson plan has:

  • An introduction to Alice with a bunny
  • Handout
  • Slides
  • Powerpoint

<= 1 hour

This lesson plan has:

  • An introduction to Alice with a fish and a fairy
  • Handout
  • Slides

<=2 hours

This lesson plan has:

  • Hand-outs for parents and students
  • A story out-line
  • Sample worlds

<=4 lessons, with 30-45 minutes per day

This lesson plan has:

  • Handouts for 4 lessons
  • Slides for 4 lessons
  • Powerpoints for 4 lessons
  • Finished Alice Worlds for 4 lessons

<=4 lessons, 90-120 minutes per day

This lesson plan has:

  • Hand-outs for parents and students for each day
  • A story out-line for each day
  • Sample worlds for each day

Please feel free to supplement any of these lessons plans with materials from this great repository, or the official Alice textbook website.

~

We’ve Been There (Lessons Learned from Teaching Alice After School)

Bloomsburg University’s Summer Experience for Young Women 2007:

What I learned:  This was my first attempt at putting on a workshop such as this and I learned the following:

  • Have at least one helper.  We had college students (math majors) who were helping in a variety of ways with the overall program.  They had no Alice experience but had done a little programming.  They floated around the room and helped by answering questions.  I got very positive feedback from the helpers about Alice.  One young woman, who was home schooled prior to coming to BU, was going to tell her mother about Alice so she could use it with her younger siblings.
  • Give a limited amount of time for them to create their main character using shebuilder.  They enjoy this part very much but creative differences do arise within a team that can slow down the process.
  • The afternoon session went more smoothly than the first.  I had a better idea about how to pace the presentation and where the students were going to have trouble.  I went to a “give me a thumbs up” approach for each team to signal to me that they had implemented the particular part of the story we were working on and they were ready to move on.
  • For a 2 hour session, I would not attempt to do two separate scenes again.  In fact, I need to get better at incorporating multiple scenes.  In the morning session, as we started the second scene, most teams struggled with it (e.g. loosing sight of their main character) and then we ran out of time.  In the afternoon session, I took these steps much more slowly, which avoided the frustrations, but then we didn’t get as far.

Bloomsburg University’s Summer Experience 2008:

Ideas for next summer:

  • Each student should have a folder for the handouts.  I’ll collect them every day as I did the thumb drives, with the students taking them home on the last day.
  • Adding sound is fun, but I didn’t have any sounds handy for the students to use.  Allowing them to surf the web for free .wav files would not be wise for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the time it would waste.  I’m thinking of creating a web page with links to a collection of safe web sites from which students can download sounds.
  • We’re talking about expanding the program, e.g. a 2- or 4- week version.  There’s so much more we could with the additional time, both content-wise (e.g. conditions and while loops, recording dialog, adding properties to objects, more robust event handling) and format-wise (e.g. we could have weekly “animation fairs” where students present their work).  If there’s enough interest, it would be nice to have an advanced Alice class for those who took this year’s class.

~

My First Lesson Plan for Teaching Alice In An Extracurricular Program

I want to structure the program around the vivid stories musicians imagine while they play. To do this I will  use Alice to animate songs my Scouts would like to perform.

Lesson Plan

10-12:30pm Session I
(Instead of a time-line, I have written interchangeable segments. I have written these in the order I intend to do them, but I may switch the order—ie, if the girls are bored during the session I will get into the breathing warm-ups, the singing earlier. I may include more singing if the girls have experience with that. I don’t want to force shy girls into performing if they aren’t comfortable; however if I get a bunch of extroverts or experienced performers I want to be able to support them.)

15 minutes
Login to the cluster computers, do a session introduction, etc, ask for questions

  • What’s the last song you had stuck in your head?
  • What’s your musical experience?
  • What do you want to know?

15 minutes

Alice Demonstration

  • Show what Alice does, explain why Alice is cool
  • Open a grassy plan, Draw a three step storyboard.
  • Create a scene with with Bird 1, Fairy, Mrs Mitchel, and Fish
  • Show how methods work with Fairy, how to create methods with Fish, an how to move parts of objects with Bird1
  • Show 3 Alice movies I have created
    • 1 with dancing,
    • 1 with scenery talking/moving (1. Chicken walks ¼ way across screen, cat following, sing ½ first verse 2. Chicken walks to center, cat follows, sing rest of ast verse, end together facing camera. 3) cat pounces )
    • 1 with narration
  • (recommended characters for dancing include Adults, Fairies, Fish)
  • Questions?

45 minutes
Roles of Music in Other Cultures

YouTube Videos

  • Sister Act/Philippine Prison Dance
  • Cool Bollywood/Egyptian Music Video
  • Vitamin C Graduation with Muslim girls
  • Yes We Can from wil.i.am
  • Discuss

Opera

  • Show Papageno/Papagena dance (German)
  • (Show when I am laid in earth, jazz and traditional version)


  • Song to the Moon, Rusalka (Russian)
  • Discuss

15 minutes

  • Brainstorm ideas out-load as a group (Use board, see if they want to form groups)
  • Research what songs you want to work with on YouTube
  • Talk about good movie-making ideas

½ an hour

  • Warm up with breathing
  • Do simple scales
  • 2 choices—sing song with Karaoke, or we can play a recorded version
  • ½ an hour
  • Storyboard some ideas for music videos
  • Do Alice tutorials
  • Revise Storyboards
  • Questions?

Session II

1:15-3:15pm
1:15-2:30
Prepare and Give Presentations
Presentations will include:

  • 2 Sentences about the culture and history of the song (explain some references that don’t make sense). Do research on YouTube, on the internet.
  • What are the rhythm instruments? How would it be different if they had used bongoes? How did you use them as markers for your video?
  • Find a version of your chosen song with a movie from another culture

I will be walking around the cluster, helping the women with programming and editorial issues
2:30-3:05
Give Presentations
3:05-3:15

  • Wrap up, questions, issues, explain about the careers which being an extrovert and a logical thinker can push you towards, lay out several support societies and groups if they want to join a performance and/or programming community.

3 responses

  1. I came upon your Web site while looking for lesson plans and ideas for a teacher at the school where I am the library media specialist. I would like to know more about where things have gone with your project to get Alice into extracurricular programs.

    Further, I like your research into using YouTube in education. How can I find out more?

Leave a Reply