I remembering reading something about Paul McCartney saying there was one more Beatles song under production, now that the Age of Artificial Intelligence was here, and to be frank, I thought: oh no. Please don’t let it be John Lennon AI Voice singing in the mix. Please don’t let it be AI George Harrison guitar.
Instead, as I learned when I watched this short documentary last night, it’s a song that Paul, Ringo and George tried to work on decades ago to honor Lennon, with permission of his family, but the rough tracks that Lennon had recorded for a song that he never finished were distorted with loud piano and soft voice.
They gave up in the early 1990s. But now that Machine Learning is here and film director Peter Jackson has the technical skills, Paul realized, the computer algorithms and power could isolate Lennon’s voice and separate it from the rough mix that Lennon had made, and once the voice was isolated, they could build a song around it.
Harrison passed away in the meantime, so along with Lennon’s voice, Harrison’s slide guitar leads were also added into the recording, with McCartney and Ringo Starr playing along, allowing the claim that this is the Last Beatles’ Song to be true, such as it goes.
The song gets released today (Nov2), I believe. The documentary is worth a look.
It must be that time of year — the time when the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney rolls off the presses, and sure enough, for the 18th year (!), a new book has arrived from the series. This one is called No Brainer and it’s another predictably funny set of journal skits in the life of Greg Heffley, and this time, the entire focus is on Greg’s middle school and the education system, so you know I was quickly opening the pages.
Kinney takes aim at issues such as school funding problems, book banning in school libraries, the use of advertising on school property from local companies, and much more as the new (out of retirement) principal of Greg’s school — which just learned it had terrible standardized test scores — seeks to motivate, cajole and do whatever it takes to get the school off the state’s watch-list, before devolving into every aspect of a money-grab.
As usual, it’s all a mess of distractions and dead ends, but Kinney’s skills with his pen and his writing brings heart to the story, through Greg’s keen observations about the transformation of his school, which is in danger of being closed.
I read this one in a day, enjoyed it, and have passed it on to one of my students. When I told this sixth grader that I had been reading each book, every year, for 18 years (I used to read them aloud with each of my three boys when they were younger), the student gave me a look, as if trying to grapple with the longevity of the reading experience.
Then we both laughed, and he thanked me for lending him the book, and soon was completely immersed in it.
A friend was asking me more about Digital Poetry, and so I gathered together a collection of some of the video and animated and text and art poems that have been gathering dust over at YouTube into a Digital Poetry Playlist.
I added 129 poems (most are very short), a number that surprised me.
It was quite a journey to return to some of these pieces — some I didn’t remember at all, and some were rich moments of a return to the composition and construction.
I am teaching The Lightning Thief with my sixth graders and we are at a chapter where Percy Jackson gets his prophecy from the Oracle. I had this idea of finding an online site that could spit out age-appropriate prophecies for my students as an activity. I found nothing and then thought, why not make my own?
I knew the Flippity site had a spinner tool and I knew I wanted at least 50 prophecies so each student in each class could get two different prophecies. But … writing 50 prophecies, myself, in one night? Yikes. Not gonna happen.
Wait … I thought … what about ChatGPT?
Why not make it do the work for me?
I had ChatGPT create 70 different prophecies, age appropriate for sixth graders, popped the phrases into the spinner, and yesterday, it was a huge hit with the students.
I described the spinner as our Digital Oracle, after a lesson on Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi, and the ChatGPT mix of prophecies were fun and interesting, with some having obscure Greek references for my students to wonder about. The mix of fantasy, mythology and positive thinking made for an enlightened time.
A few weeks ago, I helped co-facilitate a session about AI in education, and for that session, we developed a resource that might be helpful to others, as it is built around different areas of the curriculum and content.
You can download the digital handout we created for participants of our session. We’ve grouped AI tools by curricular area and then broke out some other assorted resources that we think may be valuable for explorations.
This poem comes via a prompt from Open Write this morning about taking a word for a walk. I used the word “synchronized” and it was a tricky bit of writing here, making sure the six lines with six words had the word moving systematically through the poem from first-word position to last-word position.
Ranger Scott Gausen of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site visited our classroom for Write Out last week, and along with his engaging personality and vast knowledge of the National Parks System, he has a pretty cool beard. For the Thank You notes, my students drew him with his beard. We’re mailing a package of these to him this week.
Yesterday, a small group of teachers gathered at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site to do some poetry writing, as part of Write Out and the National Day on Writing.
We used the museum site for inspiration, writing Diamante poems in the Innovation and Engineering wing, freestyle protest poems near the Organ of Muskets where a poem about the Armory by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is displayed, and then found poems near an exhibit of photographs (along with passages from a novel set at the Armory).