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Jefferson students carol for cash, class credit

Holiday CDs recorded to raise funds

POSTED: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Students make holiday CD

Watch Jefferson Elementary School second-grade students rehearse a holiday song in Ben Harrison's class, then listen to the recording for the first time.

Scott Rogers/The Times

Ben Harrison uses a computer projection to demonstrate how he takes students' recordings of Christmas carols and makes a CD copy that the school will sell to raise funds for the school's music classes.

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JEFFERSON — To the untrained eye, Jefferson Elementary School may seem like any other school. But the school has something that most others do not.

Tucked away in a classroom behind the school gym is perhaps one of Jefferson’s best kept secrets: a recording studio.

"I saw a digital recorder in a magazine and tried to think about what I could do with it in the classroom because I wanted to bring in more technology for the kids," said Ben Harrison, the school’s chorus instructor.

The idea Harrison came up with was to allow each of his music classes to record a song to be compiled on a holiday CD that could be sold to raise money for the music department.

"We’ve recorded all of the songs, and now I just have to burn them to a CD. I’m going to send them to a company in California to make copies, and it will take about three days to get the final copies back," Harrison said.

Kindergarten students recorded three holiday songs to be compiled on the CD, which will cost $5. The CD of Harrison’s first- and second-grade students’ music will sell for $10 and will showcase the students singing an international mix of holiday and winter songs. The songs will be performed in four languages: English, Spanish, Hebrew and German.

"Teaching the students the songs in other languages wasn’t difficult because I’ve exposed the students before to songs in other languages," Harrison said. "We practiced the songs for three weeks, and then we recorded them on the fourth week."

In addition to serving as a fundraiser, the recording process has helped the students work on meeting Georgia Performance Standards as outlined by the Georgia Department of Education, Harrison says.

"This project has helped the students working on meeting some of the English, language arts and social studies standards," he said.

For instance, one of the GPS standards for kindergarten students states that students should be able to "recite short poems, rhymes, songs and stories with repeated patterns."

Another standard outlined by the state department of education stipulates that second-graders should be able to "use oral language for different purposes — to inform, to persuade and to entertain."

What started out as a $200 investment in a digital recorder may potentially yield profit of more than $3,000 for the school. Harrison knows just how he’d like to invest that money.

"Once we get the money in from the CD sales, I’d like to buy some neat things for the music department, like a class set of guitars," Harrison said.

He says he would also like to purchase Wii Music, which allows individuals to play more than 60 different instruments using the remote of the popular Nintendo Wii gaming system.



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