The Shed School Project

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The Shed School Project happened over a two-week period during a summer. After the two weeks the children had produced a short video you can view here. The project is a collaborative mixed-media theatrical event. Kids choose a story to perform. In the following example the group including adults and kids chose the story of Daedalus, Icarus, the minotaur and Ariadne, who was the daughter of King Minos. The students were called upon to write a script and debug and elaborate on the dialog as they proceeded to test out its coherence in rehearsals and actual performances which were captured by digital cameras. The students designed and put together the costumes, sets and properties. The adults were music, arts and crafts and computer teachers. We met every day for two weeks devoting the entire day to the project. Students would use a variety of software including MicroWorlds, KidPix, HyperStudio, Garageband, iMovie, Audacity, Word and so on.

As a reference we used Jane Yolen’s book, Wings.

Some of the work was done on a computer and some was done in the art studio and some in playrooms or the great outdoors. The students did most of the script development and music creation in the evenings without adult help. During the day the adults would consult with the students in specific areas and in overall shaping of the story. The adults helped the students to modify and divide up the project into executable components.

We met for group discussions twice a day. In the morning we discussed goals for the day and how we might divide up time. At the end of the day we discussed our accomplishments, difficulties, and plans for the next day.

In our first group discussion we decided to make puppets for some of the characters in the story and to be some of the characters in the story. To get an immediate sense of managing the puppets and editing the video we began with already built puppets. We set up a stage outside and the video camera.

Because the children were shy at first and reticent to perform, it was important to start them out right away of performing and then viewing their performances.

Getting Ready with Puppets
Setting Up the Camera
Looking at the Results

We discussed our story a lot to decide what would be portrayed and in what medium.

The decisions immediately arrived at were
1. Daedalus and Icarus would be actual people in costume
2. We needed a female character and since Ariadne was vital to the story we wanted to use her. Again she would be played by a person not a puppet.
3. The minotaur was necessary too.
4. We needed music. For this we had both HyperScore and Garageband.

We decided on making two puppets, Ariadne and Daedalus.
We also decided to make a set of wings for the person playing Daedalus.

We were going to use the computer to plan puppets, create music, fill in parts of the story, editing the video and creating the narrations.

Making feathers, puppets and music

In the studio.
A close up of feathers.
Debugging in HyperScore.
Fixing Ariadne.
Back at the work table
More HyperScore work.
Finishing Ariadne
Setting up the camera
Closer look at a wing.
Testing the wings

Sound Effects and Music Compositions

Icarus falling: sound effect

The Theme Song: original song


After two weeks of intensive preparation everything was assembled for a performance evening. The movie was shown on the outdoor screen, i.e., a white bed sheet.



After much applause the students faced the audience for a lively question period. This interaction was a highlight of the project. The students were surprisingly poised and thoughtful in their answers. Afterwards, they got a chance to show individual attendees how they made music and animations. They also showed how they knit everything together.