I love internet memes. I love when ideas go viral through the power of the internet. With each reproduction, new concepts are added, different points of views are showcased, and while it may seem silly to some, people come together over a shared idea.
Last year for our school’s fifth grade graduation, the fifth grade teachers and students thought it would be a lot of fun end the ceremony with a flash mob. The kids came together to learn the words and choreography and worked hard to create a great show. The look on our principal’s face was priceless when the students interrupted his final farewell with singing and dancing. They left their mark and it’s one that still makes me smile when I think about it.
This year, we wanted to keep the theme of internet memes alive and decided to tackle the art of the lip dub. The term lip dub was first coined in back in 2006 by Jake Lodwick. It was simple, but incredibly clever. Jake filmed himself walking down the street, lip syncing along to the music on his iPod. When he got home, he dubbed the music over the footage, and Lip Dubbing: Endless Dream was the result. Over the years, Lip Dubs have gotten more complex and showy, but the concept remained the same.
Taking inspiration from many few of our favorite lip dubs on Youtube, a colleague, Mrs. Daniel, and myself got to work. Sticking with tradition, we wanted to move through the school, film the lip dub in a single unedited shot, and let the kids have some fun. We chose the song “All Star” by Smash Mouth. It’s upbeat, has great lyrics we thought the kids would have fun with, and well, we’re suckers for 90s music. We broke the song into couplets, mapped out a route through the school and brought the idea to the students.
We showed the fifth graders, two of our favorite lip dubs, Don’t Stop Believing by Bloomington High School and Party in the USA by Renton High School’s 2010 Seniors. We wanted our kids to see a diverse group of students acting goofy, being creative, and having fun in school (gasp).
The kids had mixed reactions at first. Some were on board, some were hesitant, and others were convinced their teachers just might be insane. We told students they could be in the beginning part of the lip dub or just be on the gym bleachers for the end. We wanted every student to participate, but wanted them to be comfortable. We only had about 10-15 students from each class volunteer. As students began to talk about the endeavor and share their ideas for the project, the excitement began to build. When it came time to start practicing, just about every student asked to be involved in the beginning of the lip dub. They put their guards down and were ready to have fun.
As kids began to choreograph their parts of the lip dub, decide which props they wanted to bring, and take ownership of the project, I couldn’t help but stand back and smile. Some may question the curricular significance of creating a lip dub. However, after seeing our students collaborate with each other, show off their talents, release their creativity, and have fun in the process, I’d question why every class doesn’t create one. We hardly had any behavior issues during planning, rehearsals, or filming. Just 150 fifth graders working hard with their eyes on a goal.
We practiced twice with each class individually, practiced twice with the entire grade level, walked through it once the day of filming, and then filmed three takes in a row. For the final product we decided on the third take. Each of the takes had pros and cons, but when it came down to it, the fifth grade teachers liked the third take the best.
I present to you our lip dub and hope you it brings a smile to your face. Winecoff’s Class of 2011 couldn’t stop smiling the entire time they created it.