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Giving a Voice to Literature

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Keywords: podcasting, Reading, Literacy Workstations, Book Clubs
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Reading, Podcasting, Journalism
Grade 4
School: Bonne Ecole Elementary School, Slidell, LA
Planned By: Donna Jones
Original Author: Donna Jones, Slidell
The students in my fourth grade class are reluctant to try to read novels. They would rather read picture books or other short stories because of the length and the fact that many of them simply lose interest half way through the book. In an attempt to regain their interest in reading novels, I have instituted book clubs as a part of my literacy workstations. The students have shown a great interest in book clubs this year (especially because they choose the book as a group) and have really enjoyed sharing these stories with one another in such a small group setting. What they really need now is a way to share the excitement and joy they feel after they finish a book they have really enjoyed reading with students from other groups and classes.

As an extension assignment after completing the book in their book clubs, students will be asked to put together a promotional podcast to recommend this book to other groups. Based on their own interests, students will create a jigsaw project and put it together in one podcast with sound effects and music. Two students from the group can act out a favorite scene, two students can act out an interview as a character from the book, they can make a promotional commercial for the book, and two others can give a book review as a famous reviewer. Students will edit their podcast on the computer using Tool Factory Software and present it to other groups and other classes to promote their book.

The resources provided by this grant will be essential elements required for the completion of this project. They will be used in the following ways:

Digital Voice Recorders: The students will use these to record their interviews, the scenes they reenact, the commercials, and the book reviews for playback and reporting to the rest of the group for input and evaluation. The ease of being able to use these from anywhere will allow the students to work in an environment that is both quiet and private. The students can also use them to practice and polish their work before moving to the in-class podcasting stations.

Microphones and Headphones: These will be connected to the computers as podcasting stations. The final projects will be recorded on the computer using these and edited using the podcasting software that will be downloaded on to these designated computers.

Tool Factory Podcasting Software: This software will be used to edit, create, and produce our podcasts in the classrooms. We will also use this software to publish our podcasts to the Web pages we will create for our classroom.

Web Page Station: We will use this subscription to create a Web Page to publish our finished podcasts for others to enjoy. Hopefully this will encourage other classes around the country to try this new tool for learning when they see the awesome projects my class has produced.

The Clip Art Station: This will be used to create podcast specific flyers for the students to pass out when presenting their podcast to other students. This station will also be an invaluable resource for many other technology projects throughout the year at every grade level.

The Worksheet station and Tool Factoryís Simple Guide to Podcasting book and CD will be used for professional development for teachers at our school. This is such new technology and many teachers see new technology as a complicated hassle rather than an awesome tool for learning. These two tools will show the ease of use and simplicity of production and will encourage these teachers to take the plunge and use it in their classroom. This will also aid in the training of the students in the art of podcasting and editing. After all, they are the ones that will create the awesome projects we show off on our web pages!

The main purpose of this project is to show students that great literature is supposed to be shared and enjoyed. I donít want them to learn that answering questions or filling out a worksheet is the only way to respond to what they read or show what they learned. The creativity that my students possess is hidden behind the boring day to day routines of the typical reading assignment. They are begging for this type of technology incorporated into their learning. I have instituted book clubs to peak their interest and now I would like to use podcasting to take that interest to the next level.
Materials: Podcasting, Headsets, Digital Voice Recorders, Mobile Labs
Other Items: 1 Podcasting Software, $99.99 each, total of $99.99
4 Headphone with microphone, $12.99 each, total of $51.96
4 Voice Recorders, $149.99 each, total of $599.96