High school students are often reluctant to read, much less participate in analyzing and evaluating a novel or biography. When students create and publish a podcast book review, however, they become more engaged and enthusiastic, especially when their peers have opportunities to listen to their reviews. My students’ reliance on technology motivated me to develop the book review podcast assignment. They use their phones and mp3s for surfing the net, for watching movies, and for keeping track of their daily assignments and their friend’s birthdays. Why not allow them to create book reviews—a critical analysis/evaluation skill they need to develop—in a medium which they enjoy using?
Three 50-minute in-class workdays. Students may need a couple of days between the workdays.
- Educators at Broward County schools are finding ways to use podcasts and video clips called vodcasts, in their schools. Teachers are using them to send instrumental lessons for band, students create podcasts for vocabulary, and teachers are also using them to communicate with parents and to offer services for students who are absent.
See: Chick, Kristen. "Podcasts pep up college writing class curriculum." Washington Times. 6 Mar. 2007. Newspaper Source Publications. EBSCOhost. Missouri Western State University Lib. St. Joseph, MO. 8 Nov. 2007. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/publication.
- Although Podcasting is one of the older tools of web 2.0, it is a tool that is not widely used among middle and high schools; however, podcasting is gaining in popularity. Hannah Sampson of the Miami Herald asserts that “iPods are gaining wider acceptance on campuses as educational tools for use in everything from storing data to helping students learn foreign languages or listening to a class lecture.”
See: Sampson, Hannah. “Podcast evolves into teaching tool: Educators and students at Broward schools are discovering podcasting as a new way to teach and learn.” Miami Herald. 18 Mar. 2007. Newspaper Source Publications. EBSCOhost. Missouri Western State University Lib. St. Joseph, MO. 8 Nov. 2007. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/publication.
For further reading see:
“Podcast.” Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasts.
Richardson, Will. “Pod and Vodcasting.” 2006. Weblogg-ed Presentation Links: Front Pagehttp://webloggedlinks.pbwiki.com.
- Read, comprehend, and make evaluative judgments about a book
- Apply post-reading skills to comprehend and interpret text
- Recognize important aspects of the text (plot, motif, theme, literary elements)
- Create a podcast which includes an analytical, evaluative book review
- Novels, Non-fiction books
- Reading Response Logs/Journals
- Computers & microphone
- Class website or other hosting agent
- Audacity, free software for making podcasts.
- Directions to use Audacity
- Book Review Guide
- Allow students to select books and give them time to read the book before the podcast is due. I give two weeks.
- Assign a reading log of some type so that students will already have some response to the book. Students will be expected to use some of their responses in the reading log in the podcast script.
Reading Journal Handout 1 & Reading Journal Handout 2
- Ask your technology department to download Audacity on to a computer all students will be able to use.
- If you have never used Audacity, create a podcast as an exemplar to use with your students and to trial test the software.
- Provide the Audacity download information to students who may wish to use the software on their personal computers.
Session 1: Writing the script
On the day that the books and reading logs are due hand out the Podcasting lesson handout for book review. Allow students to use their reading logs as reflection for their podcast book review. All students should use at least four items from their reading response logs in writing the script.
Session 2: Peer reviewing the script
- Students will Peer review each other’s scripts using Circle-Square-Triangle Peer Review. See handout
- Students should be able to have two or three students review their scripts.
- Students should read their peers’ comments then draft a second version of their scripts.
Session 3: Sound bites, music, and other effects
- Students will meet in the room with the computer(s).
- Students will locate sounds that they would like to use within their podcast. Sounds should enhance the podcasts.
- Students will conference their scripts with the teacher while others are locating sound effects and/or practicing their scrips. FindSounds - sound effects search engine.
Session 4: Creating the podcast
- Students will begin using the Audacity software, sound clips, and microphone
- Students should record until they are satisfied with the podcast.
- Students will post their finished products.
Students can create a group podcast for a particular author, or series of books, such as a set of Harry Potter podcasts, Edgar Allen Poe podcasts or a set of fantasy podcasts.
Students can share their work with students at the middle schools in their school district.
Students can create podcasts for any educational purpose. Some of these could be on lecture notes, poetry, or class. Students can move from the podcast to the video podcast.