Let's Speak! Speaking Tools and Apps
“Thoughts need words. Words need a voice.” - Sharon M. Draper
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Language is social, which is why we must help students find their voice and have the courage to express themselves. In my presentation, Let's Speak!, I share activities and tips for motivating children to adults to share stories, practice vocabulary, voice their opinions, or reflect on content. Additionally, I share ways to use technology to encourage students to record their thoughts, ideas, or learning. Students can create podcasts, host radio shows, broadcast the news, make a radio drama, post reviews, add sports commentary, deliver announcements, animate a pet or object, and much more! Students can create audio projects for any subject, such as math, science, history, and literature. Find some ideas and tips below along with downloadable slides to get your students speaking and creating audio projects.
Speaking Ideas and Tools
Podcasts and Recording Audio
- Role Plays:
- This is a great article about role plays Learnenglish.de/Teachers/roleplays.html
- With any roleplay, provide the language (word bank or script), the setting or situation
- Create role play cards
- Ideas for role plays:
- Characters in a book
- A dialogue between historical ﬁgures or famous people
- Characters impacted by a situation (lost in the subway, on a blind date, traveling next to each other)
- Think! Pair! Share- a problem is posed, students have time to think about it individually, and then they work in pairs to solve the problem and share their ideas with the class.
- Students can tell stories, practice vocabulary, or tell us about themselves and record these activities to later reflect, edit, or to see growth.
- Some other useful tools and apps for recording audio and doing quick projects:
Podcasts and Recording Audio
- Begin by getting students to evaluate and analyze podcasts and broadcasts. This way students understand how broadcasters change their tone, summarize the news and engage their audience. Find short historical broadcasts at Otr.com/news.html.
- Readwritethink has various audio evaluation interactives with printable handouts. Just search audio, radio or podcasts to access them.
- Find educational podcasts, some student created podcasts as well, at American Art Podcasts, Digital Podcasts, and the Podcast Directory.
- You could also have students listen to segments of popular mainstream podcasts. Some of my favorites with science, history and math topics include, Radio Lab, Serial, Invisibilia, the TedTalk Hour, and This American Life. Please listen to these podcasts first, because some are not suitable for young students.
- After this initial evaluation, your students will generally need to take these steps to produce their audio projects- brainstorm, research, write a script, edit the script, record it, remix it, edit it, and broadcast it.
- At the brainstorming stage, students decide the topic and identify where to gather more insight.
- At the research stage, students gather insight from various sources. The focus should be on primary resources, which is why I like to have students conduct audio interviews. Give them time to identify who to interview or locations where they can contact professionals for Skype or telephone interviews. Storycorps has several audio interviews and provides great information on creating appropriate questions and conducting research.
- Edit and remix audio projects with tools like Garageband, Audacity, Soundation and WavePad for the iPad.
- Students can find free creative commons music and sounds to use for their audio projects at CCMixter, Freesound, and SoundBible. Find additional resources about Creative Commons and sources for CC images and sound clips in my bookmarks here!
- Broadcast and publish their audio projects with tools and apps, like Anchor, Podbean, Soundcloud, and Spreaker (Only 10 episodes for free).