VoiceThread enabled my students to put their poems out in an audio format to be shared with others. They eagerly practiced their speaking fluency to get it “just right” because they wanted to impress their “audience”. They learned how to make a comment that provided good feedback.
I have used The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown for years and had my students write poems in the format she presents in her book. This year I took my lesson plan into the 21st century by using, VoiceThread to publish their final work. This lesson will take to 2-4 days to complete based on how tech-savvy your students are.
Content and Substance
- Write a poem based on the pattern established in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book.
- Use the steps of the writing process to compose their “Important” poem.
- Record their “Important” poem on a VoiceThread.
- Post a comment on another student’s VoiceThread poem.
Organization of Knowledge
- Read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown to the students.
- Discuss the pattern Brown uses and the details she chooses for each item. Discuss her word choice for several of the “Important” poems in her book.
- Use the lesson and examples from the Writing Fix website.
- Project this template on the whiteboard and fill it in with the students.
- Students will use a circle map to brainstorm their ideas for their important poem.
- Students will write their rough draft in their journal.
- Students will get with their shoulder partner to complete peer editing using the writer’s checklist.
- The teacher will demonstrate VoiceThread.
- The student will upload their photo, poem image, and voice to VoiceThread.
- The student will place an appropriate comment on someone else’s VoiceThread.
- Students and their shoulder partner will use their assigned laptop to write their final draft using Word. They will use a font type and size that is appropriate. They will get a clip art image from the Microsoft online clip art gallery and insert the image into their Word document.
- The teacher will conference with each student before printing is allowed.
- The teacher will demonstrate the Web 2.0 tool known as VoiceThread.
- The students will upload their poem’s image to VoiceThread and then record their poem onto the VoiceThread using a headset with a microphone.
- The teacher will embed the finished VoiceThread onto the class blog or wiki.
- Each student will select at least one other student’s VoiceThread poem and publish a comment either by typing in a comment or using a microphone to record a comment.
Easiest: My students loved writing their poems. Since all of their final drafts have been done in Word, they were very familiar with using Word and inserting images, so getting the poems typed was easy.
Hardest: The hardest part was putting the VoiceThread together. This was my first one and I was learning as I went along. I messed up with not uploading their images first so they could select their picture before they recorded their VoiceThread. Once I worked that out, it was a breeze to put together.
As part of this lesson I used an IWB (interactive whiteboard), an LCD projector, and several websites.
Make a sample three or four page VoiceThread first. Remember to add images of everyone who is going to be part of the VoiceThread to your account before you start, or you can just use the VoiceThread avatars. My students preferred having their own image connected to their work.
I adapted this lesson for my math classes. I had them write “Important” poems about a term from their math glossary. The poems were wonderful, but sadly the school year ended before I could make a VoiceThread of those poems. I think this lesson could be used in any subject.