Using podcasting in literature circle classes

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Another day, another rubric. This time I have created one for the podcasts of class group interviews.

As a response to the reading done by groups in a year 8 literature circles class, we have been trying to engage students in reading reflections by creating podcasts of interviews with the book characters. Each group conducts an interview, with one person taking on the role of the interviewer and the others become characters from the novel. Each of the boys have to complete a character profile and then the group works on a script for a 3-5min interview. Once they are satisfied with the script the use iRivers to do the recording, often conducting 2-3 “run throughs” before putting it all together using the Audacity (audio-only podcasts) software. Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. They can put in special sound effects and create extra atmosphere by adding music before they send us the final product. The boys always love this project and enjoy using the technology. They become quite critical of their scripts, the timing and the effects, often re-writing and re-recording to get things just right. For most of the students very little teacher help is needed although they do like to discuss production ideas, etc. It is a great way for groups to respond to their reading.

We have assessed a number of things from the different stages of the podcast:

  1. planning/preparation (character profiles, scripts)
  2. production (recording the interviews)
  3. editing (and other technical processes) of the interviews
  4. publishing (Sharing the interview) 
  5. the group work. 

The rubric can be found on my “Reading – active and engaging” wiki.

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