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Using Voice Thread to Differentiate Learning #diffimooc

March 6, 2013

This week the tool that I chose to learn about was VoiceThread. It all seemed so simple when I watched the tutorial. When I actually went to use it I did experience a bit of a learning curve. My class had done a puppet show of Chicken Licken so I uploaded photos and  recorded my student’s voices.  Sometimes what I thought was going to be there when I played it back was not always what I heard. There were several things I had to redo and I learned to edit a bit. My students were excited about it being on the web and are anxious for their parents to see it. It will be fun to see if people put comments on it. To view it click on this link:

Chicken Licken Voice Thread

Here is a screen cast I made about voice thread:

Our school was fortunate to have an “Artist in Residence” this year. Anchorage artist Steve Gordon spent a week working with students to construct their life sized puppets. They began with a foam head which students sawed and shaped a form the worked for their character. Next they added a bill, some paint, cloth, wings, and other accessories. Students were very pleased with their creations.

Even before the artist arrived, each class chose a fable and began practicing it. I found a reader’s theater of Chicken Licken, so this became our act. Before long students were fluent with their reading of the play. It became a bit more complicated because we added characters and the students came up with their own names. In doing the recording, students really learned something about the importance of projection, speaking clearly, adjusting the rate of speech and using expression.

This project was differentiated because it uses different modalities such as the art involved in creating the puppets,  it incorporates movement for the kinesthetic learners, students use their voices to dramatize the story, the voice thread uses visual and auditory senses. It was easy to cancel the recording and start over again if some students needed multiple attempts to get it right. It was very engaging and all were able to participate and be successful. I am looking forward to using it with other subjects such as math.

Another tool I began using this week with my class is the Class Dojo. This is a free behavior management tool. You assign each student an avatars and then the program allows you to give points (or take them away) for specific behaviors. You can customize it to suit your needs. I had read about it this week on someone’s blog and I remembered that I actually had an account last year. Since this is the end of the 3rd quarter and my students are so used to me now that I worry sometimes about becoming background noise, I thought it might be time to try something new. I was able to pull it up, enter new students for this year and my first graders loved it. I found having the visual gave them a strong incentive to meet the behavior expectations.

I have joined a group for project 2. We will be focusing on using the Promethean or Smart Boards to help with differentiation. I have a Promethean Board, so that will be my focus. Our group has been communicating via e-mail. We have a group e-mail so we can all see the ongoing conversations and ideas that everyone has about how to present this next project. We are still in the planning stages, but I have been reading lots of good ideas and I know it will begin coming together soon.

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