I'll Be The Narrator, And You Can Be Baby Bear...

Just a snippet from a learning conversation, but an exciting moment to end the term with. Three weeks ago we began our visit to playscripts and the presentation of speech. This culminated in the publishing of our class podcast performance of "On The Way Home" based on the story by Jill Murphy. Yesterday afternoon I had a request from one of my students, for he and some friends to borrow my laptop. This was a curious though not unusual request, as I often use it with students an additional classroom machine or in support of small group tasks, but obviously I wanted to know why only my laptop would do, when we have two other other PCs in the classroom they could use. It transpired that he and a group of friends, had decided they would like to make a podcast themselves, and my laptop having a nice internal mike, which they had used as a class would fit the bill beautifully for the task they had decided upon. They had found the book "Baby Bear's Christmas Kiss," by John Prater, in the school library, and bringing it back to class to share, had decided it would make for a good performance. Among the group, J had decided that he should be the narrator, (actually as it turns out he had also assigned himself the role of director) his friends being the voices of the characters, to who he had already allocated parts. Unaware of this initially but liking the idea I sent the children off to rehearse the story they wanted to tell.

The process they engaged with was really fascinating, taking the role of narrator in the story, J had decided to tell all the unspoken parts, referring to the punctuation in the text, to help delegate speaking parts, while he and his friends used speech verbs, and picture cues to help discuss how they would read the text. They spent a considerable amount of time discussing this and rehearsing so this morning we set up Podium to enable them to record their efforts. Each pair of pages was allocated as a chapter, in order to enable the children to edit each piece of the story in short chunks, or to delete sections and rerecord until they were happy with it. This part of the process is something which previously they had only done supported so I was interested to see what would happen. They were very keen to get the story to sound the way they wanted it, deleting chunks and sometimes whole tracks before rerecording it, replaying after every recording session, and using the wave forms they quickly identified overly long periods of silence, pauses or gaps in the soundtrack. After being shown how they began to delete these spaces independently. In order to complete the recording they finally asked if they could stay in at playtime. On completing the file, I helped them to copy and paste the clips in each chapter together, and we added the enclosing music file. The completed story went down a storm with their class mates, and tomorrow they have been asked to share their story with children in other classes. We also published the file to our podcast station, which added that extra wow to the outcome. We hope you enjoy sharing it too. Baby Bear's Christmas Kiss can be found by following this link to the Buzz. Merry Christmas from Year 3.

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