11/25/07 Update: click the above link to listen….Blogging is still kinda new to me.
As a teacher, our most precious commodity is time. At least, it is to me. So, I decided to try something (a few things) I had never thought of doing before.I wanted to do my fluency checks but not in a way that was compressed and rushed. So I set up 4 stations with 4 laptops w/microphones and recorded one page of reading from each student. How?
Audacity is a free (yes, the f word!!!) sound editor. There is a copy in my student folder under in the folder “executables”. Actually, there is a lot of stuff in there if you want it…
Besides being free, the coolest thing about this editor is that you can make it as complicated as you want it. It is pretty darn comprehensive. But we don’t want complicated, do we? Time is precious….
I showed 3 willing volunteers (my homeroom techno-super soldiers) how to do it. I walked them through the software, did a dry run, then the real deal. Bang. Instead of having one geek in the class (me), I now had 4 (3 students + me). Cool, so that makes 4 stations to get 20ish kids into a fluency check. Let’s see: 20 kids/4 stations thats 5 kids per station. From memory, the average reading time was @ 3 minutes total. This includes them saying: their name, the book title, the page they were to read, and the passage.
Hmmm. This took @ 45 minutes to do. Consider this though. It was their (our) first time, some of the laptops did not have Audacity on them (scramble to find ones that did), and I was limited to 4 microphones (thus 4 stations).
Fine. Consider this: I fix the laptops, 17 kids have a much better understanding of what to do, 2 of those kids have a REALLY good understanding of what to do, three have already been trained, 2 more microphones. How long would it take us to get fluency checks with 7 stations going at the same time?
We ran out of time. The bell rang. Funny though. Only @6 kids ran for the door. The rest of them wanted to hear themselves reading. They were excited to listen to the same passage read again, but with their voice. Cool. Time to do some goal setting, eh?
Here is another thing. What if they each record a page for fluency. Then, each student goes back and then uses a (the) rubric to score themselves AND their team members. Time is precious. I will have to weigh that idea after we try it. Besides shifting a percentage of the workload onto the students, how would reading, listening, re-reading, and scoring help my reading group? I’m asking for input here.
I do know this. The kids that don’t do their homework habitually, will be making up for some of the lack of effort…
Please comment. I’m listening (reading).
Oh, and the pod casting part? Yeah, I’m still working on it….look for another post later.