Right now, one of my classes is finishing up their current Language Arts project, Making Waves. This project, which was inspired by Colton Shone, a journalism student at Arizona State, requires students to create a radio broadcast through the use of Apple GarageBand. Everything is wrapped in the essential question, “What is an effective radio broadcast?”
Students complete the project in groups of two. The majority of their work is done in a Google document, and I created a template to provide them with a starting point. (To save a Google file as a template, access your files > right-click on your file of choice > Submit to template gallery. After, copy the template’s link and share it with your students.)
A PDF version of the template is here, and below is a shortened version of these directions:
- Each group listens to three radio broadcasts from Colton Shone, one at a time. For each broadcast a table is filled out in which students (1) list features that should be included in an effective radio broadcast, and (2) describe how the broadcast has included each one of these features (evidence).
- Students call upon all of their information (from the previous step) in order to create a definitive list of features that should be included in an effective radio broadcast. Once each group has shared their information with the class, the teacher synthesizes all of the work in order to create a project rubric.
As a class, we decided that broadcasts should include such features as:
- broadcasters speaking in a way that fits the mood of the story
- guest appearances from at least two different people from the event
- questions and answers that are thick, relevant, and realistic
- music and sound effects, which add to the broadcast’s realism and enhance the story being told
- Each group chooses a historical event and then finds two noticeably different written accounts of the event. The teacher must approve of both the event and the accounts.
- Students synthesize the information from the two accounts in order to create an on location radio broadcast of the event, while referring to the project rubric for requirements.
- Before recording their broadcasts in GarageBand, students create a script (with the help of a few mini-lessons and a sample script). The teacher must approve of the script prior to its recording.
While creating an effective radio broadcast, students apply many Language Arts related skills. These include, but are not limited to:
- researching for two different, yet credible written accounts of the same topic
- dissecting the important information from two written accounts, by distinguishing the significant information from the trivial (summarizing)
- synthesizing select information from the two accounts, which is a vital research skill
- creating a polished script through the use of details, strong word choice, varied sentences, and proper spelling and grammar
Students have chosen such topics as the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl (the first time), the release of the original iPhone, the opening of Harry Potter World, Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, and the sinking of the Titanic. At this point in time, the majority of the groups are working on polishing up their broadcasts in GarageBand, while I show them how to download free sound effects from websites and import them into their work. I look forward to wrapping everything up and providing students with the opportunity to publish and share their creations.
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