Auditory Exploration with The Odyssey Essays

In an effort to improve my students’ writing and recalling abilities, I’ve started incorporating more audio-based aspects to my assignments.  My hope is that, not only would this aid students in remembering important events in our texts, making connections thematically, and developing a more intimate relationship with literature, but they would also use their (and others’) recorded versions as self assessment opportunities.

In our first literary analysis essay, I used the audio recording feature in OneNote in my meetings with students.  Students met with me individually during the preliminary writing stage of their Odyssey essays, and we discussed together their theses and outlines.  Since this was recorded, it was not necessary for students to take notes during the exchange.  Thus, they were able to listen and participate rather than try to type everything coming from me.

Here is an example of the conversation between the student and me. Click Here

Next, instead of written peer reviews, I gave students a list of questions to answer about their partners essays.

Students e-mailed as an attachment their OneNote page containing their rough draft to their partners.  The partners then selected the “record audio” option in OneNote and answered the questions orally.

Here is an example of a recorded OneNote page. Click Here.

 Upon reflection of this project, I realized that this would work better if students had a quiet environment in which to record – at home rather than in the classroom.  Also, students need to spend no more than ten minutes recording their reviews for their partners.  More than that is too long on the recording end and the listening end.  It may also help to have shorter, separate recordings for the questions than one long recording.  That way, if the listener wants to play back the recording, he or she doesn’t have to listen through unnecessary information.

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Written and Auditory Annotation of Literary Texts

In order to help our students develop their reading skills, we’ve identified several reading strategies that will aid students in their overall understanding and analysis of our literary texts. In reading The Ramayana, often students have problems identifying and distinguishing among characters because of the difficulty in pronouncing names. Also, there are new terms in the epic that are foreign to students, so in addition to the difficulty in pronunciation, there is a lack of understanding these terms. One of the reading strategies we use to help with these difficulties is annotating in their textbooks. This project, however, includes students creating audio annotations. In their OneNote notebooks, they will write a list of characters and terms, and describe and define each using one sentence. Then, using the pronunciation key in their Ramayana books, they will create an audio file in their notebooks using the audio recording option.
By recording and listening to their own voices, we believe this will help students retain more information about the plot of the story, identify more with the characters, and make thematic connections across the epic.
Expected student product: audio files containing the pronunciation and description of characters, terms, and chapter summaries.

A video of my instructions to the students:

http://vimeo.com/36100772

By donnaeason