Do you students ever experience anxiety over performing in front of the class? Earlier this month I worked with Anne Shealy at Hand Middle School to try and combat student anxiety with performance. She decided she wanted the students to perform their monologue by recording it as a podcast. The students really enjoyed recording because they were able to use an iPod to do so. I asked Anne to reflect on the process and here is what she had to say.
Podcasting is something that I had wanted to try for several years now. I subscribe to several podcasts and felt that there was definitely potential for using podcasting in the classroom. I found the chance when my students wrote monologues in response to Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Veldt.” Students analyzed a character from the story and then wrote a monologue from that character’s point of view. Students performed them in class, but I didn’t see the level of performance that I was really looking for. One boy stood lifeless in front of the room to read his while another girl just begged to go ahead and read hers because she wanted to get it over with. Of course, there were those who love the stage and did a great job hamming it up in front of the class.By offering the students the opportunity to create a podcast, I was hoping that I would reach some of these students who might not perform well in front of a crowd. I was hoping that they would take risks with their performances that they might not have taken in front of the class. Though I have not heard their finished products, I have hopes that many of the students did just that. The boy who had once stood lifeless to present his monologue was completely engaged with the project. He had received an iPod for Christmas and loves to talk about it. I was able to watch him record his monologue and I definitely saw him move into character and bring life to his presentation.One of the most interesting parts of this project that Ms. Sansonetti and I both noticed was the level of engagement for all of the students. By using this technology, kids were turned on. They listened intently to instructions regarding how to use it. They knew this was a privilege and they did not want it taken away. They knew that we are planning to post these on the school website so again; they stepped up their level of performance so that they could show their best work.All of the kids loved it, but here are few comments:“It was fun because we got to use a cool modern device. It forced me to think about how I presented my monologue and if I read too fast and if I changed my voice well enough to get across how my character was feeling at that time.” Lauren F.“I thought the pod cast was really fun. It was cool that you never had to use a computer. The micro-mini plugged right into the iPod. I also got to know someone a little better.” Nic“I thought the podcast was a cool and interactive way to share our monologues. It also helped by faking away some of your nerves of having to perform in front of people” Armanis“It was fun to change from normal class into technology with the iPods and with Ms. Sansonetti.” Danny“The podcasting was cool because it let me learn how to do podcasting. It forced me to get into a character and change into another character. Thanks for letting us do the podcasting.” Anakul“The podcasting was cool. I had fun because I got to hear my own voice.” Jalen“The podcasting made me very much realize that I needed to project my voice a little more and stop being afraid to talk in front of my friends.” Paris“I thought the podcasting was easy and fun. Doing that made me read with expression which I would not usually do.” Katie L.“The podcasting was really fun. Everyone in the class enjoyed it . . . It helped me to practice speaking with good drama and voice and mood because it made it easier without people around to embarrass you.” Collin