Using VoiceThread to Celebrate Read Across America Day

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Joel Solomon.

 

Every year our school celebrates “Read Across America Day” on March 2nd to honor Dr. Seuss’s birthday. We invite community members to visit our school and read to classes, the cafeteria serves “Green Eggs and Ham” for lunch, and we have a contest where classes decorate their doors to show how much we appreciate Dr. Seuss. As our school’s Technology Specialist, I’m always looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate technology into the curriculum, and VoiceThread is what I use to publish student work.

This year I wanted to try something new by using VoiceThread to celebrate Read Across America 2017. My goal was to give students opportunities to be creative by illustrating famous Dr. Seuss quotes and then reading their sayings in VoiceThread. I created a template in Pixie (a drawing application, although any drawing application can be used, such as Google Draw) that served as the starting point for the project. Each page of the template included a Dr. Seuss quote, and students were asked to create an illustration that supports the quote. This is where students could be creative and learn how to use a drawing program to make their ideas come to life.

Once the illustrations were done, we exported our Pixie drawings to an internet-compatible format, like .jpg. We then uploaded our drawings to VoiceThread where students could record themselves reading Dr. Seuss quotes. For many of our students, this was the first time they were hearing their own voices. We have a high population of English Language Learners, so this project allowed students to practice speaking and presenting. The looks on their faces as they were listening to themselves reading online was priceless!

Here’s an example of an ELL student project that highlights reading fluency and creativity:

VoiceThread allows teachers to publish student projects quickly and easily. The sharing options allowed me to copy/paste each student’s URL for inclusion on our school website.

VoiceThread’s recording features are so easy, even our Kindergarten students can do it! VoiceThread also directly correlates to Technology and Literacy standards:

Technology – Creative Communicator:

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

Literacy – Oral Expression and Listening

– Deliver organized and effective oral presentations for diverse audiences and varied purpose

– Use language appropriate for purpose and audience

VoiceThread is easily one of the most useful tools to help teachers publish student work in a safe and easy-to-use online environment. Thank you for allowing me to share this project.


About the Author:

Joel Solomon is a Technology Specialist at Village East Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado. You can connect with him on twitter (@jsolomon_2) or check out his website: www.joelsolomon.com.

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