February 23 – Crafting Audio Texts

Hey future teachers, it’s Troi this time, and today we talked about crafting audio texts. Let’s break it down.


Dr. Benko will be handing back twitter reflections soon, so be on the lookout for those.


Please please PLEASE look over your meeting time with Emilie for our midterm project. Input the time/place in your phone, calendar, whatever, just doesn’t forget!


Emilie is going to be such a great resource because she knows what Dr. Benko is looking for in our projects, she will give us great feedback. But, the feedback will only be as good as the work we bring to our meetings.

That being said, take these next two weeks before Spring Break to work on the project. The more work you have done the more feedback Emilie can give you and the more helpful the meeting will be.


This brought on a short discussion about the midterm. Just to reiterate what Dr. Benko said in class, our project is NOT a regurgitation of whatever Smagorinsky chapter we read, but we also do not want to deviate so far away from the chapter that we lose sight of our objective.

The most important thing is that we have activities that build students’ knowledge and skills, and that we teach the writing they will need to accomplish the end task. Use the chapter as a MODEL, not a script we need to follow.


After that clarification, we moved to the main focus of the class, and that was listening to the TIB podcasts to analyze was makes for an enjoyable podcast. But before we started listening, Dr. Benko shared with us the four “parts” of the podcasts:

  • Opening Statements
  • Introduction of the Specific Essay
  • Reading of the Essay
  • Conclusion


These are what we need to include in our podcasts, and instead of lecturing or having group discussion over what we thought made for a good intro, reading, and conclusion, we listened to two podcasts of essays we had already read.

With this in mind, we listened to the podcast. First was Kristin Kelly whose TIB on books was my favorite to read, followed by Brian Grazer who no one really knew but we all pretended that we did.


We were to take notes specifically on the reading of the essay, focusing on the pace and the diction.

We all agreed that we were bored with Kelly’s diction and pace. We agreed that we do not want to put our audience to sleep, but we also don’t want them to not understand our podcast. My group felt that none of the podcasts sounded authentic, they sounded like someone reciting a script. We then discussed how these examples will all come in handy when we are creating our podcasts.


Some suggestions to find the perfect pace/diction are as follows:

  • have a friend listen to you read it
  • record it first then have others listen to it
  • find the right places to breath (I was a choir kid, this is ESSENTIAL for pace and diction)
  • rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal!


One student raised an interesting point of wanting to sound authentic in his recording. We brainstormed ways to do that, including:

  • Going with the flow, if you are reading from the script but realize you could word a sentence better, go for it!
  • in order to go with the flow, you need to know what the flow is, you need to not rely on reading solely from a sheet of paper, because that can sound very robotic and awkward
  • use inflections in your voice! you have a voice, use it!


We then listened to both podcasts again, this time focusing on the content and background of the Introduction and Conclusion, as those will be incorporated into our podcasts as well. After small group discussion Dr. Benko noted on the board the following:

If you can’t read it, or you don’t want to tilt your head fear not! I have a list, for the intro, we noted:

  • both podcasts had introductions by a different voice, the host
  • the first podcast begins by setting up the idea
  • the second podcast begins by setting up the person, then the idea (because he’s famous…I guess)
  • Kelly’s idea was general to specific (as a student noted, this was done to “snag readers” into continuing listening to the podcast)
  • Grazer’s idea was more universal from the beginning
  • The introduction introduces (duh) the idea of the TIB statement without directly saying what the piece is

For the conclusion we noted:

  • both podcasts had a glimpse towards the future/look ahead at the next TIB podcast
  • Grazer’s conclusion included a recap of the belief statement
  • Kelly’s conclusion included a short biography

In terms of music:

  • inviting tone
  • present (you can hear it under the introductions & slightly before the conclusion)
  • the music set the tone


What does this mean that we need for our podcast?

  • music that sets the tone for your piece (should be calm, so no dubstep…sadly)
  • an intro that gets at the big idea of the piece and also sets some content for the piece
  • for the conclusion, wrap things up
  • have a host introduce you (distort your voice, or use the classic buddy system and have a classmate record yours in return you record theirs)

If you are worried about finding music to set the piece of your tone, worry not! Included are some lists to sounds/songs that are free use:

(the last one listed in chapter 5 of the text was oriented more towards sound effects, and we are not focusing on those for this audio project, so I didn’t list it)


The Bigger Picture

In addition to learning about what to do and what not to do in terms of creating podcasts, we learned that there are several intricate parts that go into producing audio texts, and that as future teachers, we can have students write an essay, personal narrative, etc. then have them go back and record it, so they get the digital aspect as well. Also, we mostly know “introductions” and “conclusions” from the written standpoint, we know what goes into a good paper intro & conclusion to make for a strong paper, but we must realize that students aren’t going to only be writing papers their whole lives. Therefore, they (and us) need to understand what aspects cross over across media and which ones we need to pay special attention to. We don’t include music in papers (because it is scientifically impossible) but we do take into consideration our tone and how that sets up the rest of the paper.


For Thursday

  • Don’t come to our class, go to iCare in TC (it’s the room with all of the computers on the second floor)
  • Please bring your revised copy of TIB
  • Bring back writing tasks
  • Have a draft of your intro and conclusion (5 sentences for intro, 2-3 for conclusion)


Looking Ahead

  • When we turn in our TIB podcasts, we will also need to include a short reflective essay about what we learned about teaching writing while completing this task.
  • Keep working on your midterm! I know a lot of people who took this class last semester, and the first thing they said to me about this class was “start the midterm early!” so obvious it’s not just a scare tactic from Dr. Benko.



Be sure that you are following Troy Hicks (@hickstro) he is very active and may join in on a conversation or two! Peter Smagorinsky (@psmagorinsky) is also on twitter, he is not as active as Hicks, but his cover picture is him and his cat, so that’s pretty great. Here are some other teaching accounts that I follow

  • We Are Teachers – another online community of teachers, they share ideas for classroom management and even decoration, they also share inspirational posts as well (@WeAreTeachers)
  • 21st Century Teacher (@21stCenturyTch) – They link their online articles that are about education, and they even allow for submissions (extra credit maybe??)
  • Kelly Gallagher-teacher who happens to write about teaching, I’d honestly be surprised if you have never heard of him (@KellyGToGo)
  • Teacher2Teacher – a twitter account that links teachers together across the Internet, they share inspirational pictures, and have hashtags like #whyiteach to remind us all of why we are here (@teacher2teacher)
  • TED-Ed – the education side of TED Talks, they tweet short videos, link to lessons, and have Q&As with some prominent people *cough*Bill Gates (@TED_ED)


We’re almost halfway through with this semester, and as we have been warned it will only get harder from here.


Don’t lose hope though, here is an inspirational quote to remind you of that end goal we are all trying to reach:

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” – Solomon Ortiz


Keep on keeping on,



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