Using iPod Touch App to Record Students (Prosody)
Each year I have had iOS technology in my classroom, May arrives and I inevitably scorn myself for not recording student voices using my iPod Touch devices. I sit there in my small reading group, and I hear these amazing students reading *so* much better than when they arrived in my classroom, and I decide to record their voice…only to then realize, it would be so much more impactful if I had recorded their voice when they first arrived! Well finally…this year I have remembered to do a September recording of their prosody before we get started with reading groups.
One of the best apps that comes with any iOS device is Voice Memo. There are many different ways students can use this application within a classroom…creating podcasts, brainstorming ideas for writing, recording themselves reading their own writing and then listening back to find errors.
Here’s how I used the app last week. I always like to start the year using a quick one-minute reading test. For the past few years I have been using EasyCBM tests to get a formative check that doesn’t take a long time and allows me to track their progress online over the course of the school year.
As each student read, I would click the record button and let them begin reading. (Tip: You can turn down the volume on the iPod Touch so that the student doesn’t hear the “ding” and feel rushed. It will still record normally.) At the end of each reading, click the end recording button, then view the list of recent recordings.
This list will begin playing the most recent recording, ignore that, and click on the blue arrow icon on the right. This pulls up options for the students recording. You can click on the upper information area, and it will give options for what genre your recording is…click other at the bottom. Then type in the students name, and include the date of the recording.
After you have completed labeling your recordings (it’s best to do each as you go, otherwise you’ll have 30 files and have to play name that tune with student voices), click the share button and email the file to your email address of choice. Rinse and repeat!
Now I have all 31 of my students’ voices recorded during a “cold read”. The next step is to develop a rubric with my teaching partner, which will assess the students’ tone and fluency (otherwise known as prosody – don’t worry, I didn’t know what that word meant until a couple years ago too). This gives us a baseline to score our students, and then we can do it all again in the Spring to see how students have improved this year!
One final thought for this entry. It’s important to understand that reading to yourself is a very different skill compared to reading outloud. I encourage my students to read outloud once or twice a week for their homework. They also get lots of practice during lessons and small group reading time. But, if we train students to understand prosody, and teach them how to record their own voices as I just explained earlier, we empower them to be aware of their own voices and then they can set goals on how they would like to improve themselves. Add this option, Record your own reading, to your Daily 5 routine, and see how it improves your readers!
See you next time on Life in Elementary.