First grade students researched fish in the library, used Paint to draw pictures of them, and then recorded their voices. Except for the first slide and the putting together of the show, this project is all done by the students. It is a purely authentic project in that there are no pre-made images, sounds, or ideas.
This was a project done collaboratively through myself, the library media specialist, and the classroom teacher.
The class came up to the library for two 30 minute blocks to do their research using non-fiction titles in the library. Then we took another 30 minute block to draw fish pictures in the computer lab using the Paint program. During the days between drawing and recording, the classroom teacher worked with the kids to select their best facts and write them in a fashion so that they could read them clearly into the microphone. The last 30 minutes were completed in the classroom with me recording the students voices to their slides.
The show was embedded into our district website and students were given a note to take home giving their parents directions on where to find it so they could see their students hard work. The class was shown the VoiceThread in school the afternoon they finished it. (Immediate results!)
Students have been working all year on beginning research strategies and how to use non-fiction texts. The goal of this project was to end up with a VoiceThread project that encompassed research, technology, and writing. Our goals did not change and our final product reflects our goal.
The easiest part was assembling the VoiceThread. I, the media specialist, did this in my office once the kids were done drawing. By being able to select multiple images to upload at once, I was finished assembling the picture portion of the VoiceThread in five minutes!
The hardest part was when VoiceThread stopped recording. It would catch the first couple seconds of the students’ voice but then the rest of the bar would be blank. This has also happened in different buildings on different computers with different microphones so I don't think it was the computer or the microphone I was using. Logging out and logging back in to VoiceThread again allowed me to record fully again.
Non-fiction titles in the library and Paint program on the computers.
The biggest piece is making sure the students all save their work in the same place so uploading to VoiceThread is a breeze. I would highly encourage everyone to do this, as the students really love to see and hear their work!
You could take this VoiceThread farther by having students develop more drawings and add more speech to the slides. Students could create individual VoiceThreads on a fish of their choice. They could also make a fish story if they wanted to go further.