Voicethread and Picture Books

Voicethread and Picture Books

Online informational sources can be a hugely powerful tool in any grade level, or any content area. Most of the work that I have been involved in up to this point has been in bringing effective and authentic uses of the Internet and other communication technologies (ICTs) to adolescents and adults. On a personal level, I think work needs to be conducted to extend these tools, resources, and text to students in grades K through 3.

To bring ICT resources into our classrooms we need to acknowledge that there are numerous resources already online. Through some effective online search strategies, we can locate some of these for use with our students. Before I continue…I want to remind the reader that we need to carefully review and vet any informational source we bring into our classrooms and present to students…especially online informational sources. Please review and carefully consider any and all websites that you present to your students.

A quick Google search identifies several links that can help us identify resources that we can use in our classroom. These include the Reading Picture Books page from Learn NC, Research from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the International Children’s Digital Library, and a multitude of resources from Dr. Terry Cavanaugh. Of the resources provided by Dr. Cavanaugh, please check out the “Speakaboos” work…it is great. A final great resource is the TeachingBooks.net website that offers tons of insight into teaching of text…many times from the authors themselves.

For purposes of argument let us say that you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for in the resources given above. You could search on YouTube to find a video version of a picture book you want to teach in class. This can be somewhat challenging as you need to find a video that is appropriate for your learning objectives, and beware of blocked websites in your school building. In this situation, I would suggest downloading the video at home, and bringing the video in to school on a thumb drive, or using Dropbox. Using this workaround you can share the great version of Where the Wild Things Arewith your students.

Another possible tool is to join a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and share resources with colleagues online. The English Companion NING and Classroom 2.0 are two excellent PLNs that you can join and be a part of the conversation. Of course ReadWriteThink is also a fabulous resource that has tons of ideas from teachers in the field.

If this still does not help you find a suitable ICT resource for use in your classroom, you could try out a favorite tool of mine…Voicethread. Voicethread is a FREE multimodal composition tool that can be used to allow students and teachers to collaboratively construct online informational text. This tool also allows you to comment on the work of others. A quick search of “Where the Wild Things Are” identifies work by others that may or may not be of use to you. The ultimate question should be what are your instructional objectives…and how does this text help you expand upon them authentically and effectively.

If you still cannot find a material that will help you out with your students…you may decide to construct your own. I used Voicethread to construct my own version of the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry…” I took photos of the pages of the book and read them aloud. I also added in audio comments and can allow others to comment if they would like. I included the final project down below. I also included video of the process of constructing this work to give you an idea of the process.

Enjoy climbing Bloom’s Taxonomy….

Screencapture tutorial of the process on YouTube:

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