Key Stage 1 Scenario

Introduction

Outcomes

  • Recorded an audio version of a children's story

  • Learned how to use basic editing to structure a complete audiobook, with adult support as necessary.

  • Used clear expression in their spoken voices, and used their voice to convey character, humour, sadness, or other emotions.

Computing National Curriculum Links

The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding 

  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language

  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 

During Year 2:

Teachers should continue to focus on establishing pupils’ accurate and speedy word reading skills. They should also make sure that pupils listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books; this should include whole books. 

Computing:

  • Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content.

Software/app/hardware choices

Keywords

  • Audio – a general word for sound

  • Audiobook – an audio version of a book. Audiobooks are used by many people as an alternative to reading. Ask children to consider who might want audiobooks, and when they might listen to them (for example, while driving, exercising, doing housework).

  • Audio editing – combining different pieces of audio together to create a finished piece of work

  • Microphone – a device used to record the sound of a voice or instrument. Microphones be built into other devices (e.g. an iPad, a laptop), or can be separate devices that are plugged into a tablet or laptop. Generally, separate microphones provide better quality audio than the microphones that are built into other devices.​​​

Cross Curricular Ideas

  • There are lots of opportunities in this module to link with books and poems that are being explored in class.

  • The audiobook does not necessarily need to be a piece of fiction. It might, for example, be a piece of historical writing (speeches, letters, descriptions of a historical event), or student-written work – poetry, role-play and so on.

eSafety/Digital Literacy Considerations

​The book you have chosen to record should be appropriately credited in your recordings too – make sure that the book title, author name and publisher are given as part of the recordings if you plan to share them beyond the school (including onto your school website or social media)

Before you Start

  • Familiarise yourself with the software/app that you’ll be using to complete the recording

  • Download audio files, sound effects, and music, as required.

  • Consider the logistics of the recording process, arranging for breakout space for quiet recording, and for additional staff or parental support, as required.

The Big Picture

You have just been given a job as producer for the charity, The Royal National Insitute for the Blind.

The charity has decided to release a new set of audiobooks so that children who are blind can enjoy many of the same stories that fully-sighted children can enjoy. 

Your manager has asked you to record an audio version of a children's book.

You will have to choose a book that you would like to record. You will plan your audio version of this book, and record yourselves reading this book. Your voice should be clear and should express the emotion, humour, or sadness in the book. You will select appropriate sound effects and music, to accompany your reading of the book, and will combine these with the recordings of your voice to create you finished audiobook.

Finally, you will share your finished audiobooks and will help other children in your class by telling them what you like about their recordings and suggesting how they can make them even better.

Key questions

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Key Questions

  • What do I like about this recording?

  • What could have been improved?

  • What are most important things to think about in making a recording as good as possible?

Extension/Differentiation

Make sure that the audiobooks you choose are appropriately aligned with the reading ag​e and comprehension of your learners.

 

For G&T learners, use audiobooks to introduce them to more complex narratives, and mix use of audiobooks with reading progress / challenges.​​ 

 

For example, on Audible.co.uk, here are all of the Roald Dahl Books:

... and here is the whole children's category:

​Children's books on Audible

Links to Resources

 

What a Good One Sounds Like

Example audio files of good / poor mic technique. Pros and cons of different software choices​.

Awareness

 

Plan

The purpose of awareness is to make the children aware of some key ideas: 

  • ​What does a professionally recorded audiobook sound like?

  • How does the way in which voices are recorded, and where they are recorded make a difference to the audio that results?

 

Awareness part 1

Allow children to listen to sections of (or entire) existing audiobooks. These recordings may be for books with which the children are already familiar, or may be new to them.

 

Whole class: listen as a class to recordings, and share / collate ideas about what makes them effective, e.g. via discussion / using mini whiteboards.

 

Create a Carousel of ‘listening stations’: place a range of laptops or iPads around the classroom, with audio samples placed onto each. Encourage children to move around the room listening to pieces of audio and writing brief comments on each onto a large sheet of paper, or onto post-it notes.​

  • ​If you have access to a teacher iPad, you may wish to use the free Post-It note app to collect ideas written onto post-it notes into one place.

  • Alternatively, make use of your Smartboard or a mindmapping app such as Popplet free version​paid version​ 

 

Awareness part 2

The following PowerPoint presentation includes a range of useful resources for the awareness phase. In particular, you will see that it contains examples which compare how good audio sounds (clear, no background noise, speaker at the correct distance from the microphone) compared to poor audio (background noise, speaker too close / too far away from the microphone).

Now introduce the children to The Big Picture Task for the RNIB.​​​

Plan

To practise the skills necessary to record our audiobook for the RNIB, we will lead the class through the steps necessary to create a simple audiobook as a class. We will then listen back to our recording, and will critically evaluate it before recording a longer audio book. 

 

We can record the audio in either GarageBand (if you want to use an iPad for your recording) or into Audacity (if you are using a PC or Mac). In the tutorial video below, we have used Audacity to show the process.

 

These voice recordings will then require some editing to cr​eate the finished piece. (Note: This editing stage is likely to require significant adult support).

For the purposes of this exercise, we are going to use the book ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell – Amazon Link Here. You can also here the whole book read to you in the following YouTube video:

 

To support you in recording this book, a range of resources have been made available:

(Giraffes appear to be basically silent so no sound effects for them!)

Please note that if you publish audio files created with these audio samples to your website or to school YouTube account, you should also include a link to SoundBible.com to meet the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution​ license.​

 

Tutorial video:

​This tutorial video provides a simple introduction to recording in Audacity:

Other recording options include the following iOS apps:

Links to Resources

Here are links to some audio files to use in your demo recording:

(Giraffes appear to be basically silent so no sound effects for them!).

Please note that if you publish audio files created with these audio samples to your website or to school YouTube account, you should also include a link to SoundBible.com to meet the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution​ license.​​

Key Questions

  • How do we make our voices sound expressive and clear?

  • Why is it important to record in a quiet environment?​

Extension/Differentiation

  • ​​​For EAL children, why not also create a version in their first languages, with translations into English for keywords?

  • With a group of more able children, can you record more of the book in one go, with 'live' creation / playback of the animal sound effects? Can they write and record some new sections of the book .... 'They sent me a lizard' ... 'They sent me a dinosaur' and so on.

  • Record a book review of the book with a group of children.​

​​

Skills

 

Planning and Creation

 

Plan

Before beginning to create your final recordings, some key decisions will need to be made:

 

Question 1

Which book(s) are you going to record? The advantage of recording one book is that it is easier to source additional audio files for a single project book.  The advantage of using multiple books is that it allows for differentiation in reading level of the books you have chosen, and allows for greater variation. Use your judgement here, and obviously take account of time limitations.

 

Question 2

How will groups of children be arranged? Will it be a whole class book, or smaller groups? It is suggested that groups of 4-5 students are ideal.

 

Question 3

Are books going to be divided up into sections, or are individual children going to take on different character roles within the same book? This decision will depend on the nature of the book. If the book contains a number of repeating characters and lots of speech, you could have one child playing each character, and another reading the narrative sections.

 

Question 4

What sound effects and music will you need? As far as possible try to record your own!

 

The art of creating sound effects (in the film-making and radio industries, this is known as ‘foley’) is a lot of fun to explore. (See links in the 'Resources section' on the right).

 

Once you have answered these questions, it is time to plan and record your audiobooks. Each group of children can use one of the following planning templates to plan their book, or section of the book:

Links to Resources

Scripting and planning resources:

Templates for planning the audiobook:

Creating your own sound effects - 'Foley'

Key Questions

  • ​How do I make my recording clear and interesting to listen to?

  • How do we react if we make a mistake? What do we do next?

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Extension/Differentiation

  • For more able children, they can record more of their books in one go. Try to encourage them to perform the book, rather than simply read the book.

  • For children with SEN / EAL needs, record shorter snippets, but focus on the quality of each, and especially on clear and expressive speech. Incorporate foreign language elements and translations into their books. How about making an new version of a story that is familar to them from their country of origin?

Sharing and Evaluation

Plan

​For audio recordings, the completed file will usually be an MP3 file or a WAV file. This can be played back on your class interactive whiteboard. Ask the children to close their eyes as they listen to the recording, focussing on the audio quality of the books, and encouraging empathy with the experience of som​eone with a visual disability (remember that our Big Picture is that the audiobook is for the RNIB).

 

Ask the children to rate their work (and that of others) using this self-evaluation rubric:

 

Sharing audio online.

Once recordings have been shared within the class, why not share them online? You can use your school website to do this, but here are a few other sites that would allow you to share audio easily too:

  • SoundCloud.com – the 'YouTube for audio'

  • AudioBoom.com (previously AudioBoo)

  • YouTube. For audio content on YouTube, however, it is important to remember that the audio files must be combined with image(s) to create a film before uploading them – YouTube is a site for sharing video, not audio.​

 

All of these sites allow you to embed your uploaded audio into other sites. Make sure you share links to the uploaded audio with parents.

Links to Resources

Key Questions

  • ​What would we improve if we recorded our audiobook again?​

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Extension/Differentiation

For more able children, ask them to write or record a more extended review of their completed work, rating it on a 1​⭑ to 5⭑ rating system on a range of criteria (expression, clarity, recording quality etc.)​

​​

 

Assessment

 

All learners will be able to

  • articulate a basic understanding of how to record clear audio

  • contribute to decision-making about their audiobooks

  • contribute to recording an audio version of a book, including recording their own voice.

  • listen back to completed audiobooks, and made a sensible comment about what they have heard

Most learners will be able to

  • ​​use their voice expressively to bring the story to life

  • understand the basic principles of editing (trimming audio, moving audio around, the idea that sound is shown as a waveform)

  • suggest ways they could improve their work

Some learners will be able to

  • actively participate in editing a completed audiobook on the iPad or laptop

  • describe in detail what they like about a piece of audio, and what they could do to make it better​​

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