I am in no way ashamed to say that I grinned like a first grader when I saw the words “Magic Tree House” mentioned in this blog. Since I can remember, I have been following Jack and Annie’s adventures through space and time and have always enjoyed them. It follows then, that I found Ms. Tolisano’s podcast project mentioned in her blog post “1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook” instantly engaging. By allowing her students to read aloud the script to Dinosaurs Before Dark and incorporate sound effects with the use of “garageband”, Ms. Tolisano has created a new way to engage students in the magic of reading. Ms. Tolisano's assignment appears to be both a successful learning tool as well as incorporation of technology into the literary world.
After reading the post “1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook” , I was further amazed when I clicked on a link which brought me to a previous post entitled “Podcasting with First Grade” that was written nearly two years prior. In this post, Ms. Tolisano discusses the process and results of having her first grade class read Mary Pope Osbourne’s Vacation with Volcanoes and cumulatively create a script for a class podcast. The effects of this project are multifaceted: shy students are given the opportunity to voice themselves without a large and leering audience, all students are prompted to better reading comprehension skills, students are thrilled to have their work share globally which creates a wonder incentive for students to try their very best. Needless to say, I was astounded by how beneficial this project proved to be and have every intention of using it in my own classroom. Again, Ms. Tolisano mentions the students’ enthusiasm to use “Garageband” (and who can blame them?) as a useful incentive within this project.
In this assignment, Ms. Tolisano took a popular and fun elementary school assignment and made it technologically-friendly. Hopefully, all of us remember the joy that ensued when we received a package in the mail containing all sorts of evidence displaying the adventures our flat Stanleys had while they were afar. Ms. Tolisano surpasses the sort of assignment I was given in elementary school as she allows her students to consider what it was like to be Flat Stanley during his adventure. With this assignment, Ms. Tolisano is encouraging her students to learn a very important skill, in my field of English Literature anyway, of perspective. In creating the podcast, the students were expected to consider all of the different circumstances Flat Stanley experienced while being away—like the experience of being mailed, being opened, going on adventures, and being returned. This exercise taught me that even the traditional flat stanley assignment may be digitized.