Mrs. Vance Goes To School

Learning and Teaching with Technology

Negro League Player Interview Project

Posted by MrsVance on December 11, 2008

One of the first stories in our basal reader is “Teammates“, written by Peter Goldenbock and illustrated by Paul Bacon, which tells the tale of Jackie Robinson’s integration of modern major league baseball. Students like this story. The girls like the triumph of good over evil and the boys like it all, especially the baseball. This story is followed by a two page excerpt, “Baseball Legends”, by James Kelly from the DK Eyewitness book, Baseball. This excerpt is about some of the stars in the Negro Leagues.

We spent the last few months working on a project based on these two stories. I provided many additional books about the Negro Leagues (One of the best is We Are the Ship, by Kadir Nelson) and gave the students computer lab time for research. My students worked in pairs to research a Negro League player and create a script of an interview with that player. Once I reviewed the script the students used Audacity to record the interview, with one student playing the part of the interviewer and one student playing the part of the baseball player. After much re-recording and editing, most of the projects are now posted on our wikispace.

Yesterday six of my students traveled to Dayton (about an hour away) to present our project at the SOITA Conference. I chose the students based on the quality of their finished product. Three teams really stood out and those six students represented our class. Three students focused on Audacity and three on Wikispaces. We had a spectacular time.

Throughout the day I heard from the students that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The students thanked me multiple times for taking them on this trip.

Now please remember, we traveled just about an hour away from home. It’s not like we went to Disney World or anything! But they were so happy and grateful. In all honesty, this was a great deal of work. I am still not totally caught up. But the trip would have been worth it at ten times the hassle, just because of the gratitude of my students.

Time after time I have read or heard about how we need to help our students find an audience. I know that I believed this to be true. But I kept putting it off for a multitude of reasons. No more! After experiencing the energy of my students yesterday, I now BELIEVE! And I can guarantee I will actively pursue opportunities to allow my students to showcase their work on an ongoing basis.

And if you have a chance, take a listen to their recordings at our wikispace.

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