Name of Strategy: GarageBand Fluency

  • Rationale:
• There is research in the Reading field that indicates that students who are orally fluent readers are also better comprehenders. Doing repeated readings should help students become more fluent readers. However, I want to add a component of comprehension to the repeated readings and make more fun to students (as reading the same passage over and over can be boring). I also wanted my students not only to be able to read so many words per minute accurately, I also want them to use phrasing and expression—I don’t want them to be “robot readers”. In having students set their reading to music they compose, students think about and use more expression and phrasing in their reading and they show an ability to interpret the text through the type of music they compose. Using technology is also motivating.

  • Courses in which it could be implemented:
• This is primarily an activity I do in reading—with poetry.

  • Diverse learners:
• Students have a choice between several poems at their reading level. We read through these poems at least 6 times so students can practice their fluency before they record themselves in the Garageband software. The fact that they are allowed to create their own musical accompaniment is extremely motivating, especially when they realize that their “song” will be included on a class CD that everyone gets a copy of to take home.
  • Procedure:
1. Take students to computer lab.
2. Direct them to Garageband.
3. Talk about what Garageband is used for and how we will be using it in our class.
4. Allow students the opportunity to play around within the program—trying out new sounds, figuring out how to record their voices. Have instructions ready for when we actually begin projects.
5. Students choose between several different poems.
6. Students practice reading the poem with me and with their classmates. Each time they read their poem to someone, the listener signs the back of the paper. When the paper has 6 different signatures, students can begin work on Garageband.
7. Take students to lab with their poems.
8. Handout the instructions for recording voices and saving to the server. Go over these instructions before beginning.
9. Start Garageband program and allow students time to compose and record.
10. Save student work on server—walk students step by step through the process.
11. Come back the next to work on projects some more.
12. When finished with project, save to server and save into iTunes.
13. Burn CDS for students to take home.
  • Potential Issues:
• In the past, I have felt I needed more than one adult in the lab while doing this project. Students can get impatient when they are having difficulty with something. I will be asking if one of the support staff can come in and help out for a little while.

  • References
This was an idea that came from listening to the music teacher describe a project she was doing with fifth graders in the building. As she described the project, I thought about how I could use Garageband to help my third graders improve their fluency.

*Teacher Binder Resources
• Poems