Writing in Stereo

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WiS Lesson 10B

May 19th, 2010

The original Writing in Stereo was published online back in the late 1980's.  Its purpose was to apply creative radio dramatics or broadcast journalism to all aspects of the teaching of high school English.  Each lesson included a lesson plan and notes.  I'm sharing these with you here.

UNIT OBJECTIVE: (X) The student will improve skills in expository writing by composing and recording the instructional program.

LESSON OBJECTIVE: (B) The student will compose and record an expository presentation following the model below:

1. Soft lede as introduction

2. Necessities

3. Steps in the process

4. Outcome

MATERIALS REQUIRED: Paper and pencil, audio tape recorder/player, some recording space

INTRODUCTION: You have a draft of your soft lede. Now let's write the rest.

PROCEDURE

1. Introduce the second paragraph. The student's script should list ingredients, materials, and tools in such a way as to be comprehensible to the listener.

2. The third paragraph, specifying each step, follows. Remind students they're writing a script for radio. Most will have written variations on this particular paragraph many times. They may be inclined to slip into the monotonous "First ...; Second ... ; Third ... ; Finally ...". Insist on variety for the listener's sake.

3. The last paragraph is a closing suggesting the satisfactory result. Students may want to invite listeners to tune in again for the next program.

4. When the students' drafts are completed, allow them to make their recordings.

EVALUATION FOCUS: Listen for coherent explanations. If you cannot follow the procedure, those who would not have read the script would certainly be lost.

Notes (X.B)

The remaining paragraphs have few pitfalls. The fourth paragraph need only be a single sentence in length: "Now you've got a terrific birthday cake!" "There. You've tuned up your engine, and it runs great!" "Now you're a dressmaker. Design your own label!"

The true test of this writing assignment is in the body of the piece. Students tend to get into a rhythm and beat it to death. I'm talking about variety. In the second paragraph be sure they don't list the tools and ingredients between commas in a single sentence. Insist students break those parts up, limiting them to perhaps two items per sentence.

In the third paragraph variety becomes a matter of clarity. In explaining a process without benefit of visuals (in radio) the writer/announcer must break each step down into simple sentences. There can be no confusion about the procedure involved. Discourage their rushing through it.