Audio Exercise Lesson Plan and Example

Posted by Myles David Jewell

It can be intimidating for teachers to embark upon a media project, using new or unfamiliar technology and trying to guide students through the process at the same time.  For this reason, scaffolding projects with a number of smaller assignments can help students create dynamic stories piece by piece.

All too often, in the world of media, audio exercises are overlooked or viewed as outdated or too simplistic, but telling a story with audio can be just as important and successful as telling a story with video. Gathering media in both formats (audio and video) and then using them together in a final product can create an informed, dynamic and effective media project; thus the scaffolding.

Here is an outline of how to run a small audio exercise with a class of students. This outline explains the structure and format of an exercise, as well as an approach that can be replicated in any subject area. Educators can adapt to the content that fits their syllabus, curriculum, or lesson plan.

Here is an example project I created to help think through a lesson plan:


Below are some points for discussion and teaching:

  1. Listen to the above audio clip, and discuss (in order to better understand the structure and process):

    1. What was the Question for the Exercise?

      1. When was the Question asked?

      2. What else do you hear?

      3. REFLECT:  At what point was the voiceover written?  Why?  (The audio was recorded, listened to and then the Voiceover was written.)

    2.  THE PROCESS or RECORD LIST (this can be done in any order- there is no right or wrong to the process of creation)

      1. Record B-Roll sound

        1. Surrounding areas:  I recorded outside the house to draw contrast to what was in the house

        2. Setting:  I wanted to give the listener an idea of what it sounds like in the environment

                                  3. Make sure to record different aspects of the setting:  Even though it was just TV noise, I wanted a few different programs

                         2. Interview

                                  1.  Contextualize the project/Introductions: always make sure you are recording

                                 2.  Ask the question: be sure to be an active listener and pay attention to other sounds you may want to capture after the answer

                                 3.  Leave the interviewee any room to add anything they would like

                         3.  Post Production/Editing

                                  1.  Label audio - this is huge, always rename and know where it is saved

                                  2.  Uploading to Google Drive can be a good way to save the file in the cloud and for group projects, a good way to share

                                  3.  Bring in other sounds - think if you want sound effects, cars going by, nature sounds, sound effects etc.

                                  4.  Pick your editing software (we recommend Soundtrap for Chromebook users or Audacity is another free software)

                                  5.  Know that you can Record Voice Over in most editing softwares

Now, just imagine, doing this with a group of students and then coming up with how to also visually depict the same process.  It's a great way to get into storytelling.