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By Dana Huff

Act IV, Scene 1 of Macbeth is great fun: the three witches are brewing a “hell-broth” which they will use to conjure the apparitions that talk to Macbeth.

The scene contains some of the most memorable lines of the play and lends itself well to choral reading activities. When I teach this scene, my students create a radio play using podcasting software.

Shakespeare Set Free – Volume 1: Teaching A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth shares a fun lesson plan for teaching this scene, assigning speaking parts and sound effects to students. Podcasting software adds dimensions to this lesson that were not possible when Shakespeare Set Free was originally published.

Chris Shamburg presented a method for using podcasting software and Foley art to create sound effects as part of the Folger’s series of presentations at an NCTE conference in San Antonio in 2008.

Chris brought volunteers up to play the roles of readers and Foley artists. One volunteer broke potato chips in a bowl to mimic the sound of crunching leaves as the witches approached the cauldron, while another volunteer splashed water when the ingredients hit the cauldron.

Two popular options for recording podcasts are Audacity and GarageBand. With software such as Audacity, which is free and can be used on both Windows and Mac machines, students will first need to brainstorm ways to make sound effects. Some ideas include wind blowing, owls hooting, dogs barking, and liquid sloshing as the cauldron stirs.

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By Dana Huff

In order to help students develop close reading skills, we teach them how to annotate.

Annotation has traditionally been thought of as a pencil-and-paper activity, but e-readers, such as Kindle and iBooks, have great annotation tools. However, website annotation has been more of a challenge for students since browsers don’t typically include the same kinds of annotation tools as e-readers do.

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With all the technology tools out there, how can you sort out which ones are the most useful for your classroom?

Dana Huff, the Humanities/Technology specialist for the 2014 Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger, recently offered a valuable breakdown of some of the more popular tools.

As she highlights, the first thing to understand when integrating technology into the classroom is that we don’t want to use technology for the sake of using technology.

Huff instead uses the SAMR model to categorize a variety of tools:

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What’s been your own experience integrating technology into your classroom? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the full post on HuffEnglish.com to read more of Huff’s analysis of specific tools like Scrible, Google Drive, and Popcorn Maker.

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