(article) Grisham Middle School 2014-2015 Finished Audio Pieces

Enjoy the finished audio stories by youth producers at Grisham Middle School during the 2014-15 school year. For this project in collaboration with "Stories from Deep in the Heart," students documented a wide range of folklife traditions, such as Norwegian and German family recipes in the U.S., the lives of community musicians and poets, and the artisan soap-making process.

On Thursday, February 26th, seventh grade students from Jennie Tidwell’s English Language Arts class at Grisham Middle School held a Listening Party and presented their audio documentaries.

The students were offered the opportunity to work with producer Marcelo Teson after Jennie Tidwell attended Texas Folklife’s 2014 “Stories from Deep in the Heart” Summer Institute, a five-day workshop for teachers to collaborate with professional producers, journalists, and cultural workers to produce an audio documentary.

To prepare for the project, students considered their personal experiences, cultural traditions, and connections to Grisham Middle School and Texas. Students developed topics and then pitched their ideas to Teson, who accepted the proposals or offered feedback to improve concepts. 

Groups of three to five students organized around each approved topic and set out to interview community members, record and transcribe audio footage, script and edit the documentary using Audacity software, and finally produce a cohesive, polished audio documentary.

Teson and Tidwell coached the students throughout the process to “be the eyes for the listener.” Students learned the importance of teamwork and precise word choice to communicate their intended message to an audience.