Brief Youtube Videos introduce students to the history, power, and variety of "This I Believe," essayists
These function as a "hook" through their use of emotion-engaging music, images and the spoken word which in turn serve to heighten interest and commitment to a project larger than the classroom.
From 1951 to l955, Edward R. Murrow hosted This I Believe, a daily radio program thatreached 39 million listeners. On this broadcast, Americans—both well known and unknown—read3-5 minute essays about their personal philosophy of life. They shared insights about individual values that shaped their daily actions. A first volume of This I Believe essays, published in 1952, sold 300,000 copies—more than any other book sold in the U. S. that year except for the Bible. In 2004, the program was revived as an independent, not-for-profit organization that engages youth and adults from all walks of life in writing, sharing, and discussing brief essays about the core values that guide their daily lives.
Global health activist Dr. Paul Farmer presents his belief in health care as a human right against a backdrop of scenes portraying poverty and illness, but also the power of health care to restore hope .
Clip Three: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zctmNe0t-wU
A short film based on an essay written by Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a 16 year old environmental activist murdered just two days after her essay was written.. The moving essay is read by Tipper Gore, Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, Sheryl Crow, Meg Ryan, Emily Proctor and Michelle's Mother Diane Gardner Quinn,
In groups of 4, students explore "This I Believe" Essays chosen from the project's archives. which can be searched by theme at http://thisibelieve.org/themes/ Each group reads at least 3 essays and discuss what features these essays share.
Groups use Socrative Open-Response app/website to identify and share key traits of Personal Belief Essay including:
Tells Story, Written in First Person, Reflective, Informal, Subjective, Gentle Persuasion, Drectly states belief.
Unlike individual group reporting out, Socrative provides an instant mechanism for student groups to simultaneously contribute to class discussion, saving class time and allowing responses to be viewed and saved.
Students review "This I Believe" Essay Requirements (http://thisibelieve.org/guidelines/)
Students use Scholastic/ReadWriteThink Essay Mapper to draft essays of 300-500 words
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/essaymap/ to plan and draft their own "This I Believe" essay.
Students post drafts created in Essay Mapper to class website.
Students read and post revision suggestions based on assignment rubric
Students revise essays based on peer reviews
Students use Audacity to create an audio recording of their final essay. Audacity enables students to capture and evaluate how their essay "sounds." This is especially effective for English Language Learners for whom the chance to practice in private and correct/perfect reduces anxiety
1. Upload written essay to "This I Believe" website
2. Export Audacity Recording as Mp3 file. Use Audioboo website or app to broadcast Audio "This I Believe" Essay to larger audience (i.e. Edmodo class site)
The chance to share one's beliefs with a wider audience serves as motivation for students to take revision and performance seriously. Because students are using only words and voice, they can concentrate on their ideas and their oral presentation skills. This is particularly important for English Language Learners