On Thursday, February 26th, seventh grade students from Jennie Tidwell’s English Language Arts class at Grisham Middle School will hold a Listening Party to present audio documentaries created in partnership with Marcelo Teson, a lead instructor for Stories from Deep in the Heart, a Project of Texas Folklife. Texas Folklife is a non-profit organization “dedicated to preserving and presenting the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State.”
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.
Community members are enthusiastically invited to attend the Listening Party and experience the students’ audio documentaries at Grisham Middle School Library on Thursday, February 26th from 12:50-1:45pm or 2:35-3:30pm.
After the Listening Party, the students’ documentaries will be posted on the Texas Folklife website. Pieces from this program are available to public radio stations via the Public Radio Exchange channel (PRX).