An Interview with Ann M. Martin

Tim Podell of Good Conversations! sits down with authors in their own homes and interviews them on their life and work. Recorded Books is proud to offer the Good Conversations! series on VHS and DVD. Below is an excerpt from Podell’s conversation with Newbery Award-winning author Ann M. Martin, plus a lesson plan and audio excerpt from Martin’s book Belle Teal—a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year—to use in conjunction with the video.

Browse our collection of Good Conversations! titles and purchase here.

Belle Teal
Lesson Plan – Journal Writing
Audio Excerpt – Chapter 1 excerpt


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Free Lesson Plan (part 3) for Joyful Noise

This is the third part of a series of FREE lesson plans, with downloadable audio available for a limited time, for 1989 Newbery Medal winner Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman. Lesson Plans are by Hillary Wolfe, librarian at Northview High School in Covina, California, and are based in ideas from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

by wolfpixHere students will see the world through the eyes of a worker bee and a queen bee. They’ll then extend what they learn to other poems and to real life situations. This idea could easily translate into social studies projects or complement other literature.

Listen to or download (for a limited time) the audio clips below and download the corresponding lesson plan (in pdf format). Leave comments for other teachers on your additions or modifications to the lesson plan—we want to share your ideas with educators around the country! How have you used Joyful Noise in the classroom?

Joyful NoiseLESSON 3 – Objective: Students will be able to cite examples of different points of view; students will be able to contrast points of view in narrative text and explain how they affect the overall theme of the work.
Joyful Noise – Lesson 3 – Lesson Plans
Joyful Noise – Lesson 3 – Student Worksheets
Joyful Noise audio – Honey Bees
Joyful Noise audio – Water Striders
Joyful Noise audio – Requiem – House Cicadas

Listen online: Honey Bees (for this week’s activity)


Listen online: Water Striders (for this week’s activity)


Listen online: Requiem – House Cicadas

See Hillary’s plans in action:

Stay tuned to the blog for Lesson 4 for Joyful Noise. More lessons will be posted later in May. Check our previous Joyful Noise lesson plans to get the entire audiobook!

To download, right click on file name above and choose “Save As.” If you’d like your lesson plan to be featured, send us your idea!

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Look for our new catalog for librarians!

Peggy EkhausWe’ve dedicated our Spring 2008 K-12 catalog to librarians. In addition to the favorite products of teachers and librarians, you’ll find special tips and ideas especially for librarians using audiobooks. Also check out our contests for the chance to win free stuff for your school! In Part Four of our series featuring White Marsh Elementary, librarian Peggy Ekhaus shares her feelings about how Recorded Books make great authors accessible for all students …

How do you incorporate audiobooks into both your classroom and library instruction time at your school? Enter our contest and tell us and you could win!

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Teachers (and students!) talk about how audiobooks work

wmes id White Marsh Elementary teachers Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath talk about how audiobooks work in their classroom, and their students tell us how audiobooks have helped them and why. This begins our series on how one school uses audiobooks—check back soon for updates on how the 5th grade team, the library, and the students use audiobooks.

Do you have a similar success story? Share it with us! And check back soon for our continuing series on how Mrs. Cord and Mrs. McGrath use audio to help their students.

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Audiobook success at White Marsh Elementary

Recorded Books recently visited White Marsh Elementary School in Mechanicsville, MD, where 5th grade teachers Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath use audiobooks for reading instruction—whole class, independent reading, and literature circles. Librarian Peggy Ekhaus is also an audiobook enthusiast.

Mrs. Cord has had success with whole-class listening on audio and individual reading with Playaway. Mrs. Cord told us, “I had a kid jump from a 100 wpm the beginning of the year to 136 wpm today on a fluency test. She’s been using one of the Playaway books and she said, “It’s helping me read faster. I turned up the speed and I’m reading faster in my head so I can hear how I should be reading.” Mrs. McGrath’s students told us how much they like audiobooks because they are able to understand more words and enjoy the books more.

Look for more soon from our visit, including instructions on how the teachers use audio in their classroom and reactions from enthusiastic students. The slideshow below showcases just a few of the great things we saw at White Marsh!

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Teaching Shakespeare with SmartPass

The award-winning SmartPass Audio Guides to Shakespeare are exclusively available from Recorded Books. SmartPass creator Phil Viner recently sat with us to discuss the benefits of using audio to teach Shakespeare, and how SmartPass Guides can help engage students in the study of Shakespeare.

Also, check out SmartPass’s home on the web, where you can listen to audio samples and place an order through the Recorded Books website.

Do you use SmartPass or other audio to teach Shakespeare in your classroom? Tell us how it helped you!

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