Today I gave my last final exam of my first semester at Towson University! Now to grade the stack of ~ 80 exams. I can honestly say that I absolutely LOVED teaching the two sections of Phonetics class I was given in addition to my other clinical responsibilities. The Phonetics of American English class is one of the very first classes TU students take after they are admitted into the Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf Studies major (following pre-major status and a competitive application process that allows only the top 70 students officially into the major.) The students I taught this semester were inspired, fresh, enthusiastic and very bright. They asked lots of great questions, and seemed to even welcome the many quizzes I’d built in to the course (perhaps too many; that was a lot of grading!!) There was one assignment in particular they seemed to embrace — the final phonetics project. Students were given the basic instruction to apply knowledge from the course in a way that appealed to them (paper, presentation, creative endeavor, etc.) I purposely left the type of project up to them, wanting to include different styles of learning and multiple means of responses (stop right now and Google Universal Design for Learning standards if you are unfamiliar with the concepts of learning styles and multiple means of responses.) I also wanted the students to fuel their inspiration and apply what they’d learned in a way that THEY found meaningful. I have to say that I was completely blown away by their ingenuity, creativity and hard work. Nearly all students took this project to a level I hadn’t anticipated, and their excitement about the project was contagious. I wish that I could showcase all of the talent and inspiration that poured into my classroom during the first couple weeks of December. I have instead selected a few projects to share with you here. Each project is posted with permission from the student(s). I hope you enjoy their work…I know I did!
First, I give you this video presentation showcasing transcription of the connected speech (song) by students Dana Rzewnicki, Lauren Ross and Kelley Finck:
Next, here is the group project from Rachel Bensley, Victoria Andre, Elena Mitoulis and Michael DiSanti. They created a CD insert for Taylor Swift’s album, RED. Their CD insert included transcriptions of every song on the album. Here is a picture highlighting some of their creative work:
The following project is from Samantha Cunzo and Katrina Mull. They put together a comical video skit highlighting some of their “study experiences” as they learned material throughout the semester:
The following project is from Emma Voss — she decided to incorporate her love for baking and create “Phonetics Cookies.” She baked and iced cookies featuring all of the phonetic symbols from the IPA alphabet, using different colors and outlines to represent distinctive features of the sounds. She also impressed the class by passing out the cookies for all to eat, along with a signature batch of chocolate chip cookies as an added treat! Here are some pictures of her cookies:
Natalie Hill and Sarah Morrison created this cute and comical “commercial” for the “Phonetics School of Phonetics.” They showcased parts of our very own Towson University in their commercial as they incorporated knowledge from various units we covered in our class.
Christine Feinour, Grace Baker and Anna Hild created The College Girl’s Guide to Phonetics. Their book detailed all the American English Phonemes of the International Phonetic Alphabet, with key words and graphics to illustrate the pronunciation of each phoneme. Their book was artfully crafted and highlighted distinctive features of each phoneme in a scrapbook-style memento:
And last but not least, I give you Rachel Urban in her witty, debut performance as she demonstrates her knowledge of dialectal variation. Her unique presentation had me chuckling for a long while, impressed at the way she stepped a bit outside of her comfort zone.
Time and space do not allow me to share all of the wonderful projects with you — the board games, the presentations, the transcription of speech from various movies, and more. Suffice it to say that 1) I love my job; and 2) The future of Speech-Language Pathology is looking pretty darn good!
Now, back to grading those final exams….