Songbirds, Speakers, and Storytellers: Sound in Your Classroom

clownFrom audio-rich websites to audio recording tools, there are many ways to use audio in your classroom.

Sound is a great way to address the diverse learning needs of your students. Sounds can be inserted into most software tools.

Online Tools for Auditory Expression

Many website have incorporated Flash-based interactive tools for creating auditory expressions.

Do some brainstorming with at least three of the following tools. Design an activity that connects this online tool to standards in at least two different content areas. Create a sample project. Then, use Microsoft Word to create step-by-step instructions for the activity as well as a link to the tool.

Explore online tools for creating your own auditory expressions:

dot k2

dot 3-5

If the software doesn’t have print option, use the PRINT SCREEN key to capture the Desktop or ALT-PRINT SCREEN key to copy the current screen. Then, paste it into Word to print. Or, print from the clipboard.


Digital Audio Tools

You don't need to buy expensive software. If you want to incorporate basic audio then record in PowerPoint. If you want to do some editing, try Audacity, an open-source digital audio tool.

Use PowerPoint to record audio files. Open a PowerPoint document. Pull down the Insert menu, select Movies and Sounds, choose Record Sound.

Download Audacity to record live audio and edit sound files. Be sure to download the LAME MP3 encoder so you can export MP3 files. If you need help, use the online tutorial.

Insert an audio welcome into TuxPaint. Open Audacity. Create your directions. Go to the File menu and Export Sound As WAV. Go to Program Files>TuxPaint>data>Sounds. Replace the harp.wav file with your personalized message for the day. You can replace any of the sounds on the Tools palette by simply replacing the corresponding sound.


Build Audio-rich Activities and Assignments

Begin by incorporating audio into existing projects. For example, you might record audio directions or information in Spanish. Add questions and answer audio buttons to projects.

Next, try audio on single slide projects.

Right-click and Save as Target the My Land Adventure, My Air Adventure, My Water Adventure, and/or My Adventure PowerPoint. Copy and paste one of the pictures into a new PowerPoint presentation. Use the following ideas to develop an audio-rich activity:

  • Record audio directions or prompts. Use the speakernotes for additional directions, questions, etc. Use the following ideas for adding audio to your project.

k through 2

  • Create audio "hot spots" to hear the name of an object, description, or other information.
  • Tell a story by clicking on different objects. Create an interactive story such as "The wind is blowing my hair," "I'm riding a horse," or "Susan is catching a butterfly with her net".
  • Record audio questions such as "How many butterflies"? Record audio answers such as "I found 2. What about you?"
  • Record audio questions about the relative locations of items in the picture such as "above/below," "inside/outside," "high/low".
  • Click on objects and say the color word such as "The banana is yellow."
  • Use audio to categorize elements such as "real" and "pretend."

grades 3-6

  • Click on the object and use particular types of words such as "Joe swings from the tree. Swings is a verb."
  • Design an activity that involves students recording their voice as one of the characters. This works well with a pair of students.
  • Use audio to describe the plot, characters, and setting.

Sound in the Classroom

Teacher-Created Sounds

  • Teacher-created directions.
  • Teacher-created audio to read from text on a screen.
  • Teacher-created audio for specific vocabulary.
  • Teacher-created audio feedback and remediation during tutorials.
  • Teacher-created audio to provide students with individualized feedback on work.

Sound Effects

  • Pre-recorded sound clips
  • Student-produced sounds


  • Music recorded directly from local productions
  • Music from digital files such as web, CD, etc.
  • Music from locally made instruments

Spoken Word

  • Famous speeches
  • Oral histories
  • Narration for a “museum” exhibit
  • Reading samples
  • Skits and e-plays
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Storytelling

Electronic scrapbooks and portfolios

  • Student-created audio reflecting on a project (i.e., likes, dislike, strengths, challenges).
  • Student-created audio describing the process (i.e, first, second, finally).


  • Place sounds in standard locations on the screen so users can find them easily.
  • If sounds are on invisible buttons, be sure to provide good directions!
  • Use special icons such as a teacher button for teacher audio.
  • Use Audacity ( for editing digital audio.


Class News, Radio, and Podcasts

Blogs and podcasts are popular ways of sharing student understandings.

Podcast Tools

If you have access to your school's website, you can upload audio, just like uploading pictures and web pages. You link to the audio files. You can also use online tools. Create a Blogger blog, then add audio using Audioblogger. Check out some blogs that contain audios such as Authorvisit.

Podcasts by Students and Teacher

Podcasts for Kids

Podcasts and Webcasts for Older Students and Adults

Brainstorm ways of integrating podcasting into your classroom. Create a sample for one of the standards-based topics below.

k2 k2

  • Create a 30 second podcast describing a celebration or holiday and how it is used as a way of remembering and honoring events and people from the past. Examples: Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Jr Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day.


Use Web-based Audio Resources

Search Tools for Finding Sounds

Sounds for Student Projects

Streaming Music for Young People

Sound and Music Website Across the Curriculum

Music Websites

Design an activity that connects sound or music websites with a content area standard in communication arts, art , or social studies.

Add Video

Remember that audio is a part of video. Consider how adding motion and pictures to audio, enhance the experience.




Developed by Annette Lamb, 7/06.