"Common Sense" Coming to Life

Introduction: "Common Sense" Coming to Life

This hands on project is geared to incorporate Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" while conducting a unit on the causes of the Revolutionary War in an American History class. Ultimately the students will create a radio ad persuading others to indulge in the separation of Great Britain.

Learning Objective:
-Students will identify the points Thomas Paine makes in "Common Sense."

-Students will understand the impact Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlet had on the American public during this time period.

-Students will also understand what issues American's were concerned about in this time of discontent. 

-Students will be able to understand GarageBand

-Students will be able to create a radio ad efficiently and creatively

The students will examine excerpts from "Common Sense" and decided what points were the strongest in the reading through discussion. If necessary the teacher will introduce a recording program, such as GarageBand. Once the students have a good grasp on the program they will make a radio ad trying to persuade Americans to revolt against British rule using the strong points they thought Thomas Paine made. The students will be allowed to be creative in this project. Students will be graded ability to relate their points to the American people, their use of "Common Sense," their ability to convince, and their creativeness.

This small project can help change up the class momentum and help get away from the common lecture lessons. This will help students actively get involved and allow them to use technological resources and become creative. This project will probably take a week to complete to give students time to use the resources allowed by the school.     

Step 1: Introducing "Common Sense"

Give the students excerpts from Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." As the teacher you can have the power to decide what parts you want to include and what parts you want to leave out. Give the students this take home and read so there will be more time in class to discuss. Make sure you give them a realistic reading load so they will not be overwhelmed with busy work and really focus on what the text is saying.

Here is an example an excerpt

Step 2: Discussing "Common Sense"

In this class period you should lead the students in a discussion over the excerpt of "Common Sense." Have the students argue which points they felt were the most appealing and which points were the least appealing. Make sure the students know that there in no right answer because history does not have any "set" answers and arguments can be made for any opinion. When finished discussing introduce the project and have the students think of which points they want to include in their radio ad. It is up to you but I feel the ad should be at least one minute long.

Step 3: Introducing a Recording Program

If necessary, teach your students how to use a recording program such as GarageBand. 

Step 4: GarageBand Step 1

Open up GarageBand

Usually has a guitar as an icon

Step 5: GarageBand Step 2

You are given several options. Choose the Voice option and press "choose" at the bottom right hand side of the page.

Then create a name to save the work under and choose what folder to save it in. When decided click on "create" at the bottom right hand side of the page.

Step 6: GarageBand Step 3

Do not mess with the voice options and just stay basic with "Male basic" and "Female basic" tracks. 

If not known these are located on the left hand side of the page.

Step 7: GarageBand Step 4

Have your students record first before they start messing with the sound options! Keep the class focused on this part as it is the most important.

Start recording.

Press the option with the red circle and start talking (have your students record one sentence as a time so they will be able to insert sounds in between their points).

When finished press the red circle again and then press the "play" option to stop the line.

Move this line to the end of your voice recording by dragging it back.

Step 8: GarageBand Step 5

After the recording is finished the students can now become creative.

To find the sounds to use look to the bottom right hand corner, press the "eye" icon.

Then look at the top right of the smaller page created and press the "divided box icon."

Search through the different sounds. Usually the best sounds for this project are located in the section named "By Moods."

Search through the sounds and pick out what ones will fit the parts of the speech best!

Step 9: GarageBand Step 6

Start by having your students spread out the parts of their speech in order to place the sounds. Some of the sounds can be played at the same time of the speech, but the sound must be turned down.

Create a new track by going to Track--->New Track

Choose Real Instrument and press create

Leave the track as "no effects" to make it simpler

Choose a sound and drag it to the "no effects" track. Make sure you drag it to the proper section of the speech

This is the students' time to get creative!

Step 10: GarageBand Step 7

When the students are finished make sure that they save their work.

To do this go to File--->Save. Their file name should already be created. 

To play the speech just press the "play" icon when GarageBand is opened. Press this button again to stop.


Step 11: Finished Product

You have set the guidelines. Let the students be creative! Let them work the radio ad anyway that they want (within certain limits of course). Remember they must keep in mind that they have to persuade others to indulge in breaking away from Great Britain through the way of today's media. 

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is another lesson-plan.
    The competition is for hands-on projects, where students use their hand for things other than writing, so it should be mostly about the process of creating the audio files.



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea. What kind of equipment do your students have at their disposal to do this project?