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Dystopian Booktalks
Content Topic:
Dystopian Literature
To enhance the experience of reading curricular novels such as 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 students are introduced to a long list of fiction books with a dystopian theme. Students are introduced to these books through creative booktalks “performed” by the library media specialists. Students then choose any book from the list that they are interested in reading. They have most of the quarter to read the book and upon completion, students create a script for a persuasive podcast intended to convince others to read the book. In the classroom, students are instructed on and must use 1 of the 8 persuasive techniques in their podcast. Students use Audacity to create the podcast, and add appropriate music, which contributes to the persuasiveness of the podcast. After creating the podcast, students design a digital book cover to represent their podcast. Finally, all book covers are posted on a website and when clicked, the podcast plays. Students listen to at least 5 other podcasts and evaluate them for effectiveness and quality
Collaboration Potential:
Concentrated effort with Communication Arts staff
Total Estimated Time:
4.5 hours
Suggested Number Of Sessions:

1) dystopian books, 2) rubric for grading the podcast and book cover, 3) assignment sheet provided to students before beginning the podcast assignment, 4) record sheet for students evaluating the podcasts of others


Audacity software, scanners, digital cameras, headphones, royalty free music CDs or websites, microphones, website, wiki, or blog for posting.


Assignment-Shelly Weir & Jim Rosenberger

Rubric-Terri Snethen & Abby Cornelius

Book list & book talks-Terri Snethen & Abby Cornelius

Instruction / Activities:

Pre-Planning:  TL’s pre-planning will include the preparation of the book list and booktalks to introduce students to the dystopian literature.  CA teachers create the assignment sheet to introduce the unit to students while LMS creates the rubric. 


Day 1: Media Center

Direct Instruction

  • Students come to library media center and participate in interactive booktalks. 

Independent Practice

  • Students will select one of the books from the list to read during the quarter.
  • See supporting material SM1_dystopianbooktalks.

Weeks 1 – 9:

Direct Instruction

  • CA teacher instructs class on the 8 persuasive techniques for communication.

Independent Practice

  • Students read dystopian book of choosing.


Day 2: Media Center

Direct Instruction

  • CA and TL will instruct students on the script writing process.
  • See supporting material SM2_dystopianbooktalks.


Independent Practice:

  • Students will access and view the rubric to understand what the assignment requires. 
  • See SM3_dystopianbooktalks.
  • Students will create a persuasive podcast script.


Days 3-4: Media Center

Direct Instruction

  • TL will give instruction on using Audacity to create a podcast.


Modeling and Guided Practice 

  • Students will listen to sample podcasts and learn to import music, edit audio, and finish the project by saving as an mp3 file.


Independent Practice

  • Students record and save their podcasts.


Days 5-6: Media Center

Independent Practice:

  • Students will create a book cover for the book that they chose.  They can create this in any format, but must end up with an electronic file.  These covers will be posted on the library website, and when clicked, will begin playing the audio of the podcast.


Day 7: Media Center

Sharing and Reflecting:

  • Students will access the library website and listen to the podcasts of others.  They will evaluate the podcasts and the book covers for tone, enjoyable aspects, and persuasive aspects.
  • See supporting material SM4_dystopianbooktalks.
Terri Snethen and Abby Cornelius (LMS) with Shelly Weir and Jim Rosenberger (Communication Arts)
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Presented By: Abby Cornelius
Collaborative: Terri Snethen and Abby Cornelius (LMS) with Shelly Weir and Jim Rosenberger (Communication Arts)
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