Home > Learning Activity 5-A-1: Edison Sound Recordings > Group B 5-A-1 Workspace

Final Worksheet

Reasons for Selection

While we all teach different subjects, it seemed appropriate to choose the comedy genre, because it could be applied to a wide variety of subjects. The humorous element provides a high motivator for students, which is helpful in teaching serious social issues like business ethics and prejudice. Furthermore, this audio recording addresses a common experience with which most people are familiar (the judicial process), and it uses satire to address the socio-ethic issues of the time period.

This can be effective with students because the comedic element provides a motivational and common-experience factor that pulls them in. Once students are engaged, a variety of deep educational issues can be explored: social and business ethics and issues, the dramatic process as a whole, elements of comedy as a genre, and the judicial system as experienced by the American people.

Five Ways it Can be Used in the Classroom

1. Writing a Skit
Students would listen to and analyze the recording. They would need to decide on the number of characters that are needed for the skit. They would then have to write the exposition and decided on each characters complication, or reason for being in the skit. The skit itself would need to follow the elements of dramatic structure which are exposition, complication, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement. Students would be responsible for aquiring costumes that represent the time period along with any props that would be needed for the final production. This exercise promotes critical thinking skills, as students will work collaboratively to assess benefits and disadvantages of options for creation, and they will select the most appropriate plot elements and costuming.

2. Vocabulary
Students studying a unit on the early 1900's could identify vocabulary associated with the vernacular of the time period as well as terms that are still prevalent in our language today. By giving students a list of terms before listening, they could use context clues to understand meaning. This will promote critical thinking skills because it requreis students to identify definitions based on context clues, and also has them analyze and determine which terms are unique only to the time period, and which ones have endured. Further synthesis will occur when students determine whether or not the words have the same meaning today as they did back then.When identifying terms that have spanned decades, such as vagrancy and loitering, this activity could then be integrated with activity #3.

3. Ethics (is it right to have laws against vagrancy and loitering)
This is a topic that is important to teens given their tendency to loiter in malls and parking lots for lack of anything else to do. In this case, the recording could be used to establish the difference between vagrancy and loitering and also to establish that the controversy around the two has surrounded young people for several decades. The recording could serve as a "jumping off" point for the debate over whether or not vagrancy and loitering should be allowed. Students will be forced to examine their own behaviors as well as those of young people who lived decades before them. Examples of modern loitering policies can be evaluated, such as those of some malls (Chambersburg Mall, for example) that do not allow children ages 17 or under to be in the mall on Friday and Saturday evenings without parental supervision due to loitering problems. Students will develop critical thinking skills as they compare different scenarios and evaluate whether or not loitering is a problematic behavior. Students can debate the rights of business owners vs. the rights of individual liberty. They can justify their positions on this topic.

4. Elements of Comedy as a Genre
After being introduced to the elements of the comedy genre, students could use an analytical worksheet to guide them in identifying the elements of comedy as seen in this particular recording. The completed analysis would then serve as the basis for a group discussion or an assessment to determine whether or not students grasp the concept of the lesson. This would work well in an introductory drama class or an English class that is about to embark on a unit on comedy. Students' critical thinking skills can be developed as they judge the level to which the audio selection demonstrates the elements of comedy as a genre. They can evaluate the level of humor evidenced by the selection, and they can analyze what parts of the selection are comedic in a globally human sense and which parts are comedic in a social sense that is limited to its time period.

5. Is Stereotyping Wrong in Comedy? (debate)
A common controversy in the field of comedy is the level of social harm that is done by socially inappropriate (or politically incorrect) comedic elements. These elements are common in comedy, but they are still widely debated. In this activity, students will work in teams to debate whether or not it is inappropriate or socially damaging to use stereotypical or politically incorrect elements in a comedy routine. Students can address the level of damage (if any) that occurs by furthering these stereotypes in the general culture. This activity forces students to ask themselves whether passive/not purposefully damaging stereotypes are a serious problem in society. Critical thinking skills can be developed by students as they assess the level of socially negative repercussions that stereotyping comedy causes. Students will compare politically inappropriate and politically appropriate comedy, and they will make conclusions for themselves regarding which are and are not truly appropriate. They will justify their points of view and evaluate which group made the best argument.

Working Discussion for Application in the Classroom


I have come up with 7 ways in which this recording could be used in a drama class or in a mock trial class. Critical thinking is evident in that students would need to take what they have heard and analyze, interprate, and infer to come up with the final project, be it a skit, pantomime or mock trial.
My drama class could do so much with this recording. Not only analyzing the characters, but they could work on character voice, blocking, timing, writing a skit,(T)(M) identifying the backstory. They could even use the premise for a flash drama. Great idea. How about the whole thing as a pantomime. This primary source would be a great tool in a drama setting. I bet our HS Mock Trial class could use this recording for some good arguments too.- Theresa

4/6 Curricular Connections: Irish immigration/prejudice (historical)(M) <I recommend a debate for this!>, stereotyping in general, vocabulary (T) *(M), ethics (is it right to have laws against vagrancy and loitering?) (T)(M), elements of comedy as a genre(M)... Your ideas? (Michelle)

***After all 3 of us post our ideas, let us UNDERLINE and put our names (Michelle) after the five specific ones we think should be in the final conclusion. We can then put these at the top as our favorites. (Michelle)
good plan -Theresa

Worksheets In Progress

Jenna's worksheet ( it has limited space for responses, so if you want to erase something I wrote and add a better comment, please do so!)

Hi Guys. I did not look at Jenna's worksheet yet to mesh them into one. This is the one I did on my own. I will get back to this later this afternoon and mesh the two together. Theresa

4/8This is a mesh of mine and Jenna's worksheets.- Theresa

4/9 Michelle's mesh with everyone's ideas


Learning Activity 5-A-1
Edison Sound Recordings
[Small Group Project, Wiki]
  1. Read the overview of the Edison phonograph recordings from the Library of Congress collection. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/edsndhm.html
  2. With your small group, select one of the Edison Diamond Disc Recordings to analyze. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/eddctit.html
  3. Analyze the recording using the NARA worksheet questions for audio. Post your analysis on your group wiki page as indicated by your instructor.
  4. On a separate wiki page, as a group:
    • Describe your reasons for selecting this particular recording. Explain why you believe this recording could be effective with students.
    • Describe at least 5 ways the recording you selected could be used in the classroom. Try to expand ideas for different subject areas and/or grade levels. For each lesson idea, include a brief description of how this activity could help promote critical thinking skills in students.

4/6 The recording links are here.... (Michelle)

external image realaudio.gif Listen to this recording. (RealAudio Format)
external image redball.gif Listen to this recording. (wav Format, 11,008 kilobytes)

Planned Workflow

1. By Saturday night, post your NARA worksheet (add to the previous one and repost, as we've done in the past--this seems to have worked well)
2. By Sunday night, post reasons why the recording was selected and how it could be effective with students.
3. By Sunday night, post the five ways the recording could be used in the classroom. By the end of the night, agree on the five that we will "go with." (Move to final workspace)
4. By Monday night, post/build on the descriptions of how the activities could be used to promote critical thinking skills.

4/6 **Let me know if this works, folks--the directions say to do numbers 3&4 "on a separate wiki page." I don't fully understand that, so I'll post it in the courseroom as a question. I don't know if we're supposed to create a new page as we did for our local history project or just to include it here in a separate area. Until I hear otherwise, I'll set up separate areas on this page (we can always move things later). (Michelle)

Group Discussion

4/5 Hi Group! We are half way through this course...
I took a listen to some of the Edison files and I vote that we choose "Spoken Comedy". I liked the "police court scene". Let me know your thoughts. If either of you like something different, let me know! - Theresa
4/6 I think that "Spoken Comedy" is a great choice! Let's plan on doing that one if nobody objects by 4/7. (Michelle)
4/6 I posted the assignment on the page here, as usual. :) It just helps keep me a bit more organized in that I'm not flipping back and forth so much. (Michelle)
4/6 Notes on Arrests: Bigamy, Pick Pocketing, Loitering, Burglary, Vagrancy, Fighting. (Michelle)
4/6 Curricular Connections: Irish immigration/prejudice (historical), stereotyping in general, vocabulary, ethics (is it right to have laws against vagrancy and loitering?), elements of comedy as a genre... Your ideas? (Michelle)
4/6 My drama class could do so much with this recording. Not only analyzing the characters, but they could work on character voice, blocking, timing, writing a skit, identifying the backstory. They could even use the premise for a flash drama. Great idea. How about the whole thing as a pantomime. This primary source would be a great tool in a drama setting. I bet our HS Mock Trial class could use this recording for some good arguments too.- Theresa
4/6 Hi ladies, This sounds like a great choice. My apologies for not being on sooner... we had some strange storms and our DSL was knocked out. I think the schedule looks good as well. Thanks for taking the lead. I posted a worksheet, but the template did not allow for much content. Please delete and add as you feel necessary.
4/7 As I stated in the worksheet section, I did not mesh the two together yet. Later today during Parent/Teacher conferences! Theresa

4/7 Okay meshing is harder than it sounds!

We need to come up with the 3 things that we thought were important. So far we have
1. Judge has a sense of humor
2. Each of the "violations" that led the defendants to court
3. The ruling for each "violation"
4. Reference to the Standard Oil Company
5. Several characters have accents - Judge is of Irish decent
6. Types of jokes made are indicitive of comedy associated with this time period
4/8 I will vote for numbers 4, 5, and 6. I think these connect socially & historically, so they will mesh well with the final instructional connections (Michelle)
4/10- I agree- Jenna

We also need 2 things this recording tells us about the US. So far we have
1. The Standard Oil Company had a large presence in society
2. There was racial and ethnic bias during this time period
3. People were not afraid to joke about the judicial process
4. The was money to be made in entertainment geared toward the masses
4/8 Again, for the instructional connections, I will vote for #s 1&2. I teach choir and drama so the social an historical content would be touched on but not as much as how the recording was made, who it was made for, and how entertainment for the public has changed since Edison's first recordings...I'm just saying... Theresa
4/9 Excellent, and valid, point, Theresa! I think with the combinations we made below we can present all of our points of view in the final document! (Michelle)
4/10: 1 & 2 look good to me ( Jenna)

Once we get the last posting, we can narrow down the results. For instance for the 3 things #1, 3, and 6 could all be made into one comment.
Combining 2&5= The stereotyping evidenced by the judge's Irish accent is underscored by the rulings he implements for each of the violations seen in the courtroom.
Adding #4= The reference to the Standard Oil Company reveals a common everyday company that, even for its time period, was criticized for bulldozing smaller companies in its rise to power, which is a serious concern in modern-day society. (Michelle)
If everyone agrees, I'll add these 3 sentences to the final document tomorrow. (Michelle) OKAY Theresa
Looks good- Jenna

In the second one #2 and 3 could be combined.
Economic success can be revealed in both the small and large business elements in this selection: humor that appears to the masses which is economically productive and major business (Standard Oil) that created some of the wealthiest men in the history of America.
If everyone agrees, I'll add these 2 sentences to the final document tomorrow. (Michelle ) OKAY Theresa ditto- Jenna
Other thoughts? Theresa (maybe you noticed but I color code each of us so I know who is talking...I get confused easily)
I am not sure how to color code Michelle! Sorry- Jenna
Jenna, Theresa did the color-coding. :) To do this, you highlight your text, then click on the T (with the paint pallet behind it) that is on the toolbar at the top left of your screen. Then you click on the colored box to the right of "text color" and select the color. Then, click on "apply styles" It is okay, we're all learning! Theresa is right that it helps us see the speaker a bit better, though I still like the name after the statement as well. Good idea, Theresa! (Michelle)

4/8 Reason for selection:
I chose this because we all teach different subjects, and it seemed appropriate to choose the comedy genre because it could be applied to a wide variety of subjects. - Theresa
I chose this because the humorous element provides a high motivator for students which is very helpful in teaching serious social issues like business ethics & prejudice. (Michelle)

I chose this because it addressed a common experience that most people are familiar with (the judicial process) and used satire to also address socio ethnic issues of the time period ( Jenna)

4/9 Reflections: I really think that our differing areas of teaching focus have enabled us to look at this recording from many different angles. I would not have thought to explore the elements of dramatic production in my own teaching, as I would tend to focus on socio-political part of it. By combining all of our perspectives, it really broadens all of our points of view! Go team! :) This is progressing to be an excellent learning experience this week.

4/10 Reflections: I agree with Michelle in that having teachers with different perspectives brings this assignment to a new level. As the drama teacher, I was not as concerned with ethnic bias. I was more concerned with my students being able to learn the different accents and attitudes. The final document submitted was inclusive of all our opinions. This assignment also gave us a look into the differences that students may be bringing to a group project. - Theresa

4/10- Reflections: You both make great points, and together have synthesized the thoughts of three people in to concise and meaningful responses. I think both the socio-political attitudes as well as the dramatic presentation are worth examining.Michelle, you are right- this has been an eccellent learning experience. The one aspect of the recording I began to wonder about was the "how"... how it was recorded, where it was recorded and what the scenario was like when the men were recording the piece. Each of us does have a different point of view and suggestion as to how to integrate the sound recording in to the curriculum

4/10 I combined our reasons for selection into one statement section and posted it in the "reasons" section at the top. Please feel free to change it however you desire between now and the end of this activity (Monday evening). (Michelle)
4/10 I put five ways this could be used in the classroom in our area, based on our discussions. I am NOT "wedded" to these. :) In other words, I don't mind if they are changed. Do you want to split these up or just share them in explaining how critical thinking skills can be developed (and explaining the activities)? I'll gladly do the steroetyping debate. I'd be happy to do a vocabulary one also. Maybe we can just select and do them... then we can add as desired to others' work, :) (Michelle)
4/10 Jenna, see my note under your comment about the color coding and figuring it out. :) (Michelle) *right now I can't change colors--I have a conflict between the newest version of IE and that procedure, and it keeps crashing IE, so I'm sorry all my text is just black! I have crashed IE probably 7 times now so I'll give up. :) Of course, I'm on my husband's computer. :)
4/10- Hi ladies, I am pink now. I went ahead to add some explanations for the ways we could use the recording in the classroom. To quote Michelle,I am not "wedded" to these expansions either, but wanted to get a start on it. Feel free to change anything necessary
4/11 I added the explanation for the "writing a script". Michelle, I left the last one for you "stereotyping debate" - Theresa
4/11 I added further information on the level of critical thinking developed by the various activities and I completed the stereotyping activity. I think we are, in essence, "done," but more can always be added. Thanks for delving so deeply into the activities, Theresa! :)
4/11- Looks good!- Jenna