Success Stories

Excerpt: Capturing Students with Captioning

Five students sit in a semicircle, holding clipboards and watching a videotape about Mesa Verde and Anazasi Indian culture. Sheila Donahue, a teacher at Reingold Elementary School, plays a short scene and pauses the tape. The students, between 8 and 11 years old, write a sentence or two about the scene. They refer to a vocabulary list they developed in a previous brainstorming session and recall information they learned during their recent Mesa Verde unit. They go through the same process for 14 scenes.

Now the students take turns typing their sentences into a computer in the classroom. One student writes, "That is hard to make a basket from a yucca plant." Sheila's computer is part of a captioning workstation. When the students have revised and checked their work, they can add their sentences to the videotape using captioning software, QuickCaption for Word, and a special decoder. The captioning step is highly motivating for the students. "They are proud to make their own captioned video from their own sentences," says Sheila, adding that it is a great culminating activity to a unit several weeks long.

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