One of my most recent workshop additions is one on using podcasting in the classroom. The title is, “From Script to Sound: Engaging Student Learning Through Podcasting.” During this three hour PD, participants learn how to use podcasts as a tool to help with reading and listening comprehension as well as to develop critical thinking skills. In the second half, they learn how to create podcasts using Canva (yes, it can be done!).
One of my favorite ways to start students off with creating in any kind of media is to use a “mentor” piece, whether it’s text, songs, poetry, video, or podcasts. In this case, we use a podcast called, “The Big Fib.” This is one of many productions suitable for kids that you can find on the GZM classroom site, an excellent resource which I blogged about earlier this year.
Choose an episode of the podcast that has a format your students can emulate for a topic you’re teaching. I chose “The Big Fib” because the premise of the show is that two people are being questioned, an expert and a fibber. The listener is supposed to be able to discern from their responses who is the expert and who is the fibber. There is a different topic each time, such as Ancient Egypt. The structure of the show not only supports critical thinking skills, but also easily allows for students to make their own similar podcast on any topic they are studying in class. (Though it’s not part of the GZM family of podcasts, another great “mentor podcast” is, “Smash, Boom, Best,” which you can read more about in this post.)
During the latest workshop, the teachers got to try out using the podcast planner which I’ve made based on “The Big Fib,” and to spend time working in Canva to make their podcasts. We didn’t have time to finish, but they got a good understanding of the steps, and I was completely floored by their creativity! One group chose the show, “Bluey” as their topic (which is apparently an extremely moving show despite being for pre-school kids), another was doing Edgar Allan Poe, and a third group — composed of an art teacher and two language teachers — had come up with a podcast they called, “Just Say It,” where they would ask a question and the two guests were supposed to respond in Spanish (but one would not be responding correctly).
The variety of topics from the teachers made it clear that this is something that could be done as a great assessment tool in most subjects because you could pretty much have students “show what they know” about anything with this activity.
If you’d like to make your own copy of the planning document they used (I made some modifications based on their feedback), click on this link. And, if you’d like to have me do this workshop with a group of teachers in your district, virtually or in-person, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!