Gen-Z Media (GZM) creates podcasts designed for all ages, and they’ve just published a website, GZM Classroom, with educational resources for grades 3-8 that can be used with their programs. Those of you who have used Hyperdocs will be pleased to know that the resources have been designed by the two co-creators of Hyperdocs, Sarah Landis and Lisa Highfill, and are just as engaging and innovative as we’ve seen in the past.
Before you dismiss podcasts as a waste of time in your classroom, ask yourself how many times you’ve had to repeat something to a student who “wasn’t listening.” It’s pretty clear that listening skills are vital, and cultivating them shouldn’t be considered irrelevant to learning. In addition, podcasts can teach comprehension and they are pre-recorded so students can listen to them several times if needed to develop better understanding. Each podcast on the GZM site also has a list of standards that are addressed, many of them including reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills in the student materials. For more on “Why You Should Bring Podcasts into the Classroom,” check out this Cult of Pedagogy article.
You’ll find a good overview of each podcast series, genres, themes, average episode length, summaries, and more on the Classroom Resources page. Once you choose a series, the “Get Started button” under the summary will take you the series page, where you will find all of the resources as well as links to the series episodes. Each series has a listening guide (both digital and printable versions available), a choice board, and an explore board as well as explanations for how to use the materials with your students.
If you’re just starting out with using podcasts with students, I would recommend beginning with Six Minutes, as each episode is (shockingly) six minutes long. There is also a Spanish version of the podcast and the listening guide.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel – and the fact that there are three seasons of this show plus that it’s won several awards should be indications of its power to keep students listening.
Another series that probably all of us should listen to is The Big Fib, also an award winner. It’s a game show in which each episode features a kid who questions two “experts” on a specific topic and must try to get to the bottom of who is telling the truth and who is, well, the Big Fibber.
Almost two years ago I wrote an article called, “Podcast Pedagogy” for NEO, and it amazes me to read it now and think of all of the new resources that I could add. Whether you want to use podcasts in centers or whole group, or for developing listening and comprehension or inspiring creative writing, there are plenty of options, and GZM Classroom has just given you access to an incredible number of free quality materials to help you do it.