Speak Up!

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Want to listen to this as a podcast? Click here. Want to listen to Part 1 and Part 2? Click here.

This is Part 2 in my podcast series. Part 1, Listen Up! is all about finding podcasts to listen to with your students, your own children, yourself. This post is about creating your own podcast and how you can easily do this with your class. As I said in my last post, this all came about because a few of my colleagues were curious about and interested in finding and then potentially creating podcasts with their students. I remembered reading this from Richard Byrne, Practical EdTech. In his post, he shared some tools for creating podcasts and included Synth and Anchor along with short tutorials for getting started with each. This post focuses on using Synth.

Being the curious person I am, as well as one who likes to be helpful (part of the high quality connections I like to forge), I continued to look around. Here are some other things I found (please note that the articles are in Medium. You may need to use your Google/Twitter/email account to read them if you read a lot from Medium):

First is Seven Ways to Use Synth (a podcasting app) with K12 Students including Setting up a Class Podcast and Student Accounts

This links to the Synth for Educators portion of their website and has information for students, and teachers including how to use Synth on a session-only basis without using an email to log in so that even your youngest users can become broadcast journalists.

This is the “explore” page from Synth. It has numerous podcasts you can listen to with your students as well as some things that might inspire you to do in your own classroom.

You can use Synth both as an app on your smart phone or tablet as well as through the web-based option. I used the web-based option and it was really easy to do. Each is 256 seconds and you can link them together into one.

For more reading about how educators are using Synth in their classrooms, you can check out the Synth Educator Blog Series where teachers share how they got started with creating podcasts in their middle school classroom.

Part 1

Part 2: Podcasting through Pictures with Creative Writing

Part 3: “We Sources”: Collaborative Research Threading . . .

Part 4 is mainly how teachers can share amongst each other but I am including the link because this may be a great way to highlight the great things the people you work with everyday are doing.

Listen Up!

Photo by Barthy Bonhomme on Pexels.com

If you would like to listen to this as a podcast, click here.

I love when people ask me about something and then I am able to do targeted searches for resources. I was recently asked by two different colleagues about podcasts- those their students can listen to and those they can create themselves. In no time was I off and running to find them helpful resources.

For listening

In one of my recent posts, Much Ado About Everything, I had shared Six-Minute Stories from KidsListen, a platform for podcasts for children. When my colleague asked me to find podcasts for her middle school students, I found this list of 18 Best Podcasts for Kids in Elementary, Middle, and High School from We Are Teachers. This list is broken down by school division and includes podcasts relating to the English language, Science, History, stories, debates, and more. Freakonomics Radio, The Allusionist, and Stuff You Missed in History Class are just three on the list for middle school; Brains On, Tumble, and Short and Curly for elementary school; and Serial, This American Life, and Youth Radio for high school students (plus 9 morel).

Common Sense Education put out their list of 16 Great Learning Podcasts for the Classroom from your youngest Pre-K students through your 12th grade seniors in high school. While there is some overlap between this list and the one above, Common Sense includes on their list Story Corps (oral histories and lesson plans), Smash Boom, Best (debates), and Circle Round (folktales from around the world), and others.

My colleague Mark shared 15-Minute History, a podcast for students, teachers, and history buffs brought to us by the University of Texas at Austin. Each podcast includes the transcript, great for those who need to see the words while they are listening, or those who just want to read and not listen- something for different learners. You can filter podcasts by US History by Time Period, Texas History, World History by Region, or World History by Time Period (and then continue to filter from there). After a quick look through the 18th Century/American Revolution time period, I found this one, “The Royal Proclamation of 1763” (which if you don’t know what that is, take a peek at one of the Revolutionary War Adobe Spark videos our fourth grade students made last year and see).

Speaking of the American Revolution, I found this one, American Revolution Podcast: A Chronological Journey Through the Revolutionary War by chance. This is like finding a $20 bill in your pocket when you didn’t know it was there. Along with the podcasts are a whole host of links for more information, a list of free books, and of course, a link to additional podcasts.

For the adults in the room, I came across Teachers on Fire, a one-year old, 100-episode strong podcast that features educators who are leading and transforming K-12 education in the way that Entrepreneurs on Fire features entrepreneurs who are setting the world on fire with their ideas.

There are so many more, this is not even the tip of the iceberg. But, it is a good start to adding some podcast listening to your classroom repertoire.

Commenting and Reflecting

Image by David Castillo Dominici

The first graders finished their nursery rhyme podcasts and had a chance to listen back to each other’s recordings. After each one the class had a chance to give helpful comments and compliments to the podcaster. We talked about what kind of comment would be useful and how to give a specific compliment. We brainstormed and came up with commenting on voice clarity, loudness, smoothness and expressiveness. Some of the compliments that the students gave each other were, “I like how your voice sounded loud,” “I like how you spoke clearly,” or “The Pre-K students will be able to understand you because you said each word by itself.” Good commenting is something that takes practice and modeling; we will continue to make this part of the process.

Another area we are exploring with the first graders is reflecting on their work; thinking about the process, what they did, how they did it, what they did well and what could be improved. Reflecting on their work will be something we will be asking the students to do and is something they will grow into. We started by asking the students to reflect on their nursery rhyme podcasts. Here is some of what we got:

  • “It felt good because I want the pre-k-ers to read by the time they are in first grade.”
  • “I listened to all the ones I read and then I found one that was perfect. It made me feel good.”
  • “I liked working with a partner, but next time I would like to try it myself.”
  • “Every time I did it loud enough, I forgot to introduce myself; every time I introduced myself, I was too quiet. So I kept trying until I got it right.”

I believe you will agree that the first graders are off to a good start!

First Graders, Nursery Rhymes and Garageband

Photo by Dan http://goo.gl/aaUOn

The first grade teachers in my school have been very enthusiastic about the move toward integrating technology more seamlessly throughout their curriculum. In fact, we have met almost weekly to talk about ways we can do this. One of the goals in first grade is for the students to become more fluent readers and we decided to use Garageband to help us with this objective.

The idea was to have the students start with something familiar like a nursery rhyme and then practice reading it while recording a podcast. The students would listen to their recording, decide what they could do to improve it and re-record as they consider necessary until they had it just right. To make this more purposeful for the students, the recordings would be for our Pre-K students’ listening center. A colorful book of these rhymes would accompany a CD of the students’ recordings. As you can imagine, the first grade students were very excited by this idea and eagerly set to the task of selecting a nursery rhyme that they would perfect through reading and re-reading.

When the time came to introduce Garageband, I showed the students the tool buttons they would need to use, how to delete a recording, how to insert a new recording and how to move the cursor back and forth along the track. I then recorded a couple of rhymes for them to critique so they could decide what a good recording sounds like. They all thought my first reading was great until they heard my second one which they said was slower and more smooth. My third was the best because it sounded the happiest (it had the most expression).

Then it was their turn to give it a try. All I can say is “Wow!” They loved this and were so good about listening back to their podcasts and deciding it needed to be slower, or they needed to speak more clearly or with more expression, or they needed to move to a quieter place. Many must have reread and re-recorded their rhymes at least ten times before deciding that they had it just right. It was so exciting to see the students find quiet places around the school and make these recordings. When they selected the one that was their best, we sent it to i-tunes and then moved it to a shared folder on our network so they could listen to each other’s.

The students really enjoyed this and are already talking about how they want to read and record a whole story next time. To me, that is the one of the best outcomes of the project!

Photo by Dan http://goo.gl/aaUOn