Podcasting in Elementary Schools
After reading some great blog posts on Langwitches about first graders creating podcasts, I am completely inspired! This is one of the grades I am hoping to teach, so was thrilled when I saw that the posts were focused on it!
First, I read Podcasting with First Grade. This post was about a first grade class creating a podcast about Vacation Under the Volcano, a book by Mary Pope Osborn from The Magic Treehouse series. The teacher read the book aloud to the class, and every time a chapter was finished the class wrote a script about the chapter. The scripts consisted of interviews of the main characters, Jack and Annie. Every child in the class got a chance to be the interviewer as well as Jack or Annie.
My favorite part about the post was hearing the excitement in the children's voices as I listened to the podcast. They read with expression, fluency, and enthusiasm that is not seen as much in a typical reading lesson. The teacher wrote that as the book went on, the shy children really came out of their shell and were excited to read their parts as well. I think this activity would be great to do instead of a traditional book report. Not only are the children practicing fluency and expression in their reading, they are also comprehending and thinking about what they read while learning about technology as a bonus.
The next post I read, 1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook, was about another first grade class that completed the same project for another book in the same series, Dinosaurs Before Dark. This time, the teacher decided to make the script into an ebook for the students to read along with. Their parents could download the ebook and podcast to put on their iPods, computers, and more.
Once again, I love how the students got excited about a book. There was an incentive to pay attention and comprehend what they read, and that is one of the most important parts of reading. I would definitely like to try this with my class one day.
Finally, I read Flat Stanley Podcast. This post is about another first grade class creating a podcast based on the book, Flat Stanley by Jim Brown. Most of you have probably heard of this book, but if not here's a little summary. The book is about a little boy, Stanley who gets flattened by his bulletin board one night. He finds himself able to go on all kinds of adventures he had never been able to go on before such as being mailed in an envelope and being flown as a kite. Now back to the podcast. Each student chose a book from the school library about a place they would like to visit if they were flattened by the Smartboard in their classroom. They read the book for homework and came up with a script about their adventures traveling to their chosen destination. Each student then got to record their script for the podcast.
This was by far my favorite of the three posts, and I am definitely planning to use this idea in my classroom! It requires the students to be creative when making up their adventures. They also have to think about how they need to say their part to make it sound exciting on the podcast as well as if any sound effects would be helpful. I think this is a great, hands on opportunity for young students to learn about technology and how it works.
I can apply several things from these posts into my podcast for this class. First of all, after listening to all of the different kids read, I realized the importance of recording a podcast using expression in my voice. Nobody wants to listen to a monotone podcast! Next, it would probably be a good idea to make a script so I can get straight to the point. Finally, I thought all of the sound effects and music made the podcasts more entertaining and really added a lot to them, so that is something else to consider doing for my own podcast.