Back in March, I co-facilitated a session (with listenwise.com) on using podcasts in the classroom at SXSWedu. The workshop attendees were immediately enthusiastic about incorporating podcasts in their classrooms (there are many great reasons to do so), and asked for explicit lesson plans, worksheets, and useful templates—the demand for which completely caught me off-guard (silly, I know). So I did some research and discovered that there wasn’t much out there in terms of structured, turn-key lesson plans; given that we’ve already created hundreds of pages of plans for listening to podcasts (see our Serial plans as a great example), Melissa and I set to work creating this unit.
So, it took all summer, but Melissa and I just finalized our first unit of podcast creation lesson plans. This unit, through careful scaffolding and deliberate confidence building, guides your students from being novice podcast listeners to amateur podcast creators in the span of 10 exercises over 2-3 weeks. Almost all of these plans are focused on teaching listening, reading, and writing skills as students are expected to analyze podcasts and apply their learning to their own projects.
As always, we’re proud that this collection of resources can help right now—there are plenty of explicit plans, printable worksheets, and time-saving suggestions, and an overall unit plan that any teacher could happily launch as early as tomorrow. But (as always) the plans are quite open to modification, allowing for flexibility in anyone’s classroom. Without much effort, a teacher can easily swap in different podcasts, or shorten this unit into a single week, or extend this into an entire semester-long project.
Our goal in this unit was to create a low-commitment yet comprehensive on-ramp to incorporating the diverse realm of podcasts into your own curriculum, and we’re really happy with the result.
The unit includes:
- An introduction to the basics of podcasts.
- Exposure to a variety of exceptional podcasts.
- Deeper analysis activities for three different episodes from This American Life, Serial, and Radiolab.
- A “copy change” activity, a template, and scaffolding suggestions to help students slowly work towards writing their own script.
- A protocol for peer review.
- Reflection questions.
- Suggestions and recommendations for recording, editing, and publishing.
All in all, the unit covers every single Common Core anchor standard, with the exception of “argumentative writing” (which could easily be covered if you asked them to make a persuasive appeal in one of their episodes).
In any case, here’s the link again. And while we feel really good about this as it stands now, we’re always very receptive to improvements and suggestions, so please email me at mrgodsey-at-gmail-dot-com with suggestions or—even better—links to your class’s podcast.