TeachWrite NOLA

July 30, 2008

Podcasting: Turning Their Written Word Into Their Voice

Filed under: Demo Lesson — noladawn @ 5:05 pm
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Podcasting: Turning Their Written Word Into Their Voice

“To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”

~Truman Capote

“All the fun is in how you say a thing.”

~Robert Frost


With the Web 2.0 age, we are increasingly asked to incorporate technology into our classrooms.  Students are so familiar with technology now that it has just become another method with which to teach.  Because of the engaging nature of technology students are more likely to be involved and focused on the project if the end result involves them being an interactive part rather than pasting something on a poster board and calling it a day.  Podcasting provides students with another medium for their work.  As Will Richardson, tech guru, states, “Our students are learning that their voices matter, that people are listening and responding, and that their ideas count.” (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, p. 129)

Stream of Curriculum:

My fourth grade students read Jerry Spinelli’s Loser as the first whole-class Literature Circle book.  The end-of-book project is to write an essay about bullying and how it makes them feel, either as the bully or the victim of bullying and what they believe the real reason behind bullying is.  Last year I decided to make this a more interactive lesson and add the podcasting dynamic.  After going through the writing process with their personal essays students were given the option to record their essays on Audacity for our class eBoard (http://dmurden.jppss.site.eboard.com) so that their parents and other students could hear them.  This year I will add the use of the website This I Believe (www.thisibelieve.org) to the project.  I will play related podcasts and provide written essays related to the theme of the Golden Rule.  The podcast will be a requirement, although publishing it on the site will still be voluntary, and I will add the podcasting rubric attached.  This is a three to four week Lit Circle project.  The podcasting portion will generally take approximately two weeks to go from pre-writing to podcasting.

Theoretical Foundations:

Will Richardson writes, “All of these technologies allow students and teachers to contribute their own ideas and work to the larger body of knowledge that is the Web.  Instead of simply handing in countless assignments to teachers to be read, graded, handed back, and most likely thrown away, we can now offer our students a totally new way of looking at the work they do.  It’s not meant to be discarded or stored in a folder somewhere; it’s meant to be added to the conversation and potentially used to teach others.” – Blogs Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (p 132)

Sara Kadjer, in the article “Plugging In: What Technology Brings to the English/Language Arts Classroom” states, “Students were hungry to complete interactive, engaging, tech-infused activities in class-and to extend our classroom community beyond the classroom walls through discussions and virtual correspondence with students around the globe.”

Lesson Directions:

Objective: Students will write an essay after reading Loser about the effects of bullying.  They will then create a podcast using their essays.


  • Read an excerpt from Loser (pg 106-107).
  • Brainstorm a list of the first things that come to your mind when you think of bullying and the Golden Rule.  (3 minutes)
  • Listen to a couple of podcasts from This I Believe on the same topic for examples.
  • Model your writing process with your students, thinking aloud as needed.  For your modeling, write as the age your students are.  Share your finished product.
  • Write your essay on bullying and/or the Golden Rule.  (15 minutes)
  • Record essays using Audacity software as individuals or pairs.
  • Listen to a few podcasts.  Share my class eBoard for podcasts my students made.

Optional Choices:

  • Using Flip video recorders, create Vodcasts (videocasts) and video students reading their essays.  Upload these to your class blog or eBoard.
  • Contribute your student essays to This I Believe.
  • Create a class book on bullying to share with younger students in the school.


Organize individual paragraphs with topic sentences, relevant elaboration, and concluding sentences (ELA‑2‑E1)

Identify an audience for a specific writing assignment and select appropriate vocabulary,

details, and information to create a tone or set the mood and to affect or manipulate the intended audience (ELA‑2‑E2)

Develop grade‑appropriate compositions by identifying and applying writing processes

  • publishing using available technology (ELA‑2‑E3)

Adjust pacing to suit purpose, audience, and setting when speaking (ELA‑4‑E1)

Adjust speaking content according to the needs of the audience (ELA‑4‑E5)

Deliver presentations that include the following:

  • information drawn from several sources and identification of the sources
  • effective introductions and conclusions
  • details, examples, anecdotes, or statistics that explain or clarify information
  • information selected to persuade or influence the audience (ELA‑4‑E4)


Kadjer, Sara.  “Plugging In: What Technology Brings to the English Language Arts Classroom.”

Voices from the Middle.  11.3 (2004): 6-9


Richardson, Will.  Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Today’s

Classrooms.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2006.

Additional Resources:

ReadWriteThink.org Lesson: http://readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=1096

This I Believe: www.thisibelieve.org

Podcast Rubric: http://readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson1096/podcast_rubric.pdf

Dawn Murden’s Technology eBoard: http://www1.eboard.com/eboard/servlet/BoardServlet?&ACTION=TAB_SHOW&ACTION_ON=TAB&OBJECT_ID=374527&SITE_NAME=jppss&BOARD_NAME=DMurden&TAB_ID=374527&SESSION_ID=lyhrwjgjbyvs7084

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli’s Website: http://www.jerryspinelli.com/newbery_002.htm

Audacity: www.audacity.sourceforge.net

Some easy, step-by-step direction for podcasting (they follow her plans for creating podcasting about disabilities but the nuts and bolts are there…. these are some of the easiest to follow directions I’ve seen out there!) http://readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson1096/creating.pdf

Websites for purchasing headphones with mics and USB ports:




Digital Recorders with USB connections:




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