In this lesson, we are going to be taking a look at what could be considered a “traditional writing assignment” and learning how to turn the 5-Paragraph Essay into a dynamic lesson that incorporates both audio and video podcasts to provide students an extra layer into the learning experience. If you have any comments or questions on this lesson, please leave a message below in the comments section or Tweet to us @PodcastingToday.
Are you looking to do something different with your students next year? Have you ever considered taking the great work that you are already doing and kicking it up a notch … just slightly … to include a little audio or a little video?
Today, we are going to be learning how to bring podcasting into your classroom!
Students will be able to create audio or video podcasts using Synth, a free online classroom podcasting application to go beyond the traditional 5 paragraph essay and demonstrate their mastery of the subject in a format where others can listen, comment, and engage with.
Recommended Age For This Lesson
The creation of audio and video for classroom projects is ageless. This is a great project for any middle school or high school students, however, when adjusting things slightly, it can be easily brought into K-5 classrooms.
Using Synth in Your Classroom
- This classroom podcasting lesson can be done on any device with an internet connection or by downloading Synth on the iOS App Store.
How does the Lesson Work?
This lesson is a variation of the traditional 5-Paragraph Essay.
Traditionally, we teach our students that a 5-Paragraph Essay is formatted as:
- Introduction Paragraph
- Body Paragraph 1
- Body Paragraph 2
- Body Paragraph 3
- Conclusion Paragraph
In this lesson, the teacher will teach the subject however traditionally do, but the twist comes at the end when, instead of asking the students to write the essay, they are asked to create a series of audio or video podcasts using Synth.
While going through the project, students should still be required to take notes on the subject and create an outline of 4-5 talking points for each of the body paragraphs.
When setting up the podcast concept, the teacher will organize the students into groups of 3 (maybe 4) students. At this point, each of the paragraphs become individual podcasts that get recorded through Synth and organized on their podcasting pages. But with this project … there is a little bit of a twist.
- Introduction Paragraph: All group members take turns recording a group podcast where they have to record their show with a clear introduction, thesis statement about the entire podcast series, and in the middle of the episode, have a conversation about some of the upcoming discussion points that they will talk about in their body paragraphs.
- Body Paragraphs: Each student individually records a solo podcast about their topic. The podcasts should each have a well thought out introduction, middle, and ending that transitions into the next podcast episode.
- Conclusion Paragraph: Just like the Introduction Paragraph, the entire group collaborates on a podcast episode that wraps up the project.
The best part about using Synth for classroom podcasting to create this project is that the podcast episodes are at most 4:16 meaning that in order to create a “good podcast,” the students have to be prepared with their notes and must be able to create a show that is energetic and filled with facts about the topic.
There are two other reasons why Synth is a great application for this type of project.
- Synth provides a single website from which all podcasts are displayed for one unified listening experience.
- Synth provides a comment section with each podcast episode so other students can leave comments about the show.
As mentioned in my review of Synth, the platform not only is perfect for education but allows teachers to have a safe application from which to teach Digital Citizenship.
Variations on the Theme
Another way of doing this classroom podcasting assignment is to use the Screencastify plugin (Chromebook Only) and to create a Google Site where student work can be displayed.
If you are looking to do something just a little bit outside of the box this year, this lesson featuring educational podcasts is a great way to start introduce audio and video into your classroom. My suggestions when doing something like this is to first have them use Synth by talking about a topic(s) that is important to them. Perhaps on a friday, you ask them to podcast about a movie they enjoy. On Monday, you can introduce this lesson after they already have learned how to use the application.
We would love to learn how you are using Educational Podcasts in your classroom. Please leave a comment below or Tweet to us @PodcastingToday.
For more information, please visit www.PodcastingWithStudents.com.