Friday, February 12, 2021

7th Grade Podcast Work

With one year of podcast work under their belts (see previous podcast posts), seventh graders were ready to move ahead with some different podcast activities.

At the end of their podcast work as sixth graders, students completed a reflection that provided some important information to consider moving forward with podcast work. Overwhelmingly, 84% of all students said they "liked" or "really liked" the podcast unit, and 93% wanted to do more with podcasts in school. The two areas that students said needed improvement were time and choice; in their written responses, students said they wanted to have more time to listen to podcasts in class, and they wanted to be able to choose the podcasts to listen to.

So, in planning and revising and creating a new seventh grade podcast unit, students got what they asked for: time and choice.

The updated lesson for seventh graders became a digital notebook activity with background graphic organizer work to help shape their review writing. Even before that work began, students used Jamboard to include notes about things they recalled about our podcast work from the previous year. Many, many thanks to our school AEA technology consultant Cathy Hines who developed the digital notebook and graphic organizer! 

Before setting to work individually, we took two class days to listen to a podcast together and work through a graphic organizer example. Students listened to the first episode of "Six Minutes," then as a group filled in the graphic organizer. 
“Six Minutes.” Gen-Z Media, 5 Feb. 2021,

The items included relate directly to the Iowa speaking and listening standards, as well as the AASL Learner standards.

The students' graphic organizer work will transfer directly to their digital notebooks that include a cover or title page for their podcasts and a review page.

Addressing students' request for more time to listen to podcasts was only a matter of structuring the lessons over plenty of calendar days. The request for more choice, however, was a little more tricky. After many conversations with Cathy and with the students, they were able to refer to a recommendations list as well as use Google Podcasts.

Screenshot of some of the podcast recommendations for students

Over the course of several class days, then, students had the opportunity to choose a podcast based on their interests, listen to it, and complete the Slides work. While many chose to continue to listen to more episodes of "Six Minutes," others returned to "The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel," which reflected their interest in last year's podcast work. With access to the Google Podcast search engine, students were also able to listen to podcasts about hunting and fishing, football and hockey, and dogs and cheerleading!

Students' work isn't quite finished; they'll be sharing out their work and reflecting again on the revising of the podcast unit. Stay tuned for a future follow-up post!

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