Tag Archives: Podcasting

10 Project Ideas to Highlight Genius Hour & Passion Projects

There are many ways that students can present their Genius Project Learning. I am a teacher who tends to shy away from traditional Powerpoint presentations and often give students a choice of different projects and products to share their learning. Below are some of the recent project choices.

Sketch Note It – Show us visually what you did for your genius hour project in a visually appealing way.   Your sketchnote should be in-depth and visually appealing.

Teach Us – Be the teacher and present a mini-lesson with active engagement for students to try something out and learn about your project. To help you plan for this presentation, think how your best teachers present information and help you to learn best. Your mini-lesson should be between 10-15 minutes and encompass a hook, minilesson, active engagement, and end with some closure/reflection.

Turn It Into a Breakout EDU – Complete a Breakout EDU Game Design Template Worksheet to combine your Genius topic and gaming. You can use as many or few of the Breakout EDU components to challenge your classmates and help them think deeply about your genius hour project.

RadioLab Style Podcast – RadioLab is a show on NPR that presents topics through engaging conversations, media clips, and investigative journalism. Create your own RadioLab style podcast and share the audio file to publish a collection of Genius Hour podcasts online.

Video TED Talk TED is a group devoted to spreading ideas. Their national conferences and regional TEDx events are famous for offering short, powerful talks and posting them online. Present your own TED style talk about your genius hour topic.  Video it, and share it with your teacher to post on our Genius Hour YouTube channel. The TED Talk should be informative, engaging, and inspiring. 

Feature Article – Write a feature article for our school newspaper and school website with the intention of getting it published. Share your genius process and final product with the world.

Whiteboard Animation Video– Tell your story and genius process through a whiteboard animation video. 

Prezi Screencast– Create a prezi presentation and then screencast an audio presentation talking through the major points of your Genius Hour project. Use free screencasting sites like Screencast-o-Matic and Screenr.

Blog About It  – Create a blog that details your weekly process and progress with your passion project. Add videos, links, and photos to help your followers understand your genius quest.

Genius Hour Fair – Design a visual presentation of your genius project to share with the entire school and community – Yes, school administrators and parents are invited. Design a display board or go digital by setting up laptop, include QR codes with links to resources and additional information. Be sure to include pictures of your week work and successes and bullet point the lessons you learned throughout the project.

Exit Reflection  – This can be completed as an independent reflection assignment or as a final blog reflection. Students reflection on their learning and what they gleaned from the entire Genius Hour process. Students might address the following questions:

  1. What did you take away from your genius hour experiences?
  2. What were the positive experiences and the challenges you faced?
  3. Why did you work on this project, what is the personal connection or cause that led you to this passion?
  4. What are you going to do as a result of your research and project? Will you continue to work on it after you leave our class?
  5. Why should genius hour be offered to all students at our school? Explain your response.

 

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Badges for Public Speaking Mastery: Part II

publicspeaking

Why a badge driven curriculum?

Students are able to monitor their own learning and take responsibility for their work and understanding. Students are aware of the learning expectations and the work they need to master in order to successfully pass the course. Students know the end goal and are awarded badges for completing  specific learning targets and challenging and extraordinary tasks.

I have transformed my speech and debate elective class for middle school students this semester into a module based independent study where students complete different tasks to show mastery and earn badges.

The first ten weeks of the semester students are to complete three different badges for students to work towards and show their understanding and knowledge of public speaking. The second half of the semester students will focus on debating skills and participate in different types of debate.

The three different badges for Speech and Debate include:

Great Speakers Are Made, Not Born Badge

Read about the Great Speakers Are Made, Not Born Badge expectations here.

Words Are Powerful Badge

This badge is designed to help students utilize public speaking and writing skills by crafting a non fiction speech. Throughout this bade students are working on structure, word choice, and literary devices in their own writing.

Presentation Guru Badge

Once students earn the Words are Powerful Badge they can work on the Presentation Guru Badge. This badge requires students to put together all that they have learned about the qualities of great speakers and writing strong speeches. The final part of this badge is for students to write and present a TED style talk.

Here are some of the specific learning targets and extraordinary tasks students will set out to complete this semester.

Words Are Powerful Badge Expectations

Choose One Podcast Assignment:

StorySLAM (True Stories Told) – Choose a personal story you are willing to share with others. First write your story that you will then tell via podcast for others to listen to.  Here are some examples: https://themoth.org/education/resources (scroll to the bottom)

#1 The Model & Mentor Assignment

  1. Listen to 2-3 of the sample stories at https://themoth.org/education/resources
  2. Write a Reflection that answers the following (answers don’t have to be long, but please put some thought into them and not just one word answers):
  • Write the title of the story AND give the episode a “new” creative title.  
  • Write 3 things you learned about the speaker telling the story.
  • Write 3 new questions you have you want to ask the storyteller, and WHY you want to know the answers to these questions.
  • How did the speakers make you feel?  Engage You In the Topic? Encourage You to Continue Listening?
  • What were some of the rhetorical moves the speakers  utilized to successfully present the information in the podcast?
  • What other things did you notice about the podcast that are worth mentioning and pointing out to other listeners?

#2:Write Your Story Script – Write a story experience about yourself you are willing to share with others in a 3-5 Minute Personal Story that leaves a lasting impression. Share your story script with three classmates to get feedback and suggestions. Then, share your story script with your teacher before you begin your podcast for editing purposes. Remember:

  • Stories have a change. The main character (you!) has to change in some way from beginning to end.
  • Stories have stakes. Why did this moment matter to you?
  • Know where your story is heading. Steer clear of meandering endings!
  • Be YOURSELF. This is not a monologue, a standup routine, or a rant.  

#3: Podcast Your Story –  Record on a Podcast your story for others to hear*. Turn in your audio podcast on Google Classroom.

* Almost everyone needs to practice reading aloud their story to make it exciting and interesting in terms of the words as well as one’s vocal presentation. Your voice needs to be loud, clear, and authentic.

OR

RadioLab Style Podcast – RadioLab is a show on NPR that presents topics related to science through engaging conversations, media clips, and investigative journalism. Check out http://radiolab.org for more information and to listen to a few podcasts before you get started.

#1: The Model & Mentor Assignment

  1. Choose a ONE HOUR episode of Radiolab on http://radiolab.org. Download or listen online to the ENTIRE episode.
  2. Write a Reflection that answers the following (answers don’t have to be long, but please put some thought into them and not just one word answers):
  • Write the title of the episode AND give the episode a “new” creative title.  
  • Write 3 things you learned about the topic in the podcast.
  • Write 3 new questions you now have about the topic, and WHY you want to know the answers to these questions.
  • How did the speakers make you feel?  Engage You In the Topic? Encourage You to Continue Listening?
  • What were some of the rhetorical moves the speakers/hosts utilized to successfully present the information in the podcast?
  • What other things did you notice about the podcast that are worth mentioning and pointing out to other listeners?

#2: Create Your Own Radio Lab Podcast

  1. Select and Research a topic of your choice (most RadioLab Episodes are science related).
  2. Write a script for a 3-5 Minute Mini-Radiolab Episode sharing insight, research, and findings.

Words are Powerful Badge Reflection

You will also turn in a short, 1-2 page reflective paper AFTER delivering your podcast; the reflection paper should describe the process that went into developing your project and your thoughts about the performance.

 

Presentation Guru Badge Expectations

TED is a group devoted to spreading ideas. Their national conferences and regional TEDx events are famous for offering short, powerful talks and posting them online. Present your own TED style talk, video it, and post online. The TED Talk should be informative, engaging, and inspiring. For more information check out http://www.ted.org

Part 1 – TED Talk Models & Mentors Reflection

Complete the Data Collection Worksheet* For each TED Talk you view. You are to view 3 or more Talks.

Part 2 – Your TED Style Talk must:

  • be 7-10 minutes in length
  • incorporate a slideshow that enhances the discussion with compelling images (and text, when appropriate)
  • 3 or other such “take away”
  • be supported with research, with all borrowed material properly cited within the presentation
  • include a storytelling component at some point (doesn’t necessarily have to be YOUR story)
  • be “memorized” (no notes)
  • be delivered in an engaging manner to a live audience that will then  be recorded) offer a clearly defined argument, new perspective,
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The Four Hour Teacher: 10X Student & Teacher Output

When you look at your daily or weekly lessons, what are you filling up your time with in your classroom?

This is a question that I ask myself often to help strengthen student learning and reflect on my own teaching practices. My intentions in my classroom are to teach what is important, limit and eliminate wasteful worksheets or information to help my students succeed and learn in deep ways.

Before I address how teachers can do the same in their own classrooms, I want to talk about why and what prompted this vision for teaching.

I am a HUGE fan of Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, The Four Hour Body, and The Four Hour Chef. The concept behind his books and podcasts are to strip down information to the essentials tools and knowledge in order to optimize output ten fold.  Ferriss is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher. In fact, he has said he always thought that he would be a ninth grade English teacher. His books are like cliff notes to mastering cooking, weight loss, and managing time. His podcasts are interviews with amazing entrepreneurs that taps into their own successes, mindset, and rituals that got them to where they are.

tim-ferriss-4-hour-books

Work versus busy work. Efficiency. Filtering the “signal from the noise.” These are the ideas that I transfer into my teaching and classroom to accelerate learning. It’s about searching out what works in education and literacy learning to dedicate my class time to developing students’ reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing skills. This means “engaging students in the best learning opportunities” (Frey, Lapp, Hattie, 2016). In my own classroom these learning opportunities include: Genius Hour, Interactive Reading Notebooks, Gamification, Articles of the Week, Reading and Writing Workshop. These are the approaches and tools that help me meet the variety of learners in my classroom. At the same time, I hone in on the purpose, context, and timing of the practices students are engaged in my classroom on a daily basis.

What does that look like in my classroom? Here is the calendar I created  last week for the first semester of school (20 weeks). The calendar outlines the units of study I will dive into with my students along with the skills and topics I teach in order to provide students the opportunities to build on and improve their abilities as readers and writers.

Want more on Tim Ferriss?  Here are three of my favorite podcasts he has done that offer insight into this mindset and philosophy on learning.

  1. Tim Ferriss featured on Freakonomics
  2. Tim Ferriss interviews Malcolm Gladwell
  3. How to Think Like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
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Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age

Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age (ISTE, 2014) edited by Mark Gura is a compilation of eighteen different technology projects for any classroom. Tech projects include audio, video, blogging, and podcasting using web tools such as Animoto, Evernote, Wordle, and Audacity. All the chapters were written by teachers with the intention of designing classroom learning experiences that would engage students and at the same time require them to use technology tools and skills to create meaningful content.

I contributed a chapter on using podcasting to teach narrative and expository writing in my Speech and Debate class. Below are some highlights from my chapter, “Building Literacy Radiolab Style: Podcasting to Foster Speech and Debate Skills.”

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My obsession with NPR’s Radiolab began more than five years ago when I would drive home on Friday afternoon from school and listen to the weekly podcast. Somewhere in the middle of the fifth or sixth podcast I realized there was a formula to the radio show and it mirrored an informational speech. Only, the podcast was enhanced by various sound effects and audio clips to draw my attention to the show and it’s content. I also realized that the majority of the topics presented were science based, and even though science was never my passion, the show’s format helped me to engage, empathize, and reflect on the scientific elements presented. Soon, my listening to the show was not only for enjoyment, but to deconstruct and study the craft of the show and think about how to apply this in my classroom.

I wrote down all the engaging transitions and really paid attention to how support material was weaved into the show to present information and inform the listener. I created an entire handout for my students with all the “moves” I heard the Radiolab hosts, Jad and Robert, say throughout various podcasts. These transitions benefited the listeners by inferring what they needed to do with the information presented.

The end result after having my students listen and study different Radiolab podcasts was for my students to partner up and create their own Radiolab style shows. Students wrote, edited, and recorded their own podcasts with added listening effects. Overall, the project was successful and Radiolab is still is my favorite show on NPR!

For more specifics about the assignment and process of creating the podcasts you can check out Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age: Inspiration for all levels and literacies edited by Mark Gura.

 

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10 Ways to Use Mobile Devices in Your Classroom Tomorrow

This past month I was asked by my principal to present at our faculty meeting some ideas about using mobile devices in the classroom.  Since 99% of the teachers I work with have a mobile phone, I presented ten different ideas teachers can use mobile phones as a learning and teaching tool in the classroom.  At the beginning of the meeting I asked all faculty members to brainstorm the ways that they use their mobile device on a daily basis.  We acquired a long list that ranged from texting and taking photos to updating their Facebook page and talking on the phone.  Our list then led me into talking about how we can use our mobile devices as teaching tools.  Below are ten different ideas I shared for any content area.

1. Poll Everywhere – Students can use their mobile device to take a poll or survey.

2. Video Exit Slip – Rather than ask students to write down three things they learned, as students are leaving the classroom, video record (using a cell phone or ipad) student responses to a particular question.

3. Photograph Student Work – A great way to document student learning, you can use your phone to take pictures of student projects and then post them on a class blog or Wiki.  I took pictures of my students’ projects and then put all the photos together in a slide show using Animoto.

4. Audio Recordings – Have student record their small group discussions or oral presentation.  One idea that was shared with me at a workshop was having Spanish students create their own short telanovelas (Spanish Language Soap Operas) and then post them onto a classroom blog.  Students can also listen to podcasts on their phones.

5. QR Code Questsqr code activity

6. Digital Scavenger Hunts – Similar to QR Code Quests, a cellphone can be used to create a virtual scavenger hunt, sending students clues that they have to complete or comprehend to complete an activity.

7. More with Photos & Video – Students can use their cameras to document science experiments or images from a field trip and then catalogue them on a classroom Flickr account.

8. – Evernote – If you are someone who likes to capture things that you want to remember or use later, Evernote lets you snap photos, record some audio, and save it in one place.  You can also share your notes with others so it is great for comparing and compiling data for a classroom project.

9. Cel.ly  – There are many online tools that send text messages to subscribers reminding students about homework assignments or projects.  This tool can help students stay organized and offer reminders for students who need a nudge.

10. Twitter – Whether it is for a teacher’s personal use or classroom back channel, Twitter is one of my top three among social media that I use on a daily basis.  Students can use Twitter for posting quick thoughts, questions, or reactions to class room assignments and readings.

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Students Create Podcasts: A Blog Post Told Through Pictures

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School is just about done but I needed my students to do one last project, a podcasting project.  Below are images of students working through the process of researching, writing, editing, and presenting podcasts which have been uploaded to our podcasting website on Podbean.

More descriptive information about this student project is forthcoming in a chapter to be published in a book on Literacy and Technology edited by Mark Gura (ISTE, 2013) titled, “Building Literacy Radiolab Style: Podcasting to Foster Speech and Debate Skills.”

 

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Listen to Students Debate Controversial Tech Ed Topics

This semester I have two Speech and Debate classes of mixed 7th and 8th grade students.  We have recorded our debates and posted them up on the free podcasting site podbean.com for others to hear how great the debates sound.  One class is debating environmental issues and the second class is tackling technology and education debates.  Our first tech ed debate was thorough and detailed about whether schools should provide free tech devices to all students. Who won the debate? Add your comments below.

To listen to more debates, visit our Podbean webpage.  Happy Listening!!

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Crafting a Podcast and Teaching Good Writing at the Same Time

When I get in my car by myself in the morning I turn on National Public Radio (NPR). My favorite radio show to listen to on NPR is Radio Lab with Jad Abrumad and Robert Krulwich. These two gentlemen “integrate reporting and documentary” in a talking conversation about various topics they want to inform the public about. Most of the topics are science related.  Even though I do not have a science background, I am still interested and engaged in the radio show because of the way Abrumad and Krulwich present their material. Throughout their informative dialogue are sound bites, music and engaging discussions that make me want to listen and stay listening throughout the entire program.

I think one of the best Radio Lab shows was “Numbers” about the role that mathematics and numbers plays in our lives. This is excellent to share with any math class, especially when our students ask, “Why do we need to know this?”

The more that I listened to Radio Lab and studied the moves that Jad and Robert made in their podcasts I realized that their program is similar to a five paragraph expository essay that teachers expect their secondary students to write.

In my Speech and Debate class we studied Radio Lab episodes to help model our own informative speeches.  Students listened to multiple episodes and were asked to identify the elements of informative speech used in the podcast. At the same time, students examined the radio hosts’ vocal expression and speaking style.  In class, we pulled out specific lines the radio hosts used to help the audience understand better (something that is necessary in good writing and informing).  Here are a few that students brought attention to:

“Let’s start with this . . .”  The first words in the Podcast Lucy (2/19/2010)

“Here’s why we included this story . . .” This is where Jad and Robert begin to explain what the story was about and how it relates to the main idea/topic of the podcast. They are making inferences and synthesizing what they have learned so far.

“It appears . . .” (clarifying)

“The question we want to ask now . . .” (After a big idea, refocus, redirect and connect back to main ideas)

“What should we all draw from this?”  (Setting up the closing or conclusion)

After examining and deconstructing numerous Radio Lab episodes my students were ready to write their own informative speeches (expository essays) that would be turned into podcasts to share with the school community.  We added music and other sound effects similar to Radio Lab.  Using the model of Radio Lab in turn, helped students create speeches and podcasts that were creative, in-depth, and informative.

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