Tag Archives: Podcasting

NWelearn, NWMET, eLearning Consortium of Colorado 2021 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

The eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC), the Northwest Managers of Educational Technology (NW/MET) and the NW eLearning Community (NWeLearn) eLearning conference 2021 is a free three day virtual conference with over 100+ sessions addressing educational technology trends held April 7-9, 2021.

Registration is free and includes access to all three days and 100+ sessions. Be sure to Register for the 2021 conference and gain access to the amazing presentations.

Preview the slide deck from my session on creating podcasts with students:

Creating podcasts with students is about sparking active listeners, thoughtful creators, and engaged citizens.

When students are listening to podcasts they are able to:

  • Listen, comprehend, & analyze audio texts
  • Critically response to audio texts as a collection of choices that create meaning and emotion
  • Apply language, techniques, and vocabulary of podcasting
  • When students create podcasts they are able to:

  • Celebrate self expression and imagination
  • Make intentional choices that support current vision
  • Utilize technology with imagination and confidence
  • Participate in reflective process that welcomes feedback
  • Students make connections when listening and creating podcasts and then are able to:

  • Welcome the diversity and commonalities of perspectives, stories, & experiences
  • Practice empathy and communicate with open minds
  • Become thoughtful and curious media consumers
  • Share and receive new ideas
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    Podcasts Are Mentor Texts Too

    According to Iowa Reading and Research Center, “Mentor texts are written pieces that serve as an example of good writing for student writers. The texts are read for the purpose of studying the author’s craft, or the way the author uses words and structures the writing. The goal is to provide students a model they could emulate in crafting their own piece.” Mentor texts are samples of writing for students to model and emulate for their own writing. As a teacher, I am always reading and collecting mentor texts that I can utilize in my classroom for teaching all types of reading moves from sentence structure, vocabulary, voice, and even punctuation. An effective mentor text is one that we can read and reread to unearth the beauty in the writing.

    Who is to say that a podcast can’t be a mentor text. My students are currently writing original mystery stories and when I came across Lethal Lit: A Tig Torres Mystery, I was enamored with this engaging mystery that blends Serial Podcast content with Riverdale teen drama. In the podcast series, teen detective Tig Torres returns to her small hometown of Hollow Falls, where her aunt was framed as a serial killer ten years earlier. With help from her new friends, Tig investigates the twisted mystery. But as she gets closer to the truth, the killings, each based on murder scenes from classic literature, begin all over again…with her as the final target. The podcast is six episodes, each episode under 30 minutes.

    I introduced the podcast series to my students during a mini-lesson on Mood and Tone when we listened to the first episode together to understand the mood and tone in the show’s exposition. Students constructed interpretations about the setting of Hollow Falls and the people who inhabit it. I provided students with a listening guide to help catalogue the murders, clues, and suspects throughout the entire series.

    Listening to the podcast the dialogue is riddled with pop culture allusions that can be another mini-lesson and the voice of the protagonist, Tig Torres is worth re-listening as students create their own characters with distinct and unique voices. In using this podcast as a mentor text, I want to “help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today. It helps them to try out new strategies and formats.” (the National Writing Project).

    Students will complete a choice project based on their listening of the entire series too.

    A mentor text does not just have to be a piece of writing, it can be a visual text like a movie or image, it might be a song or poem, and even a podcast. Mentor texts can be ones that students can read independently as well as with teacher support. Think about the texts that you use as mentor texts for your students, what are the lessons that can grow out of these texts and how they might inspire our students to be stronger and more effective writers.

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    Get Your Students Creating Podcasts — ISTE Blog

    The following post was a guest blog post I wrote for ISTE this past week. You can read the entire post on ISTE’s Blog.

    Tai Poole is a ninth grader in Canada and has been hosting the podcast series Tai Asks Why? with the Canadan Broadcasting Company (CBC) since he was 11. Each episode is under 30 minutes and delves into thought-provoking topics: How much is too much screen time, what is love, and what’s happening to my teenage brain with insight from Tai’s family members, experts and scientists. Tai is one of many young people starting their own podcasts, building an audience and brand around them. 

    Why not get your students in on the podcasting action?  You don’t need fancy equipment to get started. Just an idea. Producing a podcast requires students to articulate an idea, as they showcase their understanding and learning. Students can create them independently or in collaborative groups. The content can be serious or light hearted, fictional or grounded in truth. Podcasts cover a wide variety of subjects including science, current events, history, fan fiction and storytelling. If they aren’t sure where to begin, they can listen to published podcast examples to help determine the direction and format.  

    Podcasting builds skills

    When students produce a podcast, they become problem solvers and enhance their technology skills. The ISTE Standards for Students call for students to express themselves in a variety of formats and platforms. Throughout the podcasting process students apply research,  writing  and verbal skills to communicate a message. When students create their own podcasts, they act as knowledge constructors and empowered learners. 

    Here are three more reasons to create podcasts with students. 

    1. Empower learners

    Most of the information students receive is in multimodal formats: digital, print, visual and audio. Podcasts are tools for learning information and content. Podcasts come in a variety of formats and topics. My students are currently listening to the murder mystery podcast series Tig Torres: Lethal Lit as a mentor text for their own mystery stories they are creating. 

    1. Initiate global connections & collaboration

    Creating podcasts for a wider audience is engaging and authentic. The New York Times and National Public Radio both host annual podcasting contests for teens to create and record original audio material under 10 minutes on any topic. Sharing student-created podcasts with the world enriches the learning experience for the listeners as well as the podcast creators.

    1. Apply Digital Citizenship 

    Sharing podcasts with local and global audiences requires students to create a positive, safe, ethical and legal digital behavior. Producing a podcast requires students to record and edit digital content. Students are required to choose sound effects, record interviews and include sound bites from experts to add engaging features that draw the listeners attention. Podcasting depends on creative communication. 

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    Podcasting: A Tool for Blended Learning

    This week I am sharing a post I wrote for Kasey Bell @shakeuplearing. Check out the post on Kasey’s website CLICK HERE.

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    25 Podcast Assignment & Project Ideas

    Podcasts are a great tool for learning and to showcase learning. With cloud based podcast platforms like Anchor and Spreaker, creating a podcast is simple and accessible to all. I have curated twenty five different podcast assignment and project ideas for students whether working remotely or in the classroom. Each one can be adapted per grade level and content area taught.

    1. Myths Around the World – Mythology is part of the curriculum in elementary school, middle school, and high school when students study ancient cultures. First students can read and listen to creation myths and hero myths from around the world to understand the elements of mythology. Taking examples from Greek, Native American, Indian, and Chinese mythology, students then write their own creation or hero myths. Students create their own mythical characters and write descriptions about their origins. Students can work collaboratively to write and then record their original myths for a class podcast series.

    2. What On Earth Science DebatesEarth Science teacher in New York, Deb Davis has her 8th grade students research and prepare opening debate speeches around controversial topics in earth science: fracking, genetically modified foods, Keystone Pipeline, space travel. Students prepare an evidence file collecting valid and reliable research to utilize for their debate. On the day of the debate, students record the entire debate and create a podcast channel for the science debates. Parents and other students can listen to the debates and evaluate them for solid evidence and effective arguments.

    3. Let Me Tell You My Story – Based on content area of the class, this podcast requires students to conduct interviews of people about their experiences living during a specific time period (history connection), or career exploration, or stories about community development. 

    4. Book Versus The Movie – Which was better, the book or the movie? Students can debate and discuss the qualities of a book turned movie and which they would recommend.

    5. RadioLab Style Informative Inquiry – I love the Radiolab Podcast and have written about having students create their own Radiolab style podcast on this blog and in a chapter of Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age. The podcast is organized like an informative essay with three body paragraphs, evidence to support the claims, and enhanced with sound effects and interview clips. Students can have lots of fun discussing  key topics in science or be more light hearted by debating who is the better super hero: Batman or Superman.

    6. “Tribe of Mentors” – So I am a podcast junkie, and Tim Ferriss’ is one of my all time favorite podcasters. His podcast series includes interviews with celebrities, athletes, scientists, and more. Have students interview the people who they consider influencers and forward thinkers to share expertise and insight how to live your best self.

    7. Create a suspenseful podcast like Lethal Lit to tell a mystery, horror or gothic tale in a series of episodes that lead the listeners through the mystery with red herrings and lots of suspects.

    8. Need To Know – What are the things that you need to know before you graduate from high school (or elementary school or middle school). This podcast can be a series of short podcasts about what people should know once they leave school. For example, maybe  balancing finances and how to fold your laundry. Have students brainstorm a list of things that they think are imperative to know to help them navigate their lives beyond school.

    9. Personal Narratives and Memoirs are great for podcasting and storytelling. Check out The Moth Radio Hour for examples for storytelling that makes you laugh and cry.

    10. Poetry Podcast – Have students write their original poetry and then podcast their work to share with others. Students might also consider podcasting their favorite poems and discuss the elements of the poem that make it memorable.

    11. On This Day  – Create a short podcast to introduce important events that happened on the specific day recording the podcast. The podcast can be based on history, scientific findings, or famous feats.

    12. Wonderopolis: The PodcastWonderopolis is a fantastic website with daily wonders about our world curated on its website. Students can create their own wonders and then create a podcast to share their wonder findings.

    13. Newscast – Students can take their school newspaper to another level with a podcast. Allow students to share movie reviews, news about school, and highlight school related stories on the podcast.

    14. Let Me Help You – Students can create a podcast to teach others about technology. Allow students to podcast short and easy to follow “How To . . .  Tech” lessons for older adults. This can be adapted to any content or subject matter. For example, I can really use a math podcast to explain aspects of geometry and algebra.

    15. Choose Your Own Adventure – Remember the choose your own adventure books from the 1980s? What if students worked together to create their own stories that listeners were able to select where they want to story to go next. This could be an entire class or grade level project with each student writing and podcasting their “chapter.”

    16. In The Know – Students can research all about animals, diseases, or sports and create an encyclopedia podcast that catalogues all about these topics.

    17. The Best Recipes – Students can share family recipes on a podcast to create a collection of delicious dishes to share with others.

    18. The Best Book I Ever Read Podcast – Here is a way to collect book recommendations and showcase students favorite reads. Students can access the podcast to find out what to read next. Think of it like a podcast for GoodReads in Classroom 2A.

    19. Reader’s Theater – Have students create an “old time” Prairie Home Companion show with sound effects and original music.

    20. The Story Seeds Podcast is a collaborative podcast among kids and authors. Each episode “captures the magic that happens when kids ages 6-12 meet and collaborate with beloved storytellers who grow original short stories inspired by their story ideas.” Have students create their own story seeds or borrow one from the show and create their own story magic to podcast.

    21. Investigative Journalism – The Serial Podcast brought attention to an unsolved murder mystery and also the excellence of a podcast. Have students be their own investigative journalists and go hunting for the truth about local legends or unsolved crimes.

    22. Reel vs. Real – Whether you are a Mythbusters fan or not, watching movies and shows online you might question the science of car races, explosions, or the reality of people’s lives in the moves. Have students analyze the films to discern fact from fiction.

    23. Making the Invisible Visible – Many times history and characters are one sided and we rarely see or hear about those who are silenced. eclipsed, and ignored. Let’s bring them to the forefront by having students research and create podcasts that are history or literary based and give voice to those who were kept voiceless.

    24. You’re Wrong About – This is actually a podcast series now and the idea is genius if you have students create their own podcasts to research and discuss things that adults are wrong about.

    25. What this song means to me – For music fans, have students choose their favorite songs and podcast their close reading and analysis of what the song means to them. They might also address the craft moves of the artists and the key elements of the song.

    Want More? Check out Building Book Love blog post which highlights many awesome podcasts that you can listen to, share with your students, and inspires more podcast creation ideas.

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    3 Creative Ways to Ditch that Essay

    * The following was written as a guest blog post for Ditch that Textbook published on 9/3/2019. To read the post on the website click here


    Why should essay writing be the majority of student writing in school? There are lots of other options. Here are three good alternatives to consider.

    What are your most memorable experiences throughout your middle school and high school career?

    I know, you are thinking about all the exciting and engaging essays you wrote. That five-paragraph essay where you explained the theme of a text. Each paragraph was informative and persuasive, providing robust evidence and analysis to support your claim.

    Probably not.

    And what about in your classroom today, how often are students writing essays similar to your youth?

    Words do not exist only on a page in a two-dimensional space any longer. Today, words are multisensory experiences that are seen, heard, and experienced through podcasting, filmmaking, storytelling, gaming, and virtual reality. Writing has evolved in genre, medium, and dimensions.

    Teachers have been called upon to empower learners and to bring creativity into educational spaces to promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and design thinking while at the same time bolster communication skills. Writing is a key communication skill necessary in school and out to articulate thinking and clarify ideas. In the classroom, students write to learn and also write to showcase their learning.

    Why relegate essay writing as the majority of student writing in school? We can give lots of other options.

    Here are three alternatives to traditional essays


    Podcasts are an effective medium to share knowledge and experiences, and students can easily create their own. Podcasting with students improves literacy skills and creates an authentic audience for writing. When podcasting, students are not just reading aloud their writing but purposefully and carefully choosing their words, narration, and dialogue to communicate their ideas.img_0819

    After listening to Sean Carroll’s podcast “What Would Stephen Hawking Do” on Story Collider, I thought why not switch the theme to “What Would Our Founding Fathers Do?” regarding current political issues of contention. For example, a group of students research, write and podcast what Abraham Lincoln would do about gun laws, while another group addresses how Alexander Hamilton would handle the illegal immigration debate.

    There are many different styles of podcasts. How you want students to present their podcasts is a decision that you and your students have to make. By offering students choices there will be a diversity of products, students will have agency, and their voices will be at the forefront of their finished products.

    More resources:

    Script Writing and Movie Making

    img_5525Writing a script for a film has its own specific format and requirements. Like writing any good story, when creating a movie, students need a beginning, middle, and end. Most importantly the story needs conflict to drive it. Students have to create authentic characters that viewers will empathize with.

    Have students write their own fictional stories then storyboard their ideas to convey the plot, conflict, and characterization before going into movie-making mode. When students are creating films, writing their own scripts, and making choices about lighting, sound, and editing, they are demonstrating critical analysis, creative collaboration, and multimedia communication skills.

    Documentary films are another format. Check out the Op-Docs series on The New York Times. This series highlights short documentary films about aspects of life that are often hidden or unspoken like incarceration, living with a disability, and facing obstacles. These documentaries highlight real people and true events. Creating documentaries allows students to research and investigate topics relevant to their own lives, make insightful arguments, and illuminate different perspectives.

    More resources:

    Multigenre Writing

    Why just box students into writing one genre per unit? If teachers allow students to show their understanding and knowledge of a topic with a variety of types of writing, there is an opportunity for choice and creativity. This goes beyond just allowing students to choose one genre or format. What if students could blend genres across one writing assignment to produce a multigenre piece that includes poetry, narrative, images, and songs to reveal information about their topic? In a multigenre project, each piece might work independently to make a point, but together they create a symphony of perspectives and depth on a subject. Check out this student example!

    The writing your students create for their multigenre project can be powerful and inspiring. With the help of digital tools like Adobe Spark or Book Creator students can amplify their projects for digital storytelling.

    More resources:

    Writing is a vehicle for communication. Today our students are bloggers, filmmakers, gamers, authors, innovators, and influencers. How amazing would it be to sharpen their strengths and abilities in our classrooms to create something that surpasses the traditional school essay?


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    Technology to Aid the Struggling Reader:

    ISTE, Capstone, Amplify & School Library Journal are collaborating and hosting a webinar on how to leverage technology to help new and struggling readers.

    I am honored to be part of this panel discussion along with

    K.C. Boyd, Lead Librarian, East St.Louis (IL) School District

    Cynthia Merrill, Literacy Consultant

    and Moderator, Kathy Ishizuka, Executive Editor, School Library Journal

    During the webinar I will be sharing strategies and technology tools to aid struggling readers.

    Technology tools that I use in my classroom to help support the diverse readers in my classroom include the reading platform Actively Learn. Actively Learn is an online tool with a library of thousands of texts and Common Core-aligned lessons that both teachers and students can interact with in real-time. In the reading platform, teachers assign pre-existing Actively Learn materials to students or upload their own content, then track student responses and activity using data tools within the platform. Students can interact with a text by digitally highlighting and annotating, responding to embedded questions and content, and leaving feedback and comments for peers. Students can translate the text in their home language and define unknown words within the platform. Students can mark their confusion within the text and the teacher is able to annotate the text with additional links for clarity and deeper meaning to support student reading. In my classroom I utilize Actively Learn weekly for Articles of the Week in order for students to make connections across texts and address current events.

    Audio books are another tool beneficial to struggling readers. I love my Audible App on my phone and listen to books every chance I have including my commute to work and home. Listening to a text while reading can help students visualize and comprehend complex text. Students are using different skills when they are listening versus reading but research shows that students have a higher listening comprehension than reading comprehension. In addition, podcasts are great texts for students to listen to explore concepts and ideas. My favorite include NPR’s Radiolab podcasts and any podcast from author of Tools of Titans (2016), Tim Ferriss. Check out Tim’s Podcast with YA author Soman Chainani.


    Two great resources with more about technology tools and strategies to engage diverse student learners include  Jules Csillag‘s  Differentiated Reading Instruction and Robert Furman‘s Technology, Reading & Digital Literacy: Strategies to Engage the Reluctant Reader.

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    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


    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.


    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.


    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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