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The Podcasting Project

Subject: English Language Arts & Technology

Grade Level: 5th Grade Inclusion

Materials: • Windows PC o Student laptops/computers for student research • computer microphone • computer speakers • Microsoft Word/Word publishing program • Franklin spell-checkers • audio software – MP3 My MP3 Recorder 2.0 • teacher website (MyTeacherPages.com by School World) • student reading notebooks • fantasy genre – reading group chapter book • teacher-created job list for reading groups (see important documents at right) • podcasting direction sheet (see important documents at right)

About: This podcasting project unit is a culminating assignment for our five leveled reading groups. Each group is reading chapter books in the fantasy genre. As students finish, they use their notes from reading groups and Internet research to design a reading group web page amd an exciting podcast to showcase the book they have completed. The novelty of podcasting is a true motivator for students to read for a purpose and learn to take thorough notes as they read their fantasy books. The goal is to provide an authentic approach to improve the literacy skills of all the students. They are informed that they will eventually be a reliable source of information for their website surfers and podcast listeners. This motivates them to carefully and accurately read and respond to the assigned book. The students use their reading-group notes as well as Internet research to design web pages with information about their book and links to the fantasy genre. They also create podcast scripts for the Internet public’s listening pleasure, which are downloadable as an MP3 file from the same student web page. During this project. the students work collaboratively to develop comprehension skills, to research and cite sources, and to publish on the Internet and podcast. The students include the following sections for their podcast: • an introduction to the topic and reading group • related vocabulary • quotes about the topic (sources cited) • book and/or article reviews • graphics • interviews Optional add-ons (with teacher approval): • related riddles and jokes • related poems • other interesting facts • other student-created ideas

As a culminating project, each reading group is responsible for designing a web page highlighting their reading assignment and creating scripts for their podcasts. Student work can be viewed on the class website: http://herricks.org/webpages/spcollaborative/index.cfm?subpage=8158

For this podcasting project, students work as a collaborative team to plan and execute an exciting website and podcast script to be posted on the class website. They conduct Internet research using various kid-friendly search engines via school laptops. They cite their sources by copying and pasting websites into Microsoft Word and write brief summaries about each site They use their own research from their chapter books to create a web page that includes an introduction, vocabulary and quotes, related websites, reviews, and graphics. They write and record a script using audio software. The MP3 file is then uploaded onto their webpage. Introducing podcasting and website design to the class affords the students a unique opportunity to utilize modern technological methods to demonstrate their creativity and reading skills. The students are a diverse class with various learning challenges, speech/language deficits, and attention issues. Despite their varied reading levels (ranging from 2.6 – 6.0 grade levels) and level of understanding, they have an opportunity to learn and practice skills they once thought were beyond their level of experience. They are highly motivated and use this presentational forum as a means to demonstrate proficiency with difficult comprehension skills.

Podcasting and website design is a highly motivational method of presenting knowledge. This project is easily adapted to any class size and can be done individually or in small groups. Large-group podcasts can be created, but more time would be needed to complete the project. This activity was designed for use with the fantasy genre but can be used with any reading group or class book. Teachers need to be flexible with time restraints to allow for differentiated instruction and modifications for classified students as well as English language learners. Teachers also need to be creative in finding times that a group can be recorded while the rest of the class is silent and/or out of the room. Scheduling with a special area teacher (i.e., speech teacher) is quite helpful. Teachers should teach the genre of fantasy prior to beginning the books. We did not include instructions on how to teach this genre. We read, as a class, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. A good URL with activity ideas is: http://strangenewworlds.com/teachers/narnia.html.


The students complete literature jobs–Quotable Quoter, Word Wizard, Connector, Question Maker–to demonstrate comprehension skills.
The students work collaboratively to create a podcast with an accompanying website.
The students define the genre of fantasy.
The students give at least three examples of why their book is a fantasy.
The students list examples of good vocabulary and language (quotes) from their book.
The students write a book review that will encourage people to read their book.
The students cite all sources.
The students post their website and podcast on the Internet.

A good URL with activity ideas
This is the class website. It is an excellent resource for students because it allows them to interact with us outside of school. They have access to sites that reflect the curriculum, and they can continue learning after they’ve left the classroom. The message boards give the students a chance to reflect on what they’ve learned at school.
Yahoo Kids! is the ultimate web guide for kids!
An Internet search engine.
Gives book reviews written by children that can be used as models for the students’ own book reviews.
A good site for basic information about each book.
Useful for finding definitions for words in the book.
Willow Web is a great model for podcasting. This school in Omaha creates excellent student-made podcasts.

Technology: Standard 2 – Information Systems: Students access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.
5th Grade – Elementary
English/Language Arts: Standard 1: Students read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, they collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they use oral and written language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.
5th Grade - Elementary
English/Language Arts
English/Language Arts: Standard 2: Students read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression. They read and listen to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances; relate texts and performances to their own lives; and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent. As speakers and writers, they use oral and written language for self-expression and artistic creation.
5th Grade - Elementary
English/Language Arts
English/Language Arts: Standard 3: Students read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation. As listeners and readers, they analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria. As speakers and writers, they present, in oral and written language and from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information, and issues.
5th Grade - Elementary
English/Language Arts
English/Language Arts: Standard 4: Students read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction. They use oral and written language for effective social communication with a wide variety of people. As readers and listeners, they use the social communications of others to enrich their understanding of people and their views.
5th Grade - Elementary
English/Language Arts

Day 1: Introduction to job assignments & coordinating with Group Reading Books
Objective 1: Students are introduced to job assignments for reading groups. • Discussion Director–makes sure everyone in the group is doing his/her job and leads conversation about book and/or topic • Word Wizard–identifies unknown words • Quotable Quoter–looks for good language • Connector–makes connections between the book, real life, and/or other books • Question Maker–creates questions for the group to answer
Students work with teacher to create examples of each job assignment for use during independent work.
Students read assigned fantasy book (broken into four or five sections to be read over four or five weeks).
Job Assignment Sheet (see important documents at right)
Fantasy text – reading group chapter book • The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew • Carnival at Candlelight by Mary Pope Osborne • Bunnicula by James Howe • Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson • The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
Reading notebook, Post-It Note pad
Teacher introduces the assigned book, discussing the cover, making predictions from title and pictures, and reading any author notes.
Teacher gives the appointed discussion director the job assignment sheet.
Together, teacher and students discuss each job and make up examples from books familiar to the students.
Teacher explains the extra written assignment for the week: Week One: Find and list examples of fantasy. Week Two: Find and list examples of realism. Week Three: Predict the ending: write one paragraph explaining what will happen at the end of the book and tell why you think this will be the ending. Week Four: Compare your ending to the actual ending of the book. How close were you? Which do you like better?
Students are assigned a portion of the book to read. (We broke the books into quarters, taking four weeks to complete the unit’s reading portion.)
Students work independently or with partners to complete the assigned reading and complete their assignments, using Post-It Notes to mark examples of job assignments in texts.
Students meet weekly with teacher to discuss book/assignments.
Children are required to complete the reading and writing assignments prior to the week’s meeting with the teacher.
Student work and book discussions are the assessment for this part of the unit.

Day 2: Podcast Partners
The students work both independently and cooperatively to complete the sections required by the podcasting rubric.
The students read the “Creating a Podcast” directions.
The students stay focused on the task at hand.
The students create Word Documents that reflect the requirements of the podcast project rubric.
The students document and edit their work using Microsoft Word. By the culmination of the lesson, the students will have created a basic website template and podcast script based on their reading book. The students save their work on the computer network system.
Fantasy genre–reading group chapter book
Reading notebook & dictionaries
Franklin spell-checkers
The teacher and students read and discuss the podcast packet requirements. All questions are answered here.
Teacher shows students model podcast sites, listening to podcasts and discussing pros and cons.
The students break into groups and determine who will be responsible for different sections of the podcast project.
The students work independently to complete their research of the genre and to document their work in Microsoft Word, following the podcast packet closely.
The students save their work and sources cited on the network into their reading group file.
The students create presentations that are sequenced correctly and are appealing to the reader and listener.
The teacher reviews the student progress throughout the lesson.
The teacher asks students to share their work on the SmartBoard and the class critiques and edis various scripts/websites.
The teacher observes students during the lesson and promps them for understanding throughout. He/she views student work on the network and leaves electronic comments in Microsoft Word for those who need assistance. Teacher observation and teacher/student interaction is used as an informal assessment of student progress. Assessment of the website page and podcast scripts yields information about writing structure, following directions, and cooperative learning.

Day 3: Podcast Completion
Students upload their website information to the class website.
Students record podcasts.
Students upload the MP3 file onto the website page with their information.
Podcast scripts & Student-created Word documents
MP3 My MP3 recording software
Students follow all teacher suggestions to complete website information based on the podcast sheet requirements.
Students upload website information with teacher assistance.
Students complete podcast script based on the requirements
Teacher assists in recording and uploading podcast to the website.
Groups share their podcasts and websites with each other.
The website and podcast is the assessment. Students are graded based on how carefully they followed the directions on the podcast sheet, how well they worked as a group, and how interesting their website and podcast are.

Day 4: Podcast Sharing
The students share their work with their classmates.
The students learn to be considerate listeners.
The students learn to give complimentary comments.
Comment sheet (lined paper)
One group at a time opens up their website and shares their site and podcasts.
The other students write at least one compliment for the podcast and one compliment for the website.
Comments are shared with the presenting group.
Students share their work with their family at home.
This is not an assessment time. The final assessment is done prior to uploading. This is a time for celebration.

Lisa Parisi Christine Southard



Denton Avenue School
1050 Denton Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Mrs.Lisa Parisi and Ms. Christine Southard are co-teachers in a fifth grade inclusion classroom in the Herricks School District. They are leaders in the school in the area of technology, using various forms of technology with their students in order to enhance and enrich learning. The teachers' expertise in the use of their SMARTBoard, online interactive sites, website development and maintenance, e-mailing with students and parents and podcasting has help make the students enthusiastic 21st century learners. With Lisa's 21 year of experience and Christine's 6 years of experience, they are well qualified to provide quality engaging instruction to some of the neediest children in the school. Their quest for continued ideas has led them to use e-mail, message boards, videostreaming, interactive activities, and podcasting to work with their students and maintain a connection between home and school. They are an inspirational team.

Important documents for this lesson plan.



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