September 30 is International Podcast Day, a day to celebrate a rapidly growing cultural phenomenon. As more and more people become devoted podcast fans, some educators have begun bringing podcasting into the classroom. For many students, podcasts are much more engaging than traditional forms of media, allowing everyone to practice their literacy skills.
Here are some fun ways you can help your students celebrate International Podcast Day, introduce them to an engaging form of media, and even get them making their own podcasts!
1. Find Podcasts That Appeal to Your Students.
One of the greatest things about podcasts is that there are so many, covering a wide variety of topics. Encourage your students to explore podcast streaming sites to find podcasts that align with their interests. When they’ve found a podcast that they enjoy, ask students what about the podcast makes it so enjoyable. Remember that listening goes far beyond just what is said and includes how it is said. Your students might enjoy the content, but also ask them to consider how the podcast format makes it enjoyable. Ask your students:
- How many speakers are there?
- What is the structure? Is it a conversation, one speaker, a dialogue between multiple people?
- What is the pace of the podcast? How long is it?
- What sounds accompany the speakers? Is there music? Sound effects?
- Are there any ads? Where are they? What are they advertising?
- What parts were particularly engaging or boring? What was happening in those parts?
- What is the purpose of the podcast?
- What would the genre of the podcast be?
2. Listen to Podcasts as a Class.
Another great way to get your students excited about podcasts is to listen to one as a class. When you follow along with one podcast as a group, students can hold productive discussions about what they did or did not like about the podcast. Some classrooms have used longer podcasts that have an overarching season narrative to get students involved and asking, “What’s going to happen next?”
3. Make Your Own Podcast!
Podcasting is a versatile media, which makes it a perfect addition to any class, regardless of subject. There are so many ways that you can incorporate podcasting into your lessons. Here are some examples, but feel free to get creative:
- Research Project: You can have your students make a podcast about a research topic instead of writing essays. With the more unstructured format of the podcast, students will be able to get creative and really make the research process their own.
- Creative Piece: Though a lot of podcasts are informational and nonfiction, there are also many podcasts out there that are fictional stories. Have your students create their own fiction-based podcast episode. To better understand the difference between written prose and podcasting, you could have your students adapt a text from class into a podcast episode.
- Model Lesson: One of the best ways to get your students learning about a topic is to have them teach it to someone else. In that vein, you can have your students turn a lesson—whether it be social studies, science, math, or any other subject—into a podcast episode.
- Activism: Some students have used podcasting to enact change in their community, and so can your students! Find a local issue your students are passionate about. They can discuss the issue, pose a solution, or even interview some of the people involved in the issue.
- Language Practice: If you teach a world languages class, podcasting is an excellent way to practice speaking and listening skills in the target language.
4. Listen to HMH Learning Moments.
If you’re looking for a great podcast to celebrate International Podcast Day, look no further than HMH’s own podcast (we know this is a bit of a shameless plug, but we’re really proud of this new podcast and we think you’ll love listening)! In the first season, Teachers in America, we interviewed teachers from all around the country about their experiences in the classroom and the issues that matter most to them. Teachers and students alike will love this podcast, as it engages in an area we’re all familiar with, while also challenging our own experiences.
You can listen to HMH Learning Moments wherever you listen to podcasts: