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Using Podcasts for Learning Writing


     This has been a most interesting digital week for my gifted and talented students. I've been looking for a way to engage them, lift their writing, and give them a way to share who they are with their school. After some research, I decided to teach them how to podcast. I thought it would be fun. I thought we'd learn how to do it. I didn't imagine it would be all consuming for my students. They are loving the whole process and we haven't even gotten to the product yet. I don't know if I've ever said that before. So let me say it again...
     They are loving the whole process and we haven't even gotten to the product yet. 

     It occurred to me that I should document the process and that is what this post is about.

    Introducing Podcasting
First, I explained podcasting to my students. Then, I shared a few podcasts with them so that we could just let the words wash over us. Finally, we listened to podcasts and paused them when we wanted to share our thoughts or take notes on what worked and what didn't in each podcast. The kids quickly hit on the fact that music and sound effects kept listeners engaged, but spewing facts without narrative tuned listeners out immediately.

     Decide on Topic and Gather Research
Next, the students began a focused search for something of interest. We talked about locating something you wanted to learn more about.Then, finding out if there is information out there about that topic. After gathering about 10-20 things about a topic, the kids worked together to ask each other questions about their topics. This helped them stay focused and not waste too much time surfing the net. We also talked about not researching for everything out there, instead looking answer some personal interest questions.

     Script Writing
At this point, they started writing scripts. This writing was so natural and purposeful. They didn't need me at all. They used each other to see if it made sense. They read it out loud to see if it sounded natural. Some kids even recorded themselves to hear how they sounded. The editing and revising was so authentic.

We haven't recorded our podcasts yet, so that will have to wait for another post. The kids did create a slide show to share their process with the school during an assembly next Wednesday. People often wonder what we do in GT, so this will give them a look into our work. I'm excited that the kids are so engaged in their podcast work that they email me from home to ask if they can keep working on it. 


  1. I really have to give this a try. I'm not sure if we can get these shows at school. We don't have ipads. But I'm definitely going to put it on my to-do-sometime-in-the-future list. Thanks!

  2. Love this sharing ... and how the writing is at the center of the podcasting ..

  3. Kimberly, this is such an exciting way for students to explore research and writing. It gives them many opportunities to go digital.

  4. This is all kinds of awesome! I love how you decided to share this process, the mentor texts etc. As Kevin said, the writing is at the center, but the product is so engaging, and provides so much energy around the writing. The value and meaning for the kids reaches far beyond a written research report or argument essay. I can't wait for the next installment.


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