The past couple of days brought some technology related excitement to a couple of my students. Two third graders, Lexi and Maria, are working on a podcast project with me. During center time in their classroom, they are coming down to the library. Our plan is to create a weekly podcast where they review a book they've read. It's actually going to be a booktalk/book review podcast. They've completed the first podcast and we are really excited about it.

I'm not sure how many people are using podcasts with their students, but I see great potential in a project similar to what we are doing. For this project, the students are first reading a book, then they are writing a short summary and booktalk. This time, I wrote the script with them, but my hope is that after we do a couple together, they will be able to do all the writing themselves. I see this project really motivating the students to read and write. In addition, creating the podcast will improve public speaking skills and increase technology skills. The first time we did the recording, we used Audacity. This was a pretty simply program to use, but I was hoping to take the podcast a little further. I wanted to submit the podcast to iTunes so people could search for it there and subscribe to the weekly podcast. I didn't know how to do this with Audacity and since we don't have Macs in our school anymore, I brought in my MacBook and used that. Down the road, I think using my Mac and GarageBand may be the way to go. Submitting the podcast to iTunes was simple and now we have an RSS feed for "Lexi and Maria's Weekly Podcast." If you are visiting the iTunes Store, search for "Lexi and Maria" and you'll find their work. At our school, we have over 70% of our students on free and reduced lunch, which leads me to think that not a lot of people will even be checking out the podcast through iTunes or listening it on their iPod, but who knows? Those who do have computers, will probably check out the podcast through our school website. Either way, I guess one of the goals is to share the work of the students to as many people as possible. Perhaps you want to share their work with some of the students you work with. I think the link listed is correct, if it's not, let me know.

Where is this project going to go? I'm not sure, but it's already grown. When I was using iMovie to edit the video they made (see next paragraph), I wanted to try and add a little music introduction, a sixth grader was watching. She's really into music and plays the guitar and drums. I asked her if she'd be interested in creating some introduction music for the podcasts. She liked the idea and hopefully her talents will be added to future projects. In addition, after I emailed the staff about the project, I had a fourth grade teacher ask if there was room for some of her students to do something like this. My answer - OF COURSE! It appears that what started with 2 students could grow to much more.

One of my next goals is to create a video of each book review. We already filmed the first one, but I'm hoping to share it with the world. I'd like to post the videos not only on our school website, but also on TeacherTube. I'm not going to go the YouTube route with third graders. I've sent permission slips to both girls' parents for permission for the video to be posted online. Knowing the parents a little, it shouldn't be a problem. I will certainly update this post to add the video if I get permission. I think it would be pretty powerful if the students noticed that hundreds of people have seen their work.

Take a peek at their work and let me know what you think? How can we make it better?


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