Each week or two the WI DEN will feature DEN members willing to "showcase" the exciting instructional strategies being integrated into their classroom, LMC, or learning environment. Jeanne Halderson, 7th Grade Teacher at Longfellow Middle School (School District of LaCrosse) and Apple Distinguished Educator, is featured this week.
Jeanne became the first Wisconsin DEN member in September of 2005! We celebrated with cake and balloons!
“Podcasting is motivating, because people all over the globe can tune in and learn what we are doing in school. It is pretty awesome that I can go to iTunes, click on Podcasts and Boom! I’m listening to myself online.” – Luke, seventh grade student
This type of student comment is heard over and over again in the School in the Coulee program at Longfellow Middle School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Language arts class takes a new twist this year with the addition of podcasting to the classroom. Podcasting is a term derived from combining the words “iPod” and “broadcasting,” and what it means to the students is that they can share their ideas with the whole world! The Coulee Kids Podcast is a showcase of student work, and just like a monthly magazine delivered to your mailbox, you can subscribe to our weekly podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your computer.
Podcasting is not just a “fluffy” new way to teach language arts. Students are still learning the school district language arts curriculum and mastering the state standards, but the added component is that they are being asked to discern the important concepts and vocabulary used in science, math, and social studies class and to teach the content in a way that is understandable and engaging to an authentic web audience. The process includes writing storyboards, conferencing about the content, editing, performing, analyzing the raw footage, combining the spoken word with photos, working in teams, meeting the class deadlines, and analyzing their work according to the rubric created by the class. Students are challenged to create their podcast using their Six Traits + 1 writing skills which include developing ideas and content, organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Additionally, students are striving to use their vocal abilities as an effective tool to portray a message.
If you think about it, podcasting is the perfect match considering the developmental characteristics of an adolescent. Students of this age are egocentric and believe that everyone is watching them. They are willing to work harder because they have an authentic subscribing audience. This feeling of “being heard” motivates and challenges the students because their perception is that “everyone” is listening. I have seen first-hand the drive students have to create meaningful content and to satisfy their real-world audience.
The Coulee Kids podcast has proved to be a motivating, academically challenging, and age appropriate activity to add to the middle school language arts class, and in the words of one of my students “Podcasting reaches out to others across the nation. I feel our voices are being heard.” –Alyssa, seventh grade student
Jan’s Addendum: You can subscribe to A School in the Coulee Podcast via iTunes or any podcast feed. Check out www.podcast.net and do a search on Coulee Kids Podcast! Wow… 9 episodes already posted by Jeanne’s class! Way to go Coulee Kids!
Please share if you are also integrating podcasting into the classroom or learning environment! What challenges or successes have you experienced? If you haven’t tried podcasting, what are your thoughts about use of podcasting in the classroom?