Podcasting in Middle School

A number of years ago I created a teaching resource that was basically just an outline for the creation of a podcast in middle school.  Most of the resources that I have put online, seem to get very little traction outside of my local community, but this post was different.  I started to see that it was getting more hits than anything else that I had done before. Now it’s not like this has gone viral or anything, but at this point my original post is sitting at over 65,000 views, which to me at this point is a lot.

So, what I am going to do here, is revise what I originally created and give some guidelines for teaching this project.

Getting started

When I start this project, I like to make sure that my students have already had time to experiment with audio recording equipment and audio editing.  They don’t need to be a master at it or anything, but they need to know how it’s done. I like to do a set-up and demo, then make students do the same thing, then give them something easy to record like a short poem while letting them explore.

Before you start working on a script for a podcast, it is a good idea to get an example of what a podcast actually is.  Spend about five minutes Googling the word “podcast” and try to find a school appropriate podcast on Youtube to listen to for a few minutes.  You can listen to this as a class. When you have done this, it would be a good idea to brainstorm some possible themes, topics, and ideas for a podcast.  I would just throw everything you get up on a whiteboard and leave it there.

Writing an outline

Giving students a sample outline is a great way for them to get started.  I give them the outline below.

  1. Opening-A quick musical jingle
  2. Introduction-A monologue style introduction introducing your hosts and what you will talk about on your show
  3. Segway-Could be musical or a sound effect
  4. Topic 1:Talk for about 3 minutes
  5. Vocal Segway–“We are going to move on and talk about…”
  6. Topic 2:  Talk for about 3 minutes
  7. Musical segway
  8. Topic 3:  Talk for about 3 minutes
  9. Closing remarks, thank the audience, guests, what will be on the next show
  10. Closing musical Jingle

Rough Script Example

I show students an example that I have made, so that they can do something similar.  I think that writing a script like a play is a great idea, it is a format that a lot of middle years students will be familiar with.

Opening musical jingle:  First 30 seconds of Back in Black by ACDC

Jim:   Hi welcome to the great Sports Guru Podcast.  I am Joe Smith, and with me today is Timothy Carter.  We have a great show for you today. Today we are going to talk about our Stanley Cup predictions, and talk about who we think the most clutch players are.

Sound Effect 1-Whistle

Topic 1.

Jim:  So Tim, who do you think is going to be in the Stanley Cup final this year.

Tim:  Its got to be the Jets, there is no way that they are losing to the Preds.  Their defence is too solid.

Jim:  I just don’t see them being able to shut down the elite scorers that the Preds have..

Tim:  You can’t even compare the Preds forwards to the Jets.

Jim:  Well I think the Jets will make it through.  Who is going to win between the Lightning and the Leafs.

Tim:  The Lightning are too strong, I don’t see anyone in the East getting past them…..

Jim:  I agree with you there.  But it could be close.

Tim:  Anyways time to move on, please welcome our guest Alex Ovechkin

Applause Sound Effect

Production When students are done their scripts, I review them.  I want to make sure all content is appropriate for their level and for school.  I get students to spend some time rehearsing, but I tell them that it is ok to make mistakes and break from their script.  For recording, you can really use anything. Audacity is great free tool, if you are on an Apple computer Garageband is a great choice too.  I won’t give the ins and outs of using this software here, but if you do a quick search on Youtube, you can find many helpful videos. Also I will eventually post some of my own tutorial videos in my video section, so you can take a look there as well.

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