The January 2009 Podcasting Grant judging is completed! Click here to see the applications from the three Grand Prize Winners!

Here are the grant applications of our Honorable Mention Winners.


Kyle Cushman, Northfield Middle High School

Northfield, VT 05663

Lesson Title: "The Marauder Tales"
In this culminating project for a four week unit on Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," these Northfield Middle-High School seniors will develop their own "Marauder Tales." (Northfield's extra-curricular teams are "The Marauders." I chose this name rather than "The Northfield Tales" to provide some anonymity.)

Part One: In groups of three, students will develop characters who are on a pilgrimage to a location of their choosing, and they must identify a purpose for the pilgrimage. Students will need to base their characters on career affiliation, as in the original tales, and will match their own personality traits and skills to a medieval career that would have suited them.

Each student will then write a short prologue describing their character, and the prologue pieces will be read at the beginning of the podcast by the "host".

Part Two: The three students in each group will cowrite a short tale in script form (with narrator and characters) to be produced as a podcast. The type of tale told will further reveal the three characters. The tale will need to explore one of the themes that interested Chaucer (such as honor, justice, vengeance, romantic relationships, or the paying of debts), demonstrating how the theme might play out in a modern setting. Students should strive to capture Chaucer's writing style (considering techniques such as setting, plot, characterization, point of view, tone, word choice).

Part Three: Students will record their tales complete with music and sound effects. The tales will be played for the whole class and class members will secretly vote for the best tale. Like in the original tales, the creators of the winning tale will be treated to "dinner." This dinner will be in the form of a potluck provided by other class members at the end of the unit.


Jamie Spooner, Madison Central School District

Madison, NY 13402

Lesson Title: The Elementary Shutterfly Project
Students will take a walking tour (and if needed a field trip tour) of the local community. Prior to taking the tour, students will be assigned a component of the community which they will be responsible for documenting. Students will work in groups of four on this project. As the students walk throughout the community, they will use digital cameras to document their experiences. Students will photograph the basic components of the community (i.e. Post Office, Fire Station, Town Hall, Courthouse, etc.). As the students photograph an aspect of the community, they will be responsible for taking notes regarding that particular aspect using digital voice recorders. The photographs will help students 'relive' the tour during the narration phase of the project and will be used again later in the project.

The students will then create a written document to be used for narration purposes after the class discusses what a podcast is, (Tool Factory's Simple Guide to Podcasting). Utilizing Worksheet Station the students will be able to plan their narration easily and effectively. Each group will be working with a high school mentor on this portion of the project.

Using Tool Factory Podcasting software and working with their high school mentors, students will use microphones to narrate the photographs of their assigned community component. The students will also select background music to be used throughout the presentation. The podcasts will be made available to the community through Web Page Station.

Students will then utilize iMovie software, Clip Art Station, and other software to download and organize the photographs they took while on their walking tour of the community and combine it with the podcast to create documentaries. The group will then preview their movie and make any necessary changes. Once all necessary changes have been made, the high school mentor will burn their groups’ project to a DVD which will then be presented to the entire class and posted on-line.

Copies of each groups’ completed DVD will be donated to both the community and school libraries for viewing by community members and student peers.


Charmian Redden, Robert Frost Middle School

Rockville, MD 20850

Lesson Title: Science for the 21st Century

Robert Frost Middle School is located in Rockville, Maryland. We have approximately 1,100 students in grades 6 through 8 who are very enthusiastic about learning. Our vision at the school is “Experience Excellence” and with this grant I want to continue providing students with opportunities to extend their learning and experience excellence.

If you were to walk into our seventh grade science classroom, you would see scientists at work. Our students love completing laboratory investigations to experience and observe what they have been learning in class. In addition, they love exploring the world around them and reporting back their information to me, the classroom teacher, or their fellow classmates. Usually the results and analysis from the laboratory investigations are written in the form of lab reports; but how great would it be if they could complete their laboratory investigations with the use of a podcast.

The project that has been designed for this grant is two fold. For the first part, students will be creating lab reports for the 21st century. This means that instead of having students write up traditional lab reports on paper about what they investigated and discovered, they will be creating podcasts to share their results with the class and community. The second part of the project will be a science newscast that will be shared on our classroom and school website. With this project 3-4 students from each class every month will be reporting on a science topic of their interest. This will allow students to explore a topic that is meaningful to them, it will enrich their science learning, and it will allow the community to experience the excellence from Robert Frost Middle School at home.

Here is how I plan to use each of the resources provided in the grant:

1. Tool Factory Podcasting Site License - With the ability to provide this software on every school in the computer, students can create their podcasts anywhere and anytime. In addition, this software site license will help me encourage other colleagues in my school to integrate podcasts into their curriculum.

2. Olympus Voice Recorders - These voice recorders will be an invaluable tool in our science classroom. With the voice recorders students will be able to go out into the field to research a topic and record their thoughts, ideas, data, observations, sounds, interviews, etc., that they will use in the creation of their podcast. In addition, the digital voice recorders can be used to record segments of their podcast.

3. Microphones with Noise Cancellation Headphones- The microphones and headphones provided through the grant will be used to record the podcasts. We currently do not have any headphones or microphones in our classroom, so this will be a fabulous addition. These microphones will be at the podcasting station that will be set up in the classroom.

4. Clip Art Station – This clip art station will be used to illustrate concepts in their science investigations, create fantastic PowerPoint presentations, and link their podcasts to images. A lot of our students are visual learners, so this clip art station will help them share their thoughts, and support their learning of the curriculum.

5. Worksheet Station – The worksheets provided through this worksheet station will help scaffold what students are learning in science. In addition, they will be provided to students so that they can collect data, record observations, collect information on a topic, or plan out their thoughts for a podcast. Teachers in other content areas will also be able to use the worksheets on the site to enrich their curriculum; and the getting started guide and project idea guide will be a great tool to present to other teachers during staff development meetings.

6. Web Page Station – At this current time, we do not have a website for our classroom that could host student podcasts. In addition, I do not have access to the content that goes on the school website. By having this web page station, I can ask our website developer post a link to our web page station, and provide students and parents with a link to our web page station so that I can display student work. In addition, the web page station will allow me to control what content is put onto the site. This will also help communicate to parents and guardians what their child is learning in science.

7. Tool Factory Simple Guide to Podcasting – Since I am new to podcasting, this guide will help me get podcasting started in our school and with my students. My students will also use this guide to learn about podcasting, and develop this useful technologic skill. In addition, it will be a great tool during staff development meetings for showing other teachers in the school how to do get started with their own podcasts.

Read the applications of the 3 Grand Prize Winners.