The June 2007 Podcasting Grant judging is completed!
Click here to
see the applications from the three Grand Prize Winners!
Here are the grant applications of our three runner-up
Bob Zook, Belleville Mennonite School
LESSON TITLE: Senior Citizen “StoryCasts”
Young people today have little time in their busy schedules to
hear the stories of those who were once young. However, the stories
of the once young can help the current young
as they face the challenges of growing old. This project, with
the use of technology, will give Middle School age students the
opportunity to listen to the stories of senior citizens and then
convert these stories into a medium that will last for years to
Students will be paired with a resident of a nearby senior citizen
retirement center and will meet monthly with their Senior Citizen
Pal for the year starting in October and continue through May.
During their meetings, the students will be assigned specific
topics and questions to ask their Pal.
The topics will be directly connected with Social Studies and
English curriculum. The teachers of the Social Studies and English
classes will be involved in helping students think through appropriate
follow up questioning and prior understanding of the content of
the questions. Students will be taught how to phrase questions
for stories and not just facts. Here is a brief outline of the
topics and ideas of sample questions:
October Topic: Get Acquainted
Questions What did you do for fun when you were my age?
Your hobbies, sports, games?
What are several of your favorite memories growing up?
November Topic: Thanksgiving
Questions - What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day memory? What
did you usually do? What was your typical meal?
What are you most thankful for as you think about growing up?
December Topic: Christmas
Questions What is your favorite Christmas Day memory, What
did you usually do on Christmas Day? What did you eat?
What were your favorite Christmas gifts that you received as a
January Topic: New Year Resolutions
Questions What is the most important accomplishment for
If you would be growing up today, what would you do differently?
What would you do the same?
February Topic: Presidential Memories
Questions What is your memory of the Presidents of the
Do you remember what you were doing when you heard JFK was shot?
What is a time when you were tempted to lie, but you told the
March Topic: Weather
Questions What was the biggest snow storm that you remember?
What activities did you do in the snow?
How did you spend summers? What did you do?
What is your favorite season of the year and why?
April Topic: Home and Family
Questions Where have you lived? What was the best place?
How did you and your parents get along? What do you admire about
What are your children doing?
May Topic: Good Bye
Questions What words of advice do you have for a child
growing up today?
During the year, students will be using the Olympus Digital Voice
Recorders to record the stories that the Senior citizens tell.
The stories will then be saved following each visit and will be
used for creating the different episodes of the StoryCast.
Students will create the episodes using the Tool Factory Podcasting
software along with headsets and microphones. With the sounds
included in the Clip Art Station they will integrate special sound
effects and create intro music and ending music. Students will
develop a standard opening theme introduction as well as a closing
theme for each episode as well as one before the first episode
and one for after the last episode.
Each episode of the Senior Citizen StoryCasts will
be uploaded via the Web Page Station so that the senior citizens
and their families can listen to the stories. Families of both
the student as well as their Senior Citizen Pal can burn these
Story Casts on CDs or DVDs for memory
sake. Families of the Senior Pals will have interest in the episodes
as they have voice storage of their parent. Students will also
have a way of remembering their friend that they made.
Students will plan their Story Casts episodes using
the worksheets and other resources available through The Worksheet
April Benz, St. Philip Neri School
Lafayette Hill, PA
LESSON TITLE: Revolutionary Revelations
Objectives: Identify differences in perspective
Identify the importance of Revolutionary War figures
Outline and explain the major issues that led to the Revolutionary
Create political jingles that demonstrate the ideas of patriots
Identify and explain important battles of the Revolutionary War.
Background knowledge: Students will have background knowledge
on the events that led up to the Revolutionary war. This project
will be in progress as the class moves through the chapter dealing
with the actual war. Students will also need to understand the
difference between the Patriots and the Loyalists
perspective on independence.
Procedure: Students will work collaboratively to create a radio
show that implements real-world media traits (i.e.
advertisements, interviews, debates, jingles, songs, play by plays,
special announcements etc). Each piece of the show must demonstrate
the opinion of the political group to which the class was assigned.
One class will play the part of the Patriot perspective while
the other class demonstrates the Loyalist perspective. Before
the assignment is given out, the class will complete worksheets
and hold discussions on how someones personal opinion can
change a piece of writing, an advertisement etc. Students will
read newspaper/magazine articles and identify the viewpoints of
the writer. Once this is completed, the class will be assigned
the perspective they are responsible for addressing. Each student
will pull a number from a hat. Each number will correspond with
the following assignment options:
1. Character interviews: Students must research a key figure
that is important to their perspective. For example, a patriot
might want to interview General George Washington, while a loyalist
would interview General Howe. After researching characteristics
of that person, they are responsible for dressing as the character
and conducting and interview in which they will take on the voice
of that person. Students will be given worksheets that guide their
interview questions, but are also free to add any information
that their research gives them.
2. Jingles/Songs: Students with this number will be responsible
for creating catchy jingles or songs that will act as persuasive
pieces. Each jingle/song must encourage audience members to share
in the same perspective as the group members. For example, students
who are supposed to be Patriots might create a jingle that condemns
King George III etc.
3. Advertisements: Students will have to create product or event
advertisements that will be suitable for the audience of their
political background. Their advertisements should be realistic,
creative, and reflect their understanding of the background of
their audience. If they choose product advertisements they will
have to do research to convert the current price to a price that
would have been suitable in the Revolutionary Era.
4. Battle Broadcasting: Battle broadcasting is meant to simulate
a radio sports broadcast. However, the students will be broadcasting
characteristics of important Revolutionary war battles. They will
have to summarize the characteristics of the terrain, the generals
involved, the outcomes of each battle, and the significance of
the battle to the war.
Once the students have been assigned their numbers they will be
given 3 class periods to prepare and record their part of the
radio broadcast. Each class will be given the opportunity to hear
their own, and they other classes pod cast. Then, we will
discuss the differences between the two groups.
Needed materials: Headphones and microphones will be used to record
each section of the radio program. Cameras will be necessary to
take pictures of visuals for advertisements, and also to take
pictures of our dressed up war heroes. These pictures
will be uploaded to a webpage that will correspond to the radio
show. As students listen to the podcast, they will be directed
to click the links for pictures that go along with each advertisement,
interview, or battle broadcast. In addition to having picture
links, the web page will also contain links to web pages that
can provide further research on the Revolutionary war time period.
(A few of the links that will be included are listed below on
the web resources section.) Students will also be given worksheets
that correspond to certain parts of these additional websites.
In order to receive full credit for their project and to guarantee
students take advantage of these resources, they will have to
complete a certain portion of the worksheet packet.
Rico Kellogg, Mesa Elementary
LESSON TITLE: A Gathering of Greatness: The Biography
If you could invite any four famous figures from history
to dinner, who would they be? is a classic dinnertime conversation
starter for adults. This question also lends itself to enlivening
the imaginations of elementary school students who are studying
biographies. After thinking up a list of potential dinner guests,
its fun and exciting to imagine what the conversation would
be like at that dinner. This sort of activity is a great way for
teachers to bring history alive for students and it also creates
a deeper understanding of historical figures both as individuals
and products of their culture and times.
At Mesa Elementary in Boulder, we do a reading unit on biographies
every fall, and we have a Biography Tea on Halloween
as a culminating activity. The students have to read a biography
of a historical figure, do some additional outside research on
their subject, dress up as this historical figure and finally,
write and present a short introduction to the life and accomplishments
of their subject. The afternoon ends with students meeting at
tables for a tea with four or five other students
where they have a conversation in character. This unit, and especially
the biography tea, is one of the highlights of the 5th grade year
for many students, but I think that it could enriched immensely
by the use of podcasting technology.
If students were required to create a script for their tea and
produce it as a podcast, the potential for cross-curricular integration
and deeper understanding of their biography subjects would be
far greater. Another excellent benefit of the podcast would be
the opportunity for sharing this learning experience with a wider
audience including the larger school community, and potentially,
other schools. Eventually, this activity could be shared with
other schools doing similar activities. By using the podcasting
technology and sharing all the groups projects, students
would not be limited to learning only about the other people in
their group, but they could be a fly on the wall for
other fascinating conversations between famous historical figures.
This is how the lesson would work:
1. Guided by their personal interests and aided by teachers and
the school media specialist, students would pick their subject
and find a biography to read. They will have reading assignments
to complete as they work through the books.
2. Prior to the biography tea, students will group themselves
together with the requirement that no historical figures who were
alive at the same time may be in the same group.
3. Students will use primary sources, biographies and web resources
to learn more about their subjects and work together to imagine
and write a conversation between their subjects. They would work
in groups and receive guidance from the teacher to check their
conversation for historical accuracy and authentic voice.
4. The students would use the podcasting technology to create
a script for the conversation and then record the conversation.
They would then do a final edit to make sure it sounds professional
5. The podcasts would be uploaded and shared to the wider school
community. Parents and other teachers could go to the website
to listen to the students efforts.
6. A culminating activity would be a sharing of the conversations
with our first-grade book buddies. The students would
have to prepare a short introduction to familiarize the first
graders with the historical figures, and then they will have the
first graders listen to their podcast. Finally, while remaining
in character, they would answer questions that the first graders
This lesson integrates technology and research skills into a
reading-based history lesson that focuses on the biography genre,
but also requires students to use critical thinking skills to
determine the accuracy and validity of their sources. The students
must decide if their references show a realistic personality that
is consistent with the subjects historical context and life
Writing with a strong voice and a clear sense of the writers
intended audience are important language arts skills that this
lesson will help build, and the speaking element will help students
to develop strong delivery and clear enunciation, public speaking
skills that many children struggle with.
I think that the strongest component of this lesson is its use
of technology to stir childrens imaginations to make history
come alive. Instead of reading about two-dimensional characters
from history texts, the students actually become living and breathing
figures from history who can suspend disbelief and come together
to meet and talk and try to understand each others unique
positions in time and culture. The podcasting technology will
enable them to create a lasting product that preserves this valuable
Read the applications
of the 3 Grand Prize Winners.