The May 2009 Podcasting Grant judging is complete, and there were so many great entries that this round of judging was harder than ever! Congratulations to three lucky winners who will each receive over $2,300 in prizes. You can also click here to see the Honorable Mention applications, each of which eared their writers $120 in prizes for the classroom.

Here are the three Grand Prize winning applications:


Erin Sponaugle, Tomahawk Intermediate School
Hedgesville, WV 25427

Lesson Title: A Tale of Two Eras: Student Podcasters Connect the Great Depression to Today

The Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States was a time of severe economic distress and daily struggles. Many were without work, food, homes, and common luxuries we may or may not take for granted, considering our country’s current difficult times. While students can easily read about the events leading up to and during the Great Depression in textbooks, few can truly understand its impact on lives then – and how many of its events mirror those of the circumstances in our country today. Our most valuable resource – the people that lived through the Great Depression – will not be with us forever. Our community is fortunate to have many individuals from this era still with us. We need a resource created by children, for children, that allows our students to use higher level, 21st century skills to document the lives of those from this time period and reflect on the connections to our current world.

As part of an integrated unit of study on the Great Depression, fifth grade students make use of the technology awarded in this grant by creating a web page about life as a child during the Great Depression, and comparing that lifestyle to their own. This web page will be used within our school district, our state, and beyond as a resource for students studying the Great Depression era in America. West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives in Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Technology will be met as students develop the multiple activities involved that include but are not limited to the following:

- Podcasted interviews with local survivors of the Great Depression. Students develop questions ahead of time that relate to life during the Great Depression. A video link and slideshow to the interviews will also be available on our web page. The interviews will be conducted on assigned days in each classroom.

- Podcasted “free verse” poems created by students about what they have learned about life during the Great Depression and how it is different or similar to their lives (or the lives of others) today. These poems are written after the class has read Out of the Dust, a novel about a girl who lived during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, written entirely in free verse. Students also have a link on the web page to posters they create with their free verse poems, complete with clip art and photos that illustrate their work.

- Podcasted “Fireside Book Chats,” where our literature circle groups reading novels based on the Great Depression (A Long Way from Chicago, Bud, Not Buddy, Esperanza Rising, and Christmas After All – The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift) discuss what they are reading and connect it to what they have learned from our local community members and our lives today. Each literature circle group is required to create at least three “Fireside Book Chats:” two are for their discussion of the book, and the final is for a podcast in their own choice of format.

- Creation of a script for a radio show or newscast similar to those broadcasted during the 1930s that uses vocabulary words studied in our Great Depression unit and in their literature circle novels. Students have the choice to create an original show or newscast based on what they have learned or to develop one based on their assigned literature circle novel. These scripts are podcasted by the groups who create them; the scripts are accessible on the web page in document form (typed in word processor by the students) so teachers and students who access our web page can print the scripts to be used as readers’ theatres in their own classrooms.

- Podcasted “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” math game, where mental math skills must be used to answer student created questions about the cost of items during the Great Depression and today. Students research the prices of goods during the 1930s and those of today, developing their own word problems that require use of multiple math operations (such as estimation or adding of decimals). Students who podcast the math game first read the word problem, then give the answer and how one would find the solution. Students also use a spreadsheet and graph function to visually show their research of prices to display on the web page; these graphs are used to answer some of the word problems. Students also create an audio visual slideshow of the math problems so that teachers who access the web page can use this student-created resource in their classrooms to teach word problem solving strategies. Students also develop rules and points for correct responses to the math game, to be posted on the web page.

- Creation of audio/visual “Survivor Cards” (much like baseball cards with a player’s stats) for each of the community members who participate in the interviews. The cards contain facts about the Great Depression survivor as a child (such as childhood pet or favorite pastime). A picture of the community member as a child (if available) or a recent one (taken by a student) is on the card. Each card has an audio-linked remark from the student interviewers about the most interesting thing they learned from the interview.

- Creation of an audio/visual vocabulary card slide show for the terms used in the Great Depression unit. This can be used by the students as a study guide and contains clip art and sounds to help students connect the words to their meanings.

- A blog where students write or record responses to questions regarding our unit on the Great Depression and what they learned from their interviews with our community members. They also reflect on and discuss their progress with their classmates and the teacher.

Grade Level: 5th
Number of students participating: 100 +
Project subject areas: Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, and Technology

This is how the resources in this grant will be used to complete this project:

Tool Factory Software: The Tool Factory Software is used for the production of all podcasted activities of the students’ web page. These podcasted components of our web page include student interviews with Great Depression survivors, free verse poetry, “Fireside Book Chats,” radio shows and newscasts, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” math game, and audio components of the students’ blog. The Tool Factory Software is the “voice” of our students’ progress and understanding. As students and teachers become familiar with the use of this software, more projects will be created within our school to utilize this exciting technology.

Digital Voice Recorders and Microphones: The digital voice recorders and microphones will be used for the recording of all material to be included in the podcasts. The portability of these items is essential in making our project a success, as they can be used throughout the school’s classrooms when conducting interviews or recording discussion and reflections for our “Fireside Book Chats” and blog, respectively. “Podcasting Central” will be set up in a quiet, supervised location in our school so students can record their scripted projects (such as free verse poetry and radio shows) with the microphones and headphones.

Web Page Station: Without Web Page Station, posting our podcasts could not become a reality, as school server space is far too limited. The Web Page Station will host our project on the Great Depression, which will be viewed and used by many students and teachers studying this topic, not just our own. Our goal is to make our students proficient “web masters” so they can train our staff and students on how to effectively use Web Page Station in their podcasting endeavors.

Clip Art Station: The wealth of images provided by the Clip Art Station makes the design of our web page, poetry posters, “Survivor Cards,” vocabulary cards, math game slideshow, and blog more visually appealing to our students and those who will visit our web page. The Clip Art Station gets our students excited about “designing” these projects and provides our entire school with new images to be used throughout the year with technology based projects.

Worksheet Station: The worksheets available on Worksheet Station will not only enhance our podcasts, but will enforce 21st century skills and higher level thinking across the curriculum. The episode planner, timeline, and sound effect worksheets will be very effective scaffolds for our radio show, newscasts, and math game podcasts, and the podcasting format organizer will be effective in getting students to be creative in taking their podcasts in their own directions! Teachers across grade levels will find the Worksheet Station beneficial to their classroom instruction.

Tool Factory Simple Guide to Podcasting: Podcasting is going to be a learning experience for our students and teachers alike! This guide is our “road map” to reaching a successful “destination:” exceptional podcasts for our project! Our main goal is to ensure that our 5th grade students understand how to create podcasts through the use of this guide. We want to deploy them throughout our school as “podcasting experts” to give other students and classrooms (especially in the lower grades) the skills they need to create their own podcasts!

Tool Factory Adventures in Podcasting: We’ve only just begun on our podcasting adventure! This book will be used by our school to continue to create successful podcasting projects for our students. The exciting lessons in this book will not only be used in our classrooms but will spur future podcasting experiences.


Cheri Greer, CW Davis Middle School
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

Lesson Title: Shakespeare Live
Shakespeare Live A Student created bi-monthly production of Shakespeare in Middle School

This proposal is meant to create a 7th grade Creative Expressions connections course. Standards addressed will be 7th grade Language Arts Georgia Performance Standards as well as National Drama Standards for grades 5-8. The class rotates in a new set of students every nine weeks, therefore 224 students a year will participate in creating Shakespeare Live pod casts. Each pod cast will be advertised to both middle and high school teachers and students giving them a resource for understating and gaining a love for Shakespeare.

Step 1
Every two weeks students will be introduced to a different Shakespearean play.
1. Have each student read the 60 Seconds with Shakespeare tabloid review of the chosen play.
i. Discuss the play and its apparent themes as a class
ii. Relate the themes to events in middle school
2. In pairs have students research an assigned scene on Spark Notes.
3. Pairs will present the summary of their assigned scene to the class.
4. The class will vote on which scene to produce for Shakespeare Live.

Step 2
1. Divide the class into 7 groups and assign each group to one of the following jobs. (Groups will change jobs each week)
a. Shakespeare Old Style Production Company
b. Shakespeare Middle School Style Production Company
c. Talk N Shakespeare
d. Elizabethan News Flash
e. Celebrity Dirt Alert
f. 5 Feet STOMP
g. Pod Cast Editor & Photographer
2. Once in their groups, send them to the appropriate center to work for the rest of the week.
3. See center specifications for details on each.

Step 3
1. Students will spend the rest of the two weeks producing the assignments set aside for each group which includes completing their portion of the podcast by Friday. 2. The teacher will monitor progress, teach specific mini lessons as needed to individual groups, and be available as an adviser. 3. All individual podcasts created throughout the weeks will be put together to produce Shakespeare Live.

Shakespeare Ol’ Skool Productions
Your Mission: Creatively produce the chosen Shakespeare scene for a Pod Cast.
1. Read the scene through as a group.
2. Choose parts.
3. Identify areas in the scene to incorporate sound. Ex. sward fight- clanking of metal hitting metal 4. Find materials to create the sounds identified for the scene.
5. Practice the scene multiple times incorporating:
i. Actors using voice inflection
ii. sounds to enhance the auditory aspect of the scene
6. Record the scene for a chapter in the pod cast.
7. Edit the scene.

Shakespeare Nu Skool Productions
Your Mission: Creatively produce the chosen scene set in middle school using middle school issues, while staying true to the theme of the original scene, for a pod cast.
1. Re-write the scene using a middle school setting with middle school issues.
2. Read through the scene as a group.
3. Choose parts.
4. Practice the scene multiple times using voice inflection to bring the characters to life.
5. Record the scene for a chapter in the pod cast.
6. Edit the scene.

Talk N Shakespeare
Your Mission: As songwriters, turn several well known songs/raps into Shakespeare ease.
1. Review the Shakespeare Dictionary.
2. Find lyrics to several well known song or rap that contains the theme from the scene chosen. The song/rap must be school appropriate.
3. Rewrite the lyrics replacing as many words or phrases as possible with their equivalent from the Shakespeare Dictionary.
4. Rename the song/rap to fit Elizabethan times.
5. Record the new lyrics to a chapter in the pod cast.
Extension: A school wide contest could be issued for students to guess the title of the song/rap the new Shakespeare version was created from.

Elizabethan News Flash
Your Mission: Create a News Cast covering major events during the time of the was originally written in the late 1500 and early 1600’s.
1. Research major events in Europe around the time the play was written.
2. Using research, write a news cast including:
i. three major events
ii. weather report for England
iii. health watch (ex. information that could have stopped the plague spreading)
iv. man/woman of the hour (information on a famous person at the time)
3. Select parts for producing the news cast.
4. Practice the script.
5. Record the news for a chapter in the pod cast.
6. Edit the pod cast.

Celebrity Dirt Alert
Your Mission: Give the gossip on interesting characters from the play.
1. Research five interesting characters from the play.
2. Using the research, write a gossip column script.
3. Choose parts for the script.
4. Practice the script.
5. Record the news for a chapter in the pod cast.
6. Edit the pod cast.

5 Feet STOMP
Your Mission: Create a STOMP using iambic pentameter.
1. Watch STOMP on You Tube. Note how they use everyday items to make a beat and music.
2. Review Iambic Pentameter.
3. Identify lines in a Shakespearean play or sonnet that uses iambic penatameter.
4. Add stomping, clapping, jumping, and everyday items to produce a beat for the lines.
5. Practice the STOMP version you have created repeatedly.
6. Record the 5 Feet STOMP for a chapter in the pod cast.
7. Edit the pod cast.

Editor & Photographer
Your Mission: Bring the pod cast all together and make it auditory and visually appealing to middle and high school audiences.
1. Complete Pod Cast tutorial.
2. Use clip art to set the pod cast page and make it informative and visually attractive to the audience.
3. Photograph groups as they go through the process of producing their individual chapters in the pod cast.
4. Photograph interesting items around the school that relate to the theme of the scene.
5. Incorporate pictures onto the pod cast page making it visually engaging for the audience.
6. Be on hand for all groups as an in-house expert on podcasting.
7. Advertise the upcoming installment of Shakespeare Live pod cast to both the middle school and high school.

Helpful Websites

Shakespeare for Kids

In Search of Shakespeare

No Sweat Shakespeare

60 Second Shakespeare


Brook Webb, Sing Lum Elementary
Bakersfield, CA 93311

Lesson Title: Hip-Hoppin' Historians
Using the work of Mr. Duey, a dedicated educator and rap musician from Kansas, as their musical influence, and the current state adopted social studies text book, primary source documents and the Internet as research tools students will take historical events and create a rap songs that encompass both the integrity and importance of United States History.

Students will utilize the technology from this grant to create their own projects as well as the following assigned projects:

Podcasted rap of “Nomad’s Land.” Students will create and perform a rap song that provides an explanation of how the first people arrived to North American by crossing the Bering Strait. Key components will include migration, agriculture, adaptations and information about each of the three cultural regions.

Podcasted rap of “How.” Based on Native American life and culture, students will create and perform a “battle” (rap slang for debate) between two Indian Chiefs explaining “How” each tribal leader intends to continue to thrive and survive the “invasion” of European settlers.

Podcasted rap of “Converter” (sung to the tune of Informer, by Snow). Students will take the perspective of a Native American and create and perform a rap song that conveys the emotional experience of conversion from “savages” to “civilized” Catholics.

Creation of “Scary Vocabulary”, an on-line wiki-resource for students to contribute lyrics for potential songs using the vocabulary word of the week. Examples of vocabulary words include astrolabe, entrepreneur, Sacagawea and other non-familiar terminology.

The key component of this project is to allow students to discover and process historical events in a way that they can relate to. Through self-discovery and creativity students will be able to form and synthesis concrete ideas and recreate events through abstract thought processing.

Here is how we will use the resources provided with the grant:

Tool Factory Software: This software is the necessary component in the production of all components of the Hip-Hoppin’ Historians podcasts, which will be used to document and assess student learning.

Digital Voice Recorders and Microphones: These devices will be used by individuals and small groups to collaborate and create their historical hip-hop lyrics prior to song production. The portability of these devices makes it possible for students to record their ideas as they occur and then play them back in effort to synthesis lyrics into one masterpiece.

Clip Art Station: Students will use the clip art station to create visual references to their songs. When historical rhythmic songs are coupled with visual references students are for more likely to retain the information presented at a greater level than pictures and printed text alone. Tool Factory

Simple Guide to Podcasting: This publication will be used as a training tool to get our podcast up and running. It is our goal that this reference tool will enable our staff and students to train and inspire other members of the learning community to become creative with technology.

Web Page Station: This resource will be used to host both web based information on historical hip-hop curriculum as well as weekly Scary Vocabulary Blogs and podcasted songs.

Read the applications of the 3 Honorable Mention Winners.