Podcast Update

First Small Steps

I recently wrote about my desire to experiment with student generated podcasts.  I have begun this process, but because I am not particularly savvy with technologically, my steps in this journey have been small.

In my Grade 10 IB Class and Grade 12 English class I have been experimenting with student generated audio recordings.  Those these are not podcasts, per se, they are an attempt to emphasise oral communication skills and experiment with different ways students can demonstrate their learning (both during and after) a study.

Below I have outlined two attempts (feel free to read and listen).

**What I really need to think about next is how to share these audio files between students–any suggestions?

In my Grade 10 class, the assignment was summative and formal in nature.  After reading and discussing Macbeth, I asked students to prepare a 5-7 minute audio recording of an oral commentary on a passage from  the play.  This was a final assignment; students had time to review the passage and prepare an outline prior to recording.  The recording had to be continuous and  demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the passage, appreciation of writer’s choices, appropriate register, and organisation.
10 IB Student Commentary on Macbeth


In Grade 12, my focus was on discovery rather than a demonstration of solid understanding. After reading Act 3 of King Lear, we considered what aspects of the Act that deserved fuller exploration.  Each group chose one of these aspects and were given 30 minutes to record a 15 minute impromptu discussion where they attempted to explore this aspect.

12 Lit. Discovery Discussion Act 3 King Lear

The purpose of these assignments


Moving Forward: Podcasts

I have been invited to write a reflection in response to one of three prompts.  I have chosen to respond to the third prompt, “What are you doing moving forward”?

podcastOne of my favourite pastimes is to listen to brilliant minds speak; a fun Friday night includes a great lecture or a stimulating podcast. I’m serious! The Partially Examined Life is a particular favourite.

Because of this genuine interest, I am excited to learn about creating and using “podcasts” in my practice, both as a teaching tool and as a means for students to share their knowledge and understanding.

However, before leaping to use podcasting in my classroom, it’s important for me to consider the ‘big picture’, so I appreciate today’s opportunity to think and “play”.

First Steps:

First, I need to question my desire to use podcasts on a philosophical level.  For me, this type of thinking takes time and sustained silence!  (Perhaps this weekend)

Second, I need to see what other teachers are doing; I want to learn from them (both what to do and what not to do).

This article from The Atlantic seems like a good place to start.

Update to come!


Peer Feedback–Student Generated Questions 1

img_2325So, last week we had our final department meeting of the year! At this meeting the department decided on a new department focus/goal (Over the last few years we have worked collectively on two: to explicitly teach and assess annotation, and to implement and enforce our independent reading program).  The new focus is “questions”!  Huge!!

Regardless of the over-whelming vastness of this new department focus, I immediately began to contemplate how an emphasis on questions might fit into my individual professional development goal of improving peer feed back.

Good thing I have the summer to ponder!