This year, more than others, I have tried to incorporate audio into the library. I have been so interested in the connection between listening and literacy, that for my capstone clear credential project I researched how K-12 schools are using podcasts in the classroom.
My first step to develop this program was to I solicit old iPods from our school families. After weeks of waiting, I instead scrounged a few mp3 players from home and a couple off of Craigslist. I have a total of five mp3 players in the library. They’re “off brand” (as some of my students would say!), but I rotate the selection and know what audio is on them at any given time, so it works. On two of the players are CD audio picture books for K-2 grade, which were donated to the library last year, and that I digitized. For 3rd-5th grade the first rotation I tried was for for Halloween, which was More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I converted the YouTube video into an mp3 for listening purposes, and students loved it.
The next 3rd-5th grade rotation is going to be a couple podcasts: Stories Alive!, which are stories written by kids, and The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified. I searched high and low for decent kid podcasts, and so far these are the two I have found that cater to 3rd-5th graders and which are well done. I have considered writing out the transcripts but might wait and see how students respond just by listening.
Listening to podcasts for kids has inspired me to make them with students. A number of teachers in public schools are doing book report-like podcasts, though I think these reports could instead be critical reviews of the material students are reading (à la NPR: Book Reviews). Our school is refocusing on project-based learning next year, so hopefully it will be an opportunity to create podcast reviews for their peers. These podcasts could be available in our Biblionasium account, around the library or in books as a QR code.
I would also love to do a narrative podcast with kids. Stories Alive! and Eleanor Amplified are a start, but there are so many possibilities for young people.
I did have one teacher (my mentor!) let me know that she hates podcasts. Hilarious, because I love them, and I only see the benefits. I am not sure that is something that I need to convince her the benefits of. I think she, like a lot of teachers, is open to trying new methods with her students.