Podcast club helps students develop language, techology skills

Richland’s English Learners “find their voice” through the podcast club.
Posted on 12/14/2021
Students in the podcast club work on a project.By Gary Weckselblatt

During the first day of school this year, Richland Elementary School fifth-graders Andrea Martinez and Kayla Dinh-Pham couldn’t wait to speak with their teacher, Liz Coyle.

“Can we start the podcast club again?” they asked.

The podcast club was a project that Mrs. Coyle’s English Learners produced last spring, in which students shared stories, interviewed teachers, performed reader's theater with background effects, and reviewed special events like Field Day.

“The motivation for podcasting is to give students an opportunity to communicate about their interests and develop language and technology skills for an authentic audience,” Mrs. Coyle said. “Using the technology - recording audio and often adding background music or sound effects - is fun for all of us. It also connects to Richland's Leader in Me initiative: Habit 8, ‘Find Your Voice.’ It has been a great leadership opportunity for them.”

One fourth-grade student told Mrs. Coyle, “It feels so good to put my voice out into the world! I was made for this."

Andrea and Kayla would like to take things a step further with the club this year, extending it to all students in grades 3 to 5.

“They've recruited members, organized the schedule and club rules, and taught their peers about podcasts,” Mrs. Coyle said. “The fifth-grade group happens to be all girls, but both boys and girls are members of the third- and fourth-grade club.”

The club has already held brainstorming sessions and plans to give book and video game recommendations and provide information about historic events. “Students also love to tell stories about their friendships and their family traditions,” Mrs. Coyle said. “They have the freedom to choose a topic - anything school-appropriate that they can speak about for 2-5 minutes. Many students enjoy working with partners, too.

“It has been fun to demo the technology, offer some podcast examples, and then get out of the way so students can create.”

For now, the podcast page is being shared within Richland. The hope is to make it available outside of school this spring. Stay tuned!

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].
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