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Project Audio: 6th Grade Classes get a Professional Lesson in Podcasting

6th Grade English classes recently completed a podcasting unit.  Students researched a social activist, wrote a brief argumentative piece on how their activist positively impacted the world, and then wrote and recorded a podcast. They presented their podcasts to the class, and even had a "Poddy's Award Show" (like, the Emmys...but for podcasts...get it?). 
During the process, students listened to a few podcasts to learn about styles, what makes a good podcast, and more. One of the podcast episodes they listened to was from History or His Story, and it was an instant hit! This particular podcast is hosted by 3 former colleagues of 6th Grade English Teacher Sarah Fulk, and two of the three hosts now own Bramble Jam Podcasting Network in Greenville.  Ms. Fulk reached out to one of them, Daniel Thompson, to see if she could partner on an idea. Daniel immediately agreed!
Daniel and his business partner and fellow podcasting host, Brandon Gray, agreed to do a "live" version of their History or His Story podcast for our students. Daniel, being a former AP US History teacher and Upper School Principal, was intentional about crafting the stories and topics around what we are working on in the classroom. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher Caroline Bethel, explained a project that she and 6th Grade Science teacher Jennie Overstreet are about to launch with students (Global Call To Action), and Daniel was quick to be sure that his stories aligned with their project. The intention was for it to be a truly interdisciplinary event, tying in English, Ancient Civilizations, Science, and T.I.D.E. content together!
Teachers actually surprised the students with this live podcast event that took place last week. Earlier in the week, students nominated someone from their Advisory to take part in a "special event", but they did not know what it was. Teachers teamed the students up, and they worked together to try to figure out which of Daniel's stories was untrue. All sixth graders were able to vote on their Chromebooks, to see if they could spot the lie as well. The Bethel/Fulk Advisory teams correctly identified the lie— but the fun didn't stop there!
Brandon & Daniel recorded the podcast and will be releasing it to their subscribers in the upcoming weeks. CCES will also receive a link to the podcast so that students & parents can listen. The students were very excited about this and were thrilled to be a part of a "real-deal" podcast.
Afterward, Daniel & Brandon generously gave more of their time for a 30-minute Q & A on podcasting for the students. The student's questions ranged from "What celebrities have you met?" and "How do you make money as a podcaster?" to "How do you start a podcast?" and "What kind of music do you listen to?".
These types of real world connections maximize student-learning experiences. Kudos to the 6th Grade team and to Ms. Fulk on this collaboration, and to the team at Bramble Jam for sharing their time and knowledge with CCES!
Brandon Gray, Daniel Pandolph, and Daniel Thompson are three dads from South Carolina and the hosts of Deck the Hallmark, a podcast that has been ranked in Apple Podcast’s Top 15 overall and Top 5 Comedy. Within the first year, the program received one million downloads and was featured on Good Morning, America and Nightline, and in the pages of O, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire.
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