Podcasting with First Graders

Radio WillowWeb Cover ArtMy school's podcast, Radio WillowWeb, has episodes by learners in grades second through fifth. Our very first show was by second graders. However, we've never produced a podcast with first graders--until now. Here are some things I learned working with these very young students on a podcast:

  • We chose the topic of space since students have learned a lot about this topic that they wanted to share with others.
  • The scripts were dictated to the classroom teacher. This sped up the process and allowed the teacher and students to discuss the content.
  • Practicing their scripts with adults at home over spring break was really helpful for the students.
  • When recording break up what the youngsters are to say into small sections. A whole paragraph is too much for most first graders to read fluently and confidently. In fact, some may have problems with one sentence. The beauty of non-linear audio editing software like GarageBand is that you can split clips and piece them together. In fact, one of the students would say just a couple of words at a time and I edited them together. The final product makes it sound like it was one continuous recording.
  • A couple of students were not fluent readers. I had the most success with these students when I took their scripts away and had them repeat after me. Again, clips were strung together to make it seem like the segment was said all at once.
  • For those that read from a script, I pointed to the words (kind of like karaoke), so they wouldn't speak too quickly or too slowly. I made sure that students paused at commas and periods.
  • GarageBand 3 has new voice tracks that reduce background noise that we tried out. We recorded in Willowdale's media center. It's a room full of noise, but I cannot hear the noise the end product.

GarageBand Noisy TrackGarageBand 3's Podcasting Studio has a choice of voice tracks. I chose a Noisy track to reduce the background noise--and it worked well!

Tune into Radio WillowWeb's Willowcast #18 and listen to how well these first graders did. Do we dare podcast with kindergartners next?