Learning Plans & Activities
Podcasting to Document Student Experiences

In this lesson, students use podcasting as a platform to document changes in their daily lives.


Social studies




Classroom teacher, technology specialist, school or district head of communications, local historical organization or public library


Students will reflect on changes in their daily life.

Students will share their personal experiences in a small group conversation and for other listeners.

Students will utilize technology to document their experiences through an audio recording.


Tablet, Chromebook, or another device with audio recording, video recording, and/or video conferencing software
Guiding questions for students
Royalty-free music, if desired


Asynchronous or multiple 20-minute sessions plus time for educator or student to process audio


AASL Standards Framework for Learners

III.A.1. Demonstrating their desire to broaden and deepen understanding.
III.B.1. Using a variety of communication tools and resources.
III.D.1. Actively contributing to group discussions.

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Instructional Procedure

Prior to speaking with students, share the objectives of the podcasting project with parents and obtain permission to record the conversation and share it in a podcast format. Check with school or district media release permissions to assure you are following all guidelines.

In a whole group setting, acknowledge that all of our lives have changed considerably in the last weeks or months. With everyone's life changing in different ways and students feeling differently about these changes, tell students that you would like to give them a chance to talk and share about their life now as they learn from home.

Assure students that there are no right or wrong answers, but instead an opportunity to share. If arrangements have been made to share these with a local library, historical institution, or other audience, share this information with students at this time.

Create small groups of two to four students in each grade level.

Create a document or short video explaining the technology setup for the connection and recording of the conversation. Share this with students with enough time for them to review and allow for additional time prior to the recording for any technology hurdles.

Provide students with questions or conversation starters days or even weeks ahead of the recorded conversation. Some examples include:

  • Talk about your everyday life.
  • Talk about what is different in your life.
  • Talk about what is the same.
  • Talk about things you are learning.
  • Talk about questions you are having.
  • Talk about how you feel and why.

You may suggest that students journal about these topics for a period of time prior to the recorded conversation, but remind students that journaling in this case is meant to help them think and prepare. They should not read directly from their journaling during the recorded conversation.

Begin the recording with an introduction of what the purpose of the recording is along with the grade level and first name of students.

Begin the conversation with an open ended question and allow students to share. Make sure to only come in with clarifying questions, and move from topic to topic or question to question as the conversation demands. Remember that this is a moment for students to utilize their voice, not a moment for instruction.

Thank students for their time at the end of the conversation.

Use audio or video editing software to edit the podcast. If there was not a clear ending to the conversation, record an outro to the podcast and include a preview of an upcoming episode. Use royalty-free music during the beginning and end of the podcast if desired.


If students do not have hardware or software to record themselves, they may have access to a parent's phone. With parent and student permission, phone conversations may be recorded with additional software on many smartphones.

Older elementary students may be able to edit their own podcast. Making tutorials available or offering help through screen sharing during video conferencing may support their learning.

Invite families to participate in creating the podcast. The student can act as the host, asking questions and follow up questions of his or her family members.

Different software may require different configurations to capture the audio for the podcast. Work with building or district technology support to select the best software to record and complete the podcast.

For students not comfortable in sharing in this way, allow for written or other forms of communication to encourage the sharing of feelings.

Utilize the same medium for students to talk about a different topic. Topics can be educational, such as literature or learning from research projects. They can also be social, such as tips for moving to a new school or feelings about moving up a grade level.


Ask students to listen to their own podcast before sharing it with a wider audience. Give them an opportunity to make any edits, additions, or deletions to share their message.

Additional Resources

Learn more about fostering graphical literacy in Tom's editorial, "Tools for Reading and Creating Graphic Novels in the Library."

Brown, Stacy. The School Librarians Technology Playbook: Innovative Strategies to Inspire Teachers and Learners. Libraries Unlimited, 2020.

"Lesson: Tips for Effective Interviews." StoryCorps. https://storycorps.org/discover/education/lesson-tips-for-effective-interviews/.

"Student Podcast Challenge," NPR. https://www.npr.org/series/662609200/npr-student-podcast-challenge.

Tom Bober

MLA Citation Bober, Tom. "Podcasting to Document Student Experiences." School Library Connection, May 2020, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2247706?tab=4&topicCenterId=2158551.

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Entry ID: 2247706

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