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WE Innovate: Podcasting at Cooper Mountain ES

"Greetings listeners and welcome back to Cougar Cast…" begins each episode of Mr. Lewis's 5th grade educational podcast – Cougar Cast.

For the past two years, 5th grade students in Mr. Lewis's class at Cooper Mountain Elementary School have written and produced segments for podcasts to share with the community. Mr. Lewis generates topics based on what the class is currently learning, and the students research, write, record and edit the information into 10-15 minute episodes. 

"I love listening to podcasts, I love the idea of hearing good stories, so that is what inspired me to have my students start a podcast. Podcasting gives students an authentic way to collaborate with one another, to process information, and to put it into a format for someone else to hear. I wanted to give our community an opportunity to learn from our students," says Mr. Lewis.

Developing podcast episodes incorporates all elements of literacy. There is a research component that involves reading and highlighting information, there is a summarization and organization component and there is a writing component. There is also a technology literacy component. Students are learning how to use a computer to record, edit and sequence each segment of a podcast episode.

Each episode takes approximately two weeks from research to finished product. Students work in groups to research and organize their segments. They write scripts and condense and revise their information. When they are ready to record, they rehearse their script with Mr. Lewis. "I time their recording and give them feedback and coaching along the way," says Lewis.

"Working in a group requires a lot of cooperation to organize our segment.  It was rewarding because it feels good when we accomplish something this big then to get rewarded with a listening party," says Carter.

Once the episodes are complete, Mr. Lewis uploads them to Sound Cloud for all the world to hear. Listeners can like, share or comment on their favorite episodes. Mr. Lewis comments and provides feedback to students as well.

"I think the most empowering aspect of podcasting is that you don't have to present the information in any one way. Podcasting gives kids the opportunity to be creative in their information presentation and lets them tell a story."