School #8 Opens Podcast Studio
School #8 teacher Ivy Cibrano cut the celebratory ribbon that was placed across the doorway of the new School #8 Podcast Studio, but the students have been using the studio for several months and have completed podcasts that can be heard on https://anchor.fm/school-8.
Ms. Cibrano, who teaches sixth graders, said she had dabbled in podcasting a few years ago, working with Teaching and Learning Coach Amy Gigliobianco, and got back into it when newly retired School #2 Principal Tom Capone, an avid podcaster, served as Interim Principal at School #8. Podcasting platform Anchor tweeted an officer of assistance to educators wanting to podcast and Ms. Cibrano jumped on the opportunity. Ms. Lucille McAssey, who took over as Interim Principal from Mr. Capone, enthusiastically supported the project from the start, hosting the Anchor team on her second day at School #8.
Ms. Cibrano said that putting the podcasts together involved research, writing, listening and speaking and also fostered collaboration among the students, all part of the English Language Arts standards for non-fiction. Students were so engaged in the process that when Ms. Cibrano was in the studio recording with small groups, all of the other students remained on task while they waited their turn.
Samara Hughes and Catalina Merchan from Ms. Cibrano's class and Parker Roth from Debra Hermann's class appreciated the trust Ms. Cibrano showed in students when she let each podcast group assign the homework for its members, since each group had selected its own topic.
Asked what they enjoyed most about the podcasting project, students cited the collaboration and the research.
"I just thought collecting the research was nice and the process of working together on the Google Doc was great," said Parker.
"I found out some cool stuff I never knew," Samara added. Among the topics students were given to choose from were diseases, the Titanic, the atom bomb, outer space and more. Some groups refined the subjects further, focusing on weird diseases, for example. In addition to the academic and interpersonal skills that students built during the project, they also learned the technical skills that go into creating a podcast. For example, faulty recordings that had to be redone taught them to keep a hand away from the microphone, otherwise, "you can hear yourself breathing," said Catalina.
Ms. Cibrano anticipates that the studio will get plenty of use by other grade levels before the year is out. The sixth graders have completed their non-fiction unit for this year.