During the winter trimester, the 7thgrade Latin students participated in the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. The challenge was to produce a podcast with the following parameters: students must be between fifth and twelfth grades, podcasts must be between three and twelve minutes long and the podcasts must not include music. The prompts included: telling a story about our school or community, showing two sides of a debate, discussing what you would like to change in the world, explaining something kids understand and grown-ups don’t, and teaching about a moment in history. The latter was chosen since a good deal of class time was going to be used on this project and this choice allowed the class to learn about Roman history. And the best way to learn something is to teach it!
The first few podcast classes were spent listening to samples of NPR podcasts and discussing what made them particularly effective. Next, the specific topic was chosen – we used ranked choice voting for this! The highlights of Julius Caesar’s dynamic life was chosen as our subject. Interestingly enough, when the students began interviewing people, they found that most people, likely from studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in English class, knew only about his death.
The students made a time-line of Caesar’s life and broke it into six segments. The students wrote and edited the script for their segment. These were recorded, with back-up recordings as well, and sound effects were incorporated. The sound effects were made by the students at home, at a swim meet, and by the basement lockers in the School Building.
Mr. Crofton and Ms. Reedy assembled the recorded historical segments, interviews, and sound effects. Mr. Crofton adjusted the amplification to rectify the problems inherent in having nearly a dozen different recording devices. Huge kudos to Mr. Crofton for making us sound so good!
The finished podcast is not perfect but it is not bad at all. Did the students learn anything? Absolutely! They all now have a very good foundation of knowledge about Julius Caesar. They are amazed (as one ought to be) by what this one individual accomplished in his lifetime. They learned how to work together and how to support one another.
We hope you enjoy it!
Ms. Reedy, Latin Teacher