I started off this school year by starting a project with my 5th graders (3 classes) focusing on research. Last year I did a similar year long project with a PowerPoint slide show as the final result. This year I thought I would change it up a bit and have the final project be a podcast.
So the project started out in September. I gave the students a person in the arts to use as their research subject (I think that not enough is done with the arts in our school, so I thought I would kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak!) Each class (I have them for 30 minutes once a week) we would go over some kind of research tool, such as the encyclopedia, biography books, almanacs, digital databases (such as Grolier and Ebsco) and websites. I would then give them an assignment (most of which we did in class) to take notes using the research tool and write a bibliography entry for the tool used. The research would be used to conduct an interview type podcast, where I am the interviewer and the student takes on the persona of their research subject.
I am still in the middle of recording the podcast, but our first efforts are up on our blog here.
They are a little rough, and if you listen to more than one at a time you get REALLY sick of my voice, especially since it is SO much more prominent than the students voices (I need an audio mixer!)
Overall I think the project was a success. I do think that because of my class not being a "graded" class the students did not do any more than the minimum required, you can definitely hear that in how short the podcasts are. If I attempt to do this again in my new school next year I think there are things I will change, grading being one and I think I will have to work a little more closely with the classroom teachers to get more support from them in order for this to be successful.