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Teachers_Guide_to_PodcastingHave you wondered how to create podcasts with your students?

Looking for podcasting project ideas?

You may be asking yourself these questions and we have the answers!


We are excited to release a new teacher’s guide to get you started podcasting in your classroom or support your current podcasting efforts if you’ve already started. Learn the benefits of podcasting within this 12 page PDF resource.


Not only is podcasting fun to do, but podcasting supports important 21st century skills for communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Your students will love podcasting as a medium to tell their story and share their ideas, all while practicing their speaking and writing skills.


As teachers, this guide will empower you to use podcasting technology and will give you the resources to teach your students to be podcast writers, recorders, and producers.


What’s included in this teacher podcasting guide?


  • Section 1 will explore the benefits of podcasting in your class.
  • Section 2 will explore how to use podcasts in your classroom: with sample classrooms podcasting lesson ideas, along with student podcast examples you can listen to.  
  • Section 3 will walk you through how to teach through a podcast lesson. This section will provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how to structure a podcasting lesson in class and the tools your students can use for producing and publishing a podcast.


Use this guide to get started podcasting in class, or explore more advanced podcasting lesson ideas and topics along with the podcasting tools to get you started. Whether you are a beginner or have already taught podcasting in your classroom, this teacher’s guide will have something for you.

We have been writing all summer and fall to bring new lessons to you. Here are a few that have been added recently. Take a look!

Language and Writing

In the 17th century, people were determined to overcome communications barriers between the people of the world by creating a universal language. Listen to learn about The Unsuccessful Quest For A Universal Language to learn how that solution worked out. To translate oral language into written language, ancient civilizations developed systems of writing. Learn more about the  ancient Phoenician alphabet in The Story Behind Every Letter A-Z. And punctuation! How important is the last comma in a list? Listen to how a comma cost a company a lot of money in The Meaning of the Oxford Comma. Writing essays for college applications can be daunting. Listen to this guidance on How to Use Your Voice to Write College Essays.


Authors and Literature

Have you felt the characters in children’s books don’t relate to you or you? Listen to this story, Color in Children’s Literature, to hear about one girl who decided to promote diverse books in schools.

If you are reading books by Amy Tan, James Baldwin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jane Goodall, or Julia Alvarez, check out these audio stories to listen to before, during, or after reading their novels.


Help your students see that reading books can inspire kindness by listening to Discussing Kindness with ‘Wonder’ and listen and learn about empathy in this story: Reading ‘Harry Potter’ and Developing Empathy. Highlight parallels between a fictional society and a contemporary society from this lesson, Dystopia and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. Books can also be a comfort, as in this story of reading Anna Karenina in prison: How ‘Anna Karenina’ Inspired Empathy. For another good story about rising above your situation, listen to A Letter from Phillis Wheatley, which tells of a woman born into slavery and became the first published African-American female poet.

Classic literature can be difficult for some, so listen to the creator of a podcast that explains James Joyce’s novel, ‘Ulysses’: One Line at a Time. The Canterbury Tales took place in an area that has influenced many important British writers. Listen to the story, Re-Tracing Chaucer’s Steps on the Canterbury Road, to see how these areas have changed in recent years.  

U.S. History

If you are teaching about the start of our nation, you are in luck. We have posted these lessons that can give your students more insight into this time in America’s history.


The Pamunkey Native American tribe played a crucial role in early American history, and counts Pocahontas as a member of the tribe. Listen to this story, Pamunkey Native American Tribe Gets Federal Recognition, to hear what that now means for this tribe.

If you are teaching about the Civil War, and are looking for an inspirational speech, listen to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and hear about how Lincoln tied the soldier’s sacrifice to America’s founding principles. Harriet Tubman was a spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War, along with freeing slaves using the Underground Railroad. Listen to this new museum in Maryland on the site of Harriet Tubman’s Birthplace.

The last major confrontation between the U.S. Army and Native Americans was at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. Listen to this story, Wounded Knee and Sioux Native Americans to hear how Native American culture was nearly destroyed.

During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, leaders of industry and finance had unprecedented wealth, influence, and power. Listen to hear the Parallels Between the New American Barons and the Gilded Age. Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest industrialists of the Gilded Age, but also donated nearly all of his wealth to charity. Listen to his story: Andrew Carnegie and His Library Legacy.

Kicking off the Industrial Revolution, Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the New Deal to Americans in the middle of the Great Depression in FDR’s New Deal Speech.  Around the same time, Henry Ford was looking to expand his auto industry into Brazil. Listen to this story to hear about Ford’s experimental ideal community in the Amazon – Fordlandia: Failed Jungle Utopia .

Some World War II veterans were exposed to mustard gas and some veterans of Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. Listen to this story, Veterans and Agent Orange, to learn about the differences in the way these veterans were treated.

Listen to this story about the Constitutional Powers of the President. Hear about the ongoing debates over the extent of presidential powers, as presidents from Andrew Jackson to Reagan are discussed.   

Two landmark Supreme Court cases, Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v Board of Education, centered on whether or not segregation was constitutional. Listen to the descendants of the people named in these court cases as they meet to discuss the issues and legacies of these cases.

Happy Listening!

Listenwise is a flexible resource and can be used to meet many different goals for your students. Listening enhances engagement, content knowledge, and skills such as media literacy and empathy.  We describe ways to approach this with a few activities in this blog. Our previous blog highlighted how to enhance language and literacy skills using Listenwise. If you use Listenwise audio stories in other ways with your students, please share with us!

Create Informed Citizens

As a democracy, we need to develop students who are conscientious, critical thinkers, open minded, and ready for the future. Help students know where to go to be informed and understand global events, the economy, the environment, and politics so they can make the best decisions for themselves.


Use Listenwise to teach media literacy: Implement a media literacy curriculum and give students tools and information to develop their own criteria for determining which media stories to trust. Listenwise has a partnership with NPR, who has a trusted and venerable history of journalistic integrity and provides a quality source for information.


Use Listenwise to understand current events: Carve out time to listen to news at the beginning of class—daily or weekly—to connect students to what is happening in the world around them. Listen to the daily news story posted on Listenwise, and have students listen to all of the stories in a week and then choose one to write about, summarize, or discuss during class.

Enhance Content

The lessons in Listenwise align to curriculum topics in ELA, SS, Sci and they can spark interest, engage, motivate, and create a memorable link to the content.


Use Listenwise to connect students to content: Use audio to connect historical events to current events. Help students see that how events are perceived often leads to how people respond to them. Use stories that will engage students in the content and use Listenwise resources to gain background information on a topic as well as extend learning beyond the audio.


Use Listenwise to engage and motivate: Listen at the beginning of class, the beginning of the week, or before jumping into instruction on new concepts or standards. This can give you a hook to develop student background on the topic, activate prior knowledge, and address any learning gaps.


Use Listenwise to promote student-directed learning: Students can search or browse the all lessons and current events, personalize their learning and make choices about what to listen to.


Use Listenwise to develop higher-order thinking skills: State standards require that students be able understand diverse points of view, analyze reasoning, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and defend their claims with evidence. Use these audio stories as instructional resources to develop these thinking skills.

Listening Comprehension

Many research studies have shown that students who are better listeners are also better learners. In one study, students were given a listening test when they started college. Within a year, almost 70% of the students who had proficient listening skills were in Honors. Help students develop these important skills by listening to these curated stories.


Use Listenwise to practice for state assessments: Listenwise provides opportunities for instruction and practice for statewide listening assessments that involve short, non-fiction audio clips. Use audio stories to build stamina and the ability to focus so students are able to best understand while listening. Also, these stories are short and provide opportunities to listen to a story multiple times to practice their listening comprehension.


Use Listenwise to gain data on listening skills: Listenwise quizzes provide a quick way to gain data about how well your students are listening. Use quizzes and get auto-scored performance data immediately by class and by student and identify areas of need in order to provide additional instruction. Now that components of some state tests have added assessments for listening comprehension, your students may benefit from practice taking listening assessments.

Encourage Empathy

Most teachers strive to develop kind and empathetic students. Integrating content learning with social and emotional learning helps students understand different points of view and understand the similarities and differences between cultures. Listening to actual voices, emotion, and sounds in the environment helps students put themselves in a different place, experience what is happening, and be where the speaker is.


Use Listenwise to teach point of view and perspective: Choose stories with first-person accounts of events or personal reflections and have students listen from a different perspective while they put themselves in someone else’s shoes, feel the experience, engage their senses, and empathize with the speakers.

Listenwise is a flexible resource and can be used to meet many different goals for your students. Listening advances oral language skills and literacy through a wide range of activities and we describe a few in this blog. Our next blog will have additional ideas about using Listenwise to enhance engagement and critical thinking about content. If you use Listenwise audio stories in other ways with your students, please share with us!

Meet Listening and Speaking Standards

Audio provides another modality for students to acquire information and comprehend content. It is a challenge to cover all necessary standards in the time available. Listenwise is uniquely designed to meet speaking and listening standards while teaching content. These audio stories are a great addition to what you are already teaching, and can be used together with texts and other media to spark conversations and analytical thinking.


Use for debates:  Every Friday, we post a special Current Event story with a topic that will inspire a lively debate. Use these stories as a springboard for structured debates in your classroom. Students can defend their reasoning, express their opinion, take a side in a debate, and articulate the evidence to support their position.

Use for language practice: Plan ways for students to have structured conversations and process the information after listening. Encourage students to use academic language when speaking in class and share their thoughts and ideas. Be sure to provide activities for students to use all language modalities: listening, speaking, reading and writing.



Support Literacy

Students can understand more challenging language when listening than when reading. Listening can make complex ideas more accessible and expose students to high-level vocabulary and language patterns that are not part of their everyday speech. Students can also read along with the transcript, see and hear the words at the same time, and replay words to help with pronunciation and spelling skills.


Use to increase vocabulary:  Incidental vocabulary exposure while listening provides opportunities to learn the meaning of unknown words in the context of a story. Also, when students hear idioms and figurative language they are able to understand them within the whole context, rather than as individual words.

Use with struggling readers and English learners: Students who have not mastered decoding can learn content, participate in discussions, and use critical thinking skills when listening. Add supports and scaffolding (transcripts, pre-teaching vocabulary, building background, monitoring listening comprehension) to ensure student success and understanding. For students who need additional supports, have them use the Text Help Toolbar to highlight any text on the screen and hear the words spoken aloud. This feature also allows students to easily access a Spanish translation, English dictionary definition, or a picture definition.

Use to enhance comprehension: Students who have poor listening comprehension often fail to develop adequate reading comprehension skills. Use audio for instruction in high-level comprehension skills. Have students compare and contrast, make inferences, or find the main idea, follow the transcript highlighting details, or listen to analyze the reasoning of the arguments in the story.

Use for writing practice: The Listenwise discussion questions can be used as writing prompts for students to connect their own experiences to the content, or prompts for persuasive or argumentative writing where students find evidence from the story to support their opinions.


Increase Academic Language

Academic Language is “school talk” that is vital for educational success. All students benefit from targeted instruction in the words and phrases of academic texts and discussions, but it’s particularly critical, and often most difficult, for struggling readers and English Language Learners.


Use to provide increased exposure to academic language: Listenwise targets a wide variety of topics across content areas, defines Tier 2 and 3 words, and gives students repeated exposure to academic vocabulary in context.

Use to practice academic language: Planning contextualized and structured speaking activities helps students practice using academic language they learned while listening.


Have you tried any of these approaches? Post a comment with your experiences!

Daring English Teacher Blog LogoToday’s guest blog is written by Christina, a high school English teacher in California, and the author of the Daring English Teacher blog.

States recently released standardized test scores, and teachers and administrators all across the nation are looking for ways to improve their scores. One particular area of assessment that can be quite difficult for educators to incorporate into everyday instruction is listening. Listening is an essential skill that many of our students need to work on; however, in today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven world, listening attentively to audio files can be quite challenging for today’s youth.

For this reason, I include Listenwise in my curriculum. I began using Listenwise last year with many of my teaching units, and my students’ test scores improved!

Here are four different ways you can have your students analyze audio content on the Listenwise platform.


Analyze for main idea

Being able to understand the main idea of a text is a stepping stone to the essential skill of summarizing. A simple way to analyze a story from Listenwise is to have students identify, explain, and summarize the main idea. What is the main idea and how does the author support it?


Analyze for rhetorical appeals and strategies

Readers often focus on what the text says, but it is just as important to focus on why a text is effective and how the author is able to communicate an argument or message effectively. To analyze the story for rhetorical appeals and strategies, have students listen for and identify examples of ethos, pathos, and logos. Also, have students identify various rhetorical strategies such as alliteration, assonance, and consonance. What was the author’s most effective appeal or strategy?


Analyze for author’s purpose

Understanding the context of a text is another way I have students analyze content from Listenwise. Knowing the “why” behind a news story, political speech, or national address helps build contextual knowledge and awareness, and it paves the way for students to gain a rich understanding of the author’s purpose. Why did the author write this piece? What prompted the author to write this piece?


Analyze for cause and effect

Students need to be able to listen to a text and understand the subtle relationships between events. Being able to identify the main event of a story and understand the resulting events that are directly related is an important skill. How are the events in the story related? Because this one event happened, what else occurred?

There are many ways to incorporate Listenwise into your curriculum, and you might be surprised with just how many stories and topics the site offers.

Interaction, oral language, speaking practice, cooperative learning, discussion groups–there are many ways to have students practice speaking and listening using academic language.

Practice is necessary for students to develop into people who can articulate their thoughts and communicate effectively. And for English learners, speaking practice is critical. Research shows that oral proficiency won’t increase without opportunities to speak and practice using academic language. So, we need a balance between student and teacher talk. In a class of 30 students in a traditional classroom, even if each one is called on, how much language do students produce?

As teachers, we can plan times and activities where students engage in conversations and listen to each other, so they can build their language around academic experiences.

There are many ways to incorporate speaking practice into instruction. The first step is planning for purposeful talk and providing many opportunities for interaction.


NOTE: It may be helpful to give the prompts or questions (What is the most important..? What are the reasons…? What are the pros and cons of…?) before you start the activity, so students have a chance to reflect and prepare what they will say before practicing their language skills. This is especially helpful for your quiet students and for English learners.


3, 2, 1

After listening to an audio story, students think about 3 things they learned, 2 questions they have, and 1 thing they enjoyed about the story, and then share with another student.


Musical Share

This activity provides language practice and the opportunity to share ideas with multiple classmates. Provide a prompt or question and give students time to write their response. Then play music as students walk around. Stop the music and have students find a partner near them to share their response. Then, continue the music and repeat the activity until students have sufficient practice with multiple classmates. This can also be done with tables placed around the room. When the music stops, students sit at the table closest to them and discuss with the other classmates at the same table.


Parallel Line Share

Similar to the musical share, this is a more structured way to pair students for conversation. Students form two lines facing each other. Students can discuss their response with the classmate in front of them, then when the time is up, one line moves to the right and pairs with a new classmate. The person on the end walks up to the beginning of the line.


Hear, Think, Wonder

This is a way to have students process the information they heard in the audio story. They can write their responses to these questions and then share with a partner.

  • What did you hear?
  • What did you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?


Opinions and Evidence

This can help students think deeply about the content and use language to explain their position. After listening to a story, ask a central question and offer two possible answers. Students choose one answer–the one they think best answers the question, and then they discuss their opinion with a small group. As a class, students can defend their opinions, citing evidence from the story or their background knowledge. Encourage them to listen to everyone carefully and allow students to change their opinion.


News Station Reader’s Theater

Increase students’ fluency by using the transcript and having students take the roles of the speakers in the audio story. They can practice their roles, listen multiple times to the audio story, and then perform the story for the class.


Create a Commercial

Students, in groups, write a 30-second commercial about the audio story, summarizing its main idea and what they liked about it, to encourage others to listen to the story. Then groups present the commercials to the class.



This is a great way to maximize discussion time for middle and high school students. After listening to an audio story, give students time to think independently, then discuss their ideas with a partner and then share with the class. You can have them react to the story in general, or pose a question or idea for them to think about.


Other Resources-

Cult of Pedagogy: The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies

Teaching Tolerance: Community Inquiry

Colorin Colorado:


At Listenwise we are focused on bringing high-quality audio to students and supporting teachers with lessons, but there are also plenty of great high-quality podcasts for teachers!

No time to attend conferences? No funding to get great PD? Need inspiration and new ideas for this school year? Podcasts are a great way to get some PD time in, especially ones made for rockstars like you by other rockstar teachers. Here are some we recommend listening to:


Tim and Scott Bedley – The Bedley Bros Podcast

With over 45 years of experience in the classroom and 4+ years podcasting, Brothers Tim Bedley and Scott Bedley host an educational talk show @BedleyBros focused on best practices in the classroom, with innovative leaders in education.

Don’t miss their back-to-school episodes, or their interview with our CEO and Founder, Monica Brady-Myerov on September 23, 2017.


Jennifer Gonzalez – The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

Jennifer Gonzalez @cultofpedagogy has seven years of experience as a middle school language arts teacher.  She created The Cult of Pedagogy site as a vibrant, encouraging, stimulating community of teachers, supporting each other toward excellence. Cult of Pedagogy is run by a team of educators committed to making you more awesome in the classroom and has a wealth of resources in blog posts and podcasts.

Don’t miss her podcast episode with our CEO and Founder, Monica Brady-Myerov on May 15, 2016.


Vicki Davis –  10-Minute Teacher Podcast

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is a full-time classroom teacher in Camilla, Georgia. She is an edtech blogger/influencer, author, and podcaster and she hosts and self-produces the 10-Minute Teacher show at her site Cool Cat Teacher. Vicki also hosted Every Classroom Matters for three years with BAM Radio.

Don’t miss her Every Classroom Matters podcast episode with our CEO and Founder, Monica Brady-Myerov on podcasting in the classroom.


Ryan O’Donnell and Brian Briggs  –  Check This Out Podcast
Brian @bribriggs is a Director of Innovation & Technology in California. Ryan @creativeedtech is a Tech TOSA in California and a former high school social studies teacher. Ryan and Brian have great discussions on all things technology and edtech on their podcast “Check this Out”. Check out their recent episode!



Angela Watson – Truth for Teachers Podcast

With 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach, Angela continues to create resources that make teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. Her podcast, Truth for Teachers is on her Cornerstone for Teachers site and is consistently ranked in the top ten K-12 podcasts on iTunes. We were excited to collaborate with her last year!



Chris Nesi – The House of #Edtech

The House of #EdTech podcast explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education. Host Chris Nesi discusses how technology is changing our classrooms and schools and shares stories from teachers and school leaders.

Listenwise stories are engaging for students and adults, so why not try using Listenwise to engage your students’ parents and families? Listenwise Premium is accessible at home and can be used on any device connected to the Internet.

Here are 5 ways to promote listening outside of the classroom– by engaging families at home!

  1. Assign a Story. Assign students a story to listen to as a “Dinner Table Discussion.” Students listen to the story with a parent or adult at home and then discuss the issues using one or two listening comprehension questions that were assigned. They could take notes on the discussion and be ready to share the experience in class the next day.
  2. Students Choose a Story. Students choose a story to listen to with their families. They can create their own questions to use during family discussions and then share what sparked their curiosity and interest in the specific story that they chose.
  3. Parents and Students Choose a Story. Students and parents can listen to a story together and discuss one thing they learned, one thing they had a question about and one thing that surprised them about the story. If they choose a Friday Current Event Debate, they can listen to the story, state their argument and provide evidence to support their thinking.
  4. Record a Response. After listening together, families can audio record their responses, reactions, comments, and questions about the story. Students can share their families’ recordings in class. (Easy tip: Record a “voice memo” with a smartphone)
  5. Parents take a Quiz. After students complete a quiz, have them listen to the story again at home with a parent or sibling. Students can read the questions to their parent or sibling and then let them know how many they got correct. In class, students can discuss the answers or listen again.

Try out some of these activities to include parents in their child’s learning. Parents and adults can help improve a child’s critical and analytical thinking skills, debate skills, and help them connect to events happening in the world. This can provide a way for families to learn more about each other’s opinions and interests and provide a new avenue to connect and listen to each other. You may want to have parents start with a few of these stories.

NOTE: We’ve also created a sample email you can send to your students’ parents or adults at home about listening together with Listenwise.

Keep the conversations going!

The Listenwise Team


Listening Comprehension Data from 2 Schools Using Listenwise

We get asked all the time, “Have you seen that practicing listening with students improves test scores?” The short answer is yes and we have some evidence from the data generated by our Listenwise Quiz to prove it.

We know from cognitive research that increased listening practice will result in improved comprehension (Horowitz 2012). While this seems intuitive, we have been searching for deeper insight on how practice impacts performance on our listening comprehension assessments. We know that students in Clovis, CA who used Listenwise improved their listening scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) by 12% from 2016 to 2017, and 6th grade students in Paicoma, CA who used Listenwise in 2017 performed 14% higher on the listening component of the CAASPP than 7th and 8th grade students who did not use Listenwise.

Over several months this past spring, we partnered with teachers across the country to understand the impact of using Listenwise in classrooms and collected data using Listenwise quizzes. Our study included 10 middle and high school classes with a range of 10-31 students per class. Each class took between 4-8 quizzes over the course of 4-12 weeks. Out of the 10 classes included in the data analysis, 6 showed an increase in listening comprehension scores over time after using Listenwise. Each quiz has five questions, and these classes averaged a gain of an additional correct answer, or about 20%, by the end of the study.

Below are regression analyses from two classes of 31 students who took 8 quizzes within a 2 month time frame. Each demonstrated improvement over the course of the study.  Let’s look at the results:

Students in this class took 8 quizzes over the course of one month. While individual student scores fluctuated, overall the class showed an upward trend and their listening comprehension improved by 20 percentage points over the course of the study.  On early quizzes, on average the class scored below three points, while by the final quizzes the average score was just above three points. With each additional quiz the class average increased.

Students in this class completed 8 quizzes over the course of 2 months. While individual student scores fluctuated, overall the class showed a consistently positive trend. These students improved their listening comprehension by 20 percentage points over the course of this study, increasing the class average with each quiz that was taken.

While the data sets are not equal, both show positive growth trends. The results from these students show that listening can be improved with targeted instruction and practice. While further research is necessary to confirm growth at scale, initial data shows that Listenwise, when used as part of instruction, can significantly enhance students’ listening comprehension. This comes at an important time as listening skills are assessed in 15 states and are an anchor standard in the CCSS.

Please share your experiences using our quizzes with your students in comments. If you have a great story about how you teach/assess listening with your class, please share with us! We’d love to feature you on our blog!

We hope everyone had a great summer break, and are getting back into the swing of things now that it’s back-to-school time. We’ve enjoyed listening to a lot of podcasts this summer and wanted to share some of what we have been listening to.  Maybe you will find a new favorite podcast yourself to listen to on your work commute or weekends!

Is there a podcast that you love that we missed? We’d also like to feature podcasts you LOVE – record your voice on your phone or computer and email us at: chelsea@listenwise.com and you could be featured in our blog!