I love a good podcast! From hearing stories about how people live around to world, to addressing questions you never knew you had, to diving deeper into current events, the possibilities with podcasts in the classroom are truly endless. Last year I came across Wow in the World, a podcast for kids from the folks at NPR.
With short, engaging episodes, this podcast – with dozens of episodes to jump into – is a fantastic choice for students. I featured it as one of the kid-friendly podcasts on this list, and I’m excited to share more details about this terrific podcast for kids.
Podcast for Kids
Wow in the World tackles topics and questions related to a range of topics. The hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas wonder aloud as they think about a wide array of issues and phenomenon in different corners of the world. From exploring why onions make people cry to why flamingos are pink in color, the topic of each podcast may vary, but it’s all under the umbrella of wondering about our amazing world.
You don’t have to listen to the podcast episodes in a particular order. This makes it easy to dive into the list right away. You can scroll through the episode list to search for a topic related to student interest. Alternatively, you could search for an idea you’d like to explore with your class. You might know a student in your class has a specific interest in a particular topic. For example, if they are always choosing books about worms or slugs – you might recommend a specific episode to a student or their family to explore.
Podcast Activities for Students
Introduce a new episode to students by sharing the title and a handful of keywords related to the topic. You might decide to read the description to students too. Ask students to turn to a partner and share a few things they already know about the topic. As they build their lists, ask students to jot down some things they want to know about the subject. This could also include things they hope to learn about in this episode.
After listening to the podcast, ask students to think about their lingering or unanswered questions. In pairs, students can compile a list of questions they would like to ask Guy and Mindy about the topic. They might also develop interview questions for an expert on the same subject who you’ve located through Skype in the Classroom or on social media.
Before or after listening to a podcast episode, introduce a reading passage that connects to the topic of the episode. You might find an article on Newsela like this one on the solar eclipse to share with students after listening to the Wow in the World podcast episode on the same topic. I share more reading resources and favorites in this free poster.
A Wow in the World podcast episode could be used to spark an inquiry investigation in your classroom. Students can brainstorm other topics they would like to explore. It could be related to a episode or inspired by the sense of wonder the podcast promotes for listeners.
Students can shift from content consumers (podcast listeners) to content creators (podcast recorders). They can make their own podcasts using the Wow in the World format as an exemplar. Using a collaborative, Chromebook-friendly tool like Soundtrap or an iOS-friendly tool like GarageBand, students can plan and record their own podcasts as they explore their very own curious questions and create a podcast for an authentic audience.
Students can create their own videos inspired by a Wow in the World podcast. They might spotlight a series of fun facts they’ve learned about a featured topic or create their own “wondering videos” that capture their own questions. Spark Video is a free and easy tool for creating videos, and I’ve created some graphic organizers that can help students get started with making their own movie.
Like any podcast or television show your students start listening to, they’ll become familiar with the hosts. They will laugh at their jokes and understand how their personalities connect to content. Wow in the World is engaging, informative and will undoubtedly spark student curiosity!
Find out more about Wow in the World by visiting their website!