Podcasts in the Classroom

Learn how to set up, use, and create podcasts in the classroom along with some of our favorite kid-friendly podcasts to listen to!

image of kids with headphones on

What is a Podcast & Why Listen to a Podcast in the Classroom?

A podcast is an audio program you download and listen to on a mobile or digital device. So basically talk radio on your phone or tablet. Podcasts can be purchased, downloaded for free, or streamed on various Podcasting app.

You can find kid friendly podcasts on the following free apps:

There are many other podcast apps, but not all are marked for kids. Pay attention to the age suggestion of the app. In the above list, they are all rated for 4+. While Google Podcasts and Stitcher are other favorites, they are marked for teens so would be more appropriate for a middle or highschool use.

The benefits of listening to podcasts in the classroom are similar to those listening to reading. From this Common Sense Media article, “Listening to stories helps kids build vocabulary, improve reading skills, and even become more empathetic.”

Setting Up for Podcasts in the Classroom

Think of a podcast as a modern “listening center.” You can set it a podcast station for multiple students to share one device, play a podcast whole group, or if you are 1:1, have students select and choose their own podcasts.

If you set up a podcast center, be sure to use a headphone splitter so multiple headphones can connect to one device. You can find headphone splitters that connect up to 5 devices like this headphone splitter for under $10. {affiliate link}.

You will also want to explore various headphone storage options. I put together some headphone buying, storage, and display tips in this post.

I love the graphic organizers that Miss West Best created for her classroom. They can work for most podcasts and help students organize their thinking before, during, and after listening.

Ashley from Teach Create Motivate uses these bookmark/pamphlets to keep students on task during their podcast center.

Elementary Einsteins uses podcasts as part of her Daily 5 Routine.

Shaunda Wasik from Upper Elementary Adventures has students unwind at the end of the day with the 6 Minutes Podcast (highly recommend this one or scroll down for more kid-friendly podcasts).

Choosing Podcasts for Your Classroom

Podcasts like any form of entertainment are subjective. There are some that are better than others and of course some that students will like as a matter of preference. I recommend allowing some student voice and choice as you narrow down the ones that students can access.

Ashely Bible holds a podcast tasting to introduce new ones to her class!

Or have students add recommendations and review to a bulletin board that all students can reference like Annette Franco set up for her class.

You can find large lists of recommendations by age here and here, but if you just need a handful to get started, you will notice that these show up on most recommendation lists:

  • Brains On
  • Tumble
  • 6 Minutes
  • Smash Boom Best
  • Eleanor Amplified
  • Ear Snacks
  • Wow of the World

You will also want to note how many ads run during the podcasts you have available to kids and if the podcast is serialized (or can kids listen to any episode).

Creating Podcasts

You can take it one step further and have kids create their own podcast! By far the easiest app to accomplish this is the Anchor App because students can record and publish their podcast through it.

John Sowash walks through the entire process using Anchor in the video below:

Anchor is for students 13+ so students would need to use the teacher’s account with an adult. Learn more about using Anchor to record a podcast here.

I recommend using a microphone. My favorite somewhat affordable option for the classroom is the Snowball microphone.

I learned about this mic from The Techie Teacher; she has other recommendations in this post.

Next, set up a designated quiet area in the classroom or hallway. My Recording Poster set is perfect to display for recording reminders.

I love the recording area by Sprout Classrooms.

I have more classroom recording suggestions here.

NPR has a very thorough podcast guide and resource list for helping students get started creating a podcast. There are printables and lesson plans, too.

Have you used podcasts in the classroom? What podcasts do you recommend for kids. Any other tips for creating or using podcasts? Reach out to me on social media @erintegration.

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