Voices of Change: Eighth-Grade Podcasting Project

By Mr. Thomas Narducci, Middle School Social Studies Teacher

In Mr. Narducci’s eighth-grade social studies class, students are delving into history in a dynamic and modern way – through podcasting. This innovative project not only engages students with the rich tapestry of American history but also equips them with valuable skills for the future.

Throughout the third quarter, students have been immersed in various topics, from the complexities of poverty in America to the transformative movements of the Great Society. They’ve explored the waves of immigration that shaped the nation in the 19th and 20th centuries, delved into human rights struggles, and examined pivotal moments in civil rights and women’s rights movements.

The task assigned to these budding historians was multifaceted: research, write, record, and edit a podcast episode focusing on a topic from the curriculum. Each episode was to present a blend of historical context and contemporary relevance, highlighting both the challenges and accomplishments woven into America’s narrative.
One distinguishing feature of these podcasts is the inclusion of live interviews with guests possessing expertise and unique perspectives on the chosen topic.

To prepare for this aspect, students were privileged to hear from experienced podcasters, including Katia Lindor, the host of the “Un-a-parent” podcast. Ms. Lindor shared insights into the art of podcasting, offering tips on crafting compelling narratives, conducting engaging interviews, and leveraging technology to enhance storytelling. This not only adds depth to the discussion but also provides students with firsthand exposure to diverse viewpoints, enhancing their understanding of complex issues.

But the project isn’t merely about recounting the past – it’s about honing essential skills for the future. Through podcasting, students practice communication, collaboration, technology literacy, and public speaking. These are the very skills that are in high demand in today’s world, regardless of one’s chosen career path. Mr. Narducci’s emphasis on real-world, scenario-based learning ensures that students are not just memorizing facts but applying knowledge in practical ways. By integrating podcasting into the curriculum, students learn to craft compelling narratives, engage with different mediums, and present their findings to a broader audience. “It is my hope that students never ask themselves, ‘When am I ever going to use this?!’ and that they understand what we offer them now has value for later.

Moreover, this project isn’t confined to the classroom. At the end of the year, students will showcase their podcasts as part of their e-portfolio website, demonstrating their ability to produce high-quality content and apply their skills in a real-world context. In Mr. Narducci’s class, history comes alive through the power of storytelling. As students weave together the threads of the past, they’re not only gaining a deeper understanding of American history but also preparing themselves for success in the digital age.