Bell ringer question: What podcasts have you listened to or heard of? What are they about?
Vocabulary: Podcast, but don’t have them fill out the definition yet.
Discussion of the unit
Last class period, we discussed diction and projection. These are two tools all actors need to know, but they don’t really add to the character an actor is creating. For the rest of this unit, we are going to be focusing on creating character with our voices. In order to do that, we are going to create podcasts. Have a student answer “What is a podcast?” Then have them fill out the definition of podcast on their vocabulary. (Podcast: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. Etymology: ipod+broadcast)
Listening to Podcasts
In order to get a better idea of what podcasts are, we’re going to listen to a variety of clips from podcasts. Have the students listen to a few different podcast clips. Be sure to include podcasts of all different types. Some podcasts clips could be from podcasts like “the truth” “welcome to nightvale” “lore” etc. As students listen, have them focus on not the content of the podcast, but rather the format of the podcast. For example, the truth is a storytelling podcast with a host who introduces each story and advertises different products and websites.
Discussion of Podcasts
Ask the students about the format of each of the different podcasts. Go through them one at a time. Students could bring up things like the number of host the podcasts has, or that the podcast had commercials, they had a guest on the podcast, the topic of the podcast, the different type of people that were in the podcast, the jingle at the beginning of the podcast, etc. Anything that they want to say about the podcast itself and its format. Write these things on the board for students to reference.
After you’ve gone through each podcast, have the students create a list of what was similar about the podcasts and what was different. For example:
Topic of the podcast
Number of hosts
Interview vs. 1 person talking about a topic
Creating a rubric
Now that the students have identified some of the things that make up a podcast, have them come up with a list of things that they each need to include in their podcasts. For example: Commercials, a host, guest stars, etc. Write down the things that the class decides needs to be included in their podcast. As a class come up with a time limit for the podcasts (somewhere between 5 and 7 minutes would probably be best, but get the class’s input as well). Tell the class that they need at least 2 people in each group, but not more than 5 (this will ensure that students don’t have to do all the work alone, but they also can’t sit back and let their teammates do the work). The rest of the podcast is up to them. They are free to decide what topic they want their podcast to be about, if they want to have “guest stars” or not, if they want to talk about a certain topic or if they want to do a storytelling type of podcast, etc. Do tell them that the point of creating these podcasts is to show CHARACTER using voice, so they can’t choose to be themselves in their podcast, they have to choose a different character that they would like to play in their podcast.
Let the students know that the type of podcast that they choose to do will determine the work that they need to do. For example, if they decide that their podcast discusses a different type of car each week, then they will need to research the car and figure out what aspects of the car they want to talk about. If their podcast tells a different story each week, then they need to create a script for their story.
As a class, brainstorm an idea for a podcast using the Podcast outline worksheet. This will allow students to understand what’s on the worksheet itself, but will also model how to brainstorm ideas for their podcasts.
Working on outline
Have the students get together with their groups and fill out the Podcast outline worksheet. As they are working, go around to each group to ensure that they are on task and that they are coming up with some good ideas for podcasts.
Students can be assessed on their podcast outline worksheet.
Note: After teaching this lesson, use the things that the students came up with to create a rubric for their podcasts. Include categories on each of the vocal qualities that you will teach in the coming lessons.