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Why Should You Use Podcasts in Middle School?

Podcasts are a fantastic way to consume information and get free entertainment. I love using podcasts in middle school. Students like lesson variety, and using podcasts provides an additional way of getting information.

Why Should You Use Podcasts in Middle School?

There are many benefits to using podcasts in the middle school classroom. 

  1. They are short pieces of content. They are not lengthy like some audiobook chapters tend to be.
  2. They are very engaging – voice actors, sound effects, and cliffhangers.
  3. They are accessible. Students can listen to the audio file and/or read the transcripts.
  4. Access from anywhere since they are hosted online. Students can access these files online or at school.
  5. Podcasts come in a variety of topics, genres, and subjects. I am sure everyone can find something they would like.
  6. Narrative podcasts require the same reading comprehension skills from students as other narrative works.

Podcasts can provide real-world connections through the use of non-fiction podcasts and are fantastic for a variety of settings – whole class activities, independent study, or supplemental material. Students may also become interested in creating their own podcasts once they start listening! 

The Podcast Creation Assignment will help your students learn how to create their own podcasts through detailed lessons and a scaffolded assignment. You can find the Podcast Creation Assignment on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Popular Middle School Podcasts

As the popularity of podcasts in the classroom continues to grow, so does the number of podcasts available for classroom use. 

Here are some popular ones: 

  1. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
  2. Six Minutes
  3. Remy’s Life…Interrupted
  4. Becoming Mother Earth
  5. Tumble Science
  6. Smash Boom Best
  7. Brains On! 
  8. Wow in the World
  9. Short & Curly
  10. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Of course, with any of these podcasts, you’ll want to give them a listen before showing them to students to ensure they’re appropriate for your classroom. But it’s safe to say that if your students are hankering to know more about a topic, there’s probably a podcast about it! 

Free Podcasts in Middle School Workshop

Want to try using podcasts in middle school with your students but are not sure where to start? Maybe you already use podcasts but want more ideas on using them with your students. If you’re nodding in agreement, you need to sign up for my FREE virtual workshop, “How To Use Podcasts In The Classroom.”

Teachers will come away with practical ideas on integrating podcasts into existing lesson plans. Click the image below to grab your spot in this free virtual workshop.

Ready to go? Try the serial mystery, The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel.

Mars Patel Unit from 2 Peas and a Dog

Once your students start listening to Mars Patel, they will be excited to listen until the very end! The Mars Patel podcast is a fictional story about a group of friends investigating the disappearance of one of their classmates. It’s mysterious and engaging, and its serial nature means students will be left wanting more after each episode! 

The Mars Patel Mega Bundle includes units for all 3 seasons of Mars Patel and will keep students engaged while learning about literary elements and literary devices and practicing their reading comprehension skills.

What’s Included:

✅ Units For Seasons 1-3
✅ Digital Escape Room
✅ Detailed Lesson Plans
✅ Teacher Guide
✅ Anchor Charts
✅ Editable Comprehension Questions & Unit Tests
✅ Self-marking Google Forms Quizzes
✅ Literary Elements Slideshow
✅ Graphic Organizers
✅ Summative Tasks

Here’s the outline for the first unit:

  1. Podcast Non-Fiction Article & Comprehension Questions (contains regular & modified text, audio file)
  2. Making Predictions Graphic Organizers
  3. Mars Patel Sketching Sheets Graphic Organizers
  4. Mars Patel Podcast Episodes #1 – 10 Comprehension Questions (PDF, Editable, and Self-Marking Google Forms versions)
  5. Podcast Reading Strategies Graphic Organizers
  6. Literary Elements Lessons and Graphic Organizers
  7. Mars Patel Unit Test (PDF, Editable, and Self-Marking Google Forms versions)
  8. Create Your Own Podcast Project

What teachers are saying about this resource: 

“As a teacher newly switched from teaching grade 4 students to Grade 8 students, I knew I would have to look for more creative and different methods to engage these students with ELA. This resource does that. My students love that they can just listen instead of always reading texts. This also leads to great discussion and interesting writing.” – Zainab J. 

“I started using this as a listening activity for my advanced ESOL students. They loved it! Even my chattiest students were engaged and if they were chatting, it was about the story line. The comprehension questions are great and the other resources offer flexibility for every classroom. I would HIGHLY recommend this!” – Sabryna V. 

Find the Mars Patel Mega Bundle Seasons 1-3 on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

Do you have time for Six Minutes? 

The Six Minutes podcast is a huge hit with middle school students – for good reason! Each episode is only six minutes long, and the story is mysterious and thrilling enough to keep students engaged and eager to listen. 

Six Minutes follows the story of an 11-year-old girl named Holiday who is pulled from the cold Alaskan waters with no memory of who she is or how she got there. It combines elements of mystery, science fiction, and mystery that make it an engaging listen for students. 

The Six Minutes Podcast Bundle is the ultimate resource for your English Language Arts classroom. It includes a quiz for each of the 205 episodes of the podcast, as well as a journal prompt for each. There is also a podcast choice board task and a non-fiction article to excite students about listening to podcasts in the classroom. 

Here’s what teachers have said about the Six Minutes Unit Podcast Bundle: 

“My students loved listening to the podcast and were eager to complete the accompanying journal or quiz that I assigned because they were so engaged with the content. An easy and efficient way to assess students’ comprehension and their writing.” – Laura D. 

“This was a lifesaver!! My students loved the 6-minute podcasts and these were easy to assign to students in Google to evaluate their understanding of the podcast. I will use theses again next year!!!” – Michele N.

You can find the Six Minutes Unit Podcast Bundle on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD. You can also read more about this bundle here: Six Minutes Podcast Lessons

Dive Into Media Literacy With These Complete Podcast Bundles

Story-telling podcasts are great with students, but there is also a wealth of podcasts devoted to non-fiction and media literacy. These podcasts are the perfect tool to enhance your students’ listening comprehension skills. 

2 Peas and a Dog has created Podcast Listening Comprehension bundles for Grades 6, 7, and 8, centred around high-interest podcast segments about consumers, companies, and marketing. Each bundle includes 12 podcast listening comprehension lessons, complete with pre- and post-listening questions, journal entries, and learning extension activities. 

All bundles include: 

  • Detailed Lesson Plans
  • 12 Listening Comprehension Lessons
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Journal Entries
  • Answer Keys
  • Print & Digital Formats

The Grade 6 Podcast Listening Comprehension Bundle includes podcast lessons on topics such as back to basics tech, fast food prices, and the decline of shopping malls. You can find it on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

The Grade 7 Podcast Listening Comprehension Bundle includes podcast lessons on topics such as using drones for delivery, dollar store prices, and QR code restaurant menus. You can find it on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

The Grade 8 Podcast Listening Comprehension Bundle includes podcast lessons on topics such as unit pricing in grocery stores, ghost kitchens, and impulse shopping. You can find it on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

Here’s what some teachers have said about these bundles: 

“My students loved this resource and the opportunity to engage with podcasts in a meaningful way. Students loved the discussion opportunities and I found the resource to be well organized and so easy to use! I even found this to be a great resource to use when I lost prep, or needed a quick filler activity, even after our podcast unit had ended. Highly recommend.” – Jennifer R. (Grade 7 Podcast Listening Bundle)

“My students and I enjoyed using this resource. What a great resource to help create meaningful lessons after testing is complete and students still need to be engaged in the learning process. My students were able to answer the questions and use their listening skills to comprehend on a deeper level. Thanks!” – Hailey Z. 

More Resources for Using Podcasts in Middle School: 

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