This blog series is written by Julia Domenicucci, an editor at Macmillan Learning, in conjunction with Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl.
Grammar Girl podcasts of every topic can be smoothly integrated with online classes. Take one of our previous blog posts (listed later in this post) and pair the suggested podcasts with one of our ideas for online assignments—or create your own!
Podcasts have been around for a while, but their popularity seems to increase every day—and for good reason! They are engaging and creative, and they cover every topic imaginable. They are also great for the classroom: you can use them to maintain student engagement, accommodate different learning styles, and introduce multimodality.
LaunchPad and Achieve products include collections of assignable, ad-free Grammar Girl podcasts, which you can use to support your lessons. You can assign one (or all!) of these suggested podcasts for students to listen to before class. Each podcast also comes with a complete transcript, which is perfect for students who aren’t audio learners or otherwise prefer to read the content. To learn more about digital products and purchasing options, please visit Macmillan's English catalog or speak with your sales representative.
If you are using LaunchPad, refer to the unit “Grammar Girl Podcasts” for instructions on assigning podcasts. You can also find the same information on the support page "Assign Grammar Girl Podcasts."
Assignment A:Assign students one or more podcasts to listen to before class. Ask students to evaluate the features of the podcast:
What elements does the student feel are essential to a podcast?
What does the host do to connect with the listener?
How do the host's tone and voice impact the listener's experience?
What elements of the podcast best helped the student absorb the information?
If your class meets at a certain time, discuss these evaluations over video or audio; if your class does not meet together, have students post their comments to a discussion board or shared document and comment on at least one other evaluation.
Assignment B:Assign several example podcasts. Ask each student to listen to them and then choose a grammar or punctuation topic. Students should research the history of their topic, including any recent changes or controversies, and then write a short podcast script of about three minutes. Then, place students into groups or two or three and have them peer review the scripts over email, a shared document, or another method. Don’t forget to have them cite their sources!
Assignment C:After writing a script (Assignment B), ask students to record it. Instruct students to create a podcast (or give them a choice between a podcast, video, or lecture slides with audio). Alternately, have students work on the scripts and recordings in small groups of two or three. Students should also adapt the script into a final transcript to accompany the final product.