Podcasting the Seasons of Change

Section One: Project/Lesson Overview

Grade: 9

Subject: Social Studies

Lesson Title: Podcasting the Seasons of Change

Lesson Description: Students will use oral histories by Ronald Paul concerning the “seasons” They will listen to Ronald Paul’s histories of seasons and will create graphic organizers to show the difference between Ronald Paul’s stories and their own experiences, with a focus on climate and cultural change. Students will then create their own oral stories of their family/local traditions through the seasons in the same style in the form of podcasts. This lesson plan could be used as part of the Chapter 1 Introduction to Canadian Identity in the Atlantic Social Studies Canadian Identity text (Fitton et al., 2006), or as a class contribution for a Heritage Fair activity described in the Canadian Identity text.

Time Required: 3 x 60 minute classes

Specific Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Investigate how artistic and literary expression reflects the following aspects of Wolastoqiyik identity: landscape, climate, history, people-citizenship, and related challenges and opportunities
  • Analyse the effects of selected geographic factors on Canadian identity
  • describe where Canadians live and explain why communities are established and grow in particular locations 
  • account for the variations in growth of settlements due to physical and human factors 
  • explain the effect of natural and human resources on regional prosperity 
  • confront the issues of regional stereotypes 
  • Students will analyse the factors that contribute to the perception of self and the development of a world view 
  • Students will analyse and explain the ways cultures address human needs and wants 
  • Students will analyse cases and personal values regarding stereotyping, discrimination and conformity and how they affect individuals and groups 
  • Students will evaluate patterns for preserving, modifying and transmitting culture while adapting to environmental or social change. 
  •  Students will assess the effectiveness of interrelationships within and among selected organizations and systems 
  • Students will evaluate issues concerning the diversity and sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems 
  • Students will analyse the interactions within and between regions 
  • Students will evaluate how physical and human systems shape the features, uses and perceptions of place 
  • Students will apply concepts associated with time, continuity and change 
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding that historians are selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use, and that this influences their interpretation of history 
  • Students will interpret and predict patterns of causality and change over time
  • gain a greater appreciation and understanding of Wolastoqiyik and their history, culture, and conditions

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required: Access to Seasons of Change content
Computer lab with access to Apple’s GarageBand program, or Audacity for PC
External microphone for computer recording, or digital voice recorder to record in MP3 format
Server space with RSS feed indexing in order to store the podcasts (suggested format: classroom blog)
External computer speakers

Lesson Procedures/Teaching Strategies:
Day 1

  1. Students will begin by brainstorming about the activities in their spare time during the various seasons. They could do this in 4 groups, one for each season, and then presenting the information from each group to the class as a whole 
  2. Students will listen to the stories by Ronald Paul. 
  3. Students will identify differences between their own activities and those Mr. Paul describes. How are these different or similar to the students’ own cultural experiences? Are there differences caused by climatic or environmental change? Students may suggest stories from their own families – stories they may have heard from grandparents, parents, or elderly relatives. At the teacher’s discretion, students may choose to interview people who have first-hand knowledge of past events, such as elderly family members. 
  4. Students will write a draft copy of a story of their own family’s traditions in the changing seasons to form the basis of their podcast.

Day 2

  1. Students will use peer assessment to correct and prepare their finalized stories to be recorded. 
  2. Working with a partner or within a small group, students will record and edit their podcasts, adding transitions and music as desired.

 Day 3

  1. Students will listen to the podcasts created in the class. Students will then revisit the stories of Mr. Paul. What differences do they find? What similarities? How do they account for these similarities or differences? Students can reflect on these differences in a journal entry.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:

Students should be graded informally for their time on task and commitment to the project. Student podcasts should be graded by the teacher on a rubric similar to the following scale:
incomplete; not quite there yet; good effort; excellent work
• Establishes a clear purpose and consistently maintains focus
• Selects quality content
• Arranges presentation using own words
• Always written with the audience in mind
• Title entices the listener.
• Extremely well-rehearsed, smooth delivery in a conversational style
• Highly effective enunciation, expression, and rhythm keep the audience hooked
• Consistently uses correct grammar
• Volume of voice enhances presentation
Technical production
• Transitions are smooth, spaced correctly, and without noisy, dead space
• Makes every effort to anticipate and filter out unwanted ambient noise
• Effective use of music
• Sound remains at a consistent level throughout
• Podcast length keeps the audience interested and engaged

Students should also complete a self-assessment.

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources
Supplementary Resources:
Garageband for Apple Computers
External Microphone or digital voice recorder
Fitton, Avis, et al. Canadian Identity. Toronto: Thomson, 2006
Leavitt, Robert M. Maliseet Micmac: First Nations of the Maritimes. Fredericton: New Ireland Press, 1995.

Web-Based Resources:

Disclaimer: The recommended web-resources included here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers preview all links before recommending them to students.

Section Four: Additional Information
Modifications: If the technology to create podcasts is not available for the class, students may present their family traditions in the form of a short play re-enacted by their groupmates.

Additional Comments: While Apple does have the software to make podcasts easy to produce, it is simply a matter of being able to index an RSS feed for the MP3 sound files in order to make the audio files produced by the class into podcasts. Establishing a classroom blog, for instance using WordPress, makes this transition easier. It is also important that parents sign a release allowing the student work to be published on the internet.

This lesson should enhance the students’ understanding, knowledge and valuing of their own heritage and cultural backgrounds, while simultaneously encouraging student responsibility for involvement and participation in the learning process.

Maryanne Lewell, Saint John High School, Saint John, New Brunswick
c. 2007
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

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