By Celine Klosterman
DEWITT – Eighth-graders at St. Joseph Catholic School are taking their reports on saints to an audience beyond the classroom.
As part of an October lesson in both religion and 21st century skills, 20 students recorded 45-second podcasts about a saint to air on the DeWitt Catholic radio station KGYS 92.5 FM.
The podcasts – a form of communication whose name combines the words “iPod” and “broadcast” – were the brainchild of teachers Colleen Burke and Lola Blaser.
Burke, a language arts teacher, was considering how to fulfill Iowa core curriculum guidelines that recommend students be able to make a podcast by the time they graduate middle school.
Blaser, a religion teacher who requires eighth-graders to study various saints throughout the year, saw an opportunity to bring something new to the assignment. “I thought podcasts would be a cool way to share what the students were learning with a bigger audience. It means more to them if they know someone is going to be listening to their reports,” Blaser said.
Burke liked the idea. “Here at St. Joe’s, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate Catholicism and faith into lessons,” she said.
Students chose and researched a saint, wrote and rehearsed a script and recorded it on iPads the school acquired last year.
“It was fun to record ourselves and listen to what our voice sounds like, and it will be fun to eventually hear it on the Catholic radio,” student Kali Roling said. “Finding the information about our saint was very interesting, and it allowed me to discover another possible saint for my upcoming confirmation. In the future, I would like to use this application again because it is a fun and useful way to spread information to others.”
Students Katelynn Schnack, Matthew Lindsly, Taylor Grell and Erin Wisco also said they enjoyed making the podcasts and learning about different saints. “It was a good way to spread the Christian faith for others to learn about a saint’s life,” Taylor said.
A member of St. Joseph Parish will edit and format the podcasts to air on the radio, Blaser said. Airdates haven’t been determined.
She would like to create an assignment similar to the saint podcasts for seventh- and sixth-graders.
“This is one of the ways we can increase our participation in the Year of Faith,” Burke said.
To listen to a few podcasts, click the links below:
The reports will air on KGYS 92.5FM on a rotating schedule Monday through Saturday at the following approximate times:
There will be a local break on the half hour that lasts for up to 4 minutes. The podcast will play during this local break. The station will cycle through all 20 playing 1 at each scheduled time. This will get each profile on the air approximately every other day but at a different time each cycle.