Every week, seven fifth graders use a silver mic, audio editing software and a radio voice to tell their peers and family the recent events and announcements that are happening at Kegonsa Elementary School.
The Bluegill News, a podcast that has been airing weekly for the past two years, gives students a voice outside of the classroom, librarian Kristin Rosenberg said. Students often talk about personal themes that relate to students and adults, in addition to upcoming events.
Rosenberg said she thought the idea of a podcast would be a good way to reach families who get bogged down with other forms of communication from the school.
“I’m a mom, and if you send me a newsletter, my eyes will probably touch the page, but I might not necessarily intake that important information,” Rosenberg said. “Whereas, as I am a commuter, I listen to podcasts all the time … you know, you can only send home so many papers.”
The Bluegill News is recorded and released on Friday. After writing the script and recording, the team edits the audio and adds music. They use a streaming website called podbean to air the podcast. It starts with announcements and always ends with a joke. The podcasts center around a theme, varying the discussion topic every week.
This year, the group has centered its conversations on mindfulness and gratitude which is to help the “listener take care of themselves physically and mentally,” one podcast explained.
On an episode that aired Nov. 8, students discussed positive self talk and took turns reminding peers about their inner monologues.
“When using realistic self talk – ‘This is hard’ – try to follow it up with positive self talk, ‘This is hard and I can do it,’” one of the podcasters said in the episode.
That episode continued with examples of positive self talk: “This is difficult but I can figure it out. I can’t do this right now, but I will ask for help and we will get it done together. Remind yourself that you are capable, you can do it, and you are doing a good job.”
“Because you are,” the group said in unison.
Other topics have included how to react to someone who is upsetting you, and how being grateful can improve your mental well-being. In that episode, students cited sources from the Huffington Post and Harvard Medical School.
Rosenburg said the students are learning essential technology skills while recording. They are learning to speak clearly and not talk over each other, because when the recording picks up multiple voices, the audio becomes jumbled.
One of the most important lessons, Rosenberg said, is that the students learn it is OK to fumble and make a mistake.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out,” one podcaster told the Hub. “Like sometimes, it might not process or you might start when (Rosenberg) didn’t have the mic on or or you mess up, and then, you just have to keep trying.”
The podcasters told the Hub that to record the best audio, they have to remember the mic picks up every sound. So when they have to laugh, they run to the other side of the library while giggling.
The students’ favorite part, they said, is often the bloopers. The group replays those highlights and laughs together about them.
At the end of every episode, podcasters encourage listeners to tune in again, in unison.
“That is all for this week. Catch us again next time on the Bluegill News.”