Image of Mr. Palmer and three students involved in the Studio 56 Podcast.

Students in Mr. Palmer’s Grade 5/6 class at Harrowsmith Public School launched a podcast last school year to engage their families in the happenings of the classroom beyond a standard newsletter.

The students explored the idea of a podcast because they felt that using a creative and modern way to inform their families would allow them to share ideas through their own voices. This would likely mean parents and guardians would be more invested in listening to the information being shared.

Each week, a host and panel of students were selected to complete the podcast dubbed Studio 56. As a group, they were responsible for managing a schedule of topics to discuss and inviting a guest to have on the air. They were to list questions and prepare for their interview to allow the audience to get to know people involved in and around the school and board.

All of the topics were student driven. They pulled from ideas discussed in class. The goal was to listen to the students and allow them to feel safe to use their voices. “Our goal was to allow students to feel heard,” said Mr. Palmer. “We also wanted to improve conversational skills and focus on supporting thoughts or opinions with reasonable ideas. This influenced our writing skills in a very positive way.”

Student Jeremy said the podcast gave all of the students a chance to open up about their thoughts. “It’s unique and exciting because we are only ones doing this in the district. It also gives us a chance to come out of our box a little and feel more comfortable speaking. It’s been an amazing experience for all of us.”

The last podcast included an interview with Director of Education Debra Rantz. The equipment required for the podcast was funded by the Harrowsmith Parent Council.