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Lesson Plan

Creating a Persuasive Podcast

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Grades 6 – 10
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60- to 90-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa L. Owens

Lisa L. Owens

Issaquah, Washington


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1 (90 minutes)

Session 2 (60 minutes)

Session 3 (60 minutes)

Session 4 (90 minutes, but may take longer depending on class size)

Session 5 (60 minutes, but may take longer depending on class size)

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Access prior knowledge by discussing the elements of persuasion

  • Improve comprehension by researching current events

  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively organize and synthesize information to create content for a podcast

  • Develop oral presentation skills by creating short, persuasive podcasts

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Session 1 (90 minutes)

1. Welcome students to the lesson, Creating a Persuasive Podcast. Explain that each student will research a local, state, national, or international issue of his or her choice with the intention of creating a two-minute persuasive podcast.

2. Briefly discuss persuasive speaking or writing. Ask students what comes to mind when they hear the term persuasive. (Answers may include: strong opinion, strongly stated, good arguments, well thought out, convincing ideas.) Then ask what role research plans in creating a persuasive opinion piece. (Answers may include: uncovers facts, supports opinions, strengthens arguments, illustrates point of view.) Invite students to list examples of current events or other topics of interest that students might consider using for their podcasts. Prompt them to offer both broad and specific ideas. (Ideas may include: recycling, economic policy, war in Iraq, local traffic congestion, community curfew for teens, saving endangered species, school board elections, national healthcare, a state Supreme Court decision.)

3. Briefly discuss podcasting. Invite one or two volunteers to describe podcasts they have heard. Then have students answer the question, "What is a podcast?" Write responses on chart paper or the chalkboard. (Answers should include: audio or video file available on the Internet; "Pod" is an acronym for "Portable and On-Demand"; a play on the word broadcast because many people use them on iPods, the most popular MP3 player.)

4. Have students listen to the podcast you selected earlier. Mention that it's an example of persuasive speech and ask students to listen for any elements of persuasion. Afterward, ask, "What are the benefits of using the podcast format?" (Answers may include: convenient, fun, something new, you can listen to a podcast as many times as you like, podcasts can reach a wide audience, some people process audio messages better than print messages, free to create, anyone can do it.)

5. For the remainder of the session, give students time to select and research topics for their podcasts (approximately 60 minutes). If necessary, engage students in a brief review of the research process previously followed in class. Steps you may wish to cover include choosing and evaluating sources (both print and online), taking notes, and organizing and evaluating information. Offer to briefly meet with students having difficulty making a final topic selection. Suggest ideas based on your knowledge of those students' interests.


Have students continue their topic research as needed. Before Session 2, each student should have selected his or her topic and gathered enough information to create a two-minute opinion piece. Tell students to aim for a writing goal of 250-300 words.

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Session 2 (60 minutes)

1. Welcome students to Session 2 and confirm that everyone has selected a podcasting topic. Invite a few volunteers to share their topics in class. Ask them to state their position on the topic and one possible argument against it. Note: Duplication of topics is fine.

2. Distribute the Elements of Persuasive Speaking handout for students to refer to as they work on their podcasts. Review the elements of persuasive speaking, guiding students in a discussion that covers the following points:
  • Goal or thesis clearly presents the speaker's position.

  • Speaker uses three or more relevant facts/reasons to support the thesis.

  • Information is presented in a logical, easy-to-follow sequence.

  • Speaker understands the intended audience and tailors the presentation (e.g., language, arguments) accordingly.
Ask students, "How well did the podcast we listened to in the last session incorporate these elements?" Make sure students provide examples.

3. Model use of the Persuasion Map by sharing your completed map with students (see Preparation, Step 3). Explain that they will create their own maps to help organize the information they have gathered about their topics.

4. Allow students adequate class time to create their Persuasion Maps (30 minutes). Remind them that their presentations will be two minutes, or approximately 250-300 words in length. Tell them to focus on creating a clear, to-the-point thesis statement and providing important reasons and examples to help them craft a compelling podcast. Check students' progress by circulating throughout the classroom and answering questions or prompting action as needed.

5. Distribute the Persuasive Podcast Sample Format and assign the homework (see below). Tell students that in the next session they will start creating their podcasts.


Part I-Before Session 3, each student should prepare his or her podcast content. Have them use the Persuasive Podcast Sample Format as a guide. Explain that they do not need to use the exact wording presented but should follow the general sequence of points. Encourage them to substitute their own natural phrasing and adapt the format to work with their individual presentations and speaking styles. Ask students to type a draft that they can read aloud while creating the podcast version, and remind them that the speech length should be no more than two minutes, or 250-300 words.

Part II-Have students watch the Podcasting in Plain English video and read the Learning in Hand: Create Podcasts tutorial as background information before the next session. Assure students that you will provide them with specific instructions for creating their podcasts in Session 3.

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Session 3 (60 minutes)

1. Welcome students, and check in to make sure that each student has prepared his or her presentation content. Explain that in this session they will learn how to work with podcasting tools to create their presentations.

2. Point out the specific computer features (such as the microphone and recording and editing software) you have chosen for the class to use while creating their podcasts. Explain that students will create their recordings on one central computer with you standing by to prompt them through the process. Tell them that you will act as their podcasting coach when it's time to make the recordings.

3. Share your self-created podcast with the group. Have students comment on how well you covered the elements of persuasive speaking in your presentation. Walk students, step by step, through the exact process you used to create your test podcast. If you made a handout of these steps, distribute that now. Otherwise, write a list of your steps on the chalkboard or chart paper so students can refer to it.

4. Ask students if they have any questions on the Podcasting in Plain English video or the Learning in Hand: Create Podcasts tutorial they read for homework. Note which areas of the tutorial they can ignore (if any) and which ones are of particular use to them for this lesson.

5. Use the remaining class time to give students the opportunity to practice reading their presentations aloud so they are comfortable with the language before recording. Encourage them to work in pairs or small groups, with one person timing the speaker. Remind them that the podcast should be no longer than two minutes.


Before the next session, students should make any final revisions to their presentations. Tell them to review the Elements of Persuasive Speaking handout to ensure that they have covered the necessary points. Make sure they understand that they will be creating their podcasts during the next session.

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Session 4 (90 minutes, but may take longer depending on class size)

1. Welcome students to Session 4, where they will take turns recording and publishing their podcasts. Answer any last-minute questions about the lesson material or recording process.

2. Throughout the session, you will want to position yourself near the central computer you've designated. Students should have a good understanding of podcasting at this point, but they will not be experts. Your role is to keep students on task by prompting them throughout the process of creating their podcasts. Follow the guidelines in the tutorial or any specific instructions you have prepared. Cheer them on as their podcasting coach and help everyone complete their two-minute recordings.

As you work with students to create recordings, invite those waiting their turn to quietly review their pieces as necessary. Those who feel sufficiently prepared or have completed the recording session should engage in another quiet-time activity, such as homework or free reading. If you're working in a computer lab and your computers are equipped with headphones, you might encourage students to spend time during this session listening to other students' podcasts you've approved.

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Session 5 (60 minutes, but may take longer depending on class size)

1. Welcome students to the final session of the Creating a Persuasive Podcast lesson. Explain that each student will share his or her completed podcast with the group.

2. Have each student play his or her podcast for the class. For this listening event, you may wish to set up a single computer-or a handheld device attached to speakers-at the front of the room. Each student can then give the title of his or her podcast and hit play. Allow a brief round of applause after each podcast to transition from one speaker to the next.

3. When all students have presented podcasts, congratulate the class on a job well done.

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  • Observe students during Sessions 2 and 4 to make sure they adhere to the instructions and to coach as necessary.

  • Complete the Creating a Persuasive Podcast Assessment form for each student.

  • Immediately following Session 5—either on the same day or during the next class period—invite students to share reflections on their podcasting experience in a class discussion. Pose the following questions:
  • What did you learn from this lesson?

  • What was the most enjoyable thing about podcasting your opinions?

  • What is one thing we didn’t cover in class that you wish we had?

  • What was the most surprising thing you learned about the issue you researched?

  • Do you think the podcast is a good format for sharing persuasive opinion pieces? What worked? What didn’t work?

  • What was the most surprising thing you learned about the issue you researched?

  • Has this project inspired you to listen to—or create—more podcasts?


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