Standard Lesson

Creating a Persuasive Podcast

6 - 10
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 60- to 90-minute sessions
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This lesson is intended to expand upon students' basic persuasive speaking and research skills. First, students research a local, state, national, or international issue of personal interest. During five class sessions, students use multiple online news sources to research up-to-date information that helps them form and communicate their opinions about the issue; practice working with podcasting tools; and create and share a two-minute persuasive podcast in class. Note that, depending on your classroom plans, this lesson may have cross-curricular applications (e.g., in the areas of social studies, science, and economics).

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

Persuasion is important because it helps children develop other key skills, including problem solving,communicating, comparing, analyzing, and evaluating. Middle school is a good time to start developing these  skill-at this age, kids begin forming their own opinions about the world and deciding what's important to them.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Portable headset-type microphone with USB cord

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Overhead projector and transparencies



Before beginning this lesson, if your students need a refresher on persuasive writing, you may wish to adapt the ReadWriteThink lesson "Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing."

1. Explore the links listed in the Podcasting resources. Read all of the articles (preferably starting with HowStuffWorks: How Podcasting Works) to familiarize yourself with the topic and associated tools, and to generate ideas appropriate for your students' current needs.

2. Bookmark the News websites on your classroom or lab computers so students can readily access them for their research. Familiarize yourself with each site.

3. Fill out a sample Persuasion Map about a current events issue of your choosing. You will use this as a model in Session 2.

4. Search for and download or bookmark one short podcast to share with students in Session 1. Look for one that uses persuasive speaking to express an opinion.

5. Create a model podcast by following the instructions at Learning in Hand: Create Podcasts. You will share this in Session 3. Make a succinct list of the exact steps you used to create the podcast. You will want to either print this out to share or recreate the list on the chalkboard or chart paper for use in that same session.

6. Ensure that at least one computer in your classroom or lab is equipped with a working microphone (a portable headset is recommended for high-quality recording, but you can use the computer's built-in microphone if necessary) and any podcasting tools you have selected.

7. Print and photocopy the printouts from the Resources section. You'll need one copy of each handout per student.

Student Objectives

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Student Assessment / Reflections

  • 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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