Greetings teachers! We’re thrilled you’re here and interested in “Wow in the World”. Hopefully this guide will answer any questions you may have AND provide you with lots of inspiration for how to bring more WOW into your classroom.
- To improve Listening Comprehension
- To develop students’ understanding of Narrative Construction
- To stimulate students’ interest in science and help teachers meet science standards
- To support and encourage more STEAM in the classroom
A podcast is essentially a radio show you get for free from the Internet, so that you can listen to it anytime you like. Podcasts have episodes, like a TV show would have, that are produced on a schedule that ranges from daily to “whenever they feel like it” (“Wow in the World” is produced weekly). The length of a podcast episode will vary anywhere from two minutes to two hours (an episode of “Wow in the World” averages 20 minutes).
“Wow in the World” is a podcast for curious kids, ages 5-12, that leads listeners on a journey away from their screens, inside their brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation. The whole idea behind “Wow in the World” is to help foster a sense of wonder with kids and to make them feel that they’re a part of this world, too! We know that teachers like you are also hard at work at this in classrooms all over the planet. So we’re a natural fit– teachers and “Wow in the World”, perfect together!
Hosts Guy Raz (NPR’s Ted Radio Hour, How I Built This) and Mindy Thomas (SiriusXM’s Kid’s Place Live) weave a character-driven and humor heavy narrative around the latest stories from peer-reviewed scientific journals about incredibly cool things happening in the world right now. Stories that spark listeners’ sense of wonder and ignite their curiosity to find out more. Stories that make kids excited about the world and their place in it. Stories that prompt both kids and grown-ups to lean in and say “Wow!”
You can listen to a podcast through the show’s website (this is called streaming). You’ll find “Wow in the World” available for streaming at https://tinkercast.com/listen/.
Or you can use an app like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Pocket Casts or Spotify to download your podcasts, which is essentially saving them to your laptop, tablet or smartphone. This allows you to listen anytime, anyplace, without the need for an Internet connection. Listeners typically subscribe to favorite podcasts within the app, so that new episodes are automatically delivered to their device.
We know that listening is a critical skill all children need to develop. More specifically, we know that listening comprehension is a critical component of successful reading comprehension and we see this reflected in Common Core State Standards which now include guidelines for listening comprehension starting as early as kindergarten.
Additionally, podcasts can be used as simply another medium to help teachers deliver content, provide enrichment or explain topics in a different way for students. “Wow in the World” helps teachers deliver science lessons while engaging students in an auditory scientific journey around new research in science, technology and innovation.
Here are just some of the reasons you might introduce podcasts into your curriculum:
- Meets Common Core Standards for listening
- Meets Common Core Standards for using Non-Fiction in the classroom
- Improves listening comprehension which has proven links to improving
- Critical thinking skills
- Problem solving
- The ability to analyze the media they consume
- The ability to retain information
- Communication of information to others
- Storytelling skills
- Reading comprehension
- Provides access to content children wouldn’t be able to read- students can comprehend content two-to-three grade levels higher than they can when reading independently
- Content is accessible for a wide (or mixed) age-range of learners
- Accessible to children with different ability levels- something for everyone
- Allows students to learn from someone other than their classroom teacher(s)
- Helps to reach students who best retain information aurally
- Second language learners may benefit from hearing spoken English
- Accessible to all- podcasts are free to stream or download
- Requires no special materials or equipment
- Ease of accessibility- students can access the information they want anytime
- Medium is highly engaging
- Fantastic way to introduce new topics/units of study
- Great for research- wide range of topics covered
- Helpful for teaching note-taking skills
- Provides a wonderful way to infuse more technology into your instruction
At the heart of it, this is a show about wonder and what classroom doesn’t need more wonder? “Wow in the World” focuses listeners on the incredibly wondrous things happening all around us that are worth talking about. As natural born scientists, children are extremely receptive to these ideas. They love investigating how the world works.
Our hope is that students and teachers will build on the excitement sparked by a particular episode and go deeper into something they have learned from the show or that they use the show as a tool to go deeper into a topic already being studied in the classroom. Either way, we think our show has a lot to offer both teachers and students. Our highly engaging, well-narrated content covers a wide range of topics through our signature zany-meets-brainy mix of hard science and imagination.
Tinkercast.com/membership is your go-to destination to help you spread the WOW to your classroom. Here, we offer teachers hundreds of online and hands on resources to accompany every episode, including:
- Free conversation starters
- Free related article links
- Extension activities (available for members)
- Simple science experiments
- DIY crafts
- Fun recipes
- Annotated book lists
- Printable worksheets (great for use in school or sent home as homework)
EPISODE AND ACTIVITY SELECTION:
- Episodes and extension activities can be sorted by grade, topic or standards. Teachers can also search by keyword in the search bar.
- You might choose an episode because it connects to a specific topic or unit of study currently being investigated in your classroom.
- You might choose an episode to be used as a springboard for beginning a new unit of study you are planning for.
- You might choose an episode simply because you think your students would be curious about the topic.
In addition, the activities below should be used to guide students to actively participate before, during and after listening. The intent is that they will ultimately learn to internalize some of these strategies and eventually use them independently when listening to other content.
Much like pre-reading activities prepare the reader to read, pre-listening activities prepare the listener to listen. Pre-listening activities may be designed to explain podcasting in general. They may also serve as a tool to prepare the listener to listen by activating prior knowledge about the topic featured in the episode and may help to set a purpose for the listening. The pre-listening activities that follow were designed with “Wow in the World” in mind:
- Discussion questions to go over before introducing podcasts for the first time-
- What is a podcast? Have you ever listened to one?
- How many folks have listened to a radio news program?
- How is it different from watching the news on TV?
- Defining the WOW- have students
- Define what “WOW” means to them
- Record what in the world WOWs them in life
- Share their WOW faces before listening
- Read aloud the episode description (or summary) and then…
- Prepare a KWL chart with the class
- Have students share what they already know about the topic with a partner
- Have students predict three things that may be discussed in the episode
- Have students jot down some questions they might have about the topic
- Have students turn to a partner and share a question they have
- Introduce the episode topic along with a few topic related words
- Introduce the episode topic and have students do a quick write to predict what might happen in the episode
- Project a related image and brainstorm what they already know about it
During listening activities focus more on listening comprehension by helping listeners to make connections, learn to monitor their understanding, generate questions, stay focused and determine importance from the content they are listening to. The during-listening activities that follow were designed with “Wow in the World” in mind:
- “Listen and Check”- did the three things you predicted would be discussed in the episode pre-listening actually come up?
- Jot down five or more phrases you’ve heard Mindy and Guy Raz use in past episodes (i.e. “bonkerballs”, “Here we goooo…” or “Dolphinately”). Take note while listening- how many did you hear in this particular episode?
- Conduct a Think-Pair-Share with students by allowing a few minutes for private reflection and a few minutes to share with partners. Then ask several students to share their key points with the class.
- Record key information and content from the episode using a graphic organizer
- Listen for key points to share afterward (use a note taking sheet)
- Draw and write down key words from the episode as they listen
Post-listening activities connect old and new knowledge for the listener. They provide listeners with an opportunity to summarize, question, reflect, discuss and respond to what they hear. The post-listening activities that follow were designed with “Wow in the World” in mind:
- Repeat listening is always a good idea as there is a lot to unpack in one listen!
- Set up a listening center for repeat listening
- Assign repeat listening as homework by sending home the episode link
- After listening, have students write a short summary, or record an audio summary. Then listen again and see if they can add any extra information.
- “Turn & Talk” to a partner to summarize the main points of the episode
- Have students jot down the biggest “WOW” they took away from the episode
- Record key information and content from the episode using a graphic organizer
- Have students come up with a list of follow up questions they might have for Mindy & Guy Raz
- Interview an expert- in pairs have students come up with a list of interview questions for an expert in the field (like a scientist, engineer, etc.)
- Gather together some books on the episode topic (use our booklists!) and have students delve deeper into researching the episode’s topic
- Using a site like Newsela or News-O-Matic and have students find and read a related article
- Try one (or all) of the episode’s related activities in class or at-home
- Have students create a poster, bumper sticker, or billboard design that creates awareness about the topic presented in the episode
- Write a persuasive speech, editorial/letter to the editor, or a letter to a lawmaker sharing your opinions about the topic presented in the podcast
- Conduct research about the topic of the podcast and write a 1-page report that describes the additional information you learned from researching
- Pose some follow-up questions to your class, such as:
- Why is the topic of this podcast significant/important?
- How are the world, country, and/or individuals being impacted by what is described in this episode?
- What did you learn from listening to this episode?
- What additional questions do you have about this episode/topic?
- Make your own podcast using the WITW format- what WOWs your students enough to research, or to write and record an episode about?
We understand that there are times when remote learning will become a necessity. So we want to do everything we can to support families, teachers and students during these times. As such, we’ve put together this guide to help you plan how you might incorporate Wow in the World into your remote learning plans in the event of a school closure in your area.
Organizations that specialize in online learning stress that successful remote learning does not attempt to replicate the on-campus school day. When using online or remote learning to bridge an interruption in school, the goal is to maintain connection, provide structure, and create ways for students to move through content more independently. Wow in the World is a perfect tool for encouraging kids to explore content independently and creatively!
So how can we help your communities use the WOW remotely???
Share the link to our entire library of 100+ episodes!
Are you ready to join Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas on Wow in the World and take a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology and innovation? Pick from over 100 episodes sorted by scientific topic here- https://tinkercast.com/listen/
Share the link to our free printable worksheet aimed at inspiring more scientific thinking and innovative tinkering!
With this worksheet (or Wowsheet) you’ll be able to turn any episode of Wow in the World into a learning adventure at home. Printable worksheet that works with any episode here- https://tinkercast.com/resource/take-home-wowsheet/
Share some ideas for follow up!
- sharing what made you say “WOW” with a grown-up at home
- calling a loved one and retelling the episode
- facetiming a friend and sharing what is wow-ing you now
For even more great post-listening ideas that you can share with your students, go to the teacher’s guide and check out the section “Wow’ing” your classroom- Before, During and After Listening Prompts.
We also have hundreds of online and offline extension activities available to our members to keep the Wow going. Also, please be aware that all firstbook.org teachers are eligible for free memberships here- https://www.fbmarketplace.org/wow-in-the-world
We hope you’ll give “Wow in the World” a listen with your students and try some of these suggested activities. Keep on WOWing!