NPR’s This I Believe

Presented by: Claudine Dixon

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


After 1) exploring the basic tenets of philosophy and beliefs through study, 2) reading classroom texts, as well as independently chosen books based on personal challenges, journeys, and philosophies, and 3) watching two videos, students reflect on their own belief systems. Along with deciding what drives their decision-making process, they look at their own personal, fundamental, and deep-seated beliefs. The students complete written essays and podcasts based on National Public Radio’s “This I believe” program as a culminating activity.


In preparation:


During recording:



Sally Brothers (Collaborating English teacher)

Arcadia High School’s This I Believe web site:



Weeks 1-15 (prior to podcasting):

In their 12th grade English class, over the course of 12 to 16 weeks, students will read and view a selection of literature exploring the topic of characters discovering who they are, what they believe, and life defining experience. Students were directed in the classroom by their English teacher through the texts and media indicated and independent titles will be chosen through book talks from the TL.  Students will discuss literature and will write an essay on the topic of what they believe, developing and creating their own tenets, philosophies, and deep-seated beliefs.  During the writing process, students will engage in drafting, editing, and both peer and teacher conferencing to perfect their writing. (See SM2 for teacher example of essay and SM5 for recommended reading; also see Supporting Materials for a link to the final products.)


Week 16

Having completed the final drafts of their essays, students will work with the TL to begin the podcasting element to audibly produce their work.


Day 1

Modeling and Guided Practice:

TL will show students how to record a podcast and will play examples of NPR “This I Believe...” podcasts.  Students will also learn how to save their voice memos to iPod in a WAV file format.  Voice memos should be saved in a Recordings folder on the iPod in the WAV file format. If the iPod classic is enabled for disk use, the student recordings can be copied from the Recordings folder to a folder on computer.  After the voice is recorded, the ipod is plugged into a computer and the file retrieved from the Recordings folder on the ipod.  (See SM1 for instructions and SM3 for sample podcast)


Independent Practice:

Students will begin recording their own podcasts, getting a feel for equipment used.  Several recordings may need to be created as students perfect their voice recordings.  Students will save voice memos to the iPod.


Day 2

Modeling and Guided Practice:

TL will demonstrate how to transfer their voice memos from an iPod to a computer for editing and how to use Audacity to edit the recordings. (See SM4)


Day 3

Sharing and Reflecting:
Students will share their essays via podcast with their classmates.  Because of the deeply personal content of the essays not all students will choose to have their work uploaded to the Library web page.


Supporting Files: