Sunday, December 21, 2008

Survival Mode

Any of you who are teachers will understand when I say we educators will do just about anything to keep our students calm and focused the week before any holiday, but most especially the week before Christmas. So, last year I stole an idea (as ALL good teachers do) from Mrs. Kirkpatrick. Using iMovie I gave the students an assignment I call "Christmas Means" podcast.

Basically, they are asked to come up with at least 8 phrases to finish the statement, "Christmas Means..." Then, they find pictures to go with each of the statements, a Christmas song to play in the background and finally they record their voices reading off the statements they came up with.

Some chose to use humor, which was perfectly fine and actually welcomed. Others chose to be serious which was okay, too. As always, some of the results were amazing.

And, as any good teacher does, I worked right along with them, making my own "Christmas Means" podcast. I love this project for several reasons. First, it allows the kids to look deeper inside themselves as to what Christmas really is about to them personally. Second, it allows me a moment of witness to my students about my beliefs and feelings towards the true meaning of Christmas, something I didn't truly appreciate until long into my adulthood. Lastly, it keeps my students focused and calm the last week before Christmas break. Not to mention the majority of them love the project itself because it involves iTunes, their voice and the computer. The only thing they might rather be doing in my class is watching a movie or sleeping, the latter of which is not even an option and the former of which already happened before Thanksgiving and therefore won't happen again this school year.

Anyway, here is my "Christmas Means" podcast, as well as a link to my English 2 blog where you can then link to my students' blogs and see their podcasts. Some of them didn't get to publish to their blogs because the server was down Friday. But keep looking and you'll find a few that did manage to get them published! If you do go look, please leave them a comment. They would love that!

Before you begin playing the podcast, scroll all the way to the bottom of my blog and stop the music!


  1. Cool video. You guys have a Merry Christmas.


  2. that is so sweet - i got goosebumps! thank you for sharing! merry christmas to you and richard!

  3. SO AWESOME!! I loved it! You almost made me cry! I guess I am feeling emotional today!:)

  4. It wouldn't let me leave a comment on the class blog so I'll leave it here. It was so great they ended on Jesus being born and then death so we can live. It was awesome. Please tell the kids what a great job they did and thank you for posting it. Good Job.

  5. Beautiful video! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Char,
    This is great! I loved the pics and the music. You have a really great reading voice as well! :)

    See you soon!

  7. I really enjoyed did great....thanks for sharing...have a great ya...steph

  8. Charla, I love the idea...and I love it! I was working with some kiddos on a podcast project for their Christmas presents for their parents, and I wish I had thought of this!

  9. Amen and Amen. I loved the song and the message. It was touching and spirit filled. Very nice. Thank you, sister.

  10. Hi:
    I came across your blog and really enjoy yur honesty. It caught my eye that you are an English teacher, since I am one, too, and grapple with some of the same thoughts and feelings. Anyway, I don't know if you'd be interested in this or not, but as a college English professor and ordained deacon, I have written a book. It's a Christ-based book called Teach and Reach for Classroom Miracles! Lessons on Teaching with Love. It's being published through CSS/Faithwalk Publishing and aimed primarily at teachers, youth leaders, and others who have the opportunity to empower others through Christian love. If you are interested, you may visit my site at My book is available for pre ordering through and
    Thank you, and best of luck to you.
    God bless!
    Wendy Byard


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