One podcast that I play for my eighth grade students every week is Lifeteen’s Sunday Sunday Sunday. The Bible Geek, Mark Hart, prepares young Catholics for Sunday’s Mass readings by highlighting the major themes and filling in background information.
Hart begins the podcast by reminding his listeners to get a pen and paper before he lists the readings for the week. For the next seven to ten minutes he helps teen listeners connect more easily with God’s word. His enthusiasm is contagious and my students always enjoy hearing what he has to say. Hart has an energetic, folksy voice that doesn’t get too preachy or overhanded.
One thing I like about the Lifeteen podcasts is how easily they can be incorporated into a class period. Each Friday morning, my Religion class begins by listening to Sunday Sunday Sunday. Students take notes, and after the podcast is done I ask my students if they have any questions or comments. I think Hart’s style and message would be understandable by students from 4th-12th grade, and the seven minute average run time is short enough for most student attention spans.
The only complaint I have is that a couple of months ago they changed the theme music. It used to sound like a monster truck commercial, which my eighth grade boys looked forward to each week. I don’t know if they were violating copyright, but they changed the opening theme, and the new music is much more generic. Still, I highly recommend playing this podcast with your students each week. You might even try pairing it with Lifeteen’s Catholic Movie Reviews podcast.