Willow Waves Podcast Studio

Amplify Your Voices, Share Your Knowledge, and Encourage Conversations

Welcome to the Studio - You're listening to Willow Waves, a student-produced podcast where kindergarten through sixth graders explore interests, promote solutions to global concerns, and communicate about everything related to our social and emotional learning. 

With engaging and insightful conversations, our K-6 students are leading in amplifying their voices and sharing their stories with the world. Our podcast provides a unique opportunity for authentic learning and encourages our students to develop their communication and critical thinking skills. Each episode is packed with fascinating insights and thought-provoking discussions that will leave you inspired and informed.

Join us as we explore various topics, from geothermal energy to plastic-free futures, International Women's History Day, and everything in between.

So, please tune in to Willow Waves and be a part of the conversation as we continue to showcase the incredible talent and creativity of our students, staff, and community.

We have many more Podcasts in production, and they will be posted to our YouTube Channel as they become available.

Willow Springs YouTube Channel

Food for Thought - 6th Grade Annual Food Drive Supports Local Food Bank (June 5)

Hosted by: Brook and Priya

It's Food for Thought in this episode of Willow Waves. Listen to discover the secrets behind our thriving culture of kindness at WSES. Annually, sixth graders at Willow Springs sponsor a Food Drive as their end-of-the-year service project. Students and families are encouraged to donate nonperishable "Kid Foods" such as macaroni and cheese, pop-tarts, ravioli, ramen noodles, cereal, canned meat, fruit cups, snacks, treats, juice, non-refrigerated milk, coffee, oil, flour, sugar, etc.

Sponsorship of this project helps to instill in our students the idea that, as good citizens, we help our community and support our local food bank. Please tune in to hear how we make a difference for those in our community experiencing hardship together!

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Positivity Project (P2) in Action at WSES (June 3)

Hosted by: Sanaa, Arsema, Mathew, Jon, and Ms. Plunkett

Get ready to be uplifted and inspired as we present a remarkable episode of Willow Waves, a podcast produced by K-6 students at Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia. We are honored to have special guests in the studio! None other than the co-founder of the Positivity Project (P2) himself, Jeff Bryan, and his team delve into the magic of positivity and character development with our WSES student hosts. Together, we explore the impact of P2 on our school community and beyond, sharing heartwarming stories of kindness, resilience, and personal growth. You will want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to hear the transformative power of positivity in action! Tune in to Willow Waves and uncover the secrets behind a thriving culture of kindness at WSES. For more exciting updates, visit willowspringses.fcps.edu.

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The Big Splash with Nivi (June 2)

Hosted by: Nivi

In this episode, we are joined by Torri Huske, an American swimmer, Olympic silver medalist, current American record holder in 50m and 100m butterfly, and one of only four American women in history to win six medals at a World Championships. In this Willow Waves podcast, we learn about her swimming story, Olympic experience, and life in and out of the pool.

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Solar Sleuths (May 22)

Hosted by: Musab, Jeremiah, and Charles

This podcast is a fun listening opportunity to understand more about solar technology.

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A Greener Planet (May 22)

Hosted by: Emma, Claire, and Arina

In this episode, we will interview Christine Brownson, a member of Get2Green. Get2Green is a part of FCPS that helps create a bridge for teachers and students to become environmental stewards.  Student eco-teams are active at many schools engaging in student-driven stewardship activities such as reducing waste, conserving energy, planting and maintaining wildlife habitats, and tending edible gardens. Listen to this podcast to find out more, or any other podcast we have about the importance of taking care of the planet.

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Bus Boys (May 22)

Hosted by: Noah and Leo

In this Willow Waves podcast episode, two 5th-graders interview a local bus driver from Fairfax County Public Schools and speak with her about why schools should move towards electric buses.

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The Solar Evaporators (May 22)

Hosted by: Elijah and Khuslen

Have you ever heard of the Bhopal accident? If not, check this podcast to see how they cleaned it up! We report on how to evaporate toxic waste. Listen and subscribe to learn more!

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The Super Solar Brothers (May 22)

Hosted by: Elijah and Khuslen

We interviewed the librarian of Rachel Carson Middle School to help us with the backstory of how they got solar panels on the roof of their school!

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The Green Mile (May 14)

Hosted by: Elizabeth, Simar, and Norah

Today's episode focuses on the Reforestation of abandoned coal mines. Did you know that some biodiversity trees aren't good for the environment? We interviewed Michael French from Green Forest Work and learned a lot about forests. We hope that you'll learn a lot, too! Enjoy!

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The Renewal of Jet Fuel (May 13)

Hosted by: Silas, Sapan, Mason, and Joseph

We journey through the history of aviation and will be teaching you about the future of flight and how you can help our planet! According to the ICAO, In a little over a century, our industry has gone from learning to fly to learning to fly faster, learning to fly further, learning to fly heavier planes, and now to having 100,000 plus commercial flights occurring around the world each day – representing over 400 departures per hour! There's never been a more critical time to ensure we do it safely for passengers and the planet. Listen to learn more!

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Lungs of the Earth (May 13)

Hosted by: Echan, Sammy, and Sung Min

What are the Lungs of the Earth? In this episode, we interviewed Dr. Gabriel de Oliveira, an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of South Alabama. Listen, and let's learn more!

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The Global Classroom (May 13)

Hosted by: Ashvin, Yaesung, and Bailey

At Willow Springs Elementary, in Fairfax County Public Schools, in Virginia, USA, we host a Global Classroom Project. According to our expert guest, Ms. Hardy, the goal of the Global Classroom is connecting students with peers to communicate and collaborate on Sustainable Development Goals (global issues) and to take collective action. Listen to our podcast to learn more and see how we're making critical & creative thinking a priority.

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Deep Blue Plastic Invasion (May 13)

Hosted by: Ira, Charleigh, and Saisha

This episode of the Willow Waves Podcast is about how plastic is hurting the ocean and beaches of our world. Plastic is hurting animals in the ocean and on beaches. More than 100 million animals die from plastic each year. Trash accumulates in circles of garbage in the ocean, called Garbage Patches. The biggest of these patches is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We hope you enjoy our episode and learn something new about plastic harming the world.

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Wonders of the Wind (May 12)

Hosted by: Sabreen, Noah, and Lily

 We will explore wind energy and its effects, mainly looking at wind turbines and their actions. We will have Dr. Susan Stewart from Penn State University here to help us explain wind energy better. Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoy our podcast, Wonders of the Wind!

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Melting Mischief w/Glacier Gals (April 18)

Hosted by: Baya, Antonella, and Mady

We are the Glacier Girls, trying to stop glaciers from melting even more than they have. We have contacted and interviewed Annie Boucher, a researcher and the Director of Operations at the Juneau Icefield Research Program. We would love to inform other people about glaciers' importance and the horrible causes that may happen if all glaciers melt.

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Coral Reefs (April 16)

Hosted by: Avery, Sahana, and  Tavni

We're discussing a crucial topic: the disappearance of coral reefs. Our respected guest, Liv Williamson, is joining us, a biologist at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Atmospheric & Earth Science and a research associate at the Coral Reefs Future Lab. Liv's expertise in marine biology and her experience on 60 Minutes and the podcast Water Women makes her the perfect guest to shed light on this critical issue.

This episode aims to raise awareness and educate our listeners about coral reefs and the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Coral reefs are vital to our planet's ecosystem, but their decline has been a growing concern. Liv will share with us the causes behind the disappearance of coral reefs and their impact on our environment. Tune in to Willow Waves to learn more about this pressing issue and how we can work together to protect our oceans and their inhabitants.

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Sky High Gardens (April 14)

Hosted by: Allegra and Natalie

During our podcast, we will be talking about rooftop gardens. Rooftop gardens are an amazing environmental solution. They help lower gas emissions and get healthy locally grown food to the people who live nearby. We also talk about the urban heat island effect and how rooftop gardens can help reduce city-wide ambient temperatures by up to 5°F.  Green roof temperatures can be 30–40°F lower than those of conventional roofs. We believe it is part of the solution to climate change.

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Toxic Tides (April 13)

Hosted by: Joelle and Evelyn 

Our podcast is about water sustainability. Many countries don’t have access to clean water or much water at all. This is a major threat that is increasing due to climate change. There are many people like Dr. Sunny Jiang working to reduce the number of countries that don’t have sustainable water resources. We interviewed Dr. Jiang who is a professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Samuel School of Engineering. Dr. Jiang and her research group are also developing a prototype portable pathogen analysis system that detects waterborne pathogens like fecal bacteria and helps reduce the risk of drinking contaminated water. We are hoping that our podcast will help raise awareness not only in our community but around the world. Many people are affected by climate change. The increase in temperature evaporates water, leaving people with little safe water to drink.

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Trash to Treasure (April 12)

Hosted by: Rowan, Jacob, and Bailey

Garbage is a messy and stinky business, but did you know it is contributing to climate change? Landfills release an estimated 109.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. But we are starting to make landfills that turn garbage into energy. We interviewed Don Cammarata from Covanta. They have created a Waste-to-Energy technology that reduces greenhouse gases, particularly methane, by eliminating emissions from landfills. Landfills are considered super-emitters of methane, which is 84 times more potent than CO2. For every ton of municipal solid waste processed at Waste-to-Energy facilities, greenhouse gases are reduced by up to one ton!

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Backyard Beekeeper Brothers (April 10)

Hosted by: Oliver and Chaz

Today, this podcast will cover bees and their near extinction. We are Chaz and Oliver, and we are going to make the connection between bees and climate change. We will also take you on a trip through time to understand the history and importance of bees. To find out more, we interviewed a backyard beekeeper, Frank Linton. He was able to share his experience as a beekeeper and answer our questions about how climate change will affect bees and our ecosystem.

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From Grey to Blue - Rethinking Air Pollution (April 10)

Hosted by: Chloe, Akshaya, Logan, and Isabel

Our podcast talks about the United Nations' sustainability goals around air pollution. To find out more information, we interviewed Andrew Clark from the State Department. He was able to help us understand how the global community is working to make our planet healthier. Join us in this episode of Willow Waves as we take you on an adventurous journey to connect the dots between air pollution and global warming. While you’re listening, you can check the air quality in your area at AirNow.gov Just enter your zip code, state, or city, and you will be able to check the level of air pollution.

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Oil Operations: Discovering New Technology to Cleanup Oil Spills (March 31)

Hosted by: Lucas and Lucas 

Our podcast focuses on different ways to clean up oil spills. Things like magnetic soap, wood chips, robots, and sponges. These are some of the best solutions to clean oil spills because they are environmentally friendly and are the most effective. They take the oil and leave our ocean clean for you and the marine life to enjoy. We hope you enjoy our episode of Willow Waves and gain awareness of how technology can help save the ocean during oil spills.

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Geothermal Energy: Deep Dive (March 31)

Hosted by: Nathan and Evan

Humans have always been interested in geothermal energy since ancient civilizations. So were we! So, we decided to interview a geothermal scientist named Mr. Brokaw to learn more about geothermal energy. Casey Brokaw has degrees in Geology and Geophysics and 10 years of Earth Science Experience. He worked in the Geothermal Research Lab at Southern Methodist University. With that, he gained knowledge of geothermal energy and how it can be used to help the usage of renewable energy. We learned a lot of things that we weren’t aware of, and I bet you could too.

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Plastic Free Future (March 31)

Hosted by: Evelyn, Lavanya, and Ashley 

This episode of our podcast focuses on ocean debris and how it is affecting the planet. We wanted to focus on one individual who is making a big difference in the future of our oceans. We were so inspired because she started her journey to be an advocate for the planet when she was just in high school. We interview Shelby O’Neil from San Juan Bautista, CA. She started developing Jr. Ocean Guardians in high school for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. To date, over 40 million single-use plastic straws have been reduced annually through O'Neil's corporate relationships. O'Neil has also worked in policy, resulting in SCR-139 No Straw November statewide resolution and the passing of a "Straws Upon Request" bill in California. We hope you enjoy this inspiring episode of Willow Waves.

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International Women's Day 2023 (March 30)

Hosted by: Chloe, Hannah, Mennah, and Ms. Hassen

Welcome to one of our very first podcasts recorded from Willow Waves Studio! In honor of International Women's Day 2023, which is celebrated every year on March 8. Our elementary school students from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, VA have come together to discuss the incredible achievements and ongoing struggles of women around the world. Join us as we explore the history of this important day, share stories of inspiring women from various fields, and discuss ways we can all work toward gender equality. Listen in and celebrate the power and resilience of women everywhere!

International Women's Day is celebrated every year on March 8, listen to three of our students and Assistant Principal Hassen as they discuss the meaning of and why we celebrate the day.

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Why a Podcast Studio in an Elementary School?

Podcasting can be an effective tool for supporting social and emotional learning (SEL) in elementary students. Here are a few ways in which a podcast studio can benefit elementary students and align with the principles of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Self-awareness: Podcasting can help students develop self-awareness by encouraging them to reflect on their own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Students can share their personal stories, thoughts, and feelings through podcasts, which can help them understand themselves better and develop greater self-awareness.

Self-management: Podcasting can also help students develop self-management skills by giving them an opportunity to practice self-regulation, goal setting, and time management. Students can work together to plan and produce podcasts, set goals and deadlines for themselves, and manage their time effectively to meet those goals.

Social awareness: Podcasting can promote social awareness by allowing students to learn about and understand the experiences and perspectives of others. Students can interview people from different backgrounds or create podcasts about social issues, helping them to develop empathy and understanding of others.

Relationship skills: Podcasting can also support the development of relationship skills, such as communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution. Students can work together in teams to create podcasts, giving them the opportunity to practice effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.

Overall, a podcast studio can be a valuable resource for supporting SEL and the CASEL principles in elementary students. By giving students the opportunity to express themselves, develop self-management skills, learn about and understand others, and practice effective communication and collaboration, a podcast studio can help students develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

Check out our Studio Pictures!