Podcasts for the Winter Months

A rare sunny day in December!

The days are short and cold where I live for the next couple of months. Most days, I drive to work in the dark and drive home in the dark. I know it’s the same for people across the northern hemisphere but still, it can feel isolating. That’s why I get so excited about podcasts for the coming months. I look forward to a warm friendly voice or two to cheer me during the morning and evening drives to school. Here are the podcasts that I am looking forward to listening to in the coming months.

Cult of Pedagogy

To be clear, I would listen to Jennifer Gonzalez share her teaching wisdom in any season. Her podcast covers everything from classroom management strategies (for instance, one of my fall favorites, “When Students Won’t Stop Talking,” which was the story of my 5th hour last term!) to learning strategies (such as “Retrieval Practice: The Most Powerful Learning Strategy You’re Not Using”) to advice for reaching all students and ensuring they feel safe and honored at school (“Making School a Safe Place for LGBTQ Students,” “Twelve Ways to Support English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom,” “Four Ways Teachers Can Support Students of Color”). Gonzalez has a companion blog for her podcast (or perhaps the podcast became the companion to the blog) where she links to helpful materials and resources for every episode. That’s great news because I know I can look up the podcast episode notes when I am ready, NOT when I am driving. New episodes of The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast are released on Sundays.

Google Teacher Tribe

Kasey Bell of http://www.shakeuplearning.com and Matt Miller of http://ditchthattextbook.com are the hosts of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast, a show dedicated to using the Google Suite of Tools in the classroom. If yours is a G Suite school, you’ll want to listen to every episode in the archives to “harness the power of Google” in learning. Often Bell and Miller highlight the latest updates and changes to Google tools. For example, on one of my favorite episodes this fall, Google Slides Gains New Superpowers, the hosts explained the how and why of using add-ons in Google Slides. Google Teacher Tribe is a hard one to listen to while driving because I frequently want to be on the computer to try the tip they are sharing. All of the resources for every episode, though, are available on the companion website for practicing later.

Why I Write

Image from user StockSnap on Pixabay.com.

Sometimes I just need a little inspiration in my podcast. That’s where the NCTE’s Why I Write Podcast and host C.C. Chapman come in. Author and speaker Chapman interviews authors of all types about their process and their reasons for writing. Each episode begins with the question that serves as the title of the podcast, “Why do you write?” The most common answer is one that our young writers in the classroom will identify with: “because I have to” or “because I can’t not write.” As each author shares his or her process, there are opportunities to connect and inspire students with the stories of their favorite authors. From the YA and children’s literature realm, Chapman has interviewed such authors as Laurie Halse Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson, Brad Montague (author of the Kid President videos and book), Carmen Agra Deedy, Sharon Draper. One of my favorite episodes is the very first one in the series where Chapman interviews Brad Meltzer. The story Meltzer tells about the teacher who inspired him to write is one that will inspire you to keep teaching. Full notes for each episode are available on the Why I Write website. The show notes for some episodes also include a “classroom connection” with questions and ideas for using the podcast with students.

Book Love

Speaking of inspiration, Book Love is back for its second season! The podcast features Penny Kittle of the Book Love Foundation celebrating teachers, sharing the love of reading, interviewing the authors that inspire our students or us, and sharing book suggestions — lots of them. Listening to the podcast gives me the spark I need to reach the readers in my classroom, but my favorite part of each episode is the Book Talk at the end where Kittle or her guests share what they are reading or what the students in their classrooms are reading. The Book Love Podcast is produced by Kevin Carlson at Teacher Learning Sessions, so show notes, including the book lists, are available for each episode on the companion website. A mega-list of all of the Book Talk titles mentioned in season 1 is available here.

KQED MindShift

You may know the KQED MindShift website for its insightful articles on teaching and learning. The podcast offers the same insightful reporting in audio form. Hosts Katrina Schwartz and Ki Sung explore successful ideas in education for an audience of teachers, learners, and parents. My school, like many right now, is looking for new ways to establish a safe and consistent environment for all students, so I was intrigued by two stories on discipline strategies for schools — one on Restorative Justice and one on a Whole School Approach to Discipline. The MindShift podcasts are both practical and inspiring.

The Learning Scientists Podcasts

Another new podcast this fall is the Learning Scientists Podcast. The Learning Scientists website was co-founded by cognitive scientists Megan Sumeracki, Ph.D. and Yana Weinstein, Ph.D. to ensure that the research findings of cognitive psychology could find their way into the practices of K-12 teachers. Now with their new podcast, the Learning Scientists team tackles each of the Six Strategies for Effective Learning featured on their site. One nice feature of this podcast series is the way in which it is organized. The Learning Scientists air foundational episodes that explain single strategies and describe what the practice looks like for teachers and students. Then, in between an episode on each strategy they feature briefer episodes — called “Bite Size Research” — that feature a single research study that supports the strategy. All of their episodes are available on their website along with show notes, blog posts, and tons of free resources for teachers to download.

The Atlantic Interview

Image from user PIX1861 on Pixabay.com.

This new podcast had me at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ta-Nehisi Coates (both guests for the first episode). It may be my new favorite! Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg hosts conversations with leading writers, thinkers, and leaders in a variety of fields. In the inaugural episode, Adichie and Coates talk with Goldberg about race and gender in America — a topic that is both timely and necessary. Adichie says, “In Nigeria, I wasn’t black. I didn’t think of myself as black. When I go back home now, when I go back to Nigeria now, I get off the plane in Lagos and I just don’t think of race. I get on the plane and arrive in Atlanta, and immediately I’m aware of race.” I am immediately thinking of how I might use Adichie’s words paired with her Ted Talk, “The Danger of the Single Story,” which I show to my students each year as we study literature. Subsequent interviews feature National Book Award winner, Masha Gessen, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, and, most recently, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. The Atlantic Interview website includes not just show notes but entire transcripts of each episode which is a wonderful feature for rereading portions of the episode at a more leisurely pace.

Are you listening to some great podcasts that I missed? Please post in the comments below or share with me on Twitter. Happy listening!