Every other blogger is busy setting goals, making resolutions, and planning for 2018, while I’m still wrapping up 2017. But that’s okay. Podcasts were a big part of my year in 2017. It’s probably not going too far to call it an obsession. While I continued listening to old favorites, I also found several new favorites to share here.
I fell hard for the Voices from the Middle podcast. I didn’t even discover the podcast until the middle of November at NCTE, but I still managed to listen to every single episode before the semester ended. Of course the conversation with Penny Kittle was one of my favorites.
The 30 for 30 podcast is a spin-off of the popular and the well-reviewed sports documentary series from ESPN. Think This American Life or Radiolab focused on sports. I do wish that there was a bit more gender balance in their stories: nearly every episode is about men’s sports. For a really interesting and unexpected story, try On the Ice, which profiles the first all women’s team to reach the North Pole.
Hurry Slowly is a podcast about productivity and creativity. My two favorite episodes are interviews with Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, a book about the importance of getting out into nature, and with artist Austin Kleon. Host Jocelyn Glei also produces one of my favorite newsletters, chock full of goodness every week.
Rough Translation takes a topic that we’re talking about and looks at how other people around the world are talking about it. All of the episodes are terrific, but I think my favorite is Anna in Somalia, about a political prisoner who survived a lengthy imprisonment in part because his neighbor in the cell next door “read aloud” Anna Karenina to him by tapping out every word, one letter at a time.
Who knew the legal ins and outs of Supreme Court cases could be so utterly fascinating? More Perfect continues to dazzle in its second season, which has a sharp focus on social justice and civil rights. You can’t go wrong with any of the episodes, but I’m especially fond of Sex Appeal because it features The Notorious RBG!
CNUSD EdChat is a hard title to remember, but this is a really solid podcast about teaching English Language Arts with many guests you’ll recognize. Once again, the interview with Penny Kittle is teaching gold.
The Yarn continues to offer short interviews with popular children’s and young adult authors and illustrators. Most podcasts are simply too long for me to use in class and I’m rarely organized enough to manage sharing an excerpt, so I really appreciate the short length of these interviews. They make easy add-ons at the beginning or end of class. My favorite interview this year was with Angie Thomas.
Note to Self focuses on how we can use technology more intentionally and purposefully. I found the interview with Chade-Meng Tan so inspiring. I mean, here’s a guy who quits his crazy awesome job at Google to go out and pursue world peace!
The Heinemann Podcast is another great discovery for teachers. Do yourself a favor and listen to all of the interviews with Cornelius Minor right now. You’ll be a better teacher and a better person for it!
Reply All continued to tell quirky stories. I often think I’m not that interested in an episode when I read the description, but then I start listening and I get hooked. Try the two-part Skip Tracer story to see what I mean.