This school year has been so great so far (can’t believe I’m on year #5!). I have left behind blogging for now to save time to do non-work related things, but I would like to share this moment from my classroom with you all. I am teaching a “Reading Podcasts” class, which is a hit with my students. We have listened to Radiolab and This American Life, and the kids get time to explore podcasts they want to listen to. We are learning a lot and having a great time together. This week they’ll be writing letters to their former selves about what in their lives they’ve learned so far. Here is mine:
Hello former self!
I’m writing this letter because you just listened to “It’ll Make Sense When You’re Older” by This American Life. I’m writing this letter to inform you that it’s okay to ask questions about life, and it’s okay to not know the answers all the time (or get angry when other people don’t give you answers). I know that you like to know things, so I’m going to let you in on some things that you don’t know at the age of 16—ten years from now.
I have a podcast addiction. I’ve spoken before about my love for narrative non-fiction, and when my husband introduced me to Radiolab on our first 18 hour drive to Colorado, then Freakonomics, I discovered a whole new world of interesting stories. Radiolab in particular crafts its episodes to be suspenseful and intriguing in a way anyone can get into—even high school students. Often, the topics are complex and prompt the audience to question all aspects of the question/issue/topic. Isn’t that what critical thinking is?
The same-old persuasive essay topics are killing my engagement lately. If you’re wondering how to use podcasts in the classroom, wonder no more! I’ve done the work for you.
Here are some specific podcasts that could work in the classroom and intrigue students: