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January 8, 2021

Teaching and Learning with Podcasts: Our 4 Favorites

Focusing on the things we can do, many of us have been walking.  

Walking is easy and good for us. It gets us outdoors, in nature, relieves stress, and invites our endorphins to do their thing.  

Beyond the physical benefits, walking is a fine time to listen and learn. 

Here are my Top 4 Podcasts:

Number 1: The Moth.  

Remember what it was like when you were little and you listened to a story?  

That is The Moth. Each week, storytellers carry us away with their real, raw tales broadcast live over the radio. Since Stay-at-Home and Shelter-in-Place have changed the way we are living and learning, The Moth created a weekly story activity to help parents and children with their distance learning curriculum. Their message: 

Social Distancing in response to COVID-19 has schools closed all around the world. In an effort to help parents and educators with some at-home curriculum, The Moth’s Education program is publishing a weekly storytelling activity! 

Each Tuesday, we’ll bring you a story from The Moth’s archive with some journal prompts and reflection questions! Please feel free to share with other families, educators and other individuals looking for ways to engage their hearts and their minds. 

To sign up for The Moth’s curriculum resources, click here, then listen to one of the enchanting stories from The Moth! Consider how you could you use storytelling in your curriculum! 

Number 2: The Cult of Pedagogy

“Cult,” is an accurate way to describe the dedicated educator-listeners who consistently give this podcast 5 stars. Jennifer Gonzalez, the podcast’s facilitator, explains she has access to a “ton of educators,” so she researches what they know then shares their intelligence, ideas, and insights. Most recently, I listened to episode 142, “Distance Learning: A Gently Curated Collection of Resources for Teachers.”  

Specifically, episode 142 covered distance learning how-tos like collaboration and communication (incoming, outgoing, synchronous), as well as how to create a space for easy-to-find information with standardized delivery to help parents feel less overwhelmed. 

It’s an enlightening episode, broken down into 4 parts:  

Head and Heart The Nuts and Bolts of Distance Learning Advice from Teachers in the Field Troubleshooting 

This podcast was full of knowledge organized in a way that ensured the listener could follow along. Gonzalez shared resources too, like the following Facebook groups, as another way for teachers to get information:  

Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning 

Dealing with Educational Inequities in Digital Online Learning  

The Cult of Pedagogy is loaded with topics, but this Distance Learning episode is particularly timely and worthwhile. Check out the Cult and see what you can implement into your professional practice! 

Number 3: BAM! Radio’s RTOL 

Consistent with the acronym-loving-world-of-education, RTOL stands for Rapid Transition to Online Learning. The episode I listened to was specific to ELLs, but there is a healthy variety of topics at RTOL. Here’s a glimpse: 

  • Managing the evolving new normal 
  • To what extent should we differentiate? 
  • 12 Ways You Can Meet Students’ Social-Emotional Needs 

The ELL episode included a panel of teachers sharing ideas in a Question & Answer format. Here is an example:  

Question: What can be done to provide effective instruction to ELL’s in an online format? 


  • Keep it simple 
  • Don’t rush or overload w/ content or information 
  • Focus on one skill a day 
  • Prioritize relationships while teaching remotely, individual check-ins and connection over content, at least initially 
  • Use visuals and videos 
  • Maslow before Bloom (social-emotional needs before content) 
  • Students want to see their peers, use video-conferencing 
  • Provide a Google form to ask the questions: how are you, what questions do you have for me, what can I do for you today? 

Take some time to explore RTOL and see what you can learn that will help you to teach your students, or apply your learning to a PLC, or RTI, or an IEP, or… 

Number 4: Unlocking Us

For many, Brené Brown has become a household name. If her work is new to you, Dr. Brown is  a researcher and professor of social work at the University of Texas-Houston, who has changed the way we live, love, and lead. Brown’s TEDTalk on the Power of Vulnerability went viral in 2010, and has been watched by over 47 million viewers. Unlocking Us showcases Dr. Brown’s ability to connect with listeners through her refreshingly honest point-of-view (and Southern charm), as she invites us to listen, learn, and think. Just in time. 

If you, or your students, would like to try podcasting, please review these useful resources:  


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