The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast, Episode 174 Transcript
Jennifer Gonzalez, host
Read the blog post from Lindsay Patterson here.
GONZALEZ: I fell in love with podcasts about ten years ago, before I ever started my website or set my sights on creating a podcast of my own. I would listen to them while walking, driving, doing housework or any other mundane task that didn’t require much mental focus. As a podcast listener I have learned so many things about politics, history, equity, fitness, spirituality, and relationships. Pretty much everything I know about running an online business came from podcasts. And beyond the pragmatic stuff, I’ve also been entertained with crime stories, juicy gossip, comedy, and people talking about the minutiae of their lives in a way that makes it feel like we’re just hanging out.
As a podcast creator I’ve been able to have long, luxurious conversations with more than a hundred different people—really smart, insightful people—about their ideas and the things they’ve discovered about teaching humans. Not only do I get the benefit of those conversations, but then I get to turn around and let thousands of other people listen in and take that wisdom into their own classrooms. And I do it all from a desk in a medium-sized town in Kentucky. And I am one person talking about one small slice of knowledge. There are people doing this all over the world on tens of thousands of topics every day. The potential offered by this medium boggles my mind—how anyone with a smartphone can share what they know with people halfway around the world in a matter of minutes—we can learn so much from each other.
If you’re listening to this, there’s a good chance you’re already sold on the value of podcasts. But have you brought this incredible medium into your classroom in a substantial or consistent way? The goal of this episode is to convince you to do just that. My guests today—Lindsay Patterson, Marshall Escamilla, and Monica Brady-Myerov—are three major figures in the educational podcast world. We’ll be talking about the research behind listening as a learning modality, why podcasts make outstanding curricular resources, and the top four places you can find podcasts that are ideal for classroom use.
Speaking of great places to find podcasts, I’d like to thank Listenwise for sponsoring this episode. Listenwise is a fantastic collection of NPR podcasts, age-appropriate for grades 2-12. The podcasts come with easy-to-use lessons designed to build students’ background knowledge and vocabulary while engaging them on important current event topics. It’s great practice for meeting listening & speaking standards! With Listenwise Premium, you get built-in comprehension supports, automatically scored quizzes, interactive transcripts so students can read along as they listen, and more. Use audio stories as an equity lever to reach all your students – including those reading below grade level. Individual and school trials are available when you sign up for free at listenwise.com.
Support also comes from Scholastic Scope Magazine. Scholastic Scope is a powerful middle school resource that builds stronger, more engaged readers and writers. All year long, your class receives fresh ELA content in the format of your choice—print, digital, or both. Your students will love reading Scope’s thrilling stories, discovering new genres, watching amazing videos and writing about everything they’ve learned. And you’ll love that every story and activity builds core ELA skills, from summarizing to synthesizing. Visit scholastic.com/scope to learn more and use code 2021 to save 20%.
Finally, if you’re looking for some high-impact PD that won’t take a lot of time, check out my mini-course, Four Laws of Learning and How to Obey Them. In education, new ideas, tools, and strategies are coming at you all the time. On top of that, changing circumstances force you to make adjustments to the way you normally do things. With all of this spinning around you, it can be hard to find a clear path. What you need is a compass, a set of principles you can return to again and again when you start to feel like you’re losing your way.
This mini-course is that compass: A set of four “laws” for planning instruction that will produce the most powerful learning. In just about two hours, this short course teaches you the laws through videos, guided notes, and quick module quizzes to check your understanding. To learn more, visit cultofpedagogy.com/laws, and use the code LISTENER at checkout to take $5 off the course tuition. That’s cultofpedagogy.com/laws.
Now here’s my interview with Lindsay Patterson, Monica Brady-Myerov, and Marshall Escamilla about bringing podcasts into the classroom.
GONZALEZ: So I have a group of people to welcome. Normally I just say welcome to one person, but I’ve got three different people here. I’ve got Monica, Lindsay and Marshall. So welcome to all of you.
BRADY-MYEROV: Thanks for having us.
GONZALEZ: And what we’re going to do is just have you take turns just telling us a bit about who you are, and we’ll go ahead and start with Monica and then we’ll have Lindsay and Marshall tell us just a bit about what you do and why you’re here talking about audio learning.
BRADY-MYEROV: Well, I’m a 20-year veteran of public radio reporting and after creating audio stories for many years, I started Listenwise, a company that helps teachers in K-12 bring audio into the classroom. I guess you’d say I’ve become an expert on the science of audio and the research behind it. And I’m excite3223d to be here and share that today.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Monica, you are actually a return guest. You were on the podcast years ago to talk about Listenwise when it was called Listen Current.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes. We’ve been with you a long time and your loyal listeners.
BRADY-MYEROV: We know you’ve got some devoted podcast followers and audio lovers out there, so I’m thrilled to be back.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Okay. Lindsay, tell us, tell us who you are.
PATTERSON: I am Lindsay. I am the CEO of Tumble Media, which is a children’s educational audio production company. And I got into kids’ podcasts back in 2015 when I started making Tumble science podcast for kids with my co-host Marshall who’s sitting here with me. And Tumble was one of the first educational podcasts for kids, and so we really started hearing from teachers very early on that they were using the podcasts in the classroom and started sort of getting really, really excited about the educational side. So a lot of what I’ve been doing over the past six years is building awareness for kids’ podcasts, including co-founding Kids Listen, which is a nonprofit organization advocating for kids’ podcasts and now a thriving community of over 130 podcasts for kids. And in the past year, there’s been a giant explosion of podcasts for kids, so it’s been really, really exciting to see all the opportunities and all the new listeners. And with Tumble, we’re kind of gearing up to create the next slate of educational podcasts for kids across not just science but all subjects.
PATTERSON: And so I’ll let Marshall introduce himself.
ESCAMILLA: Okay. Well, I’m Marshall Escamilla, and my resume is a lot less impressive than everyone else’s, I think.
PATTERSON: No, it’s not.
ESCAMILLA: But I was a career educator for, I spent about 17 years in the classroom before I switched to full-time podcasting with Tumble. So I’ve taught just about every subject, except science, which is a bit ironic. Yeah. I’ve taught a lot of kids. Let’s put it that way.
GONZALEZ: And now you’re podcasting full-time?
GONZALEZ: Awesome. That’s great. Okay, so here’s how we’re going to do this. We’re going to start off by talking, really our goal here is to convince listeners that adding podcasts to their classrooms would be a great idea, and it’s going to benefit the kids. So we’ll start by talking a little bit about the science of listening, and then get into the reasons podcasts are a good thing to add to the classroom, and then finally we’re going to finish off by talking about places where teachers can find audio for kids. And all of this is going to be in a beautiful blog post that Lindsay and Monica have co-written for us, and that’s going to be on Cult of Pedagogy the same day that this episode is published. So let’s talk a little bit. One of the things you all have outlined in the post is three different facts sort of about the science of listening. And so let’s go through those and talk about, help our listeners understand how listening and the brain work together.
BRADY-MYEROV: Well, I’ll start. This is Monica. And if you think about listening, we’re all born listening. Everyone comes to school listening, and students come to learn how to read, write, and do arithmetic. But in fact, a lifetime of listening doesn’t make you a good listener, and there’s a lot of research around the fact that better listeners are better readers and better listeners are better learners. So it’s a good idea to pay attention to this important skill. So if you look specifically at listening and reading, you know I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Simple View of Reading formula developed by Gough and Tunmer, and it shows that word recognition, decoding, and language comprehension are both necessary to result in reading comprehension. And listening is a key part of that language comprehension. So understanding how that plays deeply into the reading process both when you’re teaching students how to read and when they’re older is critical to reading success, and I think that what maybe teachers of older kids don’t understand is how critical it is for much longer than you would think. Because as students get older, the importance of listening comprehension actually increases. It’s more important than reading comprehension. It’s more dominant, I should say, than reading comprehension. And over time, the relative importance of listening comprehension, it increases as the child becomes a proficient reader. So that means that listening is so important to those students who are still learning how to read beyond the third and fourth grade and maybe not are on grade level. I mean if you look at our NAEP scores for reading, it’s still a problem many students have. They’re not proficient readers, and yet all this science shows that listening can help with that. Listening is a key part of that that we shouldn’t overlook.
GONZALEZ: And I can tell you as a former middle school language arts teacher, that was so off my radar completely. It just wasn’t even something I thought about, and it even seems like now that those sort of listening, speaking standards are almost an afterthought, and so understanding the connection between that and just becoming better readers I think is really key to getting teachers to use more audio.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah, you’re right, Jenn. I mean listening is a standard in all 50 states, but it really doesn’t get the attention that we all think it deserves. And there are 22 states that test listening on their high-stakes exam, if they’re using, if you’re the SBAC or Florida tests it as well. And that’s really raised the importance level of it.
BRADY-MYEROV: But it’s pretty well understood through the research that students can listen at a higher grade level than they can read. So if you then pair the listening with the reading, so you’re using an interactive transcript and listening to authentically spoken audio, that’s like a home run. I mean students are being exposed to words that they may not know in their vocabulary, they’re gaining background knowledge, they’re listening to sentence structure and syntax, all really key critical factors of learning how to read. So even in the upper grades where you might think that listening isn’t an important part of reading, it is a wonderful opportunity to introduce more listening-only content because it will benefit reading comprehension for years to come.
GONZALEZ: Okay, so then what is the, so we’ve got the reading comprehension piece. What’s the second piece in terms of the science of listening?
BRADY-MYEROV: Well, I think that’s the cool part because when I was a reporter for NPR, we used to always talk about making stories that were driveway moments, and meant that a listener would be listening to a story and then they’d arrive at their destination, maybe their driveway at home, and they’d sit there and wait until the story ended because they had to hear the end of it.
BRADY-MYEROV: And it turns out that that is actually a scientific researched phenomenon called the immersed experiencer view, and it means that our brains are making a mental imagery, really building a movie in our minds of what we hear. And our, our ears are not just passive receptors of information. It’s actually activating all these systems in our brain that are responsible for sight and sound. And fMRIs have shown this, that you’re listening to a story about a chef cooking a delicious meal, and putting in the garlic, and it’s sizzling and popping, and your olfactory and your gustatory senses are turned on in your brain. So you’re making a full sight, smell-o-rama vision of what’s happening by listening, and that can be so powerful in teaching in terms of engaging kids and getting them to connect with things that they’re seeing visually in their minds that makes more of an imprint on them. So I find that to be really exciting as well.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. There was also a social emotional piece too that you had included about just the well-being feelings that come from listening?
BRADY-MYEROV: Absolutely. The research shows that listening together in a group increases the feelings of social safety and acceptance. It builds empathy. So if you’re listening together as a class out loud or even individually, you are building empathy with not only the people that you’re hearing from, you’re hearing directly from them in their voices, in their shoes with their perspective, but you’re also sharing an experience with others. I think of listening as an equalizer. Everyone’s hearing the same story, but they’re bringing to it their own background and experiences and feelings, yet creating this whole, a whole group feeling around it as well that’s based on empathy.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Well, and I know that social emotional learning has really become kind of a buzzword in the past couple of years so, and schools are trying to find ways to build that. And so I would bet many, many schools have never thought about the fact that just listening to something like a podcast together could be an easy way to build more of that in. The third piece that you’ve got about the science of learning has to do with multilingual learning.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes, so if you think about our English learners in the classroom, they are trying to learn content and language at the same time, and they don’t have a lot of opportunity maybe to hear authentically spoken language with a high level of academic vocabulary. And using listening, introducing listening into your regular content teaching, whether you are a dedicated EL teacher or you’re somebody who has ELs in your classroom, you can, listening can help them learn to hear the pronunciation of words, stretch their vocabulary, and get a lot of background knowledge if they don’t understand the whole story. They could be understanding some parts of it to be able to prepare for understanding for a reading, let’s say. And what I love about listening is that it’s not leveled down to their ability. So many of the texts that we use, especially with struggling readers and English learners, can be leveled down, so the vocabulary gets more simple and the syntax is more direct. But in listening, you can all be listening to the same thing, and then we have a lot of supports on Listenwise that help scaffold it to the listener.
BRADY-MYEROV: So slowed audio, that interactive transcript I was talking about, so that you can reach their, everybody’s ability is the same to listen.
BRADY-MYEROV: And scaffold to them versus making the text easier.
GONZALEZ: Yeah, yeah. And you do, you’ve got some outstanding features on there. The way that you can slow the audio down and read through the transcript is a really, it makes me wish you had it in lots of other languages too so that people who are learning other languages could do the same thing, but maybe that’s in the future.
BRADY-MYEROV: It could be.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Okay, so we’ve got a little bit more scientific background now. We’re going to shift over to why podcasts are, are just a good thing to add to the classroom, and we’ve got a couple of points here. So the first one, I’m just going to read these to you, and then you guys decide who’s going to take this one. The first one is that kids love podcasts. So tell me a little bit about that because I think some people might be concerned about being able to keep kids’ attention when they just are playing audio.
PATTERSON: Yeah, I’d love to talk about that because that was one of the constant questions that we got when we said that we were going to be starting a podcast for kids. The reaction of parents was just like, can podcasts, can kids be entertained or engaged by something without a screen? And our response was, of course. Storytelling is the essential form of media. The primary form of media that we’ve had for, you know, hundreds of thousands of years. So we started with Tumble by doing actually what we called listening parties of getting kids to sit around and like watching their reactions when they were listening. And they were just utterly engaged and asked such amazing questions after the episode was over that really proved they were not just listening but they were thinking and getting curious and they actually after this sort of focus group, they went outside to play and then started asking science questions. And that’s not—they said was not usually how their play went. So that was a strong indication to us from the beginning that we were really onto something, and now with Kids Listen, we put research behind that. So we’ve done two studies with Kids Listen, and most recently we found that families like to listen because podcasts are fun and entertaining, and the second reason to that is that they’re educational. So I think podcasts really bring in these two elements of first, it’s just fun. We just like it. It’s a good activity, and then we can learn. There are also, you can do other things while you’re listening. Kids Listen found that podcasts, kids like to multitask by drawing, doing chores. It gives parents, this is in the home setting, a chance to do other things, but that can also translate over into the classroom.
ESCAMILLA: And one thing I would add to that is, you know, I think one of the biggest concerns that teachers have about using podcasts is sort of, how am I going to engage kids if there’s not a screen?
ESCAMILLA: And I think, back to that Kids Listen survey, I think 78 percent of the kids who listen to podcasts are just listening, which really shows that kids have more attention span than I think we give them credit for.
GONZALEZ: Interesting, interesting. That’s a good point, and I think really if anybody’s got doubts, they should just try it really and see how it goes. It’s good that you all have that research though. I think that is, that can help to convince people. So the second reason that we have here is that podcasts are portable and mobile.
PATTERSON: Yes, and that kind of ties into some of the things that we were saying before. Obviously when you’re listening to something, I bet a lot of people listening have listened to this podcast in the car or while they’re exercising.
PATTERSON: Or getting chores done, and the same thing works for kids in the classroom. It can, we found that it can open kids up to an entire variety of educational experiences, and in designing our own podcast episodes, we actively think of what can kids do or think about while they’re listening to this podcast to just sort of get away from the screen and be in an immersive environment of learning?
ESCAMILLA: Yeah. And, you know, one of the really I think great things about using audio only and podcasts in a classroom setting is you can play a podcast while students are doing classroom chores or while they’re doing creative activities. But then also, you can have kids listen to something while they’re walking and while they’re moving. There have been some really interesting sort of podcasts that actually inspire kids to get up and move and are specifically talking about movements that they’re doing. And I think especially with this past year where a lot of people have been just sitting in front of computers and staring at screens for eight, nine hours a day, having that one thing where they can get up and do something other than sit at their computer for a certain amount of time is a real life-saver for I think a lot of kids and for a lot of teachers and parents.
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Yeah, that sounds, you’re absolutely right. Too many kids are still sitting very still in desks because I think schools are just afraid to not keep them that way. So hopefully this can, this can help get people more moving, moving more. So the next thing you’ve got listed here has to do with current events and that podcasts are such a great medium for exploring current events. Tell us a little bit about that.
PATTERSON: Yeah, I think we’re trying to explain why podcasts are such a unique form of audio to be considered separately from other kinds of audio that already, are already being used in the classroom. So one of the big advantages of podcasts is that they’re publishing constantly. So there’s the opportunity to really design and respond to certain moments. Like when coronavirus started, we immediately did a coronavirus Q&A with a children’s doctor who specialized in infectious diseases. And we knew that when it comes to kids content, we had the unique ability to do something quickly that could be published and could get out to thousands of kids. And then we also translated that into Spanish, which was really cool. But there’s been a great explosion of news podcasts recently. I think people for a long time were like, how to do a news podcast for kids, and now there’s a ton of great examples. That publish on a regular basis. So you can bring your students up-to-date with current events. Kids News is one that’s specifically designed for the classroom. The Ten News is more wide ranging, and it’s 10 minutes long, that tackles the biggest headlines in a really kid-sensitive way that also doesn’t at all talk down to them. It’s really, really well done. There’s another podcast called Newsy Jacuzzi that’s done by a reporter mom and her daughter from India. So it kind of gives you an international bent. And then also Newswise, Listenwise, sorry.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah, I was going to chime in.
PATTERSON: I was just thinking Listen news, and then like Listenwise.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah, and I was going to chime in and say Listenwise. We have current events every day, and we are selecting for subjects that we think teachers want to talk about in the classroom and giving a bank of listening questions to get them started. So it is a great, fresh way to always keep engaging kids with the world around them using current events stories.
GONZALEZ: Yeah, there’s something really nice about the immediacy. The fact that we’re talking right now, and I could theoretically have this published in an hour is, you know, and have it out there for people to listen to, it’s pretty, it’s pretty different from whether it’s audiobooks or things that just take months and months and months to produce, we can just stick things out there anytime.
BRADY-MYEROV: It is great.
GONZALEZ: Okay, and then, so then the next piece, and by the way, for people listening, all of these different podcasts that we mention, in the blog post we’re going to have links to all of them. So some of these have got unique spellings that you might Google it and still not find it. So we’re going to have links to all of that. So definitely go over to that episode and find all of those later. The next feature that we highlighted in this post is that, has to do with the variety of lengths of podcasts.
ESCAMILLA: Yeah, so I mean, so podcasts, I think one of the great things about podcasts, especially for folks who’ve come over from public radio like Monica or Lindsay is there’s no, there’s no sort of upper limit to how long things can be or how short they can be. You can just sort of have the story be the length that it needs to be. But there are all kinds of shows that come in different lengths, so for, as a teacher I think I’ve done sometimes full episodes of This American Life that I’ve listened to with my kids, usually over the course of like a week. So you take a 60-minute story that you sort of break up into several different parts, but then there are other shorter podcasts that are more like just for a five-minute interval in classroom activity. So Pamela Rogers, who’s a school librarian and the creator of Buttons & Figs, has developed a playlist of five-minute interactive word play challenges for the classroom. There’s something called What Will She Do Next which is a women’s history podcast that creates 10-minute episodes.
BRADY-MYEROV: I was going to chime in and talk about I think the advantages to podcasts over audiobooks is not only the length, because an audiobook can go on for chapter and chapter, and you’re picking it up and enjoying it for a long period of time, but podcasts are written to be heard. They’re not read text, and there’s a very big difference in that.
BRADY-MYEROV: So reading something that was written, designed to be read in your silently in your head is very different than the incredible worlds that these podcasters create with the sound effects and the voices and just the writing. It is different when you’re writing for audio than when you’re writing for text.
BRADY-MYEROV: So it’s just another great reason why to turn to a podcast in particular over an audiobook, over a piece of text, over a video.
GONZALEZ: I never even thought about that difference, but you’re right. Audiobooks always have a different feel to them than podcasts, and that’s it. I just never put it together, but you’re right, yeah. Okay. Great. So then the last feature has to do with academic standards, which I know is always on teacher’s minds. They might say, it’s fine to do podcasts but I got to get back to my curriculum. So let’s talk about how podcast can actually get you to meet academic standards.
BRADY-MYEROV: Well, what’s great about the medium is it has exploded in the past few years as Lindsay and Marshall were saying. There’s a podcast about everything that you’re teaching. You can find audio on it. It exists.
GONZALEZ: That’s true.
BRADY-MYEROV: Listenwise is just one vehicle that can help you do that, but there are many other ways. Kids Listen is another great resource. So if you think about the fact that listening is a standard in every state and you may have to be helping students prepare for a listening portion of a high-stakes test, it’s a good idea to let them practice their listening muscle and to get it stronger and to help them realize that they can control it. It’s in their power to improve their listening and helping them see it as a skill that they can develop. So when, when you also look at standards, from WIDA has also recently started emphasizing, content specific language and we know that teaching anything in context of the content that you got to be delivered in the most engaging way, then why not try to find the piece of audio that dovetails with that so that you can be able to, you’re teaching your ELA standards using an interview with Lois Lowry, the writer of “The Giver.”
BRADY-MYEROV: And it’s exciting to hear her process of why she decided to write the book “The Giver,” and it was based on the experience she had with her father who was experiencing dementia. That’s something that’s interesting and real and gets your students hooked and excited into the curriculum that they have to do or read next. And I’m sure Lindsay can give an example too. There’s so many, we work with Tumble podcasts on our site as well because it has so many great doorways to science concepts that can be really difficult for a teacher to explain and understand. Why not introduce it with a great podcast?
GONZALEZ: Yeah. Bring in more talent. I mean even one skilled teacher can’t be all things to all people, so if you’re bringing in people from, who’ve got a science background also, or whatever you’re teaching. Lindsay, you were going to start on that too.
PATTERSON: Yes. So I was going to say one of our favorite pieces of teacher feedback was that, from a teacher who listens on his own and just gets ideas for real-world science examples to bring into his classroom because our show is really focused on current research and the process of how science works so that it’s always featuring like these are real questions that scientists have asked and bringing it to really humanizing the process. And we often, we do actively think of the NGSS standards.
PATTERSON: And how our podcasts are lining up with them and can be used to meet those standards.
ESCAMILLA: Yeah. One of our big summer projects for this summer is to go through our episodes. At this point we have a hundred some episodes. I’ve kind of lost track. But we’re going to go through each one and align it or figure out which standard it aligns with and then ideally also clip out sort of some anchor phenomena so that teachers can use those just to spark questions and stuff in their class.
GONZALEZ: Oh, that’s great. So you’re going to have some sort of tagging system maybe on your, on your site where people can look up specific standards?
ESCAMILLA: Yeah, we’ll figure that out.
PATTERSON: And I do want to say it’s not just us in the Kids Listen community. There are a lot of people who are, there are a lot of podcasts who are actively developing in concert with the interests of teachers and soliciting teacher feedback and also encouraging their podcast as a tool to be used in the classroom.
GONZALEZ: Awesome. So the last piece of this, and the one thing that is in the post but I don’t think we’ve actually said it out loud yet here today is for teachers who really just aren’t that familiar with podcasts, most of them are free, and that’s, that’s huge. When you talk about, you know, really well produced resources that can be used in the classroom, it’s very difficult to find something of such high-quality for free most of the time. So the last part of this post is where you sharing places to find audio, and you’ve just, I mean obviously they can, people can look anywhere, but stuff that’s been published specifically for kids, you’ve got top four places. So tell us what those are.
PATTERSON: Yes. So the first one is Kids Listen, which I’ve mentioned I am a co-founder of. But we developed the Kids Listen app responding to the problem of discoverability, which I would say is still somewhat of an issue in kids podcasts.
GONZALEZ: And that’s kidslisten.org.
GONZALEZ: We’re going to give the URLs with these four, these four places so that people listening can jump [crosstalk]
PATTERSON: Yes, and if you’re looking for the app, it’s available both for iOS and Android, so you can search for it in the app stores.
PATTERSON: So basically what Kids Listen is an app, one of the only apps where you can find just content for kids. So you’re not going to find parenting podcasts like you do in all of the kids and family categories, but this is just stuff for kids. And it’s organized by age, interests and curated playlists like jump into a story or discover science or elevate your curiosity or things like that. And we also have the Kids Listen activity podcast, which is a great way to discover new high-quality podcasts and they’re all, it’s basically like different members of Kids Listen will play an episode of their podcasts and then suggest an activity to do afterwards. So it’s taking the listening and then jumping off into an experience that furthers the learning and the curiosity, whether that’s a story podcast or an educational non-fiction podcast. And we’re also, we have an exciting new project in development called Kids Listen University, which is responded to the needs for many podcasts that do have educational materials to sort of come together in one place, so we’re currently building that out too.
GONZALEZ: Oh fantastic.
BRADY-MYEROV: So the next place on the list that we would recommend is Listenwise. I’m going to talk about that. So it is a free online platform for teachers. Hundreds of the stories are free in our current events section, and with all the listening discussion questions and theme questions. We do have a paid portion of the platform that allows you to access audio with lessons that are standards-aligned, that you could actually look for the standard you want to teach and find an audio story to help you teach it. And that’s all for grades 2-12. And what we’re doing is going out into this huge universe of podcasts and audio, and we’re tightly curating the stories that really align to what you’re teaching in science, social studies and ELA. And then we’re giving you a platform for your students to have an account, for them to able to take online multiple choice quizzes that give you feedback. We also have this new really cool thing we haven’t talked about yet, which is the Lexile Audio Measure, so you might be familiar with the Lexile Text Measure. This new audio measure will help you determine how difficult the podcast is to listen to. So it’s taking a scientific reading of the level of vocabulary, the grammatical makeup of the sentence and giving a number audio difficulty for each podcast on Listenwise. So all of these features, they are in the premium version of Listenwise, but they really help you save a lot of time by finding the right three- to five-minute podcast to teach a specific ELA standard that you’re trying to hit this week. So I encourage you to check it out because as I said, it’s free to join for teachers, and you can easily do a school free trial or a teacher free trial.
GONZALEZ: Fantastic. Okay. And then we’ve got two other resources also that are a good place to look for kids-related podcasts. The first one is School Library Journal.
PATTERSON: Yeah. I wanted to highlight School Library Journal because there is a lot of articles that you can find on blogs that are like “10 Best Educational Podcasts” but the librarians, the librarian dream team I think Pamela Rogers and Anne Bensfield have really made a great project of writing a column for School Library Journal about Kidcasts. And so every month they update with a curated playlist, and they also link to an actual playlist, with themes that go from Black change makers to mindfulness to poetry. So they’re really always listening to new podcasts, and they’re sorting through the quality, so that’s always a great place to discover new podcasts. Because my fear when recommending podcasts and [inaudible] digital is that things are always going to change. There’s always going to be new podcasts and where you go to find out about that and I think that Pam and Ann really do a great job of staying on top of those recommendations in an ongoing way.
GONZALEZ: Got it. And their website is SLJ.com. I didn’t mention earlier for Listenwise, that’s listenwise.com also. And then the last one is a site called Pinna.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah, so Pinna is new to this space, fairly new. It’s a paid subscription for teachers and parents who want ad-free podcasts. So some of the podcasts that you could hear for free elsewhere are on Pinna without the ads, but they’re also rapidly producing a lot of their own work, and it’s really exciting to listen to. So there’s a lot to explore there. I would check back frequently as they are adding some interesting resources to go along with the audio as well.
GONZALEZ: Okay. And that is pinna.fm. On the blog post also, Lindsay has linked to two other articles that she’s written. This is you, Lindsay, that wrote those two, correct?
PATTERSON: Yes. Yeah. I wrote two age-specific lists for the New York Times.
GONZALEZ: Yes. So people can find that link also over on the site, a big list of podcasts for little kids and a big list of podcasts for bigger kids. So tons and tons of resources for people to follow up on to look for these, and so really just think probably the best thing to do is just get started. Thank you all so much for just sharing your enthusiasm about this, and we’re about to start a new school year, so hopefully this will get some brand new content into everybody’s classes through podcasts.
BRADY-MYEROV: I wish everyone happy listening.
PATTERSON: Yes, and thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to share our enthusiasm.
ESCAMILLA: Thank you.
To read the blog post that outlines all the ideas from this episode, visit cultofpedagogy.com, click Podcast, and choose episode 174. And remember to check out my mini-course, Four Laws of Learning, at cultofpedagogy.com/laws. Use the code LISTENER at checkout to get $5 off tuition. Thanks so much for listening, and have a great day.