Important Facts to Keep In Mind About the Swirling Maelstrom of Excitement That Is My Life:
1) I live about an hour from school.
2) Nobody else from my school lives anywhere near my house, so it's impossible to carpool to work.
3) I get so irate listening to the news and complain so much about it once I get home that my wife (again, the patientest woman in the world) grounded me from the radio about two years ago and hasn't ungrounded me yet.
4) The two hours I spend commuting each day is just about the only time I have to "read" or catch up on professional development.
As a consequence of all this, I listen to a lot of podcasts.
A LOT of podcasts.
Because I listen to them on an actual iPod, I use iTunes to download and manage them. (See picture, above.)
If there is a specific podcast I'm looking for, I search for it in the iTunes Store.
(Subscribing to a podcast means that when there is a new episode to listen to, it will be automatically downloaded to my iTunes account. Then, the next time I plug my iPod into my computer, it will be updated with the new podcasts.)
"Yeah, yeah... fine. Whatever. Which ones do you listen to?"
The Dinner Party Download
This is basically a dinner party condensed into a podcast. It starts out with an "icebreaker" - a joke so awesomely bad that you will tell it at least twice the next day, odd news items, a food feature and a drink recipe.
The Splendid Table
One of several food podcasts that I listen to each week.
The Best of YouTube
These are mostly short, silly videos - fishing show bloopers and clips of water-skiing squirrels - that I use as rewards for my students at the end of a period when they've been especially on-task.
Two British comedians comment on the week's news and REALLY amuse themselves.
Dirty Jobs Video Podcast
Short clips from the Discovery Network show, Dirty Jobs.
Discovery Channel Video Podcast
These are short clips from a variety of Discovery Network shows. I've found several really good clips for Science colleagues here.
Randy Cohen, the New York Times Ethics Columnist answers ethical questions from readers each week.
Another of my many food-related podcasts.
Fetch - With Ruff Ruffman
This is the companion podcast to the ultra-cool PBS kids' game show. (I have gotten some of my best sound clips for seating charts from this podcast.)
Okay, yes. This is another in a long list of food podcasts I listen to. (In my defense, there have been a couple of great behind-the-scenes tours of Kitchen Stadium from Iron Chef.)
This is a daily video podcast with news about all the cool gadgets that are coming out. Lots of technical specifications are given by a very cute girl who talks way too fast.
From KCRW in Santa Monica, this is another food podcast. (Tell me truthfully - do you think I have a problem?)
Food For Thought
Yes. It's another food podcast.
This one's from Seattle.
A video podcast where a dozen or so bloggers exchange information and opinions about being mothers. (This isn't a lot of help in the classroom, but frequently useful in a parenting sense.)
Stories told without notes to a live audience. The worst of these are merely fascinating.
National Public Radio
When I did still listen to the radio, I listened almost entirely to National Public Radio. By subscribing to their podcasts, I still catch the shows I really want to hear without getting myself all worked up.
Here are the NPR shows I subscribe to:
Education - Updated each week, these are all stories about education.
Food - No comment.
Hidden Kitchens - Again, no comment.
Hmmm...Krulwich on Science - Robert Krulwich reports on odd science stories in an odd and compelling way.
Playback - Updated monthly, these are the biggest stories from 25 years ago.
Simon Says - This is Weekend Edition host Scott Simon's weekly commentary.
Story of the Day - Updated daily, this is... You know what? I think you can figure this one out for yourself.
StoryCorps - These are amazing stories told by ordinary Americans about their lives. This may be my most useful podcast. I use these stories all the time in my classes.
Technology - I like NPR's tech podcast because it is aimed at listeners with a limited technology background. It doesn't talk down to you, but it breaks information down into easy-to-understand terms.
"Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" - A weekly news game show that is very funny, very topical and occasionally useful in the classroom
What Would Rob Do? - A silly podcast by one of NPR's editors about how to handle difficult predicaments. I can't think of any way it would be useful in the classroom, but it's fun anyway.
Old Jews Telling Jokes
Exactly what the name says - old Jewish people, generally from New York, telling generally filthy jokes. I shared this with a Twitter-friend and he agreed that it may be the best podcast ever.
Sometimes news (sort of), sometimes tech (sort of), sometimes just goofy weirdness, this video podcast has been unexpectedly useful to me in the classroom several times.
Roz Rows the Pacific
This podcast won't be terribly interesting again until the Spring, when Roz Savage sets our on her final leg of rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean.
(I've already posted about this podcast here and here.)
Sesame Street Podcast
I have a five year-old.
Speaking of History
This is a podcast done by Eric Langhorst, an 8th grade American History teacher in Liberty, MO. Over the past couple of years, I've stolen roughly half of my good ideas from him.
Stephen Fry's Podgrams
Very occasional podcasts from one of the most eloquent voices in the English language. Some days you just need to know there is grace and civility in the world; listening to this will make you feel more civilized.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
From the geniuses at HowStuffWorks.com, a nerdy and engaged discussion of different historical topics.
Amazing lectures from the Ted Conference. The world's smartest people talking passionately about stuff they care the most about.
This American Life
One of the smartest hours of radio each week.
This I Believe
Remarkable Americans talk for two to three minutes about their most deeply held beliefs.
Tiki Bar TV
Theoretically, this video blog is about mixing tropical drinks, but it is so odd, bizarre and funny that it is worth waiting for (only updated every couple of months). Now that it has been around for awhile, it is gloriously, unabashedly wallowing in having Jumped The Shark.
Twenty Minutes for Tech
Updated only occasionally, this is a technology podcast by and for classroom teachers. Very thought-provoking.
This video podcast highlights excellent street food from vans, trucks and stands from cities around the country.
(I can actually justify this for use in the classroom. My "magnet" ((advisory group)) is based around the theme of trying new foods. Before a recent field trip to Boston, they watched an episode of VendrTV about Speed Dogs, supposedly the best hotdog joint in Boston. They demanded to go there on our field trip. They were NOT disappointed - "Best meal of my life", seemed to be the general consensus.)
A Way With Words
Possibly the ultimate podcast for word-nerds.
New York Times Weekend Explorer
My 8th Grade team does a giant, integrated unit at the end of the year on New York City to get ready for our class trip. These occasionally-updated guided tours of different neighborhoods of New York help get my head in the right place for it.
This series, which went on indefinite hiatus last year is a very, very nifty collection of personal stories - sort of like a shorter, sweeter version of This American Life.
Theoretically a Science show, this is at least as much about Philosophy and the Arts. It is probably the most fascinating show on tv, radio or the internet.
11 Central Ave
A "radio comic strip". The fictional adventures of a family that has much more interesting conversations than mine.
92nd Street Y
Although this podcast has been a little obsessed with poets and poetry in recent weeks, it sometimes presents conversations with really interesting people. (One of my favorites was Gene Wilder discussing his life.)
That's it for the podcasts I listen to regularly. This list doesn't count occasional stories that friends and colleagues turn me onto that I put on my playlists. Keep in mind that any of these podcasts that grab your interest have many (sometimes dozens) of archived episodes to listen to.
I hope that these "Where Do You Find this Stuff" posts have helped you find one or two new sources of inspiration.