Podcasting: Why You Really Need To Try It!

Podcasting definitely pushed me out of my teacher comfort-zone.

It’s not that it’s unusual for me to take risks in the classroom. It seems like every other day I’m announcing to my students that today they will be my ‘test pilots’ for something or other.

Since I dove headfirst into digital teaching and learning six years ago, I’ve learned that it’s best not to over think what I want to do; rather, I make a plan, jump in, and modify as I go.

And I learn a ton from my students along the way.

I write often about my obsession with #hyperdocs and how creating and implementing this future-ready teaching pedagogy has transformed my work – and my students’ learning experiences. It’s true. I am having the BEST year of teaching ever, in large part due to my willingness to listen, learn, create, and trust in my students. I want them to be curious, life-long learners, and by intentionally using technology to enhance their learning experience I hope I’m not only being a strong role model, but also piquing their interest in things like blogging, video, and most recently, podcasting.

In my personal life, I’ve found podcasts to be soothing, intriguing, and revelatory; my favorites include Super Soul Sunday, Happier With Gretchen Rubin, NPR’s Code Switch and Up First, Malcolm Gladwell Revisionist history and On Being With Krista Tippet.

Most recently I’ve been hooked on educational podcasts as I bike to and from school, or when I’m puttering around my classroom in the afternoons – programs like The 10 Minute Teacher, The Google Teacher Tribe, The Cult of Pedagogy podcast, Teachonomy and The Ditch That Textbook podcast fill me with such hope and excitement that I often have to stop pedaling to save an episode or text it to someone!

So naturally, I decided my students needed to get hooked on podcasts – but not the ones I like…that’s not cool. Rather, they needed to CREATE their own podcasts!

How I Started Podcasting

I thought about this for three months. I went to several EdTech sessions on video recording and searched everywhere I could think of for ideas to get me off the ground with this project. I just wasn’t finding as much as I expected, and I began to think I’d never get it accomplished.

podcasting
Sometimes podcasting requires whole-body concentration and focus!

Thanks to the power of the internet (thank you, Twitter), my #hyperdoc friends Lisa Highfill, Scott Padway and Lisa Guardino, and a tech fairy (thank you, Brian) who showed up in my classroom mid-project, my students became legit PODCASTERS!

Of course, I had to create a hyperdoc to explore, explain, and apply the concept. I had to tie it to our ‘Approaching Adulthood’ end-of-unit performance assessment. I challenged myself to figure out the technical pieces, which mainly occurred when a kid ran into an obstacle (like background noise or echoes) and we had to get unstuck – and create soundproof recording spaces on a teacher’s budget!

podcasting
My attempt at creating a sound booth – Pinterest fail?

You can make your own copy of my Podcasting hyperdoc HERE.

Podcasting Results Were Awesome!

But I swear, I taught with a huge grin on my face for two weeks as I watched my students go from “eew…we have to hear our voice!” to “OMG this is my most favorite thing I’ve done in school!” And you know you’re onto something good when your students don’t even blink at the end of class bell and stay for 30 minutes after class recording and editing to get it just perfect!

podcasting
Creative sound booths…

Honestly, I’m sure I learned as much – if not more – than my students did during this podcasting experience. I learned to trust my instincts. To take chances even though there is a high chance for ‘failure’. I learned that my students are capable of extraordinary things (actually, I reinforced that), and I learned that teenagers have a huge VOICE and need platforms to show the world what they’re thinking.

Most students used WeVideo to create their podcasts.

Here’s a link to one of my favorites: The Difficult Lemon podcast

These kids came up with amazing ideas and thinking around the topic of ‘approaching adulthood’. Some did research about voting ages, driving ages, and drinking ages. Some interviewed their parents. One discussed the inaccurate portrayal of teens in young adult novels. Some thought about the impact of gender stereotypes, and others wondered about equality, rights, and identity crises.

Many were so good I strongly urge them to continue – wouldn’t you love to hear what teenagers are really thinking?

This team was the most technical – their podcast was titled “It Really Do Be Like That Sometimes” and was hilarious! Thank you, Brian Briggs (who has an awesome ed-focused podcast called “Check This Out” ), for the loan of the foam and microphone!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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fear

Learning To Conquer Your Fear

 

Learning To Conquer Your Fear

I love this quote about fear from Pema Chodron:

“The on-the-spot practice of being fully present, feeling your heart, and greeting the next moment with an open mind can be done at any time: when you wake up in the morning, before a difficult conversation, whenever fear or discomfort arises.

This practice is a beautiful way to claim your warriorship, your spiritual warriorship.

In other words, it is a way to claim your courage, your kindness, your strength. Whenever it occurs to you, you can pause briefly, touch in with how you’re feeling both physically and mentally, and then connect with your heart—even putting your hand on your heart, if you want to.

This is a way of extending warmth and acceptance to whatever is going on for you right now.

You might have an aching back, an upset stomach, panic, rage, impatience, calmness, joy – whatever it is, you can let it be there just as it is, without labeling it good or bad, without telling yourself you should or shouldn’t be feeling that way.

Having connected with what is, with love and acceptance, you can go forward with curiosity and courage.”

~ Pema Chodron

fear

I use this image on my daily agenda at school – partly to remind my students to brave, but also to remind myself.

Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I don’t have to think about conquering fear – it just sometimes looks a little different for me than it does for 8th graders. I love Pema’s idea of conquering fear as a way to claim both courage and kindness.

embrace change

For years I’ve been wearing a silver cuff reminding me to have courage – to look at each day and break it down, to find small ways to chunk out tasks and experiences and problems into manageable pieces.

Some days it works better than others.

I try to teach my students about time management, about self-advocacy, about believing that they deserve to be successful.

Some days my words are stronger than others. Some days they, believe me, some days they don’t.

“You’re still learning,” I tell them. “Excuses are useless,” I remind them.

I remind myself, too.

As teachers, we’re learning how to help kids experiencing trauma. We are begging for professional development to help kids with anxiety, to build relationships, to remember to put KIDS first, CURRICULUM second.

moms make awesome teachers

We’ve seen what happens when kids/young adults fall through the cracks.I’m sure that I spend more time with some of my students than they actually spend with their parents. I’ve got kids stopping by to say hello between classes, sometimes asking for a hug or sharing something they’re proud of. I’ve got kids who eat lunch on my beanbags or tables every single day, I think because they know it’s a safe, calm place.

I guess that’s one way they’re learning to conquer their fear – to find a community in a place where they know they’re not being judged or having to monitor their ‘likes’. They can just connect, just be there as is.

I love those lunch hours, knowing that I really just need to let them know they are loved and accepted and that they are connected to someone who cares.

fear
Me stepping out of my comfort zone – coding with my students!

I think that’s a pretty decent place to start learning to conquer fear, right?

Do you have any advice about conquering fear? I’d love to hear it – leave a comment below, or tweet me @mamawolfeto2!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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remind us to be brave reflection

Remind Us How To Be Brave: Poetry From Rosemerry Trommer

Remind Us How To Be Brave:

I discovered these beautiful words to remind us how to be brave on A First Sip.  After this week, the uprising in hate group empowerment, the reactions of our president, and the murder of an innocent woman, many of us are struggling with how to be brave. What does it mean to stand up, to use our voice? How do we speak out against the unspeakable? How do we go back to school, to classrooms, next week and use our position to help kids understand and process and learn to love?

I struggle, as do so many, with the answers to these questions. I wrote about my initial reaction to the hate in Charlottesville here. I hope this poetry and my words not only remind us how to be brave but helps us ACT out our bravery.

One of my most often used reminders in my classroom is that stepping out of our comfort zone is where the magic happens. As an introvert, I find this practice exhausting. I know I need to push myself and others forward, to remind myself of the need for solitude, and to gather momentum from taking risks and being adventurous. That’s one reason I travel to Nicaragua, one reason I write, and one reason I think amazing things happen in my classroom.

remind us to be brave church
Ciudad Dario, Nicaragua

But at the end of the day, I’m weary. I’m spent and retreat into solace. I release the demands into the soil of my garden or the sauces simmering on my stove. I walk in meditation, stopping to notice the bloom beside me or the reflection on the water.

remind us to be brave reflection
Lake Tahoe reflection

To remind us how to be brave, we must slip out of the world we know and into the world of quiet contemplation.

remind us to be brave garden quiet
A quiet moment in my garden.

I hope you enjoy this peaceful poem by Rosemerry Trommer – and remember you have all the power you need right inside.

When her voice is weary
it means it is time to listen.

When her armor is heavy,
it means it is time to be soft,

time to slip out of her certainty
and her battle songs,

time to retreat from the lines
she has drawn, time to unknow

the world she thinks she knows
and to find herself in the world

that knows her. She lets the darkness
penetrate her, it caresses

her universal curves. Her quiet
joins her to an infinite quiet—

she is everything, nothing at once.
She relearns how vulnerability

transforms us in ways
ferocity can not.

She is her own fertile seed.
She is her own desert rain.

She’s her own cocoon, her own inner cave.
Sometimes it takes the darkness

to remind us how to be brave.

~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

xoxo, Jennifer

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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small life open hands

I Don’t Want To Live A Small Life: Poetry by Mary Oliver

I don’t want to live a small life.

Open your eyes, open your hands.

small life berry fields
Summer berry picking, near Carmel, CA 2007

 

I have just come from the berry fields,

the sun kissing me with its golden mouth all the way

(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might
feed them,

but no I carry these heart-shapes only to you.

heart shaped cloud small life

Look how many small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift
I will bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do

Look at me.

Open your life, open your hands.

~ Mary Oliver

 

small life open hands
Cameron adventuring in Nicaragua, July 2013

This thoughtful poem about taking risks and living life openly by Mary Oliver found its way to me via A First Sip. It brought back memories of berry picking when my kids were little, gazing up at the sky and marveling at the minuteness of our existence when we’ve traveled through the lush and isolated mountains of Nicaragua.

I don’t want to live a ‘small life’ – I want to adventure and step out of my comfort zone. I want to teach my children to open their life, to open their hands, to open their hearts to all life has to offer. That’s one of the reasons I’ve found myself bringing my kids back to Nicaragua every few years – here we can push ourselves outside the small life we live every day – in Nicaragua, we realize that the world has so much beauty and love to offer when we push ourselves to pay attention.

What kind of life do you want to live? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and spend some time today thinking about the small and sweet gifts the world has to offer you.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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