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The ELA Teacher’s Summer Playlist

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I’ve been known to happily wander through grocery stores, earbuds in, podcast playing. The only thing that helps me feel better about my long commutes to every appointment from our small town is knowing I can listen to a podcast on the way. When I’m working out, if it’s not the crack of dawn, I usually prefer podcasts to music (unless I’m rollerblading really, really fast).

How about you? Have you discovered the joy of podcasts yet?

A year or two ago I read the popular book, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. One of the conclusions she came to in her year-long experiment to find more happiness in her own life, was that living in an atmosphere where you feel like you’re learning and growing makes you happier.

I couldn’t agree more. In the last year I’ve taken several online courses and listened to scads of podcasts. I get excited and energized knowing I have some new insights and ideas to take back into my life when I leave the grocery store/car/trails. I look forward to those moments of growth.

So today I want to share with you some podcasts I think might bring you this same happiness. The happiness of thinking about things in a new way, discovering a fresh idea, understanding your life or your classroom or your own needs a little (or a lot) better.

#1 The Chalk Full of Life Podcast

If TIME is your number one struggle, you need to meet Kelli Wise.

After many years as a teacher, she started her own business, seeking more balance.  Then she realized that she was just as overwhelmed by #allthethings no matter where she was working.

Wanting to to change her life, she began seeking answers to the big questions she was facing. Was it possible to find balance? To be happy? To be successful in her work and prioritize her family and health too?

She began to study a new topic – how to live well. She ended up being certified as a life coach, and she brings the unique perspective of an educator to the way she shares what she has learned on this podcast. While I’ve never been interested in life coaching as a concept, I trust Kelli and I find her ideas really helpful.

I can honestly say that certain shows from her series have changed my life, and I hope they can do the same for you if you are seeking more balance and space in your days. I find that she says things in a way that makes sense to me, and she can get me to reconsider problems I’ve had for a long time and realize that they are solvable.

#2 The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast

If you want to amp up your creativity in class, trying new strategies and reaching your students in fresh ways, this podcast will help you do it. 
With most episodes coming in under thirty minutes, you can learn about escape rooms, starting a reading program, trying sketch notes, pursuing more equity in your curriculum, trying the best new technology for ELA teacher, and much more as you grab a workout, do the laundry, or take the dog for a walk. 
This summer you’ll find new episodes on streamlining and minimizing your grading, kickstarting student motivation, and rocking the first week of school. 

#3 The Workshop Teacher Podcast


My friend Amanda is a workshop rock star. She’s not dabbling in this strategy, she’s in it to win it!

She has learned from the best and put it all into practice over many years in her California classroom. I’ve had the pleasure to knowing her and seeing her passion for workshop over several years, and I love seeing her passion for what she’s doing.

If you’ve been wondering how to implement writing workshop as an effective strategy in your classroom, she can tell you. She’ll walk you through the structure, how to build up routines that work, and how to troubleshoot the common issues that come up during workshop.



#4 The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast


You know that one friend you have who is just rock solid? Who is always there when you need her?
Jennifer Gonzalez is like that when it comes to professional development.

For many years she has been tackling the most vital subjects for educators through her website and podcast, and if you haven’t met her yet, you’re missing out. I’ve learned a lot from her interviews, and from the well-researched solo shows she shares.

I also love the Teacher’s Guide to Tech that she comes out with every year. The guide is everything you ever wanted to know about what’s really working in teacher tech, and everything you didn’t even know you wanted to know. You can learn more about it over here in my review.

#5 The Truth for Teachers Podcast

Angela has been giving serious attention to helping teachers understand their own needs for a long time. She’s a pioneer in a field that’s just starting to grow – teacher self-care.

She shares ideas on her website and podcast for dealing with the unique emotional, organizational, and motivational challenges of being a teacher. She is serious about helping teachers find the path they need to be happy, confident, and balanced in the classroom. What a great concept, eh?

When I interviewed her last year, I was struck by the power in the specific, doable steps she shared to help teachers find greater happiness. I’m looking forward to having her as a guest on my podcast again in a few weeks, and to sharing soon about my experience with her  40 Hour Teacher Workweek club.


Hope you’ve found a podcast or five that you’re excited to download on your favorite player this summer! If there’s another show you love, please share it in the comments below so we can all check it out.





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I'm Betsy

I’ll help you find the creative ELA strategies that will light up your classroom. Get ready for joyful teaching!







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