Wednesday, September 10, 2014


My new favorite commuter audio experience is the NPR TED Radio Hour. In classic NPR style, a set of 4-6 TED talks on the same theme are excerpted, contextualized by interviews with the speakers, and interspersed with perfect musical bites (like they do in the show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me). TED talks. Through my ears. Perfect. (I use this not-free but highly-rated podcast app.)

And the thing is, every (EVERY) episode I've listened to so far has been life-changing. That both makes me want to listen more, and afraid if I listen again it won't happen!

In the show, Growing Up, which AJ and I listened to as we island-hopped across Lake Champlain from Vermont to New York last summer, and which is the show that hooked me, Gever Tulley's segment made me sure that I would do Genius Hour.

I played a portion of Margaret Heffernan's segment from the show, Making Mistakes, to my math class to emphasize the importance of the mathematical practice of talking and listening before I asked them to form groups comprised of not a single classmate they'd worked with the day before on a complicated place value problem we were trying to solve.

In Simply Happy, Matt Killingsworth's segment confirmed for me that I am on the right path with my "Trout a Day" project.

Sugata Mitra's segments in Unstoppable Learning changed my math lesson from a demonstration of how decimal expanded notation works, followed by a variety of practice, to a challenge to my students to figure out three different ways to show decimal expanded notation by using the activities I had curated for them. (Best. Math lesson. Ever.)

Last week, in our study of characters, my students read nonfiction books featuring an animal hero. This week, I will play Diana Nyad's segment from Champions while I model note taking. My students will chart and then write about the ways two or more characters (from the books they've read, our read alouds, and/or this audio segment) are the same and different.

As soon as my monthly credit at Audible rolls in, I'm going to dive into David Mitchell's newest book, The Bone Clocks. But you can be sure that one or two days a week, I'll be putting that one on hold so that I can catch up with my NPR TED Radio Hour episode!


  1. Where can I find the Ted Talks radio hour?

    1. Check your local NPR schedule to see if you can hear it on the radio, or follow my links to listen online.

  2. I love your tomato post--our late-started tomato plants are now yielding miraculously--but I'm glad I read on to your TED Radio Hour post. I shared the "Making Mistakes" piece with Margaret Heffernan on my school's private folder (not one response; *sigh*) and I'm so happy when I catch it. Yes-- life-changing, these ideas worth sharing. Have you seen these?


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