Serial Podcast

My last post included a poll to identify how many people listen to podcasts. Over half of you don’t utilize this resource. My goal is convince you to tune in. Keep reading!

Podcasts are digital audio files. Basically, they are radio shows or digital books that can be downloaded and listened to even when you’re not connected to the internet. I’ve listened to podcasts while I’m working out, driving, or even while shoveling snow this past Sunday morning.

Creating a podcast was one of my professional goals going into this school year. I consider it partially achieved. I had one of my students create a pocasts at the beginning of the year with our local news station. They talked sports, specifically the upcoming football season. It was entertaining to listen to this talk show style program, but students haven’t showed a lot of interest in creating additional ones.

IMG_0283Through the educational Voxer group, I was introduced to Serial Podcasts. (Thanks, Aaron!) These free podcasts have been downloaded over a million times per episode. The series is designed to be listened to in order, and fans are eagerly awaiting the final episodes. These nonfiction podcasts discuss the ins and outs of reopening a 1999 murder case in Baltimore. (More of a summary can be found here.)

If you like mysteries, murder mysteries, books on tape or just listening to something other than the radio while you pass the time, download these podcasts.

You can listen straight from your computer or you can use your free Podcast app (if your phone doesn’t already have it, download it from the app store) and search for Serial. It’s the most popular podcast right now, so you won’t have a hard time finding it.

If murder mysteries aren’t your thing, there are podcasts available for every genre: Sports, News, Business, Politics, Religion, Entertainment…etc. Think Satellite radio without the additional price.

Download just one Serial podcast, listen, and let me know what you think!




Before the start-gun sounded, the announcer said it was -3 degrees with the windchill. I couldn’t feel my toes for the first two miles. I knew I was moving, but it was hard to process how fast when my legs were brittle icicles. Thankfully I had lots of layers on, and it was pretty easy to motivate myself since I knew the streets and the route. After the halfway mark, I finally felt warmed up and finished the race in 40 minutes. The 8k might be my favorite race distance. I just need to find one with better weather conditions to PR.

John ate my plate of pancakes. He earned it after standing in the cold to cheer. I just wanted a steaming shower and hot coffee.

Luckily, we beat the snow, which John is now loving in his 4-wheel drive!IMG_0268IMG_0270

Grab a Date

holidaydrinkI’ve blogged about this Starbucks BOGO every year in effort to spread some caffeinated spirit to my readers. Tomorrow the seasonal promotion is back. Buy one seasonal (Gingerbread Latte, Caramel Brûlée Latte, or Peppermint Mocha) from 2-5 p.m. and get the other free. This deal runs Wed.-Sun. My recommendation over the years has stayed the same: Caramel Brûlée. Thankfully, my husband agrees, so we’re looking at a few coffee dates this week.

The Julian Chapter

20878809Remember my review about Wonder? I proclaimed it a must-read. For those of you who took my advice, you know that Auggie was bullied by Julian because of his facial deformities. It is a powerful young adult story about acceptance, and it made the #1 New York Times Bestseller list.

The Julian Chapter was released in May of this year and shares the bully’s side of the story. As much as I despised Julian in Wonder, I enjoyed hearing the other side, especially seeing how his parents played a roll in his behavior towards his classmates.

If you enjoyed Wonder, read Julian’s story next.

“The first look I got of August, well, it made me want to cover my eyes and run away screaming.”

“That’s the thing about being scared, though. You can’t control it.”

Another Race Week

2014I haven’t participated in a race shorter than 26.2 miles in over a year. Last year we were out of town for the Turkey Trot, so I’m ready to enjoy the pancake breakfast run this year.

After a brief “no running allowed” period that involved a few stitches from the dermatologist the last two weeks, I’m healed and ready. The tests all came back negative, and it provides another reason to exercise my physical ability.

A 19-degree forecast with possible snow for Saturday morning leaves me thinking I won’t be able to convince my brother to run with me, but I’ll just keep talking up the warm, flakey pancakes to follow just in case.

Reading in the Wild

IMG_0225A weekend road trip to Minneapolis allowed for plenty of time in the car for me catch up on some reading. Most of you are probably familiar with The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn Miller. Reading in the Wild is her most recent book. If you’re passionate about reading, if you have kids who you want to raise to be intelligent, informed individuals, or if you care about the future of education, read this book. It’s fantastic!

A few notes worth documenting from the book:

  • “Adults who consider themselves readers vote in elections, volunteer for charities, and support the arts in greater numbers than their peers to read less.” This continues to highlight the importance of lifelong readers long after they leave our classroom.
  • Holding students accountable for reading with worksheets, crosswords, and reading logs will only make students avoid reading. (This reminded me of Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading by Kelly Gallagher. Also a must read!)
  • Check out The Nerdy Book Club for reading suggestions and discussions. Miller also promotes for students and teachers.
  • Use twitter to connect with authors. She specifically highlights @mrschureads and @professornana (Has anyone found Gillian Flynn?)
  • Use Classroom Booksource to organize your classroom library. This electronic system allows teachers to keep track of student checkouts and returns while keeping inventory.
  • The back of the book includes a survey for both the beginning and the end of the year. I’m planning to use these in my classroom to document reading interests and motivation.

IMG_0217Don’t worry, I didn’t keep my nose in a book the entire time. We enjoyed taking in the city life and had tickets to the Chicago Bulls/Timberwolves game at the Target Center Saturday night. What a game! John was bummed Derrick Rose didn’t play, so he’s up for going back.

I must add that John planned this trip 100% by himself. All I had to do was pack my bag and get in the car. Normally, my control-obsessed self needs to be in charge of the details. This time, I let go. That’s a true weekend away!