Favorite Listenwise Podcasts from Educators – Fall 2020

Looking for engaging podcasts to use with your students? Our library of more than 2000 podcast lessons includes something for everyone. Here are some favorites selected by Listenwise Advocates, representing a range of grade levels and disciplines, who explain how and why they have used these lessons with their students. 

Maybe they will spark some ideas about what kinds of stories might work in your classroom…

Who Was Cleopatra?

“I found this story to be particularly compelling because my seventh graders are ready to start participating in more critical thinking, and this interview with Professor Duane Roller offers a far more nuanced portrayal of Cleopatra than students receive from our textbooks.  When the interviewer conveys Roller’s idea  “…that she became the product of male-dominated historiography,” my students see that misogyny has influenced culture for thousands of years, even in academia, and that patriarchal institutions have been trying to tarnish the images of influential women throughout history.” 

Eric Page

Seventh Grade Core Teacher

Orinda Intermediate School, Orinda, California

Actor Says Dyslexia Helped Shape Him

The story of Henry Winkler and how something people view as a disability helped shape his abilities and make him better is a great example to our students who struggle with their own challenges.  This audio story is a perfect example of one that can appeal to young students who may have read his stories or older students who are struggling in school and can gain a new perspective on their struggle, which could possibly even change their life.  Pairing this story with the provided article from The Guardian makes a great assignment with an excellent message.

Richard Winters

High School Library Media Teacher

Wasco High School, Wasco, California

Teen Diver Discovers Rotting Golf Balls

I asked my students to help me  choose a favorite story. They decided that this story about the teen diver was their favorite.  Here are their reasons: 

  • It is my favorite story  because it lets me know that even the youngest people can help the earth from dying due to pollution. 
  • It is my favorite because the teen helped even though she did not have to; she could have just left the golf balls in the ocean, but she decided to help like a good citizen. 
  • It is my favorite because it shows me that even young people can make a difference.
  • This story speaks to me because anybody can do amazing things even if they’re young.

This story inspired my students to think of ways that they also could help our environment.

Viviani Piekutowski

6th Grade Teacher

Jimenez Elementary, Santa Maria, CA

Why Woolly Mammoths Have Thick, Furry, Coats

I like using this story with freshman biology students because it features animals with which many people are familiar, woolly mammoths and Asian elephants, to introduce the complex topic of genetics and make it relatable. In the story, a scientist discusses how a single gene may be the cause of the differences between the two animals. He talks about the gene having many functions for physical and behavioral traits and explains that the gene produces protein. Many kids know about genes, love woolly mammoths, and are compelled to ask questions about them, which makes learning genetics more engaging. 

Bonnie Nieves

Grade 9 Biology Teacher


Bee Deaths and Crop Consequences

This story does a really nice job of linking some important concepts in my instruction. One of the important things I want my students to take from my classroom is care and support of their environment. I use this story throughout several units in both earth science and biology classrooms. The format, length, and topic are perfect for student use. In my virtual classroom, the many useful tools in Listenwise make it an easy resource to integrate into my lesson design and execution. I love to mix the way I share information with students. Listenwise has been valuable in my face-to-face and online classrooms. Stories have served as warm up, formative assessments, and independent work. 

Sebastian Byers

8th-12th Grade Distance Science Teacher

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth-CTY

Love Poems from Kids

Selecting my favorite audio story was tough because I enjoy all the ones that I select for my students. I have to be particular since they are English Language Learners working on their listening comprehension skills. Therefore, I selected “Love Poems from Kids” for Valentine’s Day back when life was still normal. It is a very touching story for all ages, and I used it for all of my classes. From it, I had my students create their own love poem to present on FlipGrid, making a project out of the story and giving them some speaking practice. 

Lara Covey

ELL Teacher, 6-12th Grades


Rising Oceans Put Island Nations in Peril

This audio story ties to our study of the United Nations Global Goals and climate action. Students start to recognize the impact of global warming on small island nations, and how rising sea level and flooding can change the geography. The story shares the experiences of those in Kiribati and Maldives, but makes local connections that are relatable to middle-school students. In addition, this audio story connects with other climate change and global warming stories on Listenwise for comparison texts.

Laura Krenicki 

Global Studies Teacher

William J. Johnston Middle School in Connecticut