Margin Notes



When I am driving anywhere, the car radio is generally tuned to CBC. On this particular day, I just happened to catch an episode of the Podcast Playlist where the host was interviewing Helen Zaltzman. Helen is the host of one of my favourite podcasts –The Allusionist. Near the end of the show, the interviewer asked Helen for some of her podcast recommendations and Helen then went on to describe a club she is in…one of the coolest “clubs” I’ve ever heard of: Podcast Clubs.

Here is how it works:

Helen and her friends all choose an episode of a different podcast for their friends to listen to during the month.  This can be any podcast, but it should be one that they really enjoyed and think their friends would too. Then, they meet online to discuss the podcasts. I believe there are 5 people in this podcast club. Meaning that they would have 5 podcasts to discuss. They do this on a monthly basis.

Well, my mind was blown. And, I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t thought of this myself.

What a quick and easy kind of club to set up! It’s something that wouldn’t require a lot of prep time. All you would need are some podcasts for you and your students to listen to, along with format for discussing the podcasts.

Since I love podcasts, Here are some podcasts that I would recommend:

Grades 6-8:


The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd

Brains On!

Grades 9-12:



This I Believe

Code Switch (best episodes for kids)

Hidden Brain

Anthropocene Reviewed

99% Invisible

Instead of listening to different podcasts, you could have the whole class listen to an episode of the same podcast.

For the discussion, you could have the students use the BHH-Book, Head, Heart. These questions are an excellent way to get conversations going and for sparking thinking.

I would also give some thought about the purpose for listening to the podcasts:

  • Is it Author’s Craft? Maybe, you want students to think about how the podcast was crafted and notice details of the and then try out some podcasting of their own. Students might make note of the interview style of the host.
  • Is it Author’s purpose? Maybe you are having students examine the “why” of the podcast. What makes this topic important and worth discussing? What is the message? What does it prompt you to do?
  • Is it Speaking and Listening? Maybe you want students to work on their discussion skills.

Podcast Clubs would be an excellent way of exploring the following ELA outcomes:

1. Build understanding by listening to, reading, and viewing a range of spoken, written, and visual texts representing all voices.

2. Respond personally and critically to the works of authors, creators, illustrators, and speakers

3. Speak, write and represent to learn about self, others, and the world

Try it out! And, we’d love to hear how it goes.

Oh, and if you’re interested in the podcasts Helen Zaltzman recommended…here you go!

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