App-etizer: This American Life

During my sabbatical, when I was working as “the 40-year-old intern” at Unboundary, Alex asked me if I listened to This American Life on NPR. Even as a big fan of NPR, I had never heard of This American Life. Alex sent me a link to an episode, and I stored the link in a note-taking app.

Months later, I am now a regular listener and huge fan of This American Life. On November 5, 2011, my family adopted a rescue dog from Lookout Mountain, TN. As best as we can tell, Lucy is a cross between some kind of hound and some kind of pointer – maybe a German Short Hair. On November 6, my morning routine changed appreciably, as Lucy likes to walk near 5:30 a.m. each day.

I love walking with Lucy. Nevertheless, I was a bit reticent to give up the time that I use in the morning to read and write. So, Lucy and I walk with Ira Glass many mornings. After hooking up Lucy to her leash, I use the This American Life app to select an episode to which to listen during our walk.

The show has become a great “school” for me, and I am learning a great deal about P.I. Moms, Amusement Parks, Middle Schools, etc. What’s more, I am connecting a great deal of what I hear to other things about which I am thinking. For example, in a recent listen about a library program that puts students through a simulation of Reagan’s decision to invade Grenada, I was able to think considerably about the spectrum of project-based learning that exists. Additionally, I am also thinking a lot about the communication format of podcasting. That might be my next creative communication venture. How interesting it could be for a tribe of reporters at our school newspaper to post a series of podcasts…This Wildcat Life.

On to walk. Lucy and Ira are calling.

4 thoughts on “App-etizer: This American Life

  1. This Wildcat Life??? Come on, you get this idea AFTER Valerie’s and my writing workshop is over!?!?! Sounds like an amazing outgrowth of WPX. Can I be a guest correspondent if it takes off?

  2. Bo,
    TAL is wonderful. Ira Glass did a great interview somewhat recently on the art of storytelling. It’s now a great 4 part series on youtube, and he has a great bit in there on the amount of failure it takes to get really good at storytelling.

    Also, two other podcasts I think you’d love are Radiolab—simply the best radio program on science there is. This could be such a wonderful resource for so many science classes. And finally, Planet Money—the best reporting on economics I’ve found anywhere. These reporters bring the subject to life with fascinating stories from all over the world. Really great stuff.

    • John, thanks for the links to the art of storytelling, Radiolab, and Planet Money. I look forward to checking out those shows. I find the storytelling on TAL to be incredible, and Ira Glass definitely has me thinking of how to get into the podcast “business” myself. Have you done much of that?

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