Life is hard.
Plans fall apart.
People disappoint you.
My latest obsession – Wondery’s Imagined Life podcast – details the struggles people faced before they became famous and it always leaves me hopeful. Part biography/part mystery, the program is a fun distraction with a guessing game quality. It’s also a helluva great example of second-person narrative storytelling.
Do yourself a favor. Find a tedious task that’ll take 40 minutes or so to complete (I’m lookin’ at you, weed-filled sideyard), pop in some earbuds, and hit “play.”
Not sure where to start? “The Outsider” will grab students’ attention:
“The Underdog” surprised me:
“The Phoenix” made me cry:
When facing a long commute or stack of dirty dishes, Imagined Life’s the juice to keep us sane. If you’re thinking some of these might also work for the classroom, I’m right there with you.
Click here for my worksheet designed to work with any of the episodes (includes printable PDF and Google Drive versions):
There are five seasons of episodes and I’ve listened to only about a dozen, but I’d use any of these with juniors and seniors. (Teaching A Raisin in the Sun? This one’s a nice supplement: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/imagined-life-746490/episodes/the-dishwasher-76290784)
If you teach younger teens or need more conventional curriculum, stick with the “Imagined Life Family” selections. They’re shorter (about 30 minutes instead of the usual 40+ minutes) and appropriate for all ages. If, though, you’re comfortable discussing real-life struggles such as eating disorders, substance abuse, physical/sexual abuse, or suicidal thoughts, then any of the episodes will work for your classes. Let me know which ones are your favorites.
Thanks to the 2ndaryELA Facebook Group for bringing this gem to my attention! Teach on, everyone.