17 books, movies, and podcasts for you to soak up this summer. Truth: When it comes to pop culture and entertainment, we teachers like to try to stay in the know. It’s not so much that we’re worried about staying hip — it’s just that we know when we’re working with a younger crowd, keeping relevant

Jun 14, 2017

17 books, movies, and podcasts for you to soak up this summer.

Truth: When it comes to pop culture and entertainment, we teachers like to try to stay in the know. It’s not so much that we’re worried about staying hip — it’s just that we know when we’re working with a younger crowd, keeping relevant is crucial.

The irony lies in just how unbelievably hard it is to stay current with books, movies, and television when we’ve got endless grading, prepping, and meetings. So unless our students are keeping us in the loop with play-by-plays of the most recent Star Wars installment or rundowns of celebrity gossip, we tend to miss out.

But summertime is here, and so is your opportunity to catch up on entertainment. Still, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices piling up in your DVR.

Good thing: We’re here to help. Whether it’s upbeat or intense, hilarious, or soul-warming, here are our picks for meaningful media to plug into this summer break.


Podcasts are our jam. Easy to subscribe to from our phones, we can take them anywhere — grocery shopping, road tripping, or to the beach. Plus, almost all podcasts are f-r-e-e. Get your earbuds ready and plug in to one of our favorites.

    • Rich Roll: Looking for motivation? Check this guy out. The vegan super athlete provides a broad range of wellness inspiration aimed at empowering his audience to become their best, most authentic selves.

    • Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers: The simplest way to stop feeling overwhelmed and overscheduled? How to find balance with social media and still be a connected educator? How to undo your classroom management mistakes? With topics like these, we are all ears.

    • Stuff to Blow Your Mind: Whether or not it’s your subject of choice, you’re bound to dig this science radio show geared toward life’s curiosities.

    • Reveal: Produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting, this show is all about really good investigative reporting and holding the powerful accountable.

    • Homecoming: Looking for a narrative? This psychological thriller starring Amy Sedaris, Catherine Keener, and David Schwimmer is six 25-minute segments deep. Jump on in.

    • Tiny Leaps, Big Changes: Tune in for research-backed personal development and and self help strategies aimed to help you — wait for it — make small leaps in order to make serious change.


An entertainment list for educators without books? No way. Ditch the screen (or embrace your Kindle) and get ready to drift away without leaving your couch, whether it’s a professional boost or a personal adventure you’re seeking.

    • The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey: This New York Times best-seller kicks overparenting and over-rescuing our kiddos to the curb. Get ready to help kids become confident, resilient problem solvers.

    • Teaching with your Mouth Shut by Donald Finkel: Reflect on your own teaching practices and help students facilitate their own education with this thought-provoking read.

    • Startup by Doree Shafrir: Smart and satirical, Shafrir uses her characters to expose our culture’s technology obsession.

    • 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Proceed with caution — this one’s divisive. Your kiddos will still be talking about this plot come August, as it’s one of the hottest items on Netflix these days. We’re pulling the teacher card here and advising you to read the book —first published 10 years ago — before watching. Eerie, devastating, and heavy, the story confronts 13 reasons why a teen commits suicide.

    • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: From the author that penned The Girl on the Train, this thrilling whodunit promises to have you page turning in suspense.


Did stacks of grading and hours of professional development keep you from catching these blockbusters? No time like the present to beat the heat and clock some quality couch time.

    • Hidden Figures: Based on the nonfiction book, this tale follows three mathematicians working at NASA during the Space Race who also happen to be female and black during the Jim Crow era.

    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: A great soundtrack, thrilling space action, and no shortage of laughs land this sequel on our must-see list.

    • La La Land: This romantic musical about a hopeful jazz musician and an aspiring actress in Los Angeles snagged six Oscars and a record-breaking seven Golden Globes.

    • The Lego Batman Movie: Following the success of 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” this one’s just as fun and clever.

    • Beauty and the Beast: Disney’s live-action retelling of the timeless tale offers stunning detail, classic fun, and fresh perspective. Bonus: Emma Watson!

    • The Fate of the Furious: If you’re into over-the-top action flicks, you won’t be able to resist the franchise’s most recent installment. Bring on the flaming cars and fistfights — this star-studded movie pushes the pedal to the metal.

Related Content

10 Links to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

10 Links to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

The holidays are near, Arizona educators! Keep calm and get your teaching on.

Read More
10 Ideas for a Festive Fall Season

10 Ideas for a Festive Fall Season

Welcome cooler temps, fall flavors and more with these fun ways to celebrate the season — in and out of the classroom. Is pumpkin spice your favorite seasoning? Do you love all things red, orange, and yellow? If so, you’ll love these fall-themed links. Think fall leaves are a plane ride away? Thin

Read More
10 Click-Worthy Links for Every Teacher

10 Click-Worthy Links for Every Teacher

We share our favorite teacher-friendly links from the past week. Happy November! Fall in Arizona sets our teacher-hearts ablaze with the first hints of cooler weather and the promise of Thanksgiving. Here’s a quick list of links to start your month off on the right foot. Looking for fresh craft in

Read More

Get weekly teaching tips, helpful resources, and important Arizona education news!

Sign up for our email newsletter today.

Arizona K12 Center


loading iconPlease Wait
loading icon
View Cart (0)