Current Event March 23, 2016
As part of Native American Heritage night, a women’s high school basketball team wore traditional Navajo hair styles. They wore a tsiyeela—a bun tied with yarn. Then a referee told them they couldn't play because he believed the hairstyle broke regulation. The students ended up taking out their buns. After the team received an apology, they wore their traditional hairstyles at the next game. And so did many in the audience. Listen to hear more about this event that highlights the issue of cultural sensitivity.
Current Event September 28, 2016
Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun and missionary, worked for years with the poor in India and was known as a “modern day” saint. She was born to an Albanian family in Macedonia and was a devoted humanitarian until her death in 1997. Recently, she was canonized by Pope Francis and is now officially recognized as a saint. The Catholic Church has spent over a decade examining evidence of miracles attributed to Mother Teresa in order to make her a saint. Listen to hear how the Vatican determined Mother Teresa’s sainthood.
Current Event February 12, 2018
While you cheer on your favorite athletes in Pyeongchang, you can take part in our Listenwise Listening Olympics!
When to listen: Monday February 12 - Friday February 23
When to take the quiz: Friday February 23 - Friday March 2
Contest ends: 11:59 pm EST on March 2
Be sure to play this audio of the Listening Olympics Opening Ceremony today with your class! Students can take our fun Listening Olympics quiz from Friday, February 23rd through March 2nd to see how well they listened. In the Olympic spirit, we will award Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes to contest participants based on the top quiz scores and highest student participation! You could win Bose headphones, a set of classroom headphones or Listenwise swag. More information available!
ELA Middle School
Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” is a creative and sensitive retelling of one man’s experiences during the Holocaust. As a graphic novel, “Maus” uses comic strips and drawings to help tell its story. The drawing on its cover, however, has been met with controversy in some parts of the world. Featuring a prominent swastika at its center, the cover art has faced objections in places like Russia and Germany. Listen to hear more about how well-intentioned rules around censorship can lead to unintended consequences.
ELA Middle School
William Shakespeare’s tragic romance of star crossed lovers, based on an Italian tale, graced stages in the 1590’s and continues to capture audiences and imagination today. Modern adaptations demonstrate the timelessness of this romantic tragedy. Juliet appeals so directly to people that they actually write to her! Listen to learn more about the Juliet Club and the 6,000 letters they receive a year.
ELA High School
Langston Hughes, an African American writer who lived and wrote during the first half of the 20th century, remains one of the most celebrated writers in American history. He was a social activist, novelist, playwright, columnist and leader of the Harlem Renaissance. In this story, a woman is pleasantly surprised to find one of his poems among her granddaughter’s school papers. She shares with her granddaughter the many things she admired about Hughes, and the many reasons he was such an influential poet and person during his time. She speaks about Hughes’s early life, his travels, and his lyrical poetry. Listen to learn more about this famous poet, who continues to inspire younger generations today.
ELA High School
Franz Kafka worked at an insurance company and wrote in his spare time. He asked that all his personal papers, including literary manuscripts be burned when he died. After Kafka’s death, his friend and literary executor Max Brod ignored Kafka’s wishes and published many of his manuscripts. "The Trial," a novel about law, justice and the arrest and prosecution of a man for an unknown crime, was one of these manuscripts. Other people face similar decisions around respecting the wishes of an artist or writer by destroying their work. Listen to a conversation with an ethicist as he discusses the implications of this debate through a modern day example.
ELA High School
American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained many of her friendships through letter writing, while she wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886, when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.
Current Event February 20, 2018
Some events can deeply connect two people. In this story a 12 year old girl’s life was saved, and it took over 50 years for her to find the one who saved her. In 1967 two girls were at a camp and one was struck by lightning and fell unconscious. The boom of lightning made the other girls run from the cabin but when one girl realized she wasn’t with them, she went back to get her. That action saved her life. Listen as these two women reconnect for the first time since that event to say thank you and tell their stories.
Current Event August 25, 2014
In 1993, the book The Giver made a splash in the world of young literature, 20 years later it has made it to the big screen. Author Lois Lowry discusses her inspirations for a world in which there are no memories or emotions but there are clear rules and regulations. We also hear from the movie’s screenwriter, who himself read the book as a fifth grader. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about what inspired the book and led to the film.
Current Event March 6, 2015
In 2024 crews of four will be sent to Mars with the goal of creating a permanent human settlement there. The mission is being planned by a non-profit organization in the Netherlands called Mars One. 200,000 people applied to be one of the first four people to make this all expense paid trip. Mars One has narrowed the applicants down to 100. Shirelle Webb, a 22 year old college student from Texas has made the cut. Listen to learn why she wants to be considered for the one-way trip.
Current Event July 28, 2014
The fighting between Israel and the Palestinians is disrupting normal life for people living in both areas. Daily life looks very different on both sides, as the West Bank looks like a village and Israel proper looks like California. One man who is walking around the world following the path of ancient man stops to reflect what he saw while passing through the West Bank and Israel. Listen to this public radio story to hear what he saw.
ELA High School
The story of “Romeo and Juliet” is a fictional Shakespearean tragedy about star-crossed lovers. In Afghanistan, falling in love with someone from a different background can get you killed, especially if you are a woman. A true story of love between a man and woman from different ethnic sects of Islam was reported in The New York Times. Journalists have a code that requires them to remain impartial in their work, but one reporter got involved and helped these people during their crisis. Listen to how he helped this couple avoid danger, similar to the friar and nurse who helped Romeo and Juliet.
Current Event June 30, 2014
Current Event July 21, 2014
Nadine Gordimer was a white South African who was also an observer of the everyday experience of 'Blacks under Apartheid'. She wrote 15 novels including 'Lying Days,' 'A World of Strangers,' 'A Sport of Nature,' and 'The Conservationist.' She won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1991 and died in 2014 at the age of 90. Listen to learn more about this influential writer.
Current Event February 8, 2018
In North Korea, most citizens are not allowed to leave the country. However, for the Winter Olympics hosted in South Korea, the North Korean regime is permitting athletes to compete. North and South Korea will be united under one flag, and a pair of figure skaters from North Korea has qualified for the games. The International Olympic Committee gave them quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card, to allow them to compete since they missed the registration deadline. Many people are looking forward to a cultural exchange and interaction between North and South Korea. Listen to learn more about these North Korean figure skaters who will compete in the Olympics.
Current Event March 11, 2016
There are at least 600 schools across the country that have handed iPads to every student. At Burlington High School in Massachusetts, the students are using iPads and not textbooks. The principal states that everything students need for learning can be found on their web-enabled devices. Textbooks are static and publisher-driven, whereas in this school they focus on personalized learning where students frame the coursework. Some say technology should be limited in order to engage students in real world experiences, and that textbooks are an important part of how students learn. Listen to the story of this High School and debate with your students: Are textbooks or tablets better for student learning?
ELA Middle School
When Louisa May Alcott wrote “Little Women” at the request of her publisher it became an instant hit. The story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, still inspires young women nearly 150 years later. What do these four women represent? How can we understand Jo’s independence in the context of her era? And how does the novel reflect and differ from the life of its author Louisa May Alcott? Listen to learn more about the lasting legacy of “Little Women.”
ELA High School
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel "The Great Gatsby" James “Jimmy” Gatz becomes Jay Gatsby. Gatsby creates a false identity for himself to enter the world of wealth and power that his beloved, Daisy Buchanan, lives in. The novel explores this world of excess and what it takes for Gatsby to truly enter it. This premise of false identity has moved from fiction to reality. Listen to learn about a real life Gatsby who called himself “Clark Rockefeller.”
Current Event May 29, 2015
Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” is a classic coming of age tale of orphan Jane Eyre’s growth and morality. The original novel was published in England in 1847 and reflected the culture and standards of the time. A new novel by author Patricia Park, “Re Jane,” reimagines the tale, placing it in modern Korean American culture. Listen to hear from the author about how she was influenced by Jane Eyre and how the story resonates with her own culture and experience.