All Social Studies

Current Event November 29, 2013

Understanding Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Civics/Government US History I Civil War

On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech to honor those who had died at the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought in July of that year. After a two hour speech by politician Edward Everett, Lincoln spoke for just over two minutes. In just 272 words Lincoln explicitly linked human equality and democracy to the Union war effort. This statement of purpose has lived on and remains one of the most famous speeches of the Civil War. Listen to hear the Gettysburg Address and learn more about the historical context in which it was delivered.

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Current Event May 15, 2015

Schools Bring Back Native American Languages

Civics/Government US History I Ethics

The state of Montana is adopting a new approach to maintaining and reviving Native American languages in the state. The state’s new policy, to partially fund native language immersion in public schools, is very different from previous efforts to get rid of Native American language and culture through government boarding schools. Listen to learn more about the policies of the past and present, and why Native Americans in Montana feel strongly about passing their language on to the next generation.

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Current Event November 25, 2013

Remembering Kennedy’s Assassination

US History II Journalism Storytelling

Decades of Americans are able to remember where they were at the moment they heard President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Fifty years later in this radio story we relive the events of that fateful day through the memories of two reporters who were there. Hugh Aynesworth was a local reporter for The Dallas Morning News and Sid Davis was a White House correspondent traveling with the president's press corps. Put yourselves in their shoes as they take you through how they learned about and covered the assassination.

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Current Event November 24, 2013

The Secret Service and JFK’s Assassination

Civics/Government US History II

The United States Secret Service has grown and evolved since its creation in 1865. Originally tasked with suppressing and investigating counterfeit money, the Secret Service took on the responsibility of protecting the president after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, had an equally dramatic effect on the way the Secret Service provided protection. Listen to learn more about the lapses in security that lead to the assassination and the changes implemented since.

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Current Event December 5, 2013

America’s First Black Poet

Race US History I Poetry Biography

Phillis Wheatley lived an extraordinary life. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery in Boston, Massachusetts, Wheatley became the first published African-American woman and poet. In addition to being a poet, Wheatley exchanged letters with religious leaders and philanthropists. Some of her letters have survived, including one in which she reflects on the American Revolution. Listen to learn about this valuable letter, which was auctioned off in 2005.

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Current Event December 4, 2013

The Power of Slave Narratives

Race US History I Memoir

Slavery is a horror of history. The capture and transportation of human beings from Africa to North America through the Middle Passage is an experience that is hard to imagine. First-person slave narratives were the first honest account of the experience and were used by the abolitionist movements in Britain and the United States to show the reality of slavery. Listen to learn more about the first-person account of freed slave Olaudah Equiano, shared in his autobiography in 1789.

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Current Event May 6, 2015

The Last Americans Out of Saigon

Civics/Government US History II World History II

Forty years ago the Vietnam War came to an end. The Paris Peace Accords led to the withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam, allowing the communist forces of the north, led by Prime Minister Ho Chi Minh, to retake South Vietnam and reunify the country. The final days of American occupation of South Vietnam was particularly tense in the South’s largest city, then known as Saigon. As troops left they also engaged in a huge evacuation effort, extracting American civilians and some South Vietnamese. Listen to learn more about these tense last days from Marines who were there.

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Current Event November 26, 2013

Slang Through The Ages

Race Education Literature

From accents to slang to dialect, people who speak English do not always sound the same. The way people speak reflects a lot of different factors in their lives including region, race, class and education. Some slang is reflective of an era. The word “groovy” will forever be linked to hippies, while other pronunciations reflect a longer history of language, colonization and power. Listen to learn how the pronunciation of the word “ask” has changed over time, and how the black community uses code-switching to adapt to their surroundings.

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Current Event April 19, 2015

Armenian Genocide, 100 Years Later

World History II Geography World War I

In the wake of the Holocaust during World War II, the word “genocide” was coined, accepted and recognized as a crime. However, the Holocaust may not have been the first modern genocide. Looking back to the World War I, it seems clear that the Ottoman Empire perpetrated a form of genocide against the Armenian population through mass relocation and massacres 100 years ago. Listen to learn more about the Turkish Ottoman Empire during WWI and this dark period of Armenian history.

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Current Event April 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton Is In

Civics/Government Politics

Hillary Clinton has officially announced that she is running for president in 2016. Clinton has been in national politics since her husband Bill Clinton became president in 1993 and she became the First Lady. Her image has survived several difficult events in her husband’s presidency. She went on to become a New York Senator and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. Her long career means most voters think they know her, but she is setting out to reintroduce herself to the American people in her upcoming campaign. Listen to learn more about her career and campaign.

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Current Event April 26, 2015

Britain off the World Stage

Civics/Government Politics World History II

Great Britain has a long history as a global power. From colonies around the world to diplomatic leadership, Britain has been a powerful leader through history. But the United Kingdom’s involvement and influence has waned in recent years. Since Britain’s involvement in the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British people and their politicians in Parliament have withdrawn from the world stage and turned their attentions inward. Listen to learn more about the causes and effects of Britain’s surprising absence from the world stage.

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Current Event April 5, 2015

Oil Glut

Economics Earth and Space Science

The United States has become one of the world’s largest producers of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia. But the US might be running out of space to store all the oil. If companies sell off large amounts of oil to open up storage space, what will happen to the price? Listen to learn more about this debate of supply, demand and cost when it comes to oil production, speculation and storage.

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Current Event April 8, 2015

Instagram Somalia

Technology World History II Geography

Social media is used to post pictures, follow others, and communicate with friends and family. But it can also be used to share pictures of everyday life with people across the globe, changing perspectives and worldviews. This happened when Ugaaso Abukar Boocow, a Somali refugee living in Canada, returned to Somalia to explore her home country and spend time with her mother. The media often focus on civil war, violence and poverty that has plagued Somalia since the early 90’s, but Ugaaso is exposing the world to the beauty and small moment of everyday life in the Somali capital Mogadishu through her Instagram feed.

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Current Event April 28, 2015

Want to be a Spy?

Civics/Government

The National Security Agency or NSA has been under scrutiny since one of its former workers, Edward Snowden, exposed the government agency’s widespread domestic surveillance programs in 2013. This revelation didn’t just change the way the American public understood the role of the NSA, it also changed the way technology companies and potential employees did. Now it’s harder for the NSA to recruit potential code breakers and spies. Listen to learn how these changed perceptions have complicated the government’s recruiting efforts.

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Current Event August 2, 2014

Competitive Sand Sculpting

Psychology Sports Arts

Competitions come in all shapes and sizes. From the boxing ring to the beach, people love to use competition to inspire their best work. Sports have a long tradition of competition but we don’t often see or watch artists be competitive. Every summer just north of Boston, Massachusetts, beach goers to do just this at the Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival. Listen to learn more about sand sculpting and how competition and art drive its creators.

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Current Event April 3, 2015

Integrating College Basketball in the South

Race Sports Civil RIghts

Basketball fans across the country are preparing for the exciting end of March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. As Kentucky drives towards a undefeated season, this story remembers a time when the Southeastern Conference (SEC) was not integrated. Despite the Voting Rights Act of 1964, racism in the South was still commonplace and public. Perry Wallace stepped onto the basketball court for Vanderbilt University in 1966 and became the first black varsity athlete in the Southeastern Conference. Listen to learn more about the climate of Southern basketball in the late 1960s and how Perry Wallace survived and thrived.

Warning: Quotes in this story contain strong language.

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Current Event December 20, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Difficult Life

Literature US History II Psychology

In "The Great Gatsby" F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the life of the rich and glamorous during the Roaring Twenties. But what happened to the author when the carefree splendor of the 1920s ended and the nation was plunged into the Great Depression? The 1930s were not kind to Fitzgerald or his wife Zelda. The Fitzgeralds moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where the author continued to look for inspiration in the hopes of making a comeback. Listen to learn more about the fate of this glamorous couple of the Jazz Age after the stock market crash.

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Current Event April 23, 2015

Cheating Educators

Civics/Government Education Ethics

Educators in Atlanta, Georgia have been convicted and in some cases sent to jail for orchestrating cheating on high-stakes tests in their school districts. An investigation found widespread evidence that educators were pressured to erase wrong answers on student tests and fill in the correct bubble. This is not the only example of cheating in school systems, but it is the largest. Listen to learn more how the federal No Child Left Behind law put so much pressure on school administrators that it led to the cheating scandal.

Update: One month after issuing the sentence, the judge in the Atlanta cheating case had a change of heart and reduced the sentences of three former educators from seven years in prison to three.

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Current Event April 29, 2015

Too Thin to Model

Civics/Government Health Ethics

Tall, ultra-skinny fashion models have graced the runways in Paris, France for decades, but a new French law could change the look of models. The new law, which aims to fight anorexia and other eating disorders, requires employers ask models for a medical certificate proving they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18. It also requires they periodically weigh their models to make sure they aren’t too thin. If companies use models that don’t meet these standards they face a fine and potential jail time.

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Current Event December 20, 2014

Honoring Harriet Tubman

Race US History I Biography

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in Maryland and then used her freedom and the Underground Railroad to free more than 70 slaves. Known as the “Moses of Her People,” Tubman lived a purposeful life fighting slavery. She also joined the fight for women’s suffrage after the Civil War. Congress has approved the creation of two national historic parks, one in Maryland and the other in New York, to commemorate and honor the life of this pioneering woman.

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