All ELA

Bladensburg cross

Current Event April 19, 2019

Debate: Can public memorials include religious imagery?

Civics/Government Religion Culture

The United States Supreme Court recently faced a case that tested the idea of “separation of church and state” that is a core tenet of American democracy. The case considered whether a giant memorial cross on public land might be unconstitutional. The justices heard a variety of arguments for and against the use of religious imagery in a public memorial. Listen to hear some of those arguments and debate: Can public memorials include religious imagery?

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Onion cells

Current Event April 18, 2019

Modifying Plant DNA with a Nano-Needle

Technology Engineering Genetics Plants Biology

Would you like to eat apples that never turn brown? Scientists hoping to genetically modify plants for crop development think they may have found a solution to a major problem they have been facing. The cell walls of plants make it difficult to insert genetic material into plant cells to change how those plant cells work. The solution–carbon nanotubes–was discovered by accident. Listen to learn about the discovery and implementation of this nanotechnology solution and how it could change the way scientists breed new crop varieties.

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Slave ships

ELA Middle School

'Middle Passage'

Race Slavery American Literature Historical Fiction

Charles Johnson’s book Middle Passage is considered a modern classic, in part because so much of the story told in the novel is seen as a reflection on the history of race and what it means to be black in America. In the book, the main character, Rutherford Calhoun, a free black man, unknowingly boards a ship that’s part of the illegal slave trade. His experience on board forces him to clarify his own racial identity. In this audio story, we hear different perspectives, including the author’s, on the story the book tells and its important and relevant themes.

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A real life gatsby

ELA High School

A Real Life Gatsby

Literature Psychology American Literature Historical Fiction

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.”

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Cute white lab

Current Event April 17, 2019

Running a Marathon Blind

Health Animals Sports

A blind runner recently completed the New York City Half Marathon with his guide dogs. He has run many marathons with human guides, but completing this race was an important accomplishment for all involved. Listen to this story to learn about this courageous runner and his helpful dogs and find out what he hopes to do next.

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Michelle obama

Current Event March 14, 2019

Michelle Obama on Becoming

Politics Memoir Autobiography

Michelle Obama, whose marriage to President Barack Obama brought her into the national spotlight, has written a memoir titled Becoming. In the book, she tells the story of her journey from childhood to the White House and beyond, sharing reflections on challenges she faced along the way and on how she has forged her identity over the course of her life. Listen to this story to hear some of Obama’s insights into her experience of becoming who she is today.

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Truth in nonfiction

ELA High School

Jon Krakauer on Researching 'Into the Wild'

Life Science Nutrition Journalism Nonfiction

The book "Into the Wild" chronicled the journey of twenty-four year old Christopher McCandless who died in April of 1992 after attempting to survive alone and virtually unaided on a remote Alaskan hiking trail. While McCandless’ official cause of death has been recorded as starvation, author Jon Krakauer has evidence suggesting otherwise. Krakauer, who wrote "Into the Wild," has conducted extensive research on McCandless’ death even after he first published the book chronicling McCandless’ experiences. His findings have led him to believe that McCandless’ death may have been caused by the ingestion of a poisonous potato seed that is only deadly if you are malnourished. Listen to hear what evidence led Krakauer to this conclusion.

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T. s. eliot 1929

ELA High School

Modernist Poet T.S. Eliot

Poetry Biography Arts World War I

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, best known as T.S. Eliot, was one of the great modernist poets of the 20th century. His work was part of a specific moment in history and art, before and after World War I, when identity, nations and art were fractured. Listen to learn more about the world in which Eliot wrote and why his poem “The Waste Land” remains one of the pillars of the high modernism movement.

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798px dante domenico di michelino duomo florence

ELA High School

Translations of Dante's 'Divine Comedy'

Literature Religion Poetry World History I

Dante Alighieri finished writing the three-part epic poem “Divine Comedy” in 1321. The poem is written in three parts: hell, purgatory, and heaven. It follows one man on his journey through all three places. This great work of Italian literature has survived the ages and remains a classic today. There have been many translations of Dante’s work. This story interviews Clive James, the most recent English translator, as he talks about this epic poem and his translated version of “Divine Comedy.”

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Gavin newsom

Current Event March 27, 2019

No More Death Penalty in California

Politics Human Rights

Governor Gavin Newsom of California has issued a suspension of capital punishment in his state. While it has been years since a death row inmate was executed in California, voters have rejected proposoals to abolish the death penalty on recent ballot measures. Critics of the governor say that his action betrays the will of California residents. Newsom says that this decision to end the death penalty is the right one. Listen to hear the governor’s rationale and why this decision has many people talking.

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Grand canyon

Current Event April 16, 2019

Grand Canyon Love Notes

Environment Writing

The Grand Canyon National Park recently celebrated its 100th birthday. A park ranger there created a “pop-up project,” placing an old typewriter on an overlook more than six miles into the canyon and inviting people to write notes reflecting on the moment. Listen to learn what inspired the project and hear some of the writing that hikers left behind.

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Muslim and proud

Current Event April 15, 2019

Anti-Muslim Violence Effects

Religion Culture Psychology Violence

Mental health professionals worry that the trauma of the recent terrorist attacks at New Zealand mosques is not healthy for young Muslims who face intolerance on a daily basis. Muslim teens face racism and prejudice in their everyday lives, especially growing up in the era of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Listen to this story to learn about students’ experiences growing up Muslim in the U.S. today and what people are doing to support healthy identity development.

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Womens team soccer

Current Event April 12, 2019

Debate: Should women's soccer players get equal pay?

Gender Culture Sports Equality

The U.S. women’s national soccer team, which is the number one ranked team in the world, has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation because the players on the women’s team are paid less than their counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team. Opponents argue that comparing the two national teams is not really possible because of differences between men’s and women’s soccer internationally. Listen to this story to hear more about the details of the case and Debate: Should U.S. national soccer team players all get equal pay?

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Kurt vonnegut mural

ELA High School

Kurt Vonnegut

Politics Philosophy Science Fiction Classics Vietnam War Satire Human Connection Dystopian Worlds

Acclaimed American author Kurt Vonnegut is known for his legacy of satirical literature, including his best-selling novel Slaughterhouse Five and his short-story collection Welcome to the Monkey House. His writing often mixed dark humor with speculative fiction, calling attention to important issues in American society, politics, and life. Listen to learn more about Vonnegut’s influential work from interviews with the author himself.

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Bonnie and clyde

Current Event April 11, 2019

Bonnie & Clyde Poetry

Culture Law Poetry U.S. History

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious gangsters during the Great Depression. The Barrow gang robbed banks and stores, led prison breaks, engaged in gunfights, and were constantly on the run from the law until they died in a shootout in their 20s. Surprisingly, Bonnie and Clyde also wrote poetry, and their original poems were recently put up for auction, along with some photographs. Listen to hear excerpts of their poetry and reflections on what it reveals about the legendary criminals.

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Captain marvel

Current Event March 7, 2019

Captain Marvel: Marvel's First Female Led Film

Gender Arts Entertainment

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is starting off big in 2019 with Captain Marvel. The film, which features a superheroine battling evil, is the first ever movie in the Marvel Universe with a female lead. In order to do the character and story justice, Marvel hired not only a female director, but also female producers and writers. Geneva Robertson-Dworet is one of those writers, and her experience has shown her that opportunities are limited for female screenwriters. The film industry has been historically dominated by men, which has had an impact on how female characters have been portrayed. Listen to a Captain Marvel screenwriter describe her experience as a woman in the film industry.

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Maya angelous life and legacy

ELA Middle School

Maya Angelou's Life and Legacy

Gender Poetry Biography Civil RIghts

Maya Angelou was an author, poet and icon. She grew up during segregation and used her work to empower and give voice to the African American community. Her memoir, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" changed the literary world and opened doors for African American authors and women.

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Chimpanzee families

Current Event April 10, 2019

Research on Primate Sharing

Psychology Animals Evolution Learning Development

Scientists are curious about how humans evolved to help each other, which is different from the typical behavior of other animals. To investigate social behaviors such as helping and sharing, researchers have performed experiments to see how willing other primates are to share food and supplies. Listen to learn about their research on how other primates approach sharing and how that differs from human behavior.

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2396559684 9f0089f5ff b

ELA High School

Women’s Dystopian Future in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Gender Fiction Dystopian Fiction

Published in 1985, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a dystopian novel set in a near future version of America. It tells the story of Offred, a woman living in the theocratic, authoritarian country of Gilead. More than 30 years since it was published, a TV adaptation sparked renewed interest in the novel. Listen to three journalists discuss how Offred’s story relates to contemporary American society.

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Big brother in george orwells 1984 and today

ELA High School

George Orwell and Surveillance in '1984'

Law Ethics Fiction Historical Fiction

In a real-life case that has shades of George Orwell’s "1984," the United States Supreme Court must weigh the public good against privacy. Does putting a GPS monitoring device on the car of suspected criminals violate their privacy? Or does it protect society? Listen to this audio story which addresses the issues in the novel "1984," as you discuss this recent case.

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