Topic: Elementary

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Current Event February 21, 2017

Making Lunch in Japan is High Stakes

Gender Elementary Asia

Packing a child's lunch in Japan can take more than an hour, since moms create bento lunches that take lunch ingredients and transform them into cute characters. Ham and rice can be made into Pokemon, cute animals, or famous people. It's called character bento, or kyaraben, and there's a lot of pressure to produce these food creations. In Japan, women are highly educated, but about 70 percent quit working after having children. Thus a lot of talent and creative energy is sometimes going into creating competitively cute lunches. Listen to hear more about the lunch making culture in Japan.

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Current Event October 20, 2016

Dogs Can Process Words and Meaning

Life Science Elementary Animals

When dog owners talk to their pets, they usually use praising words and speak in an approving, cheerful tone. Neuroscientists studied the brains of dogs to learn more about how they interpret praise. By looking at certain pathways in the brain scans, the research team discovered some interesting results that suggest dogs may process the meaning of the words they hear in addition to the tone of voice. Listen to hear the details of the study about what dogs understand when we speak to them.

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Current Event September 28, 2016

Mother Teresa Made a Saint

Religion Elementary

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.

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Current Event September 22, 2016

200 Year Old Sharks

Life Science Elementary Animals Evolution

Sharks can live to be over two hundred years old, and recently a Greenland shark was found who may have lived up to 512 years. These sharks are the longest living vertebrates known to exist. They can be found swimming in the Arctic seas, where researchers are spending time studying the old creatures. Listen to the story to hear more about this fascinating species.

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Current Event September 16, 2016

Debate: Does Social Media Affect Your Behavior?

Technology Psychology Elementary

Social media has an interesting effect on teenagers and the way they think. This study used social media and tested how teens responded to various photos online. Teens were shown an image that was deemed to have lots of "likes." The teens tended to like the image also. They found that teens responded strongly to the more popular pictures, regardless of which ones they were. Seeing popular pictures also produced greater activation in the reward centers of the brain. Listen to hear more about the effect of social media on the way teens think.

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Current Event June 23, 2016

Saudi Girl's Diary

Gender Elementary Culture

This story follows a Saudi Arabian teenage girl over two years. It’s a personally narrated audio diary of a young woman who is in college and dreams of being a scientist and getting her PhD. While she is keeping this audio diary, she interviews her family and friends and explores her dreams and beliefs. Listen to hear scenes from her life.

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Current Event May 21, 2016

A Teacher Who Paid Attention

Education Elementary

A former high school English teacher sits down with a former student. Like many students at his high school, he never graduated. Now, his teacher asks him why. They discuss how he could have better supported his students and what they needed. The student explains that despite his kind efforts, school was always difficult for him. Listen to their conversation to hear more about the challenges of both the teacher and student.

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Current Event May 15, 2016

Reflecting with a Teacher

Education Elementary

Yusor Abu Salha was killed in the tragic 2015 shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A year before, she had recorded an interview with her former third grade teacher and principal, Mussarut Jabeen. During their conversation, Yusor remembers Jabeen’s important lessons about how to treat others, while Jabeen remembers Yusor’s giving nature. Jabeen also knew the two other shooting victims, and remembers them fondly as well. Listen to the story to hear both Yusor and Jabeen reflect on the past.

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Current Event May 14, 2016

A Guidance Counselor’s Lessons

Education Elementary

In high school, it’s nice to know that someone is on your side. Reporter Guy Raz felt that way about his former high school guidance counselor. In this radio story, Guy sits down with his counselor Walter after twenty years, and thanks him for keeping his door open and always listening. From Walter, Guy learned important life lessons about power and respect that he still remembers today. Listen to hear this former guidance counselor and student reminisce about stories from high school.

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Current Event May 8, 2016

A Gift for a Teacher

Education Elementary

At some point in our lives, most of us have a tough teacher who pushes us hard to do our best. Reporter and All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish remembers her teacher of history and current events, was just that kind of teacher. Her strict teaching style clearly benefited Audie, who looks back fondly on all that she learned from her. Listen to this recent conversation between Audie and her former teacher, in which they reminisce together about their experiences as teacher and student.

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Current Event May 7, 2016

Johnny’s Teacher

Education Elementary

In this conversation between a teacher and former student, the student, John, remembers how his teacher helped him through a difficult time. He remembers that his teacher, Mrs. Doyle, offered her support and let him know that she was there for him if he needed her. Decades later, John sent Mrs. Doyle a letter to express his gratitude. Listen to an honest and touching conversation between John and Mrs. Doyle, in which they express how they’ve impacted each other’s lives in positive ways.

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Current Event April 27, 2016

Cats After Rats

Elementary Animals

Residents of one Chicago neighborhood are anticipating a big rat problem in the near future. That’s because the city is tearing down an old hospital, and the construction will likely disturb the many rodents living underground. While developers and city officials are anticipating the onslaught by setting out poison baits and traps, residents are turning to a different solution: cats. Listen to the story to find out more about how these cats can help keep rats away.

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Current Event April 26, 2016

Helping a Friend

Health Elementary Empathy

A six-year old, Dylan, has a friend with a rare liver disease. When Dylan was told that doctors needed money to find a cure to help his friend, Jonah, he decided to help out. He wrote a book called ‘Chocolate Bar’ and raised money for research. He explained that the phrase ‘chocolate bar’ means ‘awesome’ and coined the phrase ‘so chocolate bar.’ Two years later, book sales were over $1 million. Listen to hear about this friendship and a boy who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children with this disease.

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Current Event April 22, 2016

Debate: Should Spain Scrap the Siesta?

Elementary Culture

In Spain, Italy and other Mediterranean countries, it was a tradition to rest after the mid-day meal. The siesta was created to escape the heat of the day. Over time this has turned into a two or three hour lunch break, where errands are done or people simply continue working. However, they are expected to still work until 8 or 9 p.m. Recently, the acting Prime Minister of Spain proposed skipping the mid-day break and ending the work day at 6pm. This news has been reported in ways that highlighted negative stereotypes of Spain. Listen and debate the pros and cons of getting rid of the afternoon nap in Spain.

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Current Event April 19, 2016

Choosing Not to Drive

Elementary Culture Transportation

According to a new study, fewer and fewer Americans are getting their driver’s licenses and owning cars. This has been a young adult trend for a long time, but now older adults are driving less, too. People across age groups cite a variety of reasons for choosing other modes of transportation, especially in cities that offer public transportation and have ridesharing services. Listen to the story to hear more about why people are choosing not to drive and opting to get around in other ways instead.

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Current Event March 31, 2016

Muslims in America

Religion Elementary Culture

Muslims now make up about 1% of the U.S. population, and their numbers are quickly growing. This story interviews a group of young adults about what it is like to grow up Muslim in America, especially after 9/11. They voice their opinions on how wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have impacted young Muslim Americans, and they comment on the dangerous influence of groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. Listen to hear how young Muslim Americans are tackling challenges within their communities, while simultaneously celebrating their religion and identity.

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Current Event March 30, 2016

Setting The Whales Free

Elementary Animals entertainment

SeaWorld was known for its shows that feature killer whales doing tricks for an audience, but they’ve been phasing out these shows because of complaints from animal welfare groups. The critics have also wanted SeaWorld to end captive breeding of orcas, or killer whales. Recently the SeaWorld CEO announced it will end captive breeding of killer whales. It will expand other attractions, and increase rescue operations of marine mammals. Since orcas have a long life, they will introduce new, natural encounters with their orcas. Listen to hear more about the changes at SeaWorld.

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Current Event February 26, 2016

Debate: Racial Bias at the Oscars

Race Elementary entertainment

The annual Academy Awards, Hollywood’s biggest and most glamorous event, will air this Sunday night. Amid the excitement, there is some controversy. For the second year in a row, there are no nominees of color in the acting categories. The lack of diversity in nominees could reflect a larger pattern in the industry since many of Hollywood’s most influential people, both in front of and behind the camera, are white. Listen to this story and debate with your students: Should there be more diversity at the Oscars?

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Current Event February 24, 2016

Stand up in School

Education Elementary Learning

In an average school day, student sit for about six hours. More and more research shows that sitting for long periods of time isn’t healthy. A new study shows that high school students increased their activity and sat an hour less every day by using a standing desk. An added benefit was that students who used standing desks also improved their cognitive function and memory. Listen to this story to learn more about the benefits of standing desks for high school students.

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Current Event January 13, 2016

Reducing Food Waste

Health Elementary

Americans throw away about a third of the food they buy, on average. Food ends up in landfills and creates methane, which contributes to climate change. A new national goal has been set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. There are many reasons people throw away food. Listen to hear about some solutions to this issue.

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