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USING RADIO ROOKIES STORIES AS A TEACHING TOOL
Youth produced radio documentaries are valuable curriculum resources because youth voices are too often excluded from mainstream teaching materials. The Radio Rookies approach places youth voice at the center of issues-oriented instructional programs. Radio documentaries foster academic engagement by capturing the interest of students and inspiring them to question and share their beliefs and perspectives about contemporary issues. Students are pushed to ask themselves:
What do I think about this issue?
What has been my personal experience with this issue?
What about my experience leads me to agree or disagree?
Integrating Radio Rookies documentaries into educational programs allows youth to do more than simply hear the opinions and viewpoints of other teens. Through listening, discussion and debate, and writing about the issues presented in these stories, students learn to share opinions and articulate their own perspectives. Ultimately teen listeners learn to validate the power of their own voices and stories to influence other people’s ideas about the important issues affecting our local, national, and global communities.
Radio Rookies' provides "The Teaching True Stories Curriculum Guide" which is a basic overview of how and why to use audio in the classroom, as well as suggested guidelines for listening and follow-up activities. You should feel free to use this Guide as a template from which to base your own lesson plans tailored to the specific needs of your classrooms and subject areas. Our site also organizes stories by topic, so you can easily search existing stories to see if there's something that fits with upcoming lessons:
To give you a sense of the kind of stories that may be useful resources in your teaching or work with youth, here are some pieces other educators have used in their classrooms:
This animated short is part of a toolkit of DIY videos we’re creating in partnership with the Hive NYC Learning Network. Educators can use this DIY to teach students of all ages to report stories about their own lives.
Rookies DIY: How to do vox pop
The first in a series of videos we’re creating in partnership with the Hive NYC Learning Network, teaches people to produce their own stories using digital media. This animated short, along with the accompanying resources, will help educators teach interviewing skills to students of all ages.
The racist tirade by comedian and "Seinfeld" actor Michael Richards has once again sparked a debate over the N-word, especially among black people. Reverend Jesse Jackson is calling for a complete ban of the word. Comedian Damon Wayans was fined several hundred dollars after using the word more than 15 times in a recent performance. He told the audience "I'll be damned if the white man uses that word last."
What does it mean for young people to come out in the age of Lady Gaga? Bebe tells her uncle that she's bisexual, but as a gay man who struggled with harassment and bullying through his whole childhood, he suspects Bebe is just trying to be cool and doesn't understand the weight of her words.
Norhan Basuni divides her life into the time before September 11th, and the time after. For her, it is the day that she, an ordinary 7th grader, became a symbol of Islam, of "them", and to some, of terrorism. In the wake of the attacks, she remembers her father telling her she could no longer wear hijab because he feared for her safety after family friends were attacked in the street. She was taunted by classmates in school. Now an accomplished 22-year-old college graduate, Norhan reports on how she coped with these experiences as a pre-teen and teenager, and how she developed into an educator, a spoken word poet, and a defender of her faith.
My story is about how easy it is for kids in Bushwick to get guns. I interview gun dealers, my principal and crime fighters.
Half of Radio Rookie Alicia Martinez's family members are U.S. citizens, the other half are not. Her parents and older sister came to the U.S. illegally before she was born. Alicia knows – from her sister – how hard it is to grow up in the U.S. without legal papers, but she also finds it stressful to be the lucky one: the daughter with all the opportunities. As one of three U.S. citizens in her family, Alicia has struggled to meet her parents' expectations and overcome the guilt she feels that her hardworking sister’s life is so limited.