Teach Youth Radio update

The January Teach Youth Radio curriculum will post any minute now on Youth Radio’s site, but here are some updates on the latest offerings.

News Break, January 2008
In our first Teach Youth Radio story for 2008, Quincy Mosby describes a huge physical transformation he’s recently undergone that has had major emotional effects. In the last year, Quincy dropped half his body weight—a total of 145 pounds. He says he’s happy about his dramatic weight loss. But the process has been more complicated than Quincy had expected, in part because of the way his family members and friends have responded to the change.

“At first, my mother was very supportive…But it seemed the closer I got to my weight-loss goal, the more annoyed my family… became with me. ‘What can you eat?’ my mother and sister would say when I wouldn’t touch the Chinese food we ordered every Friday…”

• Language Arts: Use Quincy’s commentary to inspire students to write about personal transformation and family relationships, to experiment with metaphors, to think creatively about how to open and end their first-person narratives, and to reflect on the editorial process writers go through in forming and reshaping original stories for varied audiences.

• Health/Science: Quincy’s commentary adds personal urgency to discussions of obesity, diabetes, adolescent body image, and inequalities among U.S. communities in access to healthy food and physical education.

• Critical Media Literacy: Celebrity Fit ClubThe Biggest Loser… Super models dressing up in fat suits… Reality TV shows have made public dieting a spectator sport. The media has always held major sway over what body shapes are considered beautiful, and which are scorned. This Youth Radio commentary can help your students analyze these media phenomena through the lens of Quincy’s experience and their own.

News Break, November/December 2007
In case you missed last months News Break, check out our story from commentator Natasha Watts, who’s with Appalachian Media Institute in Eastern Kentucky. Natasha lives in a coal-mining community, where rates of addiction to painkilling drugs have been rising at alarming rates, with devastating effects.

Check out this News Break if…
You are a high school teacher interested in new ways to inspire student writing, or if you are exploring any combination of the following issues in your classroom:

• Language Arts: Natasha shares intimate experiences faced by people close to her—but she’s careful not to tell other people’s secrets “in a place where you don’t air your dirty laundry.” Find lesson ideas that allow students to express where they come from without violating their loved ones’ trust.

• Health/Science: Teachers can use this News Break to explore how environmental conditions, industrial patterns, economic disparities, and drugs affect the body. These lesson ideas will also encourage discussions about coal—how this resource is used to produce energy, and at what human and environmental cost.

• Economics: How do you put a price tag on human suffering and death? Natasha’s story will push students to analyze who’s responsible when the public is given misinformation about a product’s safety, and what the appropriate consequences should be.

• Critical Media Literacy: Raise awareness about class issues and dialogue about the similarities and differences between illegal and legal drugs.

Go to Teach Youth Radio to find these resources and more…

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