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Explore Youth Voices with this Family Summer Playlist

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PBS NewsHour Student Reporters featured in video collaborations with Above the Noise. (Copyright © 2020 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

We’ve been sharing plenty of great content for families this summer. But learning isn’t just about consuming content — it’s also about creating. The following stories celebrate youth voices speaking on issues that matter to them. Read on for ways teachers can help youth share stories with each other, with their local communities and with the world.

Youth Perspectives

Students from San Francisco Bay Area schools shared these audio stories as part of KQED’s annual Youth Takeover.

Teens and Coronavirus: “My life was deeply affected months before the closure of the high school”
Michelle Qiao’s grandparents live two hours from Wuhan in China. By the time Michelle’s school in San Jose shut down, the pandemic was already a big part of her life. Michelle shares her experience worrying about her family while the people around her made toilet paper jokes and assumed the virus would pass quickly.

In this personal interview, Aileen Delgado asks her mom what it was like to start high school pregnant and what it was like to be a teen mom. Aileen and her mom are close, but this is the first time they’ve had this conversation in-depth. Her mom’s hope for the interview? “Espero que esto les sirven cualquier persona para que sigan adelante y pues que buscen, siempre buscen, ayuda.”

‘I’m Always tired.’ Navigating High School on Barely any Sleep
Vincent Nguyen works on homework in the middle of the night and sleeps in the afternoons. Over time, a reliance on Red Bull and Monster has changed his sleep schedule. But it’s not just the caffeine — a demanding schedule is a big reason he fuels up in the first place. Vincent is not alone: teens who get a full eight hours of sleep each night are now a small minority.


Two Bay Area Teens on Figuring Out Gender Identity — and High School — Together
Sam Mann identifies as gender non-binary. Ragan Foster is cisgender, meaning she identifies with her biological sex, but people often assume she is transgender. These seniors talk about their friendship and how they respond to being misunderstood. As Sam put it, “If they view me as weird, I don’t really care. Weird is the new normal.”

Youth Reporting

This playlist features videos co-created by PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs students and Above the Noise.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect Going to College?
The pandemic is raising big questions for students heading off to college in the fall, or in the next few years. Will school be in person? Can rising seniors still take the SAT or ACT? Does it make more sense to take college classes online or to defer? Student reporters from around the country in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program share their questions about how the pandemic will impact higher education, as well as their plans.

Oakland Sideshows: Should They Be Legal?
What do you get when you mix car stunts, youth culture and Oakland? Sideshows! Sideshows have become big in Oakland, where drivers will block major intersections to perform car stunts like donuts and figure eights, while large crowds gather to watch. But here’s the catch — they can be dangerous and because of that they are totally illegal. Students in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program at Oakland Military Institute in Oakland, California are asking: what should Oakland do about sideshows?

Survival Guide: How to Handle Family Stress
Family really getting to you? You’re not alone. Even as stay-at-home orders are loosening, you’re probably spending way more time at home than you’d like to be. This can lead to some family tension, especially between teens and parents. Hear from students about what the experience has been like for them and the creative ways they are adapting.

Driver’s Licenses for People in the U.S. Illegally: The Debate Explained
The driver’s license is often a symbol of freedom, especially if you’re a teen getting one for the first time. So PBS NewsHour student reporters from Northview High School in Southern California decided to investigate the debate happening around the country over whether people living in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to get driver’s licenses.

Bonus Activity: Youth Civic Engagement

KQED’s Youth Media Challenge: Let’s Talk About Election 2020 is one opportunity to amplify student voices this fall. In this challenge, middle and high school students create video or audio commentaries about issues facing voters in the upcoming election. Commentaries so far cover everything from systematic oppression, climate justice and gun control to the surprising reason for one student’s long bathroom break.

Teachers can join an upcoming webinar to learn more. Also coming up: KQED’s six-week facilitated course on Podcasting and Audio Production for the Classroom starts August 24.

Find more playlists and free resources for families and educators in our At-Home Learning collection.

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