Thursday, December 8, 2016

The world’s required reading list: The books that students read in 28 countries


This compilation of reading assigned to students everywhere will expand your horizons — and your bookshelves.

In the US, most students are required to read To Kill a Mockingbird during their school years. This classic novel combines a moving coming-of-age story with big issues like racism and criminal injustice. Reading Mockingbird is such an integral part of the American educational experience that we wondered: What classic books are assigned to students elsewhere?

We posed this question to our TED-Ed Innovative Educators and members of the TED-Ed Community. People all over the globe responded, and we curated our list to focus on local authors. Many respondents made it clear in their countries, as in the US, few books are absolutely mandatory. Take a look at what students in countries from Ireland to Iran, Ghana to Germany, are asked to read and why:


What it’s about: The revelations of God as told to the prophet Muhammad, this is the central religious text of Islam and remains one of the major works of Arabic literature.
Why it’s taught: “Overall, there is no culture of reading novels in my country, which is sad,” says Farokh Attah. “The only book that must be read in school is the holy Quran, and everyone is encouraged to read it starting from childhood.”


Kronikë në gur (1971) by Ismail Kadare
What it’s about: Known in English as Chronicle in Stone, this novel is told through the eyes of a child and shows how different conquering forces — Italian fascist, Greek and Nazi — ravage a small Albanian city during World War II.
Why it’s taught: Kadare is one of the most critically acclaimed Albanian writers, and was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. This book “helps you understand vividly what World War II meant for the people who lived through those events,” says Vaitson Çumaku. “Because it’s from the perspective of a child, it also shows you that there can be optimism during hard times.”


Tomorrow, When the War Began (1993) by John Marsden
What it’s about: A teenage girl and her friends return from a camping trip to find that an unidentified foreign military force has invaded Australia.
Why it’s taught: This book “speaks to our fear of invasion and our fighting spirit,” says Beth James Waters. It also “beautifully portrays the vastness of and abundant natural dangers in our land.”


Faust (1787) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What it’s about: In this play, a scholar named Faust makes a pact with Mephistopheles — the devil — because Faust is dissatisfied with life. The devil says he will grant Faust a transcendent moment, but in return, Faust must act as his servant for eternity in hell. Through the devil’s intervention, Faust falls in love with a beautiful young girl named Gretchen. Tragedy ensues.
Why it’s taught: It raises many vast philosophical debates, including science versus spirituality, reason versus passion, and salvation versus damnation, and “it can be interpreted in many ways,” says Barbara Paulmayer. “Faust is not as easy to understand as newer pieces of literature, so it stimulates students to think in a different way.” In addition, its plot and themes have gone on to influence many other works.

Bosnia; Serbia

Na drini ćuprija (1945) by Ivo Andrić
What it’s about: Known in English as The Bridge on the Drina, this novel sweeps through 300 years in a small town near the Mehmed Pasha Sokolović bridge. Its story begins in the 16th-century Ottoman Empire, when the bridge was built, to World War I, when it was partially destroyed.
Why it’s taught: Andrić received a Nobel Prize, and so far he has been the only Nobel Prize winner from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. “It is truly a timeless book,” says Martin Kondža. “Its themes and stories also apply to humanity today. The bridge acts as a dumb witness to empires being born and crushed, human lives reaching their peaks and depths, and countries being established and destroyed.”


Morte e vida Severina (1955) by João Cabral de Melo Neto
What it’s about: Known in English as The Death of a Severino, this play in verse is about the arduous journey of a man who is fleeing the drought- and poverty-stricken northeastern region of Brazil in search of a better situation and the city.
Why it’s taught: “It shows the dual conditions that the country has always presented and still presents — poor lives, inequality, ignorance, and silent people, versus a city population, with all its advantages — and the distance between these two groups,” says Andrea Rodrigues.


Under the Yoke (1894) by Ivan Vazov
What it’s about: This novel looks at a Bulgarian village under Ottoman rule and depicts a failed insurrection in the 1870s that helped trigger the country’s eventual breakaway. The large cast of characters includes villagers on both sides of the rebellion.
Why it’s taught: For one thing, Vazov is seen as the father of Bulgarian literature. But, adds Kristine O’Malley, “Being enslaved by the Ottoman Empire and the struggle for independence have shaped the national identity of Bulgarians,” making this book a perennially popular read.


The Wars (1977) by Timothy Findley
What it’s about: Robert Ross, a 19-year-old Canadian, tries to cope with the death of his sister by enlisting to fight in World War I. Beset by his own demons, he travels to France where he fights in the trenches and sees the worst of warfare — and of humanity.
Why it’s taught: “It’s an iconic Canadian novel. It’s so brutally honest in its depiction of war, sorrow, and coming to terms with an uncaring world in one’s own way,” says Karen Goepen-Wee. “This text does not tread lightly around the angst and horror of World War 1 for Canadian soldiers,” says Will Gourley.


Sub Terra (1904) by Baldomero Lillo
What it’s about: This short-story collection is about the backbreaking, impoverished, dangerous existence of coal miners in southern Chile in the late 19th century.
Why it’s taught: Sub Terra represents an important part of Chile’s history,” says Natalia Salamanca Moreno. “These stories show students a lifestyle that is completely different from theirs today, which can help them appreciate what they have now. The stories also emphasize important, timeless family values, like being thankful for your parents and their efforts.”


Analects by Confucius
What it’s about: This book is a compilation of the teachings of the ancient philosopher Confucius; it’s believed to have been written sometime between 475 BC and 221 BC.
Why it’s taught: “Teachers want students to learn good morals from the Analects, like showing respect to your parents, learning merit from others no matter their status, and using critical thinking,” says Aylee Lu. “This book remains a cornerstone of Chinese culture.”


Cien años de Soledad (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez
What it’s about: This pioneering fictional work of magical realism — known to English-language readers as 100 Years of Solitude — traces the rise and fall of a fictional Colombian town through five generations of the Buendía family, starting in the early 19th century.
Why it’s taught: Márquez is considered one of the most important writers in the Spanish language, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. This novel depicts the violence that has plagued Colombia for decades, and “shows how much corruption and suffering Colombians have endured,” says Daniela Ramirez Barreto. “Yet there is something about us that refuses to give up.”


The Murderess (1903) by Alexandros Papadiamantis
What it’s about: This novella is about an old woman named Hadoula who lives on the island of Skiathos. She murders poor young girls as a kind of mercy killing, since she views their future prospects to be limited and bleak.
Why it’s taught: “It sheds light on the role of women and on gender roles within marriage; these are of great importance in Cyprus and Greece,” says Evanthia Poyiatzi. “And it makes students decide whether the woman’s behavior is ethical or unethical.”


The Days (1935) by Taha Hussein
What it’s about: This book is the autobiography of intellectual and writer Hussein, who lived from 1889 to 1973. He became blind at the age of 3 but grew up to be the minister of education in his country and is one of the most influential figures in Egyptian literature.
Why it’s taught: The book teaches students “the importance of gathering knowledge, the need to rebel against traditions and the negative effects of ignorance upon individuals in a society,” says Mahmoud Attalla.


Seitsemän veljestä (1870) by Aleksis Kivi
What it’s about: Known in English as Seven Brothers, this book is about a quarrelsome family of seven brothers and their struggles in rural Finland. They eventually grow and mature into decent members of society.
Why it’s taught: It is believed to be the first truly Finnish novel by a Finnish author in the Finnish language about ordinary people. “It’s considered the national novel of Finland,” says Jaani Länsiö. “It’s about Finnish stubbornness.”


Tagebuch der Anne Frank (1947)
What it’s about: Known in English as The Diary of Anne Frank, this journal was kept by a Jewish girl named Anne Frank as she lived with her family in hiding in Amsterdam under Nazi occupation.
Why it’s taught: “We should never forget what horrors were unleashed by narrow-thinking people,” says Charlotte Böhm.

Ghana; Nigeria

Things Fall Apart (1958) by Chinua Achebe
What it’s about: Set in Nigeria in the 1900s, this novel follows Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and village wrestling champion, his journey to power and glory, and his eventual fall when he fights back against white colonialists.
Why it’s taught: “On the surface, it’s a celebration of African traditionalism and how those ideals were washed away with the coming of the missionaries,” says Ama Y Adi-Dako. “At the heart of it, though, it is a critical look at the concept and drawbacks of African and tribal masculinity.”


Laskar Pelangi (2005) by Andrea Hirata
What it’s about: Known in English as Rainbow Troops, this novel is based on a true story about ten students from a remote village in Indonesia who, with the help of a pair of inspiring teachers, learn to stand up for themselves and their community.
Why it’s taught: It teaches “sacrifice, dedication, hard work, passion, brotherhood, friendship, optimism and perseverance in the face of challenges,” says Mahrukh Bashir.


Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth(1927-1929) by Mohandas K. Gandhi
What it’s about: The Indian leader’s memoir covers his life from his childhood to his early 50s.
Why it’s taught: “This book upholds the essence of living a life with dignity, which is possible only through truth and nonviolence,” says Bismi Sain.


Poems by writers such as HafizSa’AddiFerdowsiRumi and Khayyam
What they’re about: Love, beauty, joy and other themes.
Why they’re taught: “In Iran, the novel is a relatively newer form of literature,” says Ne Da. “But among our literary classics are abundant poets and poetry. Each poem speaks to a different value.”


Ice Man: the Adventures of an Irish Antarctic Hero (2003) by Michael Smith
What it’s about: It’s a biography of Tom Crean, an Irish boy who ran away from home at the age of 15 to join Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic voyage. He was also a member of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition.
Why it’s taught: “It shows that the Irish are ambitious explorers who can triumph over adversity and that through hard work, focus and dedication, everything is possible,” says Naoimh Morton.


I Promessi Sposi (1827) by Alessandro Manzoni
What it’s about: Known in English as The Betrothed, this novel takes place in northern Italy in the first half of the 17th century. Italy was not yet a nation, and this book shows the lives of villagers living under repressive Spanish rule as well as the impact of a deadly plague that killed many people.
Why it’s taught: “I Promessi Sposi is one of the two pillars of Italian literature,” says Sofia Ramundo. “It’s still relevant today because it helped set the basis for what the Italian language is.”


The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) by Mohsin Hamid
What it’s about: An international bestseller, this novel follows the story of a Pakistani man as he reflects on his time in the United States before and after the events of September 11, 2001.
Why it’s taught: “These books touch the unique dilemmas faced by modern Pakistanis who are struggling with fundamental ideals and trying to find their own identity,” says Vajiha Atiq.


Noli Me Tangere (1887) by Jose Rizal
What it’s about: Rizal went on to be a hero of the Philippine revolution, and his novel — the English-language title is Touch Me Not — shows life in the Philippines society under cruel, repressive, arbitrary Spanish Catholic rule.
Why it’s taught: By combining a dramatic story with an activist message, this novel has been compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It is taught to help students “appreciate the efforts of our forefathers in shaping our independence,” says John Eric Uy.


War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy
What it’s about: Following the lives and loves of five families, this epic novel begins in 1805 and continues through Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.
Why it’s taught: War and Peace “is basically speaking about every aspect of our life: how to be valuable in society, how to be forgiving, and how to be respectful,” says Valentina Ishmanova. “I believe everyone goes through the same situations as Tolstoy’s characters Natasha, Pierre, and Prince Andrei.”


To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee
What it’s about: A classic novel about the American South in the 1930s that illustrates how racism, sexism and injustice have shaped US history (and still cause harm today).
Why it’s taught: “We’re still dealing with racism and systematic prejudice, especially in the legal system in the US,” says Shaun McGovern.


Truyện Kiều (1820) by Nguyễn Du
What it’s about: It’s an epic narrative poem about a young woman named Truyen Kieu who is driven to sacrifice herself to save her family.
Why it’s taught: Known in English as The Tale of Kiều, the poem shows “the humanity and the beauty of my country,” says Joy Truong, who adds that she likes its positive qualities, a stark contrast to most other stories and poems which “focus on the difficulties of the Vietnamese.”

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Art History 101

TED-Ed Blog Vermeer James Earle image

Why is Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” considered a masterpiece? What’s so special about Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man? How did Michelangelo’s statue of David become an icon? If you’re curious about art history, then you’ll love these 6 TED-Ed Lessons by art historian James Earle. Watch the playlist:

1. Why is this painting so captivating?

On first glance, the painting “Las Meninas” (“The Maids of Honor”) might not seem terribly special, but it’s actually one of the most analyzed pieces in the history of art. Why is this painting by Diego Velazquez so captivating? James Earle and Christina Bozsik share the context and complexity behind this work of art. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

2. Why is Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” considered a masterpiece?

Is she turning towards you or away from you? No one can agree. She’s the subject of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring,” a painting often referred to as the ‘Mona Lisa of the North.’ But what makes this painting so captivating? James Earle explains how this work represents the birth of a modern perspective on economics, politics, and love. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

3. The many meanings of Michelangelo’s Statue of David

We typically experience classic works of art in a museum, stripped of their original contexts, but that serene setting can belie a tumultuous history. Take Michelangelo’s statue of David: devised as a religious symbol, adopted as a political emblem, and later iconized for its aesthetic beauty. James Earle walks us through the statue’s journey, to show how art gains layers of meaning over time. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

4. Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man of math

What’s so special about Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man? With arms outstretched, the man fills the irreconcilable spaces of a circle and a square — symbolizing the Renaissance-era belief in the mutable nature of humankind. James Earle explains the geometric, religious and philosophical significance of this deceptively simple drawing. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

5. Distorting Madonna in Medieval art

After Rome was destroyed, people were wary of attachment to physical beauty. As Christianity gained traction, Romans instead began to focus on the metaphysical beauty of virtue, and art began to follow suit. James Earle discusses how Medieval paintings of Madonna were affected by this shift. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

6. Dissecting Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi

The scene of the three wise men offering gifts to a newborn Jesus was widely painted during the Renaissance era, so how did painter Sandro Botticelli create a version that’s still well known today? James Earle describes who and what set Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi apart in the annals of art history. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

For more art history, watch these TED-Ed Lessons. For more ideas from James Earle, check out Amor Sciendi.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

TED-Ed Weekend 2016: Meet the speakers!


TED-Ed Weekends are designed to amplify the voices of TED’s next generation and celebrate the TED-Ed Clubs community. During the first TED-Ed Weekend event, student attendees will enjoy a full day of inspiring ideas, interactive workshops, and riveting TED Talks in the newly created theater at TED Headquarters in New York City. Below, check out the amazing youth speaker lineup for the first TED-Ed Weekend event, happening on December 3, 2016:

Ashton Cofer is a 9th grader in Columbus, Ohio. Last year, his FIRST Robotics team won the Google Science Fair for developing a process to convert Styrofoam waste into activated carbon for purifying water. Ashton also has three patents under his name.

Irfhana Zakir Hussain attends high school in Fremont, California. She is a proud volunteer youth educator at the International Tamil Academy and even helped plan the opening ceremony of the Global Diaspora Tamil Education Conference. As a young Muslim woman, she has experienced discrimination concerning her religion. Irfhana decided to share her ideas via TED-Ed Clubs after realizing that, unfortunately, she was not alone.

Sean Fredella is a 10th grader in Mountain Brook, Alabama. He’s proud to say that he has met the New York Yankees and talked with the legendary Derek Jeter. In the past eight years, Sean has battled cancer four times. Today, his goal is to help find a cure for pediatric cancer by raising awareness through sports.

Gabriela Shimako recently graduated from Asociación Escuelas Lincoln International School in Argentina, where she was a proud member of TED-Ed Clubs. As a feminist, Gabriela is passionate about updating public knowledge about feminism.

Jim Patrick is a 2nd grade student in San Diego, California. He chose to talk about math for his talk because he feels it is important for kids to understand how it works and why they should learn it in school. One thing that always makes Jim laugh? The funny creations on

Estée Park is a first-year student at the University of Notre Dame. Previously, she attended high school in Atlanta, Georgia, where she helped her soccer team win a state championship. Estée loves kayaking and is passionate about gender equality and pro soccer — two ideas that come together beautifully in her TED-Ed Weekend talk.

Ryan Ng attends high school in Penang, Malaysia. Ryan has always been interested in public speaking and debating, but what really jumpstarted his love of TED Talks was seeing Adora Svitak on stage. Ryan also loves art, calligraphy, and urban sketching expeditions.

Jaleah Colbert is a 7th grade student in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young film director and movie maker, Jaleah encourages all kids to be creative and independent — and to go for their dreams. One thing that always makes Jaleah laugh? Unplanned funny incidents.

Enzo Cox is a 4th grade homeschool student in South Carolina. A young maker and shaker, Enzo loves creating video games, acting in the theatre, and doing improv. He is also a drummer, and has been playing the drums since he was 3.

Esha Karthi Raj is an 8th grade student in Bangalore, India. She loves art, sports and cooking. As a young chef, Esha has learned many life lessons in the kitchen. In her TED-Ed Weekend talk, she shares a few of her favorite ideas.

Jasper Coombes-Watkins is a 13-year-old student in Australia. He enjoys playing video games and proudly claims he can finish a 600-page book in less than a week. When he’s not reading or gaming, you can find Jasper studying other topics, including martial arts.

Brett Lewis attends high school in Birmingham, Alabama. As a TED-Ed Club Member, he is thrilled to speak about an idea he loves: the power of peer helpers. One thing that always puts a smile on his face? Making other people smile.

Analia Wu was first introduced to TED Talks by her high school English teacher in Buenos Aires, Argentina. No stranger to culture shock, Analia is now a first-year student at the University of Michigan, where she is thrilled to study entrepreneurship.

Aishwarya Chodankar is a 12th grade student in Mumbai, India. She loves learning and has a keen interest in Bharatanatyam Classical dancing. One movie that always makes her laugh? Minions.

Petrina Nomikou was born in Greece and currently attends high school in Argentina. She joined her school’s TED-Ed Club because of her passion for learning new languages, and in her TED-Ed Weekend talk, Petrina examines the ways that language can shape thought. In her spare time, you might find Petrina banging on her drum set or chuckling at sarcasm.

Olivia Chapman is an 8th grade student in Kirksville, Missouri. She joined TED-Ed Clubs as part of her school’s gifted and talented program. In her talk, Olivia examines the differences between equality and equity in education. One thing that makes her laugh? Bad voice impressions.

Annika Paulson is a first-year student at the University of Minnesota. In high school, Annika joined a TED-Ed Club because she wanted to experience the journey of creating her own TED Talk. She loves music and plays three instruments: guitar, bass and ukelele.

TED-Ed Weekend events are for students in TED-Ed Clubs. Apply to start a TED-Ed Club now so you don’t miss out on TED-Ed Weekends in 2017! To learn more about the TED-Ed Clubs program or to create your own club, visit TED-Ed Clubs.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

7 interviewing tips for video storytellers

TED-Ed Blog i stock video intv image

Laurie House is a documentary filmmaker in New York and a video producer at TED. Below, she offers advice for student storytellers who want to conduct video interviews — like this — that open a window of understanding for viewers:

Every interviewed someone officially? Or talked to a friend about something going on in their life? Ok, so you probably already have more interview skills than you realize. I love to interview people because I get to go into a new world and start asking nosy questions. I like to get to the bottom of things. And I like that interviewing gives me a chance to ask things that I might not normally. For someone to give me their story is such an honor. In return for that honor, I try my hardest to help people say what they want, to make sure what comes out is real — and that it represents them. That it helps them to be heard. Here are some of my tips for documentary video interviews:

1. Interview style: Besides the standard sit down interview, you can set up your subject to be doing an activity that reveals something about them, like how they cook a meal. Or, you might set up the camera to capture an interview while they’re in the car. “Walk n talk” interviews can be fun but technically challenging, so plan ahead.

2. Location: Choose a location to match your content. A location can show a lot about someone — for example, a subject could give you a tour of their house, or show you around their classroom, or talk to you on the football field. Outdoor light is great.

3. Framing: Be intentional about your framing. It’s best to use horizontal (landscape) framing if you’re using an iPhone for video, but there’s really no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ framing any more, as long as it’s intentional and motivated by the content. For example, you can shoot someone upside down, if they have a Batman costume on…but if it’s not motivated by the content, creative framing can be distracting. Is someone especially formal? Maybe play with that instead of trying to hide it. For example, you could frame them in a more formal, wider shot to emphasize their formality, rather than in a closeup where they just look uncomfortable.

4. Background: Pay attention to background noise and activity. What is happening visually in the background? If there’s background activity, make sure it’s motivated and works for the content — otherwise, it’s distracting. What noise is in the background? Good audio is important, so pay extra attention to any background noise where you set up. Listen for sounds that you don’t normally notice that could be distracting. If you start an interview and find that the background noise is distracting, don’t hesitate to stop the interview and move to somewhere quieter. Before you start, do a tech check for video and sound.

5. Interviewing: Really listen. If you are real, relaxed and spontaneous, the person you’re talking to will be more likely to mirror that. Don’t just wait for a person’s answer with glazed over eyes, glancing down or reading your next question. Your interview subject will take your cue. Also, let them do the talking! Sometimes it’s best to leave space when they finish speaking, instead of jumping in with your response or your next question. A slightly awkward silence can sometimes inspire and provoke a person to bring out their deeper thoughts. And remember, what is interesting to you is probably interesting to others, so go ahead and ask — within reason, of course.

6. Troubleshooting: Sometimes when people are being interviewed, they get uptight and start talking like they are not themselves. How can you break that trend? First, check that you are speaking in a real way to them, rather than in a formal, stilted way where you’re reading your questions directly from the page. Then, help them come back into themselves by throwing in a surprise question or changing your line of questioning or even taking a moment to stop and triplecheck your recording equipment.

7. Important to remember: If you need to spell out information or a backstory to provide context, make sure to do this on video with the subject. Also, encourage your subject to tell an anecdote or story, not just a description of how they feel. This can be easy to forget!

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Image credit: iStock

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Monday, November 21, 2016

10 questions to ask your family around the table

Thanksgiving iStock image

Sometime between the first bite of turkey and the last slice of pie, it’ll happen: a lull in the dinner conversation. What will you do next? If you’re breaking bread with acquaintances, you might turn small talk into smart conversation or choose to talk about politics constructively. But if you’re with family and friends and want to deepen the ties that bind, then try asking one of the following 10 questions around the table, as recommended by StoryCorps founder (and 2015 TED Prize winner) Dave Isay:

What are you grateful for?

What are you proudest of?

What’s been the happiest moment of your life so far?

What’s been the hardest moment of your life, and how did you get through it?

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?

Who has been kindest to you?

How do you want to be remembered?

If your great great grandchildren could listen to this years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?

If you could honor one person in your life — living or dead — by listening to their story, who would that be, what would you ask them and why?

Need some inspiration first? Below, check out 3 stories of gratitude and thanksgiving, chosen by Dave Isay. For more stories from the heart, listen to these 7 unforgettable StoryCorps tales and read Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps.

“I put an ad in the local paper and offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people.”
“Scott Macaulay remembers how, 25 years ago, he started an annual holiday dinner for strangers who have nowhere else to go.” Listen to his story.

“If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody.”
“In 2013, Maurice Rowland was working as a cook at Valley Springs Manor, an assisted living home for elderly residents in California. He got his friend Miguel Alvarez a job there as a janitor last fall. But in October of that year the company that managed the home suddenly shut it down, leaving many of the elderly residents with nowhere to go. The staff stopped being paid so they all left, except for Maurice and Miguel. At StoryCorps they remembered caring for abandoned residents until the fire department and sheriff took over three days later.” Listen to their story. 

“A good man”
“Bryan Wilmoth and his seven younger siblings were raised in a strict, religious home. At StoryCorps, Bryan talks with his brother Mike about what it was like to reconnect years after their dad kicked Bryan out for being gay.” Watch the animated story.

The article above was adapted for TED-Ed from this articleImage credit: iStock

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The magic of collaboration: These two teachers created #GlobalSpeedChat to promote cross-cultural understanding among students

Global Speed Chat

Colleagues, mentors, friends. This is how we describe each other after meeting face-to-face for the first time as part of the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program. It was one year ago at TEDYouth in New York that we discovered just how much we had in common — namely, a passion for education! Since then, we have kept in touch on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis — sharing lesson ideas, homework experiences and future plans. Although we teach different curriculum at different schools in New York, we agree that as teachers we are in a position to influence kids in a positive way, and we feel very strongly that the solutions to global challenges start with youth around the world. If we can inspire students to understand each other a little bit better, we believe that we can help to create a more peaceful world. That’s why we created #GlobalSpeedChat.

What is #GlobalSpeedChat?
Created by two teachers, #GlobalSpeedChat is a curriculum that includes quick, ready-to-go digital activities that teachers, school leaders, and club organizers can do with students to build an awareness of others in our world. Our hope is that through participation in the activities, kids worldwide will become more aware of commonalities and learn to value differences. The plan is simple: create something together, share — and check back often to see what others are posting.

The idea for #GlobalSpeedChat grew out of our collaboration this summer on a TEDSummit workshop, which focused on bringing adults together from around the world to communicate with each other in a 1:1 setting. Our goal was to bring those initial conversations back to students, and empower them to continue open dialogue in a safe and collaborative environment: #GlobalSpeedChat.

To celebrate International Education Week, #GlobalSpeedChat is kicking off its first activity for kids this week! Activities will continue each month through June 2017 and beyond. To get involved or stay informed, sign up here for the #GlobalSpeedChat newsletter.

We believe that the best way for kids to really get to know each other is to give them opportunities to do something together. #GlobalSpeedChat creates those opportunities for students worldwide to collaborate. To learn more about #GlobalSpeedChat, check out

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