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On Our Minds
#8 News 2023

Navigating the Stress of Middle School

May 22, 2023

Navigating the Stress of Middle School

Ask students: What middle school were the students from? Where is it located? What do the students like about middle school and what do they find difficult?


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In an episode of the podcast On Our Minds, teen hosts Matt and Faiza talk about the realities and struggles of middle school, with voices from current middle school students. They also talk to celebrities on what middle school was like for them, what they would tell their younger selves about what they wish they would have known and advice to students today.

Click here for this episode’s transcript.

News wrap alternative: Check out this recent segment from the NewsHour, and choose the story you’re most interested in watching! You can make a Google doc copy of discussion questions that work for any of the stories here. 

Remote video URL

Five Facts

  1. What middle school were the students from? Where is it located?
  2. What do the students like about middle school and what do they find difficult?
  3. How do Matt and Faiza feel about their own middle school experiences?
  4. Why is it important to reflect on middle school experiences?
  5. Who were the people that read their letters to their middle school selves?

Complete these questions if you chose another new story:

  • Who are some of the individuals or groups of people mentioned in the news summary?
  • What stories are covered?
  • Where and When do some of the stories take place?
  • Why did the event(s) take place?
  • How do you think the NewsHour’s producers decided which stories made it into the news summary?

Focus Questions

What was your middle school experience like?

Can you relate to the experiences mentioned? What advice can be applied to your experiences?

News analysis: Were there any topics you would have wanted to be mentioned in the episode? Are there different people you would have wanted to hear from?

For More

What students can do:

  • See this lesson on writing a letter to your middle school self.
  • Check out the rest of the podcast series “On Our Minds” by Student Reporting Labs here.
  • Here is a list of mental health resources put together by Student Reporting Labs.

Student Video of the Day via Student Reporting Labs

Remote video URL

This lesson was written by Yesly Xante Rivas, NewsHour Classroom’s intern, with editing by Vic Pasquantonio.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

On Our Minds: Podcasting to Help Teens Talk about Mental Health

In this free, on-demand webinar, learn how students can use audio storytelling and podcast production to share their own experiences and connect with others about topics that matter most to them.

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PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More

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