School lunch is often synonymous with loud noise. Studies have shown the decibel level in some cafeterias is as high as a lawn mower.
Every so often, though, students at Alice Terry Elementary School, southwest of Denver, are asked not to make any noise.
When the music teacher told students here they'd occasionally have a "silent" lunch break, this was kindergartner Alyssa Norquette's reaction: "Why do we need a silent lunch? Is it because we're too loud or something?"
At 2 p.m., it's crunchtime for students who write for The Harbinger Online, the award-winning, student news site at Shawnee Mission East High just outside Kansas City, Kan. They've been investigating an initiative to develop common curriculum and test guidelines for states.
The young reporters have pored over countless documents about the Common Core State Standards and talked to Kansas state legislators who pushed for their adoption, trying to understand why they're necessary.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which the first word starts with O. Drop the O, and you'll get a new word that ends the phrase.
Last week's challenge: Name something in nine letters that is commonly read on Sunday morning. If you have the right thing, you can rearrange all the letters to name a bygone car model that you still see on the road today. What are they?
Thao Nguyen, of the folk-rock group Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, has been on a musical journey since she started performing in her teens in Northern Virginia. Delicate yet fierce in her vocal delivery, she writes often about her social concerns — and it was a trip to a California women's prison that inspired much of her latest album, We the Common.
Ngyuen and her band are on the road for the first time in several years; she spoke with NPR's Jacki Lyden from a tour stop in Kansas City.