This Week's Story

News and Announcements

Barbara - March 11, 2019

Almost three weeks have sped by since my last news entry. I want to share two high school responses to the question: What is unique about This Week’s Story for me?

Each class member briefly addressed the question in writing during a This Week’s Story American History class.

From Katherine, a tenth grader:

TWS is different for me because it combines history with real morals and values that were important to those in history. It shows me that what is written in the history books isn’t just a tale from long ago but the cumulative story of many lives, many values, many frustrations.

This short Wednesday class puts the past into 3-D form and helps me explore life then, and how it relates to now. I love it and it helps me to look deeper than what I see on the surface.

The discussion of how and why is much better than opening my history book to a section review and just looking at the facts. I can study the feelings of others and gain different points of view. – Thanks!

From Kenna, a ninth grader:

TWS is a great opportunity to enrich yourself on not only important historical events but also critical thinking and leadership skills. I haven’t been a part of this group for very long and I’ve already learned so much! The class is interactive as well as challenging. I love coming.

Barbara - February 22, 2019

Recently I asked students in the private This Week’s Story American History class the question: “What do you like about This Week’s Story classes?” I asked them to write an answer. I made no suggestions and was quiet as they wrote. Later I read their papers aloud to them. They were satisfied with their responses. I made no edits.

From a third grader:

What do I like about this weeks story class? I like that it is a interesting activity. Also Mrs. Steiner has found a better way to teach history and make history more interesting. I would like to teach my own history class someday because of this weeks story. I learn some interesting things.

Sincerely,
Ethan

From a sixth grader:

  • Learn alot in a little amount of time
  • Interesting
  • You get to share your thoughts about wars, presidents, quotes and speeches.
  • It is easy and challenging at the same time
  • Also could apply it at school
     

Note:

Next week I will share responses from the private high school class. They’re genuine and fascinating.

Barbara - October 19, 2018

The power of a story to change a life cannot be put into a measuring cup. Recently I spoke to an assembly of senior high school students. The Palo Verde High School presented a day of workshops and assembly for a Career Day. I was asked to close the senior assembly with Words of Wisdom.

I told an excerpt from The Outsiders, a book liked by teens around the country. In it Dally is known as a tough and mean teen. Before his teen years he has been arrested and placed in juvenile detention. In a group called the Greasers he comes to care for Johnny Cade, a younger boy, sensitive, and abused by parents. He walks scared.

When Johnny rushes into a fire to rescue trapped children, a heavy support beam falls on him. As he dies in a hospital, Dally blurts, "So this is what you get for helping people. You punk. Don't die on me, Johnny."

Dally runs from the hospital, robs a convenience store, and in a nearby park pulls his empty gun on police, who shoot and kill him.

The students in the assembly listened intently to me. They sensed the ugliness, the wasted life, and the pain. I shared how I was helped when I lost two friends. In the second funeral the minister said, "Life has beauty and ugliness. Do not get so hard from the ugliness that you are not open to beauty." As I listened to that minister, I heard a reality that I saw in The Outsiders. I was helped to deal with future pain and develop the courage to be open.

The seniors and I recognized life and wisdom.

A story communicated to us.

Barbara - September 7, 2018

This morning I was thinking, I wonder what temperatures people listening or working with This Week’s Story are feeling. I checked in with internet.

*Kyiv, Ukraine: 73 F.
*Vancouver, B.C., Canada: 67 F.
*St. Louis, M0, U.S.A.: 82 F.
*Blythe, CA, U.S.A.: 108 F. (my home)

This week two of This Week’s Story lively private classes began in my home. Stories from American history also will be presented in junior college classrooms in ESL, citizenship, and GED classes. They will enrich GED prison classes. In public school classrooms they will bring the power of a true story to a history lesson. Opportunities for the stories, over 225, spiral for reading and/or listening to a teacher, parent, guest speaker, smart phone, and certainly the website: thisweeksstory.com. May they be used around the world!

Barbara - June 7, 2018

My This Week’s Story class is an enthusiastic group! We role-play, memorize selections from historical documents, hear stories from This Week’s Story, and have many lively discussions about people and issues in American History. All the class content connects to current needs in our country.

Yesterday five of my students and myself met to prepare a presentation for the Blythe Rotary club. We will update Rotary members on our current This Week’s Story projects and class. We have requested a donation to help the team as they give a workshop and staff a booth for This Week’s Story. This will occur at the yearly convention of Arizona Families for Home Education. The conference has about 5,000 attendees not counting staffs for 100 plus booths.

Students in our class and on the convention team are currently enrolled in public school and home-schooling.

Barbara - May 8, 2018

The setting was our This Week’s Story American history class. Wyatt, an eighth grader, asked me, “Next week could we do an experiment?”

We had recently worked hard and enthusiastically giving presentations at a program entitled The American Mitten. A hands-on outdoor project would be welcome.

I read a story I had written about George Washington Carver from The Gift of Possible series. We talked about him and began our project.

We picked red, yellow, purple, and lavender flowers. Already we had blueberries and strawberries. We used choppers, pestles, even knives, sieves, bowls, vinegar, salt, tiny plastic containers with lids, and small jars. We made ink!

Barbara - February 9, 2018

Last week's story, "My present was a stone." part one, unfolded almost by itself. Every bit of it was familiar territory, even the bizarre humor. Imagine receiving a grey stone for your sixteenth birthday?!

Two weeks ago the Wednesday American History class I teach reenacted activities in each of the three branches of the U.S. government. Referencing the vocabulary, procedures, and ideas were quantum leaps for the students. They did well!

Barbara - January 12, 2018

Last night a team from This Week’s Story was recording stories, as we do one or two nights a week. We enjoyed working together, though we were tired from daytime jobs.

We are convinced that the stories are important and need to be available to the public. We were drawn into the curiosity of Henry Ford and the hunger of the Hungarians for freedom.

The picture to the right is off Russian tanks returning to Budapest, Hungary to squash the Hungarian Revolution. The total Russian tank power was over-whelming; but Hungarian children, teens, and adults resisted.

Barbara - October 26, 2017

Yesterday I stepped into my living room to find eleven students sitting in horseshoe style and waiting for me. Their first question was, “Are you going to tell us what Washington’s plan was?”

“Yes! How good it is to miss a week of class and find you waiting to hear part two. I can hardly wait to share General Washington’s plan with you. It had surprises that he never anticipated.  I loved researching them.

Thus, began yesterday’s This Week’s Story American History class, which typically meets once a week.

Barbara - October 6, 2017

Often I am asked if This Week's Story is available on podcast. Yes!
One easy route: Go to iTunes!

Find many of the stories at the website thisweeksstory.com. You can go to the menu and click on "other stories" for 214 listings. The list can be scrolled easily. Some of the stories are popular repeats. If you go to the Spanish part of the website, you can click on "otras historias" and find 120 listings. A few are favorites repeated.

Barbara - September 22, 2017

A field trip was a high point this week!  Wednesday This Week’s Story local American History Class had a field trip to the Palo Verde Valley District Library. The students peered curiously at six exhibits posted by Barb Wuertz, Tomas, Tellez, and Barbara Steiner. All connected to American history, including two Bible story pictures depicting King Solomon’s wisdom and Joseph in his coat of many colors.

Many people enjoyed the pictures in the exhibits, which were primarily drawn by Tomas. He is This Week’s Story talented illustrator and “jack of many trades.”

Wyatt Palmer and Nathan Jung (eighth graders) enthusiastically presented scientific experiments that were parts of TWS stories about American inventors and inventions. Wyatt’s experiment featured finding the cause of Texas cattle fever. Nathan’s demonstrated making a homespun light bulb. Several students at the library joined the class to watch the experiments. The presenters kept the interest of everyone present!

Barbara - September 6, 2017

Last week Belinda Vega returned to recording stories into Spanish. She sees pictures in her mind when she tells stories. The more dramatic and conversational the story is, the more her voice lifts the listener into another experience.

More good news: Yesterday Martina Wong agreed to be another translator for This Week’s Story. Martina is currently teaching at Desert Preparatory Academy and Palo Verde Community College.  She grew up in Mexico and graduated from VANE, Universidad Autonoma del Noreste in Torreón, Coahuila. She brings an excellent understanding of the individuality of languages in expressing emotion and story content.

Alexandra Mattson, living in Costa Rica, has been our principal translator. She will continue her good work, for which I am very thankful.

Barbara - August 21, 2017

Every country breathing hope needs true stories. Where have its people been and where are they going? Their past may be heroic and shameful, their present stink with corruption and the sweat of justice. Stories must be their mirror, and their menu for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Then their nation may have unity and identity, respect and choice. Without stories a nation dies slowly or rapidly.

Barbara - August 8, 2017

Blair sent me the July 2017 website usage report. How fascinating to see the names of 144 countries listed! Each represents locations from where people visited thisweeksstory.com.

I have been reading books, articles, and interviewing people for upcoming stories. First, I will finish the Zechariah series. Through that series many of us have identified with challenges. How might I respond if I did not have any children and wanted them? Can I glimpse God’s creative work?

A second series will be on Dorothea Dix. She was the leading American pioneer in bringing revolutionary changes in mental health treatment. Until the mid-1800’s patients were typically treated with isolation and tragic concern for their food, shelter, and clothing.

More is planned. There is no lack of people, events, and ideas to stimulate and inspire us.

Barbara - July 26, 2017

Current news is:

  1. Michael Williams, our capable and dedicated recorder and audio editor, is moving with his family to Texas. Matthew Pryor is taking his place and has begun making excellent audios!
  2. Connie Granillo, our faithful and able volunteer bookkeeper, has moved to Washington State. Marlene Krumwiede, bookkeeper and office manager for the local Culligan business, is replacing Connie. She, like Connie, is terrific to work with!
  3. The website outreach continues to grow! Last month people from 180 countries accessed it!
  4. The radio sponsors, and donors for special projects and on-going general expenses are encouraging. Communicating with them is a privilege! Today John Dobbs, a wonderfully positive radio sponsor and friend, passed away. He will be a great loss to his family and community!
  5. We took a team of five to the AFHE convention in July and had many visitors to the This Week’s Story booth! Our team consisted of Nathan Jung, Wyatt Palmer, Matthew Pryor, Barb Wuertz, and myself. We had a great time working together. I loved the enthusiasm of the two eighth grade guys.
  6. This month with the help of Tomas Tellez, our illustrator, and Blair Scott of IG&D, we now have a non-profit store on the website. Featured are curriculum packets (developed by Barb Wuertz) to highlight stories, colorful story leaflets, and story illustrations.
  7. We have written 187 stories in English. 86 are translated into Spanish.
  8. The radio managers we work with are friendly and affirming!
  9. Elena Gamez, Scott Thomas, and I have been able to continue with dramatic reading for all the audios.
  10. Every week people contact me to report that they hear THIS WEEK’S STORY on the radio and are inspired and informed by the stories it. You would be amazed at how many occupations and ages they represent.
Barbara - July 20, 2017

Last month people from 140 nations were on This Week’s Story website. It was fascinating to read the name of each country and visualize its location and culture. Here’s a sampling: Republic of Serbia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Liberia, and Pakistan. I also wonder about each person reading a story.

Barbara - July 11, 2017

Our convention team returned home Saturday night. Our brains are sizzling with possibilities for next year’s booth. Many people came to our booth and became curious about reading and hearing the stories at: thisweeksstory.com.

Wyatt and Nathan, our eighth-grade presenters, were terrific. They spoke enthusiastically about This Week’s Story. They stepped into a story about Thomas Edison by making a light bulb. They illustrated Harriet Tubman’s job with muskrat traps by setting and triggering traps.

Matthew, our IT man, showed the TWS website. He introduced the stories and the new store (non-profit).

Barb introduced many browsers to the enrichment curriculum. She wrote the Study Guides. One woman asked me, “Show me how a use a story with my son.” I began speaking as though her son and I were talking together. How exciting it is to draw a person, of nearly any age, into powerful stories from American history and the Bible!