October 2012 • Volume 16 • Number 2 • Pages 6-7
News to Use
The Movie Vault
FedFlix features an archive of movies from the United States Government—from films about parenting and nutrition to films about the Battle of Midway, the moonwalk, national parks, U.S. Supreme Court cases, and more—some dating back to the 1950s! Be sure to check out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ anti-bullying films. All are available for use without restrictions at http://archive.org/details/FedFlix
The U.S. Geological Survey website offers educational resources for teachers of grades K–12. Many of the resources can be used directly in the classroom, such as units on greenhouse gases and map exploration, or can be incorporated into lessons or activities, such as information about the solar system and earthquakes. For middle grades resources, visit http://education.usgs.gov/secondary.html
Educators on a Mission
Last spring, three Brooklyn, New York, public school teachers launched the Odyssey Initiative (OI), a multi-year project designed to propel the education reform movement forward. OI has three goals: to discover what is already working in schools around the country, to share those practices with the public, and to use the knowledge gained to design a new public school.
Beginning in September, Todd Sutler, Michelle Healy, and Brooke Peters began to visit district, charter, and private schools across all 50 states to see firsthand and document which practices are producing the best results. The first two months are already mapped out with stops in Albuquerque, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York City, Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco.
Throughout the year of observations, the teachers will document their research and showcase findings on their interactive website, which will serve as a resource to educators across the country. The Teaching Channel (www.teachingchannel.org) will publish weekly updates, and award-winning documentary producer Erin Essenmacher will produce a film about their journey.
To follow their travels or recommend a school, visit The Odyssey Initiative online at www.odysseyinitiative.org
Taming the Library
Do you know where your books are?
Booksource’s Classroom OrganizerSM is a free, web-based inventory system for classroom libraries. Ideal for keeping an accurate account of the books in the classroom library, this online tool allows teachers to load titles into the system by scanning the book’s ISBN with a desktop scanner or free smart phone app (iPhone and Android). Or, they can add ISBNs manually. Teachers can choose custom data fields to display with each title, including guided reading level, page count, and annotation.
For students, Classroom Organizer includes checkout and return capabilities, so students can view the entire account library and select a book based on the specific data input by the teacher. The checkout and return functions can be performed on both the online and app vehicles.
Teachers have quick access to reports detailing student checkout activity, such as student checkout history by guided reading level, student checkout history by Lexile level, and book distribution by AR level.
Sign up at classroom.booksource.com
Going Global with Education
TakingITGlobal (TIG) empowers youth to better understand and act collaboratively to address some of the world’s greatest challenges through global education, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. The award-winning website www.tigweb.org is a leading social network that brings together more than 400,000 members with more than 22,000 nonprofit organizations around the world to engage in global projects.
TakingITGlobal for educators (TIGed) supports educators’ use of technology to create “transformative learning experiences” for students so they become more connected to and actively engaged in promoting a peaceful, sustainable world. TIGed provides
- A community of globally minded educators in more than 125 countries who are interested in developing and collaborating on international learning projects.
- A customizable virtual classroom platform designed to support international collaborations.
- A database of teacher-developed global education resources that address a wide range of subject areas and grade levels, including mental health, human rights, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and nutrition.
Get involved at www.tigweb.org
Doing Some Lab Work
A world-class research facility, Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia, has a long-term commitment to STEM education. In addition to offering a variety of onsite activities for students and educators, the lab also provides online resources, including hands-on activities; worksheets, puzzles, and games; and instructional videos.
Play Element Hangman, learn to build a star tracker, watch a video on polar molecules, and more at https://www.jlab.org
For Art’s Sake
The Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge is a digital resource for teaching and learning about and through the arts. The collection of digital resources includes lesson plans, audio stories, video clips, and interactive online modules. Teachers can search for activities by grade level, type of art, and content area. For example, students can learn about the function and form of levers by viewing mobiles created by sculptor Alexander Calder. They then build a simple mobile, experimenting with levers and equilibrium. All lessons are linked to national arts education standards.
ArtsEdge also includes strategies for incorporating arts education across the curriculum and an Everyday Arts Challenge for students, such as “Hum your favorite song while brushing your teeth. How much can you belt out before drooling?”
Visit http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators.aspx today and bring some art education into your classroom.
New on the Web
Knowmia is a new online tutoring website for K–12 teachers and students. Site moderators in all the core subjects have brought more than 7,000 tutoring videos from across the Internet to the Knowmia site. Topics range from algebra to microbiology to web development.
Click on a video of your own choosing or allow the site to automatically search through the thousands of videos and recommend lessons based on your personal preferences. Check it out at www.knowmia.com
Teaching About the Election
Several online tools are available to teach students about the election process and specifically this year’s presidential election. For example,
Rand McNally’s Play the Election (http://education.randmcnally.com) includes resources for teachers, lesson plans aligned with the Common Core State Standards, an interactive electoral map, and mini-games to help teach students about the 2012 presidential election.
C-SPAN Classroom (www.c-spanclassroom.org) provides lesson plans for teaching about caucuses, primaries, and the 2012 election in general.
Scholastic Magazine (http://magazines.scholastic.com/election-2012) provides up-to-date news about what’s going on with the current presidential campaign, the candidates, the issues, and 10 things Americans need to know between now and November.
Time for Kids (www.timeforkids.com/minisite/election-2012) also provides current news and information as well as insight from the Time for Kids student reports.
All links were live at press time.
Copyright © 2012 Assocation for Middle Level Education