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***  In the Spotlight for April ***                   

         Making Sense of Dramatic Events in Japan

         Balancing a Big Budget

         New Species of Tarsier Found

         Annenberg Learner Announcements

o    California's Education and Environment Initiative

o    NCTM Attendees

o    New Catalog

o    Social Media Survey

o    Facebook and Twitter

         Curriculum Focus: Math

         Annenberg Foundation Update

         Connecting Learning with Special Days

         Notable April Birthdays

         Distance Learning, Licensing, and Sales





Making Sense of Dramatic Events in Japan


In the wake of the triple earth-shaking events (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant crisis) that have uprooted the Japanese people and captured the attention of the world, we invite you to use the following Annenberg Learner resources to better understand the earth systems and technology behind these events:


Students in grades seven through nine gain an understanding of earthquakes, tsunamis, and other geological events that are caused by shifting tectonic plates in the Dynamic Earth interactive.  The Plates and Boundaries section provides a map of the 15 major tectonic plates, including the three that converge near the Japanese archipelago.


Habitable Planet, unit 10, "Energy Challenges" includes an online textbook that helps teachers and students understand the complex relationship between increasing populations,  energy use, and economics.  Section 6 of the text Nuclear Power provides a detailed explanation of how reactors work as well as some of the challenges and obstacles to using nuclear energy.

As students complete the Energy Lab, they attempt to meet the world's projected energy demands by balancing available energy sources while limiting atmospheric CO2 and avoiding the particular pitfalls associated with each energy source.


Balancing a Big Budget

As the Congress works to pass a federal budget, you can examine your own perspective on the U.S. economy as well as the international economy by taking a look at the following resources:

Watch high school students create and defend their own federal budget in Making Civics Real: A Workshop for High School Teachers, program 3, "Public Policy and the Federal Budget." Then set up the budget activity with your own students using the resources on the Web site.

View more lesson plans for student activities such as Budget Cutting vs. Revenue Generation and Dividing the Federal Pie.  See how the staff of a rural middle school find ways to keep the arts alive across their curriculum despite budget cuts in Connecting with the Arts: A Teaching Practices Library 6-8, program 10, "Preserving a Place for the Arts."

Understand how human population dynamics affect the economies of many nations by viewing the related resources in Habitable Planet.  Click through striking photographs and graphics, including a trip around the globe at night to view lights from major population centers.  Participate in the interactive Demographics Lab by trying to stabilize a country's growth rate.

Read information and view the video in unit 5, "Human Population Dynamics," section 4, World Population Growth Through History.


Fossils of a New Species of Tarsier Found


National Geographic recently reported that scientists have found fossilized jawbones of a previously unidentified species of Tarsier in a Thai coal mine. 


Watch examples of K-6 teachers as they use a variety of instructional techniques to teach students about fossils and other bedrock science concepts in Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science.


In Rediscovering Biology, program 3, "Evolution and Phylogenetics," view the video, text, and animations to learn how molecular techniques combined with fossil evidence are used to explore relationships between species.  





The California EPA is spreading the word about their Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum for California K-12 teachers.  Annenberg Learner helped CalEPA produce discs of the curriculum for early adopters. Find out more information about the EEI curriculum at their site.


Annenberg Learner will be at The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 13-16 at the Indiana Convention Center.  Visit us at booth 423 in the exhibit hall to get a 15% discount on the DVDs of Mathematics Illuminated.


Our new Annenberg Learner Catalog is ready!  To order a copy, please email order@learner.org.


Please take our social media survey to let us know the best ways we can use social media to reach you.  Thank you!


"Like" us on Facebook for updates on events, highlights, and discussions about how you are using Annenberg Learner materials.  "Follow" @AnnLearner on Twitter for daily postings that highlight our Web site content and special events.




Curriculum Focus: Mathematics



Mathematics Awareness Month, Theme: Unraveling Complex Systems


Use math to help find patterns and enhance the reliability of systems behind everything from the environment to our cellular make-up.


Mathematics is the science of patterns! Use Teachers' Lab, Patterns in Mathematics to determine logic, number, and word patterns. Help children interpret two and three dimensional shapes using the activity, Building Viewpoints, from Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5-8


When students use the interactive, Math in Daily Life, they learn how math can be used to make decisions such as what car to buy and how much to put away now for retirement savings.  Gain a deeper understanding of the math underlying food webs and ecosystems with unit 11 "Connecting with Networks" of Mathematics Illuminated.

The interactive labs that accompany our series The Habitable Planet use the power of mathematics to model human activities affecting the environment; go to Carbon Lab to look at how climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions may change over time.

Our five Learning Math courses for elementary and middle school teachers include links to video, interactive illustrations and activities, and problems for the material. Topics include Geometry; Measurement; Number and Operations; Patterns, Functions, and Algebra; and Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability.

The Teaching Math courses, available only online, provide professional development for K-12 teachers. Course materials and activities include examples of student work, analysis of student-teacher dialogues, video clips of teachers in classrooms, a reflection journal, math problems and solutions, and interactives.

Our Teaching Math video libraries offer classroom footage to demonstrate effective teaching practices at the K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 grade levels.


Annenberg Foundation Update

California teachers might be interested in the following Annenberg Foundation event: 

From now until April 17th, view "Extreme Exposure" at the Annenberg Space for Photography. The exhibition celebrates five photographers who thrive in environments that few dare to explore, braving dangerous conditions in order to capture rarely seen moments in the life of our planet.

Be the first to receive news and information about the Annenberg Foundation by subscribing to one or more of the Foundation newsletters.


***Connecting Learning with Special Days***


National Poetry Month


The beautiful documentaries of Voices & Visions showcase thirteen great American poets and their poetry. Poets include Elizabeth Bishop, Walt Whitman, Robert Lowell, and Emily Dickinson.

In the classroom video "Gaining Insight Into Poetry," high school teacher Chris Mazzino uses the poem "Will They Ever Learn?" to help his students understand the experience of being "the Other." The video is part of our unique set of resources, Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane.

Read the poem "Immigrants/Los inmigrantes" in English and Spanish plus other works in the support materials for The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School. The series explores various approaches to teaching literature.

For more middle school lessons, see "Teaching Poetry" in our series Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers. The workshop includes teacher reflections and actual samples of student work.

Literary Visions presents expert analysis and dramatizations on setting and character; words and images; rhetorical figures; prosody and form; and myth, symbolism, and allusion. Poets include Gary Soto, Anne Sexton, Lucille Clifton, and James Dickey.

Poetry inevitably speaks to the era in which it is written. American Passages: A Literary Survey elucidates the connections between poetry and social and political context in program 10, "Rhythms in Poetry," and program 15, "Poetry of Liberation."

Jump start your upper elementary students' interest in poetry using this lesson on our Web site for Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5. The page links to a list of poems suggested for teaching the use of line breaks, repetition, and other devices.

See how teachers incorporate poetry into their early elementary reading lessons in Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices.  Examples can be found in "Becoming Readers and Writers," "Connecting Skills to Text," "Students Making Choices," and "100 Days of Reading."



Earth Day April 22 and National Environmental Education Week (April 10-16)

What can we as individuals and as a global community do to solve the current and future environmental problems?  The Habitable Planet, unit 13, "Looking Forward: Our Global Experiment" provides thought-provoking views and research findings from experts in the field, including entomologist E.O. Wilson.

In Teaching Reading 3-5 Workshop, observe Gage Reeves's fifth grade lessons that incorporate fun science vocabulary-building exercises into a unit about global warming and climate change.

For a literary tie-in with environmental issues at the high school level, consider the science fiction novel "The Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler, featured in The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School.

The programs in Earth Revealed address environmental issues including the use of fossil fuels, groundwater contamination, and potential consequences of global warming. Learn more about the health of our planet with Planet Earth.  For environmental concerns, focus on program 3, "The Climate Puzzle," and program 7, "Fate of the Earth."

See how big business and government regulations can affect the environment in Economics U$A, program 21, "Pollution."  

In The World of Chemistry, program 17, "The Precious Envelope," Earth's atmosphere is examined through theories of chemical evolution and explanations of ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect.


Civil War Begins April 12, 1861


Learn about the events leading up to the American Civil War in A Biography of America, program 10, "The Coming of the Civil War," and the battle of Vicksburg in program 11, "The Civil War."




Jazz Appreciation Month

Explore jazz music's rich past, including its revolutionary influence on the literature and aesthetics of the 1950s and '60s by reading the article "Jazz Aesthetics" in American Passages: A Literary Survey.

For historical context, see the activity Cultural Change, Cultural Exchange: The Jazz Age, the Depression, and Transatlantic Modernism on the American Passages Web site. Then click on the Archive to view our many jazz-related images. Enter keyword "jazz" for photos of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, The Machito Orchestra, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and other greats.  Listen to audio clips of "The Jelly Roll Blues" and the ragtime piece "Trombone Johnson."

Exploring the World of Music features segments on jazz and jazz musicians (programs 1, 4, 9, and 11) to demonstrate how musicians learn their craft, build upon structure, use harmony, and improvise.  Watch a beautiful documentary about the life and works of poet Langston Hughes that shows the influence jazz had on his work in Voices & Visions

Observe a vocal music teacher working with an advanced jazz ensemble in The Art of Teaching the Arts: A Workshop for High School Teachers, workshop 2, "Developing Students as Artists." 



National Dance Week April 27-May 1


Art of Teaching the Arts: A Workshop for High School Teachers, workshop 2, "Developing Students as Artists" highlights teachers who foster independent thinkers and create nurturing environments through the arts such as dance.


Should frogs be allowed to join a ballet company?  Watch as middle school students compare the anatomy of frogs and humans through science, dance, and language arts activities in Connecting with the Arts: A Teaching Practices Library, Grades 6-8, program 11, "Can Frogs Dance?"




Happy birthday to the following mathematicians with April birthdays:


Leonhard Euler, (April 15, 1707)

View references to the Swiss mathematician's ideas on topology in Mathematics Illuminated, unit 4, "Topology's Twists and Turns," section 2 What Is Essential About Shape?     Unit 11, "Connecting with Networks," section 2 The Study of Connections explains how network theory can be traced back to Euler.  Use the math interactive, Geometry and 3D Shapes to learn about a property of polyhedra known as Euler's Theorem.


Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (April 30, 1777)

Mathematics Illuminated, unit 8, "Geometries Beyond Euclid," section 4 Spherical and Hyperbolic Geometry shows how Gauss's ideas differed from Euler's ideas about geometry.


View the Math Family Tree in Mathematics Illuminated which highlights mathematic events and discoveries involving mathematicians such as Jules Henri Poincaré (April 29, 1854).


What did Dutch physicist and mathematician Christiaan Huygens (April 14, 1629) notice while home sick in bed observing two pendulum clocks? Find out in Mathematics Illuminated, unit 12.7 Mechanical Sync.   In Physics for the 21st Century, unit 7, "Manipulating Light," read about why Huygens's theory that light is a wave was vindicated.




*** Distance Learning, Licensing, and Sales ***


NEW: Courseware content in (wmv) digital file format now available for purchase through our shopping cart. For more information, visit our FAQ. Top courses are now available.
REMINDER: Winter/Spring term enrollment reports are now due.

FREE DISTANCE LEARNING LICENSE OPPORTUNITY: License our newest courses at no charge in place of, or in addition to, courses in the same discipline area for one semester. This offer covers The Habitable Planet in earth sciences, Physics for the 21st Century, Invitation to World Literature in language arts, and Art Through Time. Email distancelearning@learner.org and request a free preview DVD that includes a series overview.

UPDATE IN PROGRESS: Economics U$A will have updated content, a refreshed look, and a full Web site, currently slated to premiere in fall 2011.  If you would like to nominate a course to be updated or have an idea for a new course, let us know. Send your ideas to distancelearning@learner.org.


National Council for History Education, Charleston, SC March 31-April 2

Pennsylvania School Library Association, April 28-30, Hershey

USDLA, May 1-4, 2011, St. Louis, MO.  Attend our presentation on May 4th, 8 AM. 

Regionals for Virginia K-12 school librarians: Salem; York, April 1, Portsmouth; Potomac, April 2, Manassas Maryland Library Association (public and colleges), May 4-6, Ocean City, MD



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