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Annenberg Learner Update
August 2011

Advance excellent teaching with Annenberg Learner.

In the Spotlight for August

Current Events

  • Final Space Shuttle Lands
  • Summer Movie Connections
  • News of the World Press Scandal


Annenberg Learner Announcements

  • Print Catalog and Social Media


Curriculum Focus: Preparing for September


Connecting Learning with Special Days

  • Hawaii Becomes a State (August 21, 1959)


Notable August Birthdays

  • Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928)


Annenberg Foundation Update

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands in Florida

Mechanical UniverseThe Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in the early morning of July 19th at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending an era of manned U.S. space exploration and travel. Take some time to reflect on the many people involved in the space program and the math and science behind space travel.

Start with The Mechanical Universe…and Beyond, program 24, "Navigating in Space." Learn the physics behind how space shuttles travel to planets using the same trajectory that planets use to orbit the solar system.

Get an out-of-this-world view when you learn how NASA astronauts see the Earth from space. Check out the first video of "Lost in Space? Geography Training for Astronauts," in The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century, program 1, "One Earth, Many Scales." See how Earth and space imagery gathered from satellites and space shuttles help us better understand how geographical forces shape our world.

In program 3, "Exponents and Radicals," of Algebra: In Simplest Terms, Sol Garfunkel explains how to use the rules for exponents to simplify expressions in the context of a real-life scenario, the 0-ring failure of the Challenger Space Shuttle.

Behind the Scenes - Making Learner Connections with Movies

Art Through TimeMovies and Annenberg Learner resources make good summer pals.

One of our favorite summer pastimes is to spend the hot days in a cool movie theater. Learn more about American cinema and the characters, writers, and history behind some of this year's top summer movies.

First, enter the magical world of American Cinema by viewing commentary on over 300 clips of great American films and see how these films represent American culture and history.

In Woody Allen's new movie, "Midnight in Paris," F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and other artists entertain Owen Wilson's character in The City of Light. Learn more about the "Lost Generation," as Stein dubbed them, in the video and Web site for unit 11, "Modernist Portraits" of American Passages.  Next, take a look at the painting, Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte and find out what the character Gil (Owen Wilson) loves so much about Paris in the rain.

Planning to see the last Harry Potter film? Go back to the beginning and hear J.K. Rowling talk about how she conceived his character and the magical world of Hogwarts. Get a lesson plan and see classroom discussion about the first novel of the series.

The film and book The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a story about a young woman who decides to write a book from the maid's perspective in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, putting everyone's lives at risk. American Passages, unit 13, "Southern Renaissance," covers the writing of William Faulkner and Zora Neale Hurston, who wrote about the struggles people faced when fighting against the ideology of the Jim Crow laws. It provides a good starting point for understanding the time and place of this story.

News of the World Press Scandal

Ethics in AmericaLong before the recently revealed practice by certain members of the press tapping into private cell phone and email messages, journalists have been digging into and writing about the private lives of public figures. Hear media and political figures of the recent past try to untangle uncomfortable ethical positions in "Politics, Privacy and the Press," from Ethics in America.
Panelists include Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham; news anchor Peter Jennings, gossip columnist Liz Smith, and vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, among others.


Annenberg Learner Announcements


Print Catalog

To request a copy of our new Annenberg Learner catalog, please send an email to Be sure to include a mailing address in your request. Thank you!

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Curriculum Focus: Preparing for September

Minds of Our OwnReflect on your teaching practices and your students as you refresh and prepare for the new school year. The following courses will provide you with thoughtful take-aways to help you get started.

A Private Universe is a 20-minute documentary revealing the cracks in our approach to education. Interviews with middle school students and Harvard graduates on simple science concepts uncover the reality that even the brightest students cling to enduring misconceptions in spite of the best teaching and getting top grades. Is there anything teachers can do in their teaching practice to change this dismal outcome?

Minds of Our Own challenges what teachers think they know about how children learn. This three hour series is an extension of the questions asked in A Private Universe.

Connecting Learning with Special Days


Essential Science Earth
                                      SpaceBeat the heat by dreaming you are relaxing on a Hawaiian beach. Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States on August 21, 1959. Find out more about this mesmerizing place.

The tourism industry can be a blessing and a curse for Hawaii and other exotic locations. How has development affected Hawaii's native cultures and environment and how do these changes affect tourists' experiences? Find out in Human Geography: People, Places, and Change, program 4, "Global Tourism."

When scientists study Hawaii, they look to find answers to how the Earth functions. Earth and Space Science, session 5, "When Continents Collide," tells the story of how Hawaii was formed, and tries to solve the mystery of why there is only one active volcano on all of Hawaii's islands.

Notable August Birthdays

Art Through TimeAndy Warhol (August 6, 1928)

Have your art students compare and contrast styles of portraiture. View Alice Neel's portrait of Warhol and Warhol's portrait of Diane von Furstenberg in Art Through Time: A Global View, part 9, "Portraits." Also, read about what attracted the "in-crowd" to Andy Warhol and his silk-screening technique.

Annenberg Foundation Update

Beauty CULTUREThe Annenberg Space for Photography presents BEAUTY CULTURE, a daring, provocative, and at times, controversial exhibition that presents diverse viewpoints on beauty as it has evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries. It features the work of top photographers from the fashion industry as well as documentarians who reveal the less flattering side of our national obsession.

The series Art Through Time: A Global View complements the BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit. Part 13, "The Body," explores how the body has been used for creative expression throughout time and cultures.

Keep up with news and information about the Annenberg Foundation by subscribing to one or more of the Foundation newsletters.