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***  In the Spotlight for March ***                               

·         Invitation to World Literature Up for 2011 Telly Award

·         Kepler Planet Hunter Finds More Than 1200 Planets

·         Pro-Union Protests in Wisconsin and Ohio

·         Annenberg Learner Announcements 

·         Upcoming Conferences

·         Curriculum Focus: Art

·         Connecting Learning with Special Days

·         Notable March Birthdays

·         Distance Learning, Licensing and Sales Update



Invitation to World Literature Up for 2011 Telly Award – Voting Ends March 4.

Invitation to World Literature, which premiered late fall, takes a fresh look at ancient and modern classics from The Odyssey to One Hundred Years of Solitude. You can cast your vote online for the series in the Telly Awards until March 4.    View the program The Odyssey online, and vote for the series in the TV program category. The programs feature a cast of readers, including scholars and artists, who have re-imagined the 13 works in forms from comic books to modern dance. A rich Web site provides background for readers and teachers on these timeless tales.



Kepler Planet Hunter Finds 1200+ Planets

Scientists controlling the Kepler Planet Hunter telescope have reported finding over 1200 possible planets orbiting other stars.  Some planets may be habitable because they orbit stars that are not as strong as our sun. Surface temperatures are low enough for water to exist in its liquid state.

High school and college science teachers can use several resources to explain what makes the Earth habitable. Program 1 of The Habitable Planet, "Many Planets, One Earth" provides geologic and archeological data evidence for Earth's life-supporting atmosphere.  Earth Revealed, program 1, "Down to Earth" shows Earth's landscapes, comparisons of surface conditions between Earth and other planets, and looks at topics ranging from plate tectonics to erosion.

In Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science, for grades K-6, view session 8, "Order out of Chaos: Our Solar System," to contemplate the question, are there other planets like Earth?

In Planet Earth, program 4, "Tales from Other Worlds," view little-seen footage of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars. Find out what the surfaces of these planets tell us about the history of our Earth.


Pro-Union Protests in Wisconsin and Ohio

"Our movement is spreading like flames across a dry plain. We seek our basic, God-given rights as human beings. We shall do it without violence because it is our destiny." -- Cesar Chavez

Protesting isn't just happening in the Middle East. In Middle America, Ohio and Wisconsin, teachers and other local workers are protesting budget bills proposed to limit or eliminate the bargaining power of unions for local and state workers.

Help your students make connections between the past and the present. In the early 1960s, Cesar Chavez (b. March 31, 1927) fought for the rights of farm workers and helped them gain recognition as members of an organized labor union.  Students can compare Chavez's fight then with protests occurring today in the United States and around the world by looking at the video and activities in American Passages, unit 12, "Migrant Struggle."


Annenberg Learner Announcements


Annenberg Learner is now on Twitter! Follow @AnnLearner to learn about our projects in education, locate us at special events, and discuss topics in education.




If you're planning to attend either of the following conferences, remember to stop by our table in the exhibit hall:

NSTA 2011 National Conference
March 10-13, 2011 in San Francisco, CA Booth 708
Session-Teaching About the Environment: Resources for K-12 Classrooms                                                  

Saturday, March 12, Noon to 1:30 p.m., Room 300 Moscone Center

This session will be of special interest to California science teachers who are using or planning to use the California Education and the Environment Curriculum.

NCTM 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition
April 13-16, 2011 in Indianapolis, IN Booth 423

We look forward to meeting you and hearing your views about math, science, and teaching!


Curriculum Focus: Art

March is National Craft Month.  History and Art teachers can explore the domestic uses of early and modern arts and crafts all over the world as well as how domestic spaces have inspired artists. View photos of domestic arts and crafts and read descriptions of the art that exists within domestic spaces of different cultures in the series, Art Through Time: A Global View, theme 7, "Domestic Life."

Why are Van Gogh's (b. March 30, 1853) flowers turning brown?  A team of European scientists have discovered that the cause of the fading is a chemical reaction that occurred when the lead-chromate paint, chrome yellow, was mixed with a white paint containing sulfates. Art students will learn about Vincent Van Gogh and other Post-Impressionists' daring and imaginative use of color in part II of the series, Art in the Western World, program 7, "A Fresh View—Impressionism and Post-Impressionism."

Teach your K-8 science and art students how to make a rainbow. Science in Focus: Shedding Light on Science, workshop 3, "Pigments, Paint, and Printing" includes information about the Sun's electromagnetic spectrum, the reflection and refraction of photons of light, and the make-up of primary colors.


Get fresh ideas for integrating the arts in teaching at the elementary level with The Arts in Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers. The coordinated video library shows excellent examples by veteran teachers.

The fun of making masks and puppets accompanies real learning in the videos of Connecting with the Arts:  A Teaching Practices Library, 6-8.

The Western Tradition serves up a visual smorgasbord of treasures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to accompany lectures by Eugen Weber on history from ancient Egypt to the industrialized world of the late 20th century.

Introduce your students to the great artists of the West and their masterpieces, as detailed in the documentaries of Art of the Western World.



***Connecting Learning with Special Days***


Women's History Month Theme: Our History Is Our Strength

Strong women in history provide students with inspirational role-models for today. Share their stories with your students using the following resources:

Sandra Day O'Connor (b. March 26, 1930)

Sandra Day O'Connor, who served more than 24 years, was the first female Supreme Court justice. In Ethics in America II, "Choosing Justice: Elections & Judicial Independence," Justice O'Connor debates with other panelists about the ethical issues surrounding the elections of federal judges.


March 10 is Harriet Tubman Day

A former slave, Harriet Tubman made 19 trips back into slave states to help runaways escape via the Underground Railroad. Find out more about her in the following resources:

"Slavery and Freedom"

"Finding Common Ground"


Phoebe Yates Pember

Learn about a little-known historical figure, Phoebe Yates Pember, matron of a Richmond hospital during the Civil War. See how the war provided role-changing opportunities for women in the Faces of America segment of program 9, "A Nation Divided," from America's History in the Making.


Jane Addams

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, Jane Addams was a pioneer social worker who established the Hull House, a settlement house in a poor area of Chicago.  See her work alongside other American activists in America's History in the Making, unit 15, "The Progressives."


The Lowell System

"The Lowell System: Women in a New Industrial Society," workshop 3 of Primary Sources: Workshops in American History, illustrates through primary source documents just how much industrialization changed the lives of women. Documents, activities, videos, and lecture transcripts are available on the Web site.


Brain Awareness Week March 14-20

Learn more about how the brain and mind work in the Society for Neuroscience's The Brain and The Mind Teaching Modules.

In the video course Rediscovering Biology, view program 10, "Neurobiology" to learn how neurons communicate for functions such as survival, addiction, learning, and memory.

Understand the function of different areas of the brain using the interactive: The Human Brain within the Discovering Psychology Web site.

Stay tuned! Annenberg Learner is working on a course in Neurobiology for teachers due out in late fall 2011.


The Vernal Equinox (March 20)

As spring approaches and milder weather renews the cycle of life, trace the movements of nature with Journey North, our international Web-based program for exploring seasonal change. The Journey North Web site offers various resources and information on how to participate.


A Private Universe investigates why even Harvard and MIT graduates can remain uninformed on the most basic facts of science. The program looks at celestial movements, the seasons, and how these are taught in school.


What is an equinox anyway? Find out with workshop 7 of our series Science in Focus: Shedding Light on Science.

Click on Highlights for a brief explanation related to the geometry of a sphere.



Birthday of Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879)


See Mathematics Illuminated unit 8, "Geometries Beyond Euclid," for a discussion of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.  Also see unit 5, "Other Dimensions," for a discussion on time as the 4th dimension.


Appreciate the scope of Einstein's impact on physics and related fields with The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond.  In particular, watch program 25, "Kepler to Einstein," and program 43, "Velocity and Time."


Get a simple explanation of Einstein's famous equation in Science in Focus: Energy workshop 3, "Transfer and Conversion of Energy."



Pi Day (March 14)


Pi Day is an opportunity to celebrate the value of pi, approximately 3.14. Begin the festivities at 1:59 as a tribute to the next three decimal places of this irrational number.


Apparently the value of pi doesn't have to be 3.14159 ... but how can it be otherwise? Find out in Mathematics Illuminated session 8, "Geometries Beyond Euclid," which discusses curvature and higher-dimensional space. Session 3, "How Big Is Infinity?" discusses irrational numbers.


Delve into our unit devoted to circles and pi.  Session 7 of Learning Math: Measurement investigates the value of pi and its relationship to the measures of a circle.


If you don't know the practical applications of pi, visit our Math in Daily Life interactive. This section of the interactive demonstrates its value in home decorating.


Elementary teachers can try the lesson "'Round About Pi."  The lesson allows elementary students to approximate the value of pi.



National Grammar Day (March 4)


"I never made a mistake in grammar but once in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it." -Carl Sandburg, from the poem "The People, Yes"


The poet Carl Sandburg celebrates the loosely grammatical vernacular and John Ashberry challenges readers' expectations by taking liberties with grammar.


"Usage and Mechanics," Workshop 5 of Developing Writers: A Workshop for High School Teachers, reviews effective strategies for teaching grammar. Web materials include an interactive activity to help you assess your own methods of assessing student work.


Read Dave Barry's humorous views on grammar and Andy Rooney's quibbles on word choice and usage on our News Writing Interviews site.


Teaching grammar presents certain challenges. The article "To Grammar or Not to Grammar: That Is Not the Question!" (PDF) emphasizes the importance of teaching grammar in the context of writing. The article is included in workshop 8 of Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers.


Explore sentence syntax as it relates to math and patterns in our Teacher's Lab Syntax Store.


Scientists have found that grammar and patterns in language are hard-wired in the brain. Learn more about this, and about how language is acquired, in Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition program 6, "Language Development."




Music in Our Schools Month Theme: Music Lasts a Lifetime


Teaching 'The Children of Willesden Lane' features the author and classical pianist Mona Golabek, as well as musical selections.


Strengthen your teaching and assessment of performance and musical technique with The Art of Teaching the Arts: A Workshop for High School Teachers.


For examples of excellent music instruction at the elementary level, see The Arts in Every Classroom: A Video Library, K-5 program 4, "Teaching Music." Also consider the related workshop.


Make the connection between music and mathematics with Mathematics Illuminated. Program 10, "Harmonious Math," explores Fourier analysis, the mathematical technique for understanding sound waves. The program also takes a tour of Moog Music, home of the Moog synthesizer, used extensively in electronic music.


Exploring the World of Music looks at the elements of musical forms throughout the world, as well as the connection between music and culture.





The following well-known figures of past and present have birthdays in March.

Ralph Ellison, writer (March 1, 1914)
American Passages 
Teaching Multicultural Literature

Theodor Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, writer (March 2, 1904)
Teaching Reading K-2 video library
Teaching Reading 3-5 Workshop

Bobby McFerrin, musician (March 11, 1950)
Exploring the World of Music
The Art of Teaching the Arts

Spike Lee, filmmaker (March 20, 1957)
American Cinema

Joan Crawford, actor (March 23, 1905)
American Cinema

Robert Frost, poet (March 26, 1874)
Voices & Visions 
American Passages 

René Descartes, mathematician and philosopher (March 31, 1596)
Learning Math: Geometry
The Mechanical Universe

Walt Whitman, poet (March 31, 1819)
Voices & Visions 
American Passages


Tennessee Williams, writer (March 26,1911)

American Passages




NEW: Courseware content in (wmv) digital file format now available for purchase through our shopping cart. For more information, visit our FAQ. Look for a more extensive list of offerings by late spring 2011.
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 new 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.


League for Innovation, February 27 - March 2, 2011, San Diego, CA

Maryland DLA, March 3, 2011, Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, Towson, MD

National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA) – March 10-12, 2011, San Francisco, CA, Moscone Center, Booth 708.

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

Five regionals for Virginia K-12 school librarians:  Shenandoah, March 8, Weyers Cave; James, March 18, Richmond;
Roanoke, March 21, Salem; York, April 1, Portsmouth; Potomac, April 2, Manassas

Pennsylvania School Library Association, April 28-30, Hershey

Maryland Library Association (public and colleges), May 4-6, Ocean City, MD

WCSS, March 21 & 22, Madison, WI  

South Carolina Media Librarians,  March 9-11

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

Nancy Williams
Annenberg Learner
Distance Learning and Licensing Consultant
nwilliams.learner@gmail.com or distancelearning@learner.org
(p) 1-800-LEARNER (532-7637), ext 3
(c) 802.310.7300


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