Annenberg Learner Update
October 2011

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In the Spotlight for October

Curriculum Focus: American History

Current Events
    The Death Penalty
    Challenging an Aging Biodiversity Principle

Connecting Learning with Special Days
    National Book Month & National Reading Group Month
    Raptor Month: The Bald Eagle
    National Metric Week (Oct. 9-15)

Notable October Birthdays
    Dwight D. Eisenhower (Oct. 14, 1890)
    Pablo Picasso (Oct 25, 1881)
    Johannes Vermeer (Oct. 31, 1632)
    Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932)
    Ezra Pound (October 30, 1885)
    Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879)

Annenberg Learner Announcements
    Your Input: Monthly Update Topics & Smartboards
    New Annenberg Learner Search Function
    NEW! Neuroscience and Economics
    Print Catalog and Social Media
    Green California Schools Summit Conference

Annenberg Foundation Update

Distance Learning Update

Curriculum Focus: American History
Social Studies in Action Library

History and literature pair well when looking for cross-curriculum ideas. Real historical events, places, even people provide important background for novels set in a particular time period. Symbiotically, a work of literature can enliven the study of history with characters who convey the human experience at the corresponding time and place. We tie in a few American history connections with literature here:

In Social Studies in Action, program 3, “Historical Change,” David Kitts leads his first grade class through a lesson that combines agriculture and children’s literature including “Oxcart Man” by Donald Hall. Students make comparison statements about farming tools and techniques throughout American history.

Practice skills from curating a museum exhibit to identifying artifacts to interpreting maps with the Historical Thinking Skills interactive in America’s History in the Making. An activity that would transfer well into the literature classroom would be to have students find pictures of artifacts that exist in the time period of their novel, either individually or in reading groups, and curate an exhibit around those artifacts while making comparisons.

How did Chicago epitomize the American City in the late 19th century? In A Biography of America, program 15, “The New City,” Professor Donald L. Miller describes the architecture of Chicago, the significance of the 1933 World’s Fair, and the roles of Florence Kelley, Jane Addams, and Hull House in social change.  The Library Booklist’s blog lists several options for children’s and young adult fiction set in the Chicago World’s Fair.

For more resources to teach American History, see:

American’s History in the Making
A Biography of America
Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12
Primary Sources: Workshops in American History
Artifacts & Fiction
American Passages

Current Events

The Death Penalty

After the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia on September 21st, media outlets as far away as Paris, France debated whether this execution was just or unjust.   Older students can debate this topic by looking at current and past cases that lead to the death penalty, and Section 1 of the video for Democracy in America, program 2, “The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible,” which asks the question: Is the death penalty constitutional?

Challenging an Aging Biodiversity Principle

                                                          EcosystemsA group of international scientists are challenging the long taught theory, developed by British ecologist J. Philip Grime, that the number of species (biodiversity) within an ecosystem rises and falls with increasing productivity of that system. These scientists suggest that additional factors such as environmental change and evolutionary history can affect biodiversity.  The Habitable Planet’s Interactive Ecology Lab gives teachers and students a chance to test one aspect of ecosystem diversity and explore the network of food and the dominance of producers versus predators.

Connecting Learning with Special Days

National Book Month & Reading Group Month

October is a great time to start those reading groups as cooler weather sets in and daylight hours start shrinking. The following resources can be used for reading group ideas based on the theme, Modern American Literature, for National Book Month, also October.

American Passages: A Literary Survey is a content professional development course that offers an expanded view of American literary movements. Use this course to guide students in reading circles based on themes such as nationalism and modernism. Students learn about America’s history and complicated identity when discussing featured works.

In Conversations in Literature, learn how to create reading communities.

                                                          in Literature:
                                                          Stepping In American authors discussed in this series include Alice Walker and Langston Hughes in workshop 6, “Objectifying the Text,” and James Dickey in workshop 3, “Stepping In.”

Artifacts and Fiction also combines American history and literature.  For example, in workshop 3, “Social History,” teacher Pancho Savery shows teachers how to choose artifacts such as a bill of sale for a slave to help enhance understanding of social history in literature.  Get ideas for artifacts to use to inspire student discussion of texts.

Younger students can also participate in reading groups. Engaging with Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5, workshop 7, “Book Buddies,” shows students meeting in groups to discuss their reading and reactions to their reading.

Raptor Month

                                                          North: Bald
                                                          EagleJourney North’s section on the Bald Eagle provides lessons and information for understanding and tracking the American national bird.

Find out how satellites are used to track the raptor with “High, High Tech: The Science of Satellite Tracking.”

In “Keep a Bald Eagle Migration Journal,” students who live in eagle nesting zones can help track the beautiful bird using journals to practice geography skills, write summaries, and develop key science concepts such as habitats and ecosystems.

Help students understand why we track migrations with “Suggestions for Analyzing Bald Eagle Population Data.” The site provides ideas for analysis and for discussion, and connections to science learning standards.

National Metric Week (Oct. 9-15)

Middle school students can test their ability to convert amounts from British units commonly used in the U.S. to metric units commonly used in the rest of the world with the Metric Conversions interactive. This site explains concepts such as mass, volume, and temperature and includes a printable conversion chart.

Learning Math: Measurement, session 3, “The Metric System,” shows K-8 teachers learning about the history of the metric system and how to represent different quantities using knowledge and a visual sense of metric units.

The interactive, Math in Daily Life, “Cooking by Numbers,” helps students understand how to convert recipes from English units to metric units.

Notable October Birthdays

Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 14, 1890)

A Biography of America
, program 23, “The Fifties,” describes the political and cultural climate of America during the 1950s. Hear commentary on what made Eisenhower, our 34th president, the perfect president for post World War II America.

Pablo Picasso (October 25, 1881)

Art of
                                                          the Western
                                                          WorldThe video for Teaching Foreign Languages K-12, program 27, “Interpreting Picasso’s Guernica,” shows Meghan Zingle’s tenth grade Spanish II class interpreting the famous painting, discovering the history behind the painting, and creating mock newscasts about it.

Picasso and his peers in Cubism pushed the conventions of art and provided visual alternatives to reality. Learn about modernism and how Picasso survived as an artist in program 8, “Into the 20th Century, Part I,” of Art of the Western World.

Johannes Vermeer (October 31, 1632)
                                                          Through Time
In Art Through Time, program 11, “The Urban Experience,” watch the video to see what inspires cityscapes and how cityscapes inspire paintings such as“View of Delft” by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

The following three writers are each featured in Voices and Visions programs and are treated in depth in videos about an hour long.
Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932) is featured in program 9. Hear excerpts from interviews with Sylvia and watch her mother describe her childhood. What influenced the writing of this American poet?

Ezra Pound (October 30, 1885) is featured in program 10. Watch dramatic imagery as you listen to Pound read his work. Interviews with his acquaintances reveal his political relationship with World War II. Also find out how his poetry set the standards for modernism.

Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879) is featured in program 11. Dramatic readings of his poetry, and pictures and commentary on his life provide insight into how Stevens used poetry to explore the imagination.

Annenberg Learner Announcements

We Want to Hear From You

Please send us topics you would like to see in the next month’s monthly update by the 10th of each month. We will try to fit in your suggestions when possible. Email info@learner.org.

Are you using Learner.org resources on Smartboards or similar technology? Please let us know what we can do to enhance your experiences with using our resources on this type of classroom technology. info@learner.org

New Search Function!

The Annenberg Learner Web site has a new search function. Try searching topics on www.learner.org and get better results for course and workshop matches. The new search also makes suggestions for uncertainties such as misspellings.

New Courses


                                                          and the
                                                          ClassroomKeep your eyes peeled for two new courses from Annenberg Learner out this Fall 2011! Neuroscience and the Classroom and Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition will be ready to view on the learner.org site in October.

Neuroscience and the Classroom looks at research from the field of the mind, brain, and education and its implications for K-12 classroom teachers. It will also be useful for school counselors and college-level psychology and child development courses.

Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition brings this popular course up to date with new stories and interviews on current economics topics including the banking crisis and the federal deficits. The new course includes an accompanying Web site on learner.org.

Look for an announcement of the sites on learner.org.

Print Catalog

To request a copy of our Annenberg Learner main catalog or our subject catalogs in Science and Math, Humanities, Literature and Language Arts, and Social Studies, please send an email to order@learner.org. Be sure to include a mailing address in your request. Thank you!

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Green California Schools Summit

We hope to see you at the Green California Schools Summit Conference October 17-18 at the Pasadena Convention Center. We will be there to support the California EPA’s Education and Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum.

K-12 California teachers teaching about the environment will find valuable content and lesson plans in the EEI Curriculum. The curriculum is aligned to select state standards and covers topics such as water use, biodiversity, and food production. EEI teaches students about their relationship with the environment and how humans interact with natural systems.

Find out more information about the EEI curriculum and download materials, or for more specific questions, call (916) 341-6769 or send an e-mail to eei@calepa.ca.gov

Annenberg Foundation Update
Just two more months left to see The Annenberg Space for Photography’s BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit, a daring, provocative, and at times, controversial exhibition that presents diverse viewpoints on beauty as it has evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries.

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.

Distance Learning, Licensing, and Sales Update

Upcoming conferences:

STEMtech, October 2-5, Indianapolis, IN
National Media Market, October 16-20, Las Vegas, NV
North Carolina Community College Association of Distance Learning (NC3ADL), November 6-8, Raleigh, NC
SLOAN-C, November 9-11, Orlando, FL
ACTFL, November 18-20, Denver, CO

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