Annenberg Learner Update
      April 2013

Follow Us:

Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Learner Log Blog  YouTube Google Plus
Advance excellent teaching with Annenberg Learner.

In the Spotlight for April

Curriculum Focus: Using Representations in the Math Classroom

Current Events
    Beloved Nigerian Writer Chinua Achebe Passes Away

Connecting Learning with Special Days
    National Poetry Month
    National Autism Awareness Month
    National Dance Week (April 26-May 5)
    Jazz Appreciation Month
    Beginning of the Civil War (April 12, 1861)
    National Environmental Education Week (April 14-20) and Earth Day (April 22)
    Kindergarten Day (April 21)

Notable April Birthdays
    Eadweard Muybridge (April 9, 1830)
    Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (April 30, 1777)
    More April Birthdays
Annenberg Learner Announcements
    Upcoming Conferences   
Annenberg Foundation Update
     Annenberg Space for Photography Presents “WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY” and
        Teacher Resource Guide

Curriculum Focus: Using Representations in the Math Classroom

“Show your work.” Teachers ask students to show their work to get a glimpse of how they are thinking through a problem. However, showing work is not just useful to the teacher. When students create representations (by drawing charts and diagrams, using manipulatives, etc), they work through their understanding of math concepts and develop problem-solving skills. Find the representation standards for grades Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 on the NCTM Web site.

According to the NCTM Representation Standard, instructional programs . . . should enable all students to:

•    Create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas
•    Select, apply, and translate among mathematical representations to solve problems
•    Use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena

Teaching Math 6-8The Teaching Math online courses look at various ways students from grades K-12 may represent their mathematical thinking. Observe student examples of representations and practice using representations to solve problems. See the session 5, “Representation,” section of each grade band: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.
See examples of different manipulatives in use for the algebra classroom in Insights into Algebra, workshop 1, “Variables and Patterns of Change.” Examples include teacher-made manipulatives -- cups used to represent the coefficient of the variable and chips used to represent the constant terms -- or virtual manipulatives in the form of a computer program allowing students to examine graphs of change.

Students estimate the number of elk, bison, and pronghorn in Yellowstone Park in program 6, “Animals in Yellowstone,” of Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4. At 11:50 in the video, the teacher asks students to explain and adjust their placement of estimates on a number line.

Students work in groups to identify a pattern and find a rule that determines that pattern in Teaching Math: A Video Library, 9-12, program 6, “Staircase Problem.” Students must explain their thinking using charts and paper blocks.

More resources for using representations in math classrooms:

Private Universe Project in Mathematics, workshop 6, “Possibilities of Real Life Problems

Learning Math: Number and Operations, session 4, “Meanings and Models for Operations

Current Events

Beloved Nigerian Writer Chinua Achebe Passes Away

In Search of the
                                                NovelThe world lost an important voice with Chinua Achebe’s death in March. Critics consider the writer, born in Ogidi, Nigeria in 1930, one of the finest Nigerian novelists. Chinua Achebe eschewed trends in English literature and embraced the African oral tradition. See the Chinua Achebe biography page from In Search of the Novel, Ten Novelists, for background on the author and his writing style.

Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart asks readers to consider what they would do if their whole way of living was suddenly threatened by a group of outsiders. Okonkwo, the protagonist of this work, faces the imminent influence of British values on his Nigerian Ibo community. The Ten Novels page provides a synopsis and reviews of Things Fall Apart. Anthony Appiah, Achebe’s friend, explains his view of the novel Things Fall Apart in the program Invitation to World Literature: “One of the things that Achebe has always said, is that part of what he thought the task of the novel was, was to create a usable past. Trying to give people a richly textured picture of what happened, not a sort of monotone bad Europeans, noble Africans, but a complicated picture in which mistakes are made on both sides.”

In Teaching Multicultural Literature, workshop 8, “Social Justice and Action,” author Joseph Bruchac talks about his friendship with Achebe and how Achebe influenced his writing.

Connecting Learning with Special Days

National Poetry Month

Literary VisionsHelp your students develop a sense of setting in poetry by reading and discussing the work of other poets, and providing opportunities for students to connect setting with themes in their own poems.

In program 12, “A Sense of Place: Setting and Character in Poetry,” of Literary Visions, hear readings and discussions of Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach, and listen to Maxine Kumin discuss capturing New England landscapes in her poetry.

Emily Dickinson used her science training to write poetic observations of nature. Her life and work are discussed in Voices & Visions.

Students can compare how poets use images of a city to describe the human condition. See question 5 in American Passages, Context Activities for unit 10, “Rhythms in Poetry:” How do Eliot's London, Sandburg's Chicago, and Hughes's Harlem all represent particular interpretations of the city and the modern condition?

For additional poetry resources:

The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature in High School, session 1, “Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch

Teaching ‘The Children of Willesden Lane,’ "Gaining Insight Through Poetry"

Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5, program 3, “Starting Out” 

Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers, workshop 3, “Teaching Poetry

National Autism Awareness Month

A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2012 concluded that autism occurs in 1 in 88 births in the U.S.  While autism causes difficulties in social interaction and communication, it is also associated with strengths in areas such as music, math, and art. The following resources provide information to support students with autism.

Dealing with short attention spans can be very frustrating. What actions can replace the phrase “Pay attention?” Neuroscience & the Classroom, unit 4, “Different Learners, Different Minds,” section 5, What teachers can do, provides techniques teachers can use to help students decrease their stress and increase attention in the classroom.  

Brain ModulesShare success stories with your students. The video page for section 4 includes video and audio clips of Dr. Stephen Shore and Dr. Temple Grandin talking about their abilities as individuals with autism. 

Dr. Grandin is also featured in The Brain: Teaching Modules, module 29, “Autism.” This program provides both a historical perspective of autism and current beliefs about why autism occurs. 

The World of Abnormal Psychology, program 11, “Behavior Disorders of Childhood,” looks at challenges and solutions for families who have children with behavior disorders. Autism is discussed specifically at 42:06.

National Dance Week (April 26-May 5)

Get your students dancing to the rhythm of learning with the following ideas:

Arts in Every
                                                ClassroomTeacher Kathy DeJean’s students use dance to brainstorm where they will travel, and Scott Pivnik’s young students learn a West African dance as part of a school-wide study of Africa in The Arts in Every Classroom, “Teaching Dance.” 

Middle school students use dance to explore the laws of motion, and math students interpret the idea of circles using dance movements in program 3, “Two Dance Collaborations,” of Connecting with the Arts: A Teaching Practices Library, 6-8. Watch a science teacher and a dance teacher engage students in a lesson on anatomy as they attempt to answer the question, “Can Frogs Dance?” in program 11. 

For resources on Jazz Appreciation Month, the beginning of the Civil War (April 12, 1861), National Environmental Education Week (April 14-20), and Kindergarten Day (April 21), see the April 2012 update.

Notable April Birthdays

Eadweard Muybridge (April 9, 1830)

Art Through TimeEnglish expatriate Eadweard Muybridge took daring steps, cutting down trees and venturing into dangerous places, to get landscape photographs that would distinguish him from his contemporaries. See the story of his shot, Falls of the Yosemite, taken in 1872 while on a six-month trip West in Art Through Time, program 10, “The Natural World.”

Read how Muybridge developed photography techniques that captured human and animal movements in new ways in American Passages, unit 8, “Regional Realism.”  Muybridge also invented the zoopraxiscope (image #8245 in the archives), a device that projected a moving image from still sequences.

In the video for workshop 6, “Possibilities of Real Life Problems,” of Private Universe Project in Mathematics, ninth graders are asked to solve how fast a cat, captured in a series of photos by Muybridge more than 100 years ago, was moving in frames 10 and 20.

Find a slideshow of 17 of Muybridge’s images of Guatemala in Teaching Geography, workshop 2, “Latin America.” Below each slide is information about the content of each photo and questions to compare the past with the present.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (April 30, 1777)

Legend has it that mathematician Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss used signal fires and mirrors to build a triangle on mountaintops, the measurements of which illustrated the difference between lines on a curved surface like Earth’s surface and lines in a potentially curved space. See Mathematics Illuminated, unit 8, “Geometries Beyond Euclid,” section 4, Spherical and Hyperbolic Geometry, to learn about Gauss and his contributions to mathematics.

For more April Birthdays, see the birthday section of the April 2012 update.


Annenberg Learner Announcements

Upcoming Conferences

Join us at upcoming conferences to learn about our professional development and student resources for math and science. We will be announcing new resources in statistics and chemistry.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), April 11-13, San Antonio, TX, booth 1205

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), April 18-20, Denver, CO, booth 1240

Annenberg Foundation Update

Annenberg Space for Photography Presents “WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath is a new photography exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibit runs now through June 2, 2013.

The exhibit encompasses over 150 images going as far back as 1887 and is arranged by themes presenting both the military and civilian point of view, including the advent of war, daily routines, the fight itself, the aftermath, medical care, prisoners of war, refugees, executions, memorials, remembrance, and more. There are many iconic images in the show such as Joe Rosenthal’s Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima and Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day, Times Square, New York. 

Private First Class Wayne C. Weidner, assumed American, dates not known. Personnel of Battery B, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, US 8th Army, Attached to the IX US Corps, Fire Their Long Toms on Communist Targets in Support of Elements of the 25th US Infantry Division on the West Central Front, Near the Village of Nunema, Korea, 1951

The Annenberg Learner resource Primary Sources, “Korea and the Cold War: A Case Study,” provides a historical context for the Korean War. Use primary source documents to teach your students about how and why America became involved in Korea.

The Educator Resource Guide for WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY is now available for teachers and students. The packet has been created for teachers to use in-class and/or during a visit. Click here to download the guide. Due to the nature of the content in this exhibit, it is recommended for ages 14 and older.

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

Sign up to receive messages highlighting the news, events, and programming of Annenberg Learner, as well as ideas for using our resources in the classroom.

Join Mailing List