Annenberg Learner Update
      August 2012

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In the Spotlight for August

Curriculum Focus: Prepare for September
    Build a Learning Community
    Organize and Manage Your Classroom
    Root Out Students’ Misconceptions

Annenberg Learner Announcements

Connecting Learning With Special Days
    First U.S. Census (August 2, 1790)
    Hawaii Becomes 50th State (August 21, 1959)

Notable August Birthdays
    Herman Melville, writer (August 1, 1819)
    William Van Alen, architect (August 10, 1883)
    Mary Shelley, writer (August 30, 1797)
    Louis Armstrong, musician (August 4, 1901)
    Andy Warhol, artist (August 6, 1928)
    Peter Eisenman, artist (August 11, 1932)
    Lyndon B. Johnson, president (August 27, 1908)

Annenberg Foundation Update
    International Assistance Dog Week (Aug 5-11) & Dog Bless You
    Annenberg Space for Photography: Who Shot Rock & Roll
    Annenberg Foundation

Curriculum Focus: Prepare for September

Get ready, get set! But before you go, step back and look at the bigger learning picture. Below we have gathered resources to help you with classroom processes. Build a learning community in your classroom. Organize and create management systems that foster student independence and encourage cooperative learning. Deal with students’ misconceptions that block new ideas, specifically for learning science and math concepts. 

Build a Learning Community

                                                          LibraryIn Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12, program 31, “Dealing with Controversial Issues,” students learn how to conduct informed and open discussions that include multiple perspectives about gender-based discrimination, conflict in the Middle East, and other issues.  Program 30, “Unity and Diversity,” deals with teaching students to appreciate the different cultures of their community. 

Developing Writers: A Workshop for High School Teachers, workshop 1, “First Steps,” asks you to plan your writing community before the year starts. Think about how much time students will spend writing, getting and giving feedback from peers, and reviewing their own work.  In workshop 2, “A Shared Path,” you’ll consider the characteristics of a writing community and learn to set up effective writers’ groups.

Foster effective communication and mathematical thinking with strategies provided in Teaching Math Grades K-2, session 2, “Communication.” Help young students express their understanding of math concepts through oral, written, and visual (symbols, pictures, gestures) communication.

More resources for building classroom communities:

Teaching Reading 3-5 Workshop, classroom program 10, “Fostering Book Discussions

Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop, workshop 1, “Creating a Literate Community

Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers, workshop 1, “Creating a Community of Writers

Organize and Manage Your Classroom

Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12, program 29, “Groups, Projects, and Presentations,” provides tips for forming cooperative learning groups, helping students work collaboratively, and fostering problem solving skills in the classroom.

                                                          Reading 3-5Teaching Reading 3-5, workshop 1, “Creating Contexts for Learning,” explains why classroom organization matters, the importance of routines and how grouping affects students’ learning. It includes tips for new teachers on setting up a vibrant literacy classroom starting on the first day of school.

Watch how Valerie Kostandos manages her first-grade classroom to foster student independence in Teaching Reading K-2, program 8, “Promoting Readers as Leaders.” Students are readers, writers, and leaders who manage the class’s daily routines. 

More resources for organizing and managing your classroom:

The Learning Classroom: Theory Into Practice, unit 13, “Pulling it All Together-Creating Classrooms and Schools That Support Learning

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Library, program 3, “Assessment Strategies

Root Out Students’ Misconceptions

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 spotlight the reality that even the brightest students cling to enduring misconceptions in spite of the best teaching. The renowned film looks at the source of common misconceptions and the educational system that encourages them to persist.

Minds of
                                                          Our OwnMinds of Our Own challenges what teachers think they know about how children learn. This three-part series provides possible solutions to the dilemma first posed in A Private Universe.

Each of three workshops in the Essential Science for Teachers series includes a Children’s Ideas section. This section allows you to examine common misconceptions or ideas that children have about basic science concepts. For example, in Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science, session 1, “What is Life?“ examine children’s common misconceptions about the living and nonliving, such as “If it moves, it is alive.”

Other Essential Science workshops include Earth and Space Science, and Physical Science

More resources for anticipating students’ misconceptions:

Teaching Math, Grades 9-12, session 2, “Communication

Teaching Math, Grades 6-8, session 2, “Communication

Mathematics: What’s the Big Idea?

Annenberg Learner Announcements

There is a lot to do to prepare during those short two weeks in August just before school starts, and your time to plan lessons and decorate classrooms often competes with meetings. We can help during this jam-packed time and throughout the year. Here is a reminder of opportunities for graduate credit and free resources we have to support and inform your instruction.

Graduate Credit and Distance Learning


                                                          BrochureAre you looking for graduate credit hours? We offer a variety of workshops across disciplines and age ranges through Colorado State University. For a list of classes and credits, stop by the graduate credit page of our Web site. 

Also, many of our workshops and courses are set up for free professional learning in schools and include facilitator guides with activities, readings, and discussion questions.  Workshops such as The Art of Teaching the Arts have Web sites with video, activities, text, and guides for professional development use as a component of your in-house PD or as the basis of a year-long professional learning community. If you are running a PD session for colleagues, you can hand out our learner.org flier to introduce them to the free resources on learner.org. You can request fliers in multiples of 50 here.

Monthly Update e-newsletter

If you are reading this, you either are already signed up for our Monthly Update or a friend or colleague has forwarded you the message. We look forward to connecting you to our free online resources and letting you know when new resources are developed. Stay tuned each month for more from Annenberg Learner. You can always access past issues of the newsletter by clicking on the News link of our homepage.

Resources for Lessons

Supplement your textbooks with online videos in history, science, language arts, and the arts. The following is just a small taste of what we have at Learner.org. Click on “View Programs” on the homepage to see a list of all our resources.


Students can access interactives from Learner.org or directly from the interactives page. Students enhance and improve skills in a variety of curricular areas by completing these online activities. Many of our interactives include printable assessments.

Learner Express

Learner Express offers selected segments of video with STEM and Common Core Math relevance. We will be adding other subject areas to these modules, so check back.

Teacher Talk

Teacher Talk is a way for teachers to communicate with each other about their practice as they work through Learner.org workshops and courses. You can view past discussions and start new discussions any time by accessing Teacher Talk from a particular series. View the main Teacher Talk page, or drop by some of our more popular Teacher Talk forums like Social Studies in Action and Developing Writers.

Social Media and Blog

NEW! We love the idea of Pinterest. We can aggregate materials from our site into useful piles based on topic areas, grade-levels, and teaching strategies. Let us know what you are looking for by emailing info@learner.org.

The Learner Log blog highlights specific teaching strategies and subject area resources from Learner.org and gives you a place to discuss them with your peers.  

Our social media links provide instant connections to resources related to topics in the news, current events, and historical dates. In addition to Pinterest, don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Youtube.

Connecting Learning with Special Days

First U.S. Census (August 2, 1790)

The first United States census started on August 2, 1790. See PDFs of the original documents and the types of data collected in this first census on the Census Bureau Web site.  Watch Primary Sources, workshop 6, “The Census: Who We Think We Are,” to explore original census documents and how national, state, and local governments use census data.

Hawaii Becomes 50th State (August 21, 1959)

                                                          GeographyHow did the exotic vacation destination in the middle of the Pacific become a U.S. state? Despite being 2,000 miles west of the mainland United States, Hawaii added the 50th star to the U.S. flag on August 21, 1959. Find out more about the history and geology of this fascinating island chain.

The tourism industry is a blessing and a curse for exotic locales like Hawaii. 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. 

Look for more connections to historical events and important days in August on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Notable August Birthdays

Herman Melville, writer (August 1, 1819)

Unit 6, “Gothic Undercurrents,” of American Passages, presents disparate views of the mid-19th century: one of optimism as the nation expanded and people looked to faith based on human reason or a more forgiving God, and one of inequality, bleak labor conditions, and slavery.  Herman Melville, a featured writer in the video, was criticized for exploring the darker side of this time period. Learn about the writer’s unusual education and difficulties in life on the author bio page of this unit. 

                                                          Through TimeWilliam Van Alen, architect (August 10, 1883)

An indelible icon of the Manhattan skyline, the Chrysler Building owes its cache to architect William Van Alen. Art Through Time, program 11, “The Urban Experience,” presents what was briefly the world’s tallest building as an example of the advancement of art in urban spaces. 

Mary Shelley, writer (August 30, 1797)

Mary Shelley was encouraged to write by her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and produced the novel Frankenstein in response to a challenge to invent a ghost story. In Search of the Novel, Mary Shelley, Ten Novelists presents biographical information of her life and Ten Novels provides a synopsis and reviews of Frankenstein
More August Birthdays:

Louis Armstrong, musician (August 4, 1901)
America’s History in the Making, resource archive, “The Jazz Ambassadors
America’s History in the Making, unit 20, “Egalitarian America,” Faces of America 

Andy Warhol, artist (August 6, 1928)
Art Through Time, program 9, “Portraits” (Andy Warhol by Alice Neel)
Art Through Time, program 9, “Portraits” (Diane von Furstenberg by Andy Warhol)

Peter Eisenman, artist (August 11, 1932)
Art Through Time, program 3, “History and Memory

Lyndon B. Johnson, president (August 27, 1908)
A Biography of America, program 24, “The Sixties
Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition, program 19, “Inflation

For more birthday connections in the month of August, stop by our Facebook and Twitter pages. Artist Gustave Caillebotte, physicist Ernest Rutherford, and President Herbert Hoover are among the featured birthdays.

Annenberg Foundation Update

International Assistance Dog Week (Aug 5-11) & Dog Bless You

International Assistance Dog Week was established to recognize and educate the public about the great contributions of service dogs. Explore.org follows Charlie Annenberg Weingarten
and his dog Lucky as they search the world to document and champion selfless acts of others. One of Explore’s projects, Dog Bless You, focuses on service dogs for veterans. Check out and “like” the Dog Bless You Facebook page. Explore.org often donates dogs to war veterans. 

Annenberg Space for Photography

Did you miss Woodstock? Get a backstage look at iconic rock and roll performers by great photographers in Who Shot Rock & Roll. The Annenberg Space for Photography exhibition, June 23 through October 7, features images from over 100 photographers. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland, the exhibit spotlights the collaborative role that photographers have played throughout the history of rock music from Elvis to U2. A short documentary features interviews with Ed Colver, Henry Diltz, Jill Furmanovsky, Lynn Goldsmith, Bob Gruen, Norman Seeff, Mark Seliger and Guy Webster.

Rock and

View this exhibit through historical and cultural lenses provided by Annenberg Learner resources. Watch Biography of America, program 23, “The Fifties,” to see the influences of the transistor radio and Elvis Presley on youth culture. Start at 16:47 of the video. 

We’ve all experienced just how powerful music can be. It can change our emotions, remind us of personal milestones and world events, and help us bond with others. Exploring the World of Music, program 2, “The Transformative Power of Music,” shows how many genres of music influence cultures around the world and transform lives. 

More from the Annenberg Foundation

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