Annenberg Learner Update
      December 2013

Follow Us:

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

In the Spotlight for December

In the News
   Sleep Helps Those With Depression and May Deter Alzheimer’s Disease

Curriculum Focus: Language Arts - The Art of Revision
Connecting Learning With Special Days
    Call for New Year’s Resolutions
    Learn a Foreign Language Month
    Spiritual Literacy Month

Notable December Birthdays
    Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830)  
    Matthew Arnold (December 24, 1822)
    More December Birthdays
Annenberg Learner Announcements
    New Resources from Annenberg Learner
        Against All Odds: Inside Statistics (Updated)
    New 2014 Print Catalog

Annenberg Foundation Update
    The Annenberg Space for Photography Celebrates 125 Years
        of National Geographic (Educator Tours and Guide)

In the News

Sleep Helps Those With Depression and May Deter Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain Teaching
                                              ModulesCuring insomnia in people with depression could double their chance of a full recovery, scientists are reporting. The New York Times recently reported on a study that reveals another benefit of a good night’s sleep. Another study found that neural “junk” that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease was cleared from the brain faster during sleep. Look to learner.org to find out what goes on in our brains during our long winter’s nap.

Scientists have done sleep research for decades. In The Brain Teaching Modules, module 13, “Sleep and Circadian Rhythms,” looks at our natural rhythms and the stages of sleep; module 14, “Sleep: Brain Functions,” visits a sleep laboratory where they explore a woman’s dream cycles. In module 15, “REM Sleep and Dreaming,” a dream specialist discusses the function of dreams and reflects on the contribution of dreaming to human creativity.

For another take on how our unconscious mind relates to our conscious mind, look at Discovering Psychology, program 13, “The Mind Awake and Asleep.”  Read a short essay on “The Anatomy of Dreams” including the work of Drs. Robert McCarley and J. Allen Hobsen of Harvard Medical School who discuss activation synthesis theory on how our brains weave the random electrical firing of neurons in a dream-story.

Curriculum Focus: Language Arts - The Art of Revision

Revision can be a scary process for anyone, and especially students. Stepping back from our writing and looking at it critically is not an easy task. How can you help your students, no matter what age they are, learn the process of revision and hone their editorial skills? The following resources from Annenberg Learner provide strategies and insights for teaching this essential writing technique.

Inside Writing
                                            CommunitiesWatch as Sheryl Block teaches her fourth graders strategies to elaborate on ideas in their writing in Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3-5, program 13, “Learning to Revise.”  Use the interactive What Do Revision Choices Reveal? on observing student revisions to make them better writers.

Students in Tatiana With’s class use multiple drafts to revise their prose in Teaching Reading, 3-5, “Revising for Clarity.” As the kids discuss the revision process, one student says “My hardest piece was the revising part. I usually have to write one, two, three drafts. I usually find it kind of hard to find all my mistakes and correct them without missing any of them.”

Do you have students who are resistant to revising their writing? Watch as three teachers use multiple strategies and fun activities to motivate their students in Write in the Middle, workshop 8, “Teaching the Power of Revision.” 

The Developing Writers workshop for high school teachers focuses on developing writing communities in the classroom and includes revision techniques throughout each video. For example, in workshop 2, “A Shared Path,” students share their work and provide feedback to their classmates.  In workshop 4, students choose a genre for writing based on their purpose and mindfully edit their work using peer and teacher feedback, and self-reflection.  Share the Top Ten Myths of Writing to help your students appreciate their individual writing potential.

Connecting Learning With Special Days

Get Ready for the New Year

It’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. What is it that you would like to accomplish in your classroom during 2014? Are you working on a professional learning goal? Do you want to use cooperative learning groups more effectively? Are you interested in making learning more student-centered? Are you looking for ways to keep students’ attention during class? Whatever you decide to work on, we are here to help. Send us your classroom New Year’s resolutions to blog@learner.org by December 10th and we will connect you with the resources you need to meet those resolutions in our blog and in our January update.

Learn a Foreign Language Month

DestinosPlanning a trip this winter or next summer? If so, you may need to brush up on your foreign language skills. Or if you need fresh lesson plan ideas or resources for your foreign language class, we have several online language resources to use abroad or in your classroom.

Destinos, one of our most popular series, is a full telenovela (soap opera) in Spanish that gradually builds yours or your students’ language levels. The course now includes a Web site with vocabulary and grammar exercises so you can practice the language used in the videos. 

French in Action, another beloved series from Annenberg Learner, is based on an immersion language teaching methodology by Pierre Capretz. Follow Robert and Mireille’s story while practicing your French comprehension and speaking skills. 

The Teaching Foreign Languages Library offers all language teachers an opportunity to refine their classroom instruction. Whether you are struggling to find ways to teach your class entirely in the target language, need ideas for teaching in content areas, or need creative lesson plans, the library offers lessons at every level and in a variety of languages. Subtitles allow everyone access to the great teaching within the videos. 

See the December 2012 update for resources and ideas for teaching Spiritual Literacy Month and other December topics and milestones. 

Notable December  Birthdays

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830)   

Emily Dickinson’s training in science is evident in her poetic observations and experimental attitude. To learn about this reclusive woman and hear dramatized readings of her poetry, see Voices and Visions, program 3, “Emily Dickinson.”

Matthew Arnold (December 24, 1822)

                                                    VisionsSee how the setting in Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach” contributes to the speaker’s questioning of faith in Literary Visions, program 12, “A Sense of Place: Character and Setting in Poetry.” This program asks students to consider background knowledge when reading poetry. For example, consider the historical background of England in 1867 when reading “Dover Beach.”  Discussion starts at 16:54 in video.

Link to the December 2012 update for the following birthday connections:
Otto Dix (December 2, 1891), whose works were recently recovered in a stash of stolen artwork that had been banned by the Nazis.
Edvard Munch (December 12, 1863)
Sandra Cisneros (December 20, 1954)

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for even more December birthday and historical connections. 

Annenberg Learner Announcements

Against All Odds: Inside Statistics Updated

DestinosThe newly
updated Against All Odds: Inside Statistics is here! Check out the new Web site for this online course for high school and college-level instruction. This course picks up where the original Against All Odds left off. The new series features 32 10-minute videos showing people from all walks of life using statistics in their work, a coordinated new Web site, 3 online interactive tools, and faculty and student guides. Order your copy on DVD here

Discount on Origina
l Against All Odds DVDs

The original Against All Odds video series with host Teresa Amabile will be sold at a 60% discount through the end of 2013. After January 1, 2014, the original series will no longer be available. Order the series of 26 half-hour programs on 7 DVDs onlineNote: The videos for the original series will continue to stream on the site until the end of December 2013.

Keep your eyes on our news page for updates on upcoming releases such as Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions and more. If you have any questions about new releases, write info@learner.org.

Print Catalog

Annenberg Learner DVD resources make great holiday gifts for teachers or any learner in your life. Have you ordered our 2014 full catalog yet? Get your copy now to find new resources as well as your favorite and trusted ones. Please send an email to order@learner.org. Be sure to include a mailing address in your request. Thank you!

Annenberg Foundation Update

Tours and Educator’s Guides Available for Annenberg Space for Photography’s Latest Exhibit

The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years is on display at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, California, through April 27, 2014. Guided and self-guided tours of the exhibit are available for school groups. The Annenberg Space for Photography offers subsidized transportation to qualifying Title I schools in Los Angeles County. Funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our Guide for Educators for The Power of Photography offers a variety of activities as well as Annenberg Learner materials related to the exhibit themes. Click here to learn more about tours and the Guide for Educators.

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