Annenberg Learner Update
      February 2012

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In the Spotlight for February

Curriculum Focus:  Childhood Development

Current Events
    Tax Credit for Ethanol Expires
    Winter Weather: Let’s Talk Snow!
    Primary Elections Begin

Connecting Learning with Historic Days
    Black History Month
    Presidents’ Day (February 20)
    Ferris Wheel Day (February 14)
    Montgomery Bus Boycott Arrests (February 22, 1956)
    Iwo Jima Day (February 23)

Notable February Birthdays
    Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874)
    Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820)
    Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902)
    Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812)
    Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809)
    Frederick Douglass (February 14, 1818)
    Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564)
    Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473)
    W.E.B. DuBois (February 23, 1868)
Annenberg Learner Announcements
    NCSS (December 2-3) Conference Drawing Winner
    Journey North Launches for 2012
    Journey North NEW App!
    Beware of Video Piracy

Annenberg Foundation Update
   New Look for Annenberg Foundation Web Site
   Annenberg Space for Photography Presents “Digital Darkroom”

Distance Learning Update

Curriculum Focus: Early Childhood Development

This month, we take a look at early childhood development. What does a child need for cognitive and social development, and what are normal milestones of early development?


                                                          & the
                                                          ClassroomIn Discovering Psychology, program 5, “The Developing Child,” Dr. Philip Zimbardo lays out the nature versus nurture debate in human development and discusses a child’s development of symbolic reasoning, object permanence, and visual perception.

Professor Kurt Fischer illustrates how scaffolding, providing children different levels of support until they are able to direct their own learning, occurs between mother and baby. This face-to-face interaction is crucial to skill building at an early age. See Neuroscience & the Classroom, unit 5, “Building New Neural Networks,” video, “Scaffolding: Johanna and Her Mother with Commentary.”

Seasons of Life, program 1, “Infancy and Early Childhood (Birth-Age 5),” looks at human development at the earliest stage, explaining the “terrible twos,” when toddlers begin to assert their independence.
For more resources on childhood development, see

The Mind: Teaching Modules
Module 13, “Capabilities of the Newborn”
Module 14, “Infant Cognitive Development”
Module 15, “Social Development in Infancy”

Current Events

Tax Credit for Ethanol Expires

For the last 30 years, the federal government provided billions in subsidies for producers of ethanol as an incentive to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. This $20 billion subsidy and tax credi
t expired on December 31, 2011. Habitable

Learn the science behind ethanol production with The Habitable Planet, unit 10, “Energy Challenges,” section 7, Biomass Energy and Feedstocks. Watch the video to visit an ethanol producti
on plant and see how ethanol can be produced from corn kernels and other plant parts.
Winter Weather: Let’s Talk Snow!

Take a closer look to learn why snowflakes have six sides in Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science, session 6, “Rising and Sinking.”  To see snowflakes grow under a microscope, advance 52 minutes into the video

Journey North’s Snow Facts page provides links to useful information on snow, including average snowfalls in the U.S. and how snowfall affects tulip bulbs in your garden.  See pictures of Wilson Bentley, also known as the “Snowflake Man,” doing his snowflake studies in Journey North, Snowflakes: Tiny Miracles of Beauty.

The Weather interactive for students includes an Ice and Snow section with information about ice ages, snow formation, and glaciers.

Primary Elections Begin

                                                          in AmericaThe news is buzzing with information and opinions about GOP candidates as they compete in primary elections across the United States. How do presidential candidates focus their campaigns during primary elections? How can citizens influence a primary election to follow their positions and interests?

The video for Democracy in America, unit 13, “Elections: The Maintenance of Democracy,” answers these questions by examining two cases: Senator John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and the Neighbors for a Better Montgomery County (MD) grassroots movement.

Connecting Learning with Historic Days

Black History Month 2012

This year, the theme for Black History Month is “Black Women in American Culture and History.” This month we spotlight women who have made significant contributions to African-American literature. American Passages features several writers who have contributed to and commented on American culture and history.

                                                          PassagesAn educated enslaved woman in the 18th century, Phillis Wheatley, became a published poet who wrote about Christianity and liberty. Unit 4, “Spirit of Nationalism,” tells how Wheatley’s mistress recognized her intelligence and oversaw her education.

Harriet Jacobs, another enslaved woman who was taught to read, escaped from the plantation, and eventually fled to the North. She wrote about her own experiences of exploitation and escape in order to bring awareness to the mistreatment of enslaved women. Read about her in unit 7, “Slavery and Freedom.”

Zora Neale Hurston, much to the dismay of her peers such as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, wrote to promote a vision of “racial health – a sense of black people as complete, complex, undiminished human beings.” See unit 13, “Southern Renaissance.”

                                                          PassagesMore featured authors include:

Gwendolyn Br
American Passa
ges, unit 14, “Becoming Visible

Alice Walker (b. February 9, 1944)
American Passages, unit 16, “Search for Identity
Conversations in Literature, workshop 6, “Objectifying the Text” Her poem “Revolutionary Petunias” is read and discussed in the video starting at 35:08 minutes in. 

Toni Morrison (b. February 18, 1931)
American Passages, unit 16, “Search for Identity
In Search of the Novel, “Ten Novelists

Presidents’ Day (February 20)

                                                          of AmericaThis Presidents’ Day, we focus on challenges that former U.S. presidents have faced and presidents with February birthdays.

In A Biography of America, program 18, “TR and Wilson,” work through the interactive titled, You Decide: Should Roosevelt and Wilson have been more active in preserving wilderness from development?

Program 24, “The Sixties,” discusses John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s challenges enforcing civil rights, including the end of segregation. Passage of the Civil Rights Act and information on the Democratic National Convention is also featured in this video and transcript.

Presidents with February birthdays:

                                                          in AmericaRonald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911)
Biography of America, program 25, “Contemporary History,” the section of the transcript and video titled, Headlines of the late 20th Century (This section also mentions Presidents Carter, Bush, and Clinton.)

Democracy in America, program 7, “The Modern Presidency: Tools of Power,” video viewing discussion, 2. Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator

William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773)
Sadly, President Harrison succumbed to pneumonia a month after taking the oath of office. You can search on the War of 1812 or Indian treaties to find out more about his times before he was elected to the presidency.

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809)
For resources on Abraham Lincoln, see the February 2011 update.

George Washington (February 22, 1732, observed February 20)
For resources on George Washington, see the February 2011 update.

Ferris Wheel Day (February 14, 1859)

                                                          SourcesGeorge Washington Gale Ferris, an American engineer and inventor, invented the Ferris Wheel for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The first Ferris Wheel, built specifically for the fair, was 250 feet in diameter and could carry 40 passengers in 36 coaches.
See a picture of the first Ferris Wheel and related questions in Primary Sources, “World’s Fair Photograph.”

In America’s History in the Making, unit 16, “A Growing Global Power,” David Cope, former social studies teacher and advisor for World’s Fair documentaries, says the Columbian Exposition in Chicago provided America the opportunity to show the world its industrial might.

Students practice trigonometry by developing functions to describe the height of a Ferris wheel rider. Watch this lesson unfold in Teaching Math: A Video Library, 9-12, program 7, “Ferris Wheel.”

Montgomery Bus Boycott Arrests (February 22, 1956)

                                                          LiteratureIn 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks (b. February 4, 1913) initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. Teaching Multicultural Literature workshop 5, “Historical and Cultural Context,” includes activities to develop students’ historical knowledge of events in the novel "The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963," by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Iwo Jima Day (February 23, 1945)
Art Through Time, unit 3, “History and Memory,” displays Joe Rosenthal’s photograph, American Marines Raising American Flag on Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. His photo inspired a statue and became a symbol of American courage and patriotism.

Notable February Birthdays

                                                          Through TimeGertrude Stein poet and essayist (February 3, 1874)

Pablo Picasso painted a portrait of his friend Gertrude Stein that has become the iconic image of her face. See the painting and read about Picasso and Stein’s friendship in Art Through Time: A Global View, program 9, “Portraits.”

Between World War I and World War II, Gertrude Stein inspired other expatriate modernist writers including Hemingway and Fitzgerald to experiment with new uses of language. Watch the video about this volatile time in America and the influence of modernist writers in American Passages, unit 11, “Modernist Portraits.”

Susan B. Anthony – civil rights activist, suffragist (February 15, 1820)

Scholars in A Biography of America, program 13, “America at the Centennial,” discuss the tension between activists such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, who debated whether women or African-American men should be granted the right to vote by the 15th Amendment.

American Passages, unit 9, “Social Realism,” reveals how activists such as Susan B. Anthony were not afraid to fight for women’s suffrage.

More February birthdays:

                                                          & VisionsLangston Hughes – poet, writer (February 1, 1902)

Voices & Visions, program 6, “Langston Hughes
Teaching Multicultural Literature, workshop 6, “Historical and Cultural Context: Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore”
Making Meaning in Literature: A Video Library, Grades 6-8, program 5, “Seminar Discussion

Charles Dickens – writer, social critic (February 7, 1812)

Engaging with Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5, program 8, “Finding Common Ground
In Search of the Novel, lesson plan for Great Expectations

Charles Darwin – naturalist (February 12, 1809)

Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives, unit 9, “Human Evolution
Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science, session 6, “Evolution and the Tree of Life

Frederick Douglass – civil rights activist, writer, social critic (February 14, 1818)

American Passages, unit 7, “Slavery and Freedom
Artifacts and Fiction, workshop 3, “Social History
Primary Sources, workshop 4, “Concerning Emancipation

Galileo Galilei – physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher (February 15, 1564)

The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond, program 4, “Inertia
Earth Revealed, program 2, “The Restless Planet
Mathematics Illuminated, unit 3, “How Big Is Infinity?”
The Western Tradition, program 30, “Rise of the Trading Cities

Nicolaus Copernicus – astronomer (February 19, 1473)

The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond, program 1, “Introduction
Earth Revealed, program 2, “The Restless Planet

W.E.B. DuBois – civil rights activist, writer, editor, sociology professor (February 23, 1868)

American Passages, unit 9, “Social Realism

Annenberg Learner Announcements

NCSS (December 2-3) Conference Drawing Winner


                                                          PsychologyCongratulations to teacher Althea Tomlinson for winning the drawing for a free video series at the December 2011 National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Washington, D.C. She chose Discovering Psychology with Dr. Philip Zimbardo, whom she met at the conference!

Journey North Launches for 2012

Journey North explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. Watch how the seasons affect the web of life — and report your own observations. The spring season is about to start!

Engage your students in the popular Mystery Class challenge, which begins on January 30th.

Journey North has a NEW Mobile App

Coming this spring! Take Journey North outdoors with a new mobile app.

Beware of Video Piracy

ALERT FOR ONLINE VIDEO BUYERS: If you purchase Annenberg video series online by a seller other than Annenberg Learner, you may be getting a poor quality bootleg copy or no copy at all. Annenberg Learner cannot provide refunds for copies purchased through any other online seller, so be wary when you purchase. To ensure getting good quality materials, (that you can return if you are dissatisfied) order them through our phone sales 1-800-LEARNER (532-7637) or order online.

Annenberg Foundation Update

                                                          FoundationCheck out the new look of the Annenberg Foundation's Web site, which has just relaunched.

The Annenberg Space for Photography currently presents “Digital Darkroom,” featuring the work of 17 artists from around the world.  Compare their images created using Photoshop with more traditional paintings and sculptures of dreamscapes and personal fantasies by past artists, from aboriginal artists to surrealists in program 2, “Dreams and Visions,” of Art Through Time.

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

Distance Learning Update

Reminder: Distance learning licenses for spring 2012 are now due. We have flexible licensing options to include licensing by the program instead of the whole series. 
Economics U$A has been updated to Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition. We are extending a 20% discount off our 'per year license fee.’ Contact distancelearning@learner.org for more information. 
Are you interested in a Webinar of users of Annenberg Learner video in online courses? If so, respond by email to distancelearning@learner.org with a 'Yes, I'm interested!' in the subject line and your contact information in the email. Stay tuned for updates on this development to bring together educators and curriculum developers to enhance learning through video.
Sales Update:
Purchase either of our two new series (Economics U$A: 21st Century Edition, Neuroscience & the Classroom) by the end of February and receive a 20% discount. Use discount code ECON20 for Economics U$A and NEURO20 for Neuroscience & the Classroom.
ITC E Learning 2012, Long Beach, CA - February 18-21, 2012  

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
– March 29-April 1, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana 
Find us at booth #973.

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