Annenberg Learner Update
      February 2014

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In the Spotlight for February

In the News
   Winter Weather

Curriculum Focus: Psychology: Building Self-Esteem
Connecting Learning With Special Days
    Black History Month: Civil Rights in America
    Presidents’ Day (February 17)
Notable February Birthdays
    Alice Walker (February 9, 1944)
    Galileo Galilei (February 17, 1564)
    Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (February 18, 1201)
Annenberg Learner Announcements
    Dr. Immordino-Yang Wins AAAS Public Engagement in Science Award
    Upcoming Conferences
    New Releases: ESL and Chemistry
    Graduate Credit and CEU Opportunities

Annenberg Foundation Update  

In the News

Winter Weather

Journey NorthCold enough for you? This winter, much of the United States has been under a deep freeze. While staying warm indoors, gain a better understanding of winter weather using the following resources:

How are weather forecasts made? How do ice and snow form? What causes a wind chill temperature? The Weather interactive explains the answers to these questions and more.

Explore the link between weather and climate using the classroom tools from Journey North. Students, for example, may track temperatures for a week and compare data with regional norms.

Physical Science, session 6, “Rising and Sinking,” reveals how snowflakes form and why they have six sides.

The Habitable Planet, program 1, “Many Planets, One Earth,” section 5, Snowball Earth, explains the theory of a “snowball earth” when the earth may have gone into the deep freeze and how a temperate climate was eventually restored.

Curriculum Focus: Psychology - Building Self-Esteem

It’s no secret that each student’s level of self-esteem influences how they make decisions and handle challenging situations. Helping students build their self-esteem is no easy task when they are also influenced by peers and broader cultural pressures. The following resources will shed some light on how to encourage students to have confidence and build their self-efficacy, the belief that they have the ability to control situations.

Watch an experiment that demonstrates how self-efficacy influences individual performance in Discovering Psychology, program 15, "The Self." Then consider ways you speak to your students. Do you focus on their perceived innate abilities or on their efforts to do well?

NeuroscienceNeuroscience & the Classroom, unit 4, section 7, The Seesaw of Attention, asks teachers to reflect on the impact of the label “learning disabled.” Why do some students with learning impairments fare poorly in school but do well later on in their careers? How can we adjust the way we teach so all students experience success and greater self-esteem as a result?

Teacher Carol O'Donnell, in workshop 1, “Engagement and Dialogue,” of Teaching Multicultural Literature, discusses how she uses literature to explore themes of identity with her seventh-graders. Drama, role play, and writing activities build students’ confidence as they relate to experiences in the works they read. She also explains how to create a safe classroom for students to share their ideas and writing.

Consider adding classroom activities that allow students with low self-esteem to experience success. In The Arts in Every Classroom, read an interview with a principal at a low performing school in New York who introduced the arts as a way to improve student achievement in all subjects.

More resources for building self-esteem:

The Whole Child: A Caregiver's Guide to the First Five Years, program 5, “I’m Glad I’m Me,” program 8, “Getting Along Together,” program 11, “Creativity and Play”

Insights Into Algebra 1, workshop 1, “Variables and Patterns of Change,” Cooperative Learning

Connecting Learning With Special Days

Black History Month

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, enacted July 2, 1964.  The act forbade racial discrimination in public accommodations. Use the following resources from Annenberg Learner to teach about this important moment and the people who fought tirelessly for civil rights.

Democracy in America, program 5, “Civil Rights: Demanding Equality,” asks viewers to define civil rights and equality, and to think about these terms in relation to the past and present.

W.E.B. DuBois, Fanny Lou Hamer, Ella Baker and others played important roles in the struggle for civil rights leading up to and after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. See their efforts in the video for A Biography of America, program 24, “The Sixties.”

                                                    History in the
                                                    MakingLearn how American citizens in the 1960s mobilized in their efforts to challenge authorities and to end discrimination in America’s History in the Making, unit 20, “Egalitarian America.” How did the expanding use of mass media influence their efforts? 

More resources for teaching about American civil rights:

Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades, workshop 5, Historical and Cultural Context, Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

Making Meaning in Literature, Grades 6-8
, program 6, “Dramatic Tableaux,” lesson plan for Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

American Passages, unit 14, “Becoming Visible,” Context Activities, “With Justice For All: From World War II to the Civil Rights Movement”

Presidents’ Day (February 17)

This Presidents’ Day, start from the beginning with resources about our very first president, George Washington, who was born February 22, 1732.

                                                    History in the
                                                    MakingExplore units 4 and 6 of America's History in the Making to gain a better understanding of George Washington and his times. In unit 4, “Revolutionary Perspectives,” link to an audio clip of a radio program about Washington and learn how he came to grant his enslaved workers their freedom upon his death.  Unit 6, “The New Nation,” discusses the daunting problems that Washington’s new government faced.

Read George Washington's "Letter to Thomas Jefferson" in the readings for Democracy in America, unit 12. What were his opinions of political parties and self-government?

"The Coming of Independence," program 4 of A Biography of America, discusses Washington's role in securing America's freedom from British rule. See The Second Continental Congress heading in the transcript. Program 5, "A New System of Government," covers the earliest years of the American presidency.

The Western Tradition considers the meaning of Washington's presidency as it contrasts with the heredity-based monarchies of Europe in program 38, "The American Republic."

More resources for Presidents’ Day:

Primary Sources, workshop 4, “Concerning Emancipation

A Biography of America, program 12, “Reconstruction

A Biography of America, program 25, “Contemporary History,” the section of the transcript and video titled, Headlines of the late 20th Century (Presidents Reagan, Carter, Bush, and Clinton.)

Democracy in America, program 7, “The Modern Presidency: Tools of Power

Notable February  Birthdays

Alice Walker (February 9, 1944)

Pulitzer Prize winning writer Alice Walker, famous for her novel The Color Purple, participated actively in the civil rights movement and taught one of the first women’s studies courses in the United States. Read about her life in American Passages, unit 16, “Search for Identity.”

Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564)

Earth and Space
                                                    ScienceIn the early 17th century, the Father of Astronomy Galileo Galilei observed the Solar System with the first telescopes and challenged the Earth-centered cosmology of Aristotle and Ptolemy.

Watch the video for The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond, program 4, “Inertia,” to learn about Galileo’s work. What questions did he ask and what types of experiments did he perform as he considered how the universe worked? Also, find animations explaining his law of inertia.

Trace the development of astronomical theory, including the discoveries of Galileo, with Earth Revealed, program 2, “The Restless Planet.”

Before teaching young students about Earth’s origins and the Solar System, consider how they think about these ideas using the Children’s Ideas section of Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science, program 8, "Order Out of Chaos: Our Solar System.”

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (February 18, 1201)

The polymath Persian scholar had a great influence on many who came after him. The ensemble of Tusi’s writings amounts to approximately 165 titles on a wide variety of subjects, scholarly works on astronomy, ethics, history, jurisprudence, logic, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, theology, poetry and the popular sciences.  [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

You and your students can be as learned as Tusi by checking out a few resources at learner.org. Tusi made extensive charts of the movements of the planets, which contributed to Copernicus’s heliocentric version of the heavens, explained in The Mechanical Universe, program 9, “Moving in Circles.”

                                                    BiologyHis writings include an early theory to explain evolution of species, which included humans’ connection with other animals. In Rediscovering Biology’s unit on Human Evolution, the online text follows our understanding of our origins through the years.

Tusi also tackled trigonometry, which early mathematicians and astronomers used to calculate distances and sizes of objects that could not be measured directly. Learning Math: Measurement challenges you to use triangles to measure the height of tall objects, such as trees and lampposts.

For more February birthday connections, click on our 2013 monthly update link and like our Facebook page.   


Annenberg Learner Announcements

Dr. Immordino-Yang Wins AAAS Public Engagement in Science Award

Immordino-YangThe American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang winner of its 2013 Early Career Award for Public Engagement With Science and Technology. Dr. Immordino-Yang was a co-creator of the Annenberg Learner course Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections. She will receive the award at the 2014 AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The course extends the reach Dr. Immordino-Yang's workshops for K-12 classroom teachers on the applications of neuroscience research to improve student learning. Her research focuses on the role of social emotion in learning. Hear Dr. Immordino-Yang talk with teachers about the implications of the neuroscience research in their teaching.  Click on “Emotion and Cognition” at the bottom of the page.

We congratulate Dr. Immordino-Yang on this recognition of her research and outreach to teachers.

Upcoming Conferences

Join us at the California Association of Teachers of English Convention in San Diego, CA, to learn about our professional development and student resources for literature and language arts. We will be at booth 210, February 14 and 15.

New Releases from Annenberg Learner

Connect With English Web Site

Great news! Our Connect With English series, for English as a second language instruction, now has a Web site with grammar, dictation, and comprehension activities and quizzes to go along with the series videos.  

Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

Check out our new course Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions online. Produced by the Science Media Group of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, this course teaches general concepts using large-scale challenges in energy, materials development, biochemistry, and the environment. This multimedia course for introductory high school and college chemistry includes a Web site, online interactives, and online text. To purchase a DVD copy of the videos, call 800-LEARNER.

Graduate Credit and CEU Opportunities

Teachers, are you looking for affordable and flexible professional development opportunities? We can help. Advance your career, sharpen your teaching skills, and update content knowledge in the subjects you teach with graduate credit and CEU opportunities for Annenberg Learner courses from PBS TeacherLine and Colorado State. Please check out our Web site's professional development page to learn more.  

Print Catalog

For a copy of our full catalog, send an email to order@learner.org. Be sure to include a mailing address in your request. Thank you!

Annenberg Foundation Update

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