From our newsletter: The Historic 1940 Census Release • Inside Reading Tests • Writing Very Short Stories • Maslow in the Classroom • The iBook Wars • Japan, Then & Now • Writing to Learn Science • Quick Links (free subscription)
The 1940 Census Release:
Great Stories about Our History
For ideas about the learning potential of this historic release, check out these resources:
• The National Archives offers a look back to 1940 with videos and materials from that year. The Archives also explains how to use the census data.
• A group of online genealogical sites provides an overview of questions asked for the first time in 1940, plus links to online webinars that explain how to use census information.
• As the 1940 Census records come online, teachers & students can use Scholastic's resources and lesson plans (produced for the 2010 Census) to understand how the US carries out the Census and uses the gathered data.
• The Census Bureau also provides extensive teacher resources at its Census in Schools site, such as this online guide for middle level students and the Census for Kids activities for younger students.
• Congressional redistricting, using the 2010 census, in still underway in some states. MS and HS students can get a taste for the challenges of redrawing district lines from this simulation on PBS.
from Stenhouse Publishers
What Every Middle School Teacher Needs to Know About Reading Tests saves valuable time and helps you empower your students without sacrificing high-quality instruction. You'll get strategies and activities for mastering test items across all of the commonly assessed reading standards. Preview the entire book .
Writing: Very Short Stories
A story in 25 words? Tempered Radical blogger Bill Ferriter reports his sixth grade students can craft a mini-story with opening, middle and end with a result so short they can share it by phone or online in moments. The writing, however, takes a little longer. Why do it? For one thing, Ferriter says, "They force students to think more carefully about word choice." You can examine the process in a handout Ferriter includes in his post. And if you want a real-world connection, did you know that screenwriters must be able to pitch an entire movie idea in a single sentence? It's called the "logline."
Maslow in the Classroom
Most of us learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs back in college. Well, it follows us to the classroom, too. In a recent Ed Week Teacher blog post, David Ginsberg reminds us not to assume all young people are within a rung or two of our own status, but to become attuned to where all students find themselves on Maslow's ladder. The theory can improve our practice when we understand what students need before they're ready to learn.
Coming Soon: The iBook Wars
Visit Apple’s iBooks textbooks for iPad site to see one potential future for the venerable (and heavy) classroom staple. Digital textbooks are portable, interactive, quickly available, easily updatable. Major textbook publishers are already offering several iBooks and there's free Apple software to create your own. Not everyone is delighted with the prospect of Apple dominating the e-textbook market, however. Wade Roush, Xconomy's chief correspondent, reviews objections to Apple’s entering the K-12 market and suggests reasons for the vehemence of opponents. For educators who want the challenge of using Apple's iBook Author to craft their own iPad-compatible textbook, MakeUseOf outlines the process and notes a couple of limitations. ALSO: Science teacher Dolores Gende suggests some other options.
Japan, Now & Then, for Everyone
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers "fun, flavorful, fascinating" insights into Japanese culture and history at this wide-ranging site. In the Kids Web area, youngsters can find FAQ’s from geography to demographics, see children performing traditional arts, visit elementary and middle schools, and find out what’s cool, including TV superheroes. Students ready for a more mature presentation will find details on government and culture on the Factsheet and historical spotlights at the Atlas. Contemporary arts and design come alive at Creative Japan while multi-layered treatments of traditional arts are centered in the Virtual Museum of Japanese Arts. Don’t miss the Museum’s Café, where videos of festivals and martial arts abound.
Writing to Learn in Science
MiddleWeb's Quick Links
Didn't find quite what you need? Here's a quick look at some other resources of interest.
• Suggest innovative ways to use computer & video games in your classroom & win a sizeable challenge grant. Apply by April 6 to the Entertainment Software Assn. Foundation.
• Little Bird Tales isn’t just for youngsters. Middle level students are combining images, sound & narratives online to tell stories and more.
• Bright, disruptive students may need an attitude adjustment – on the part of their teachers as well as themselves.
• Seven misconceptions about how kids learn? See if you agree with this Independent Curriculum Group list.
• End-of-year tests are the reality in most schools. Scholastic’s Mary Blow suggests how to make interim assessments a useful tool all year long.