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April 2013 »

Here are some things that may interest you, your students, or your own children:
1) The Castle on the Hill: The Louisiana State Capitol electronic field trip is Tuesday, April 23rd at 10 a.m. If you would like your students to participate in this live trip you must pre-register at http://www.lpb.org/index.php/E-Trips/registration/. Registration will close Friday, April 19th at 5 p.m.
2) If you have always wanted to explore one of the national parks then you may want to do so during National Park Week. From Saturday April 20st until Sunday April 28th, the admission fees to national parks sites are being waived. Further information is available at http://www.nationalparks.org/national-park-week.
3) Love Jazz? You can watch the live streamed concert from Istanbul Turkey on April 30th on the Smithsonian and UNESCO’s International Jazz Day website. You can also watch portions of last year’s concert from New Orleans at http://jazzday.com/videos/ijd-2012/. April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and you can take part in the global celebration. One hundred twelve ways are suggested for you to celebrate jazz. You can register your jazz appreciation event to be part of the Jazz Day on their website. Educational resources are available at http://jazzday.com/educational-resources/. This year’s celebration will present images and stories of jazz and will highlight three jazz artists – Lionel Hampton, Randy Weston, and John Levy.
4) Student debt can sideline many promising students and saddle many college graduates with long-term repayment. The U.S. Department of Education has launched a new loan counseling tool to help borrowers manage their debt. At http://StudentLoans.gov, students can access a Complete Counseling page and explore with a new Repayment Estimator that lets students compare what their monthly payment amounts would likely be across all seven repayment plan options and helps students make informed decisions from selecting a postsecondary institution to financing their education to repaying their loans.
5) You and your students can actively participate in the scientific process through NOVA labs new digital platform. From predicting solar storms and designing renewable energy systems to tracking cloud movements and learning cybersecurity strategies, NOVA Labs participants can take part in real-world investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and sharing the same data that scientists use. Explore NOVA labs at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs .
6) Did you read recently of the discovery of the grave of King Richard II under a parking lot in Britain? If that intrigues you then you might enjoy The World of Stonehenge, a three-part series premiering at 4:00p.m. on Sunday, April 21st and repeats on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. Former archaeologist Neil Oliver travels the British Isles to investigate prehistoric Britain through monuments of stone, fragments of domestic life and the remains of people who walked the land thousands of years ago. It is an amazing tale of survival, technological innovation and revolution which laid the foundations of modern society.
7) If secret messages, decryption and intrigue fascinate you, then you may enjoy Bletchley Circle, a series that follows four ordinary women with extraordinary decoding skills honed through undercover work during WWII at Bletchley Park, the UK’s main decryption center. In their later civilian lives, they team up to decode the pattern behind a series of ghastly murders targeting women. Bletchley Circle premieres at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 21st.
8) Interested in learning another language? You might want to check out DUOLINGO, a global interactive language education website where you can learn from a variety of languages, join a global learning community and compete with your friends, if you wish. Check it out for yourself at http://www.duolingo.com.
9) Looking for ways to teach essential math reasoning and problem-solving skills? CAST, a nonprofit research and development organization has released two research-based educational games: ISolveIt: Math Scaled and iSolveIt: Math Squared puzzles that help students find patterns or functions, create models, work with variables, and make predictions.

MathScaled has a balance-scale format to support understanding of equations, as well as logic and problem-solving skills. MathSquared puzzles are grid-based that use basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as logic and problem-solving skills.

The puzzles are free and can be used for any age. Both are compatible with iPad. Teacher resources and further information are available at iSolveIt website

10) Math Expert: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division for kids and parents is a free app available on iTunes for the iPhone and iPad. This is a free, fun and effective way for kids to learn number facts.

11) An encore presentation of Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl will air on Tuesday April 23rd and Tuesday, April 30th at 7 p.m. that contains interviews of twenty-six survivors of the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. The frenzied wheat boom of the "Great Plow-Up," followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. It is a tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us and a lesson that we ignore at our own peril. This is a great supplement for American History and Environmental Science classes.

12) If the thought of a motorcycle tour of the US appeals to you, then you might really enjoy Constitution USA. Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! travels across the country by motorcycle in search of where the U.S. Constitution lives, how it works and how it doesn’t… how it unites us as a nation and how it has nearly torn us apart. The four part series premieres on May 7th at 8 p.m. on LPB.
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some of these opportunities.






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