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August 2011 »

As you settle in for the new school year, here are a few things that may interest you and your students.

1) On September 7th at 10 a.m. Central (11 a.m. Eastern) Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) will stream a free live electronic field trip designed for middle and high school students and the public. The field trip, “Think Again: Restoring and Protecting the Gulf Coast” (lasts about 20 minutes) will explore the economic value and damage to the Gulf region, strategies to restore and protect this critical area, and ways that students can help. Then students will be able to pose their questions live to a panel of experts in LPB’s studio. The Q&A period will last about 25 minutes. Pre-registration, which is required, and further information is available at lpb.org/thinkagain. A mini video will be online soon to help you prepare your students for the trip and to stimulate questions. You must submit your questions in advance directly from the same site or to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Selected questions will be asked live. This field trip is made possible through funding provided by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. We hope that you and your students can join us!

2) Sadly, many children in this country worry about where they will get their next meal. Even when children receive meals at school, they may not consistently have food at home. September is Hunger Action Month and a chance for you and your students to take action and make a difference. In conjunction with Mrs. Supriya Jindal, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and all food banks around the state, LPB encourages you to consider how you might help. You can make a donation in the orange food barrels that will be out soon. Some schools have food drives or school gardens to raise produce for area food banks. These efforts not only aid food banks, but you can add a school garden to your curriculum and have fun. Wonder how to grow a successful school garden? Here’s the answer. Your county agent can also help.

• LSU Ag Center also publishes an informative and creative school garden newsletter called Veggie Bytes that you can download. You can subscribe to receive Veggie Bytes by emailing Dr. KiKi Fontenot at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

• Wonder where your local food bank is? Check the Louisiana Food Bank Association http://www.lafba.org/site/Default.aspx.

• The LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Young Ag Producer Program (LaYAPP) is a one-year intensive classroom/hands-on, mentor-based experience that introduces high school juniors and seniors to the options available in the areas of food and fiber production and encourages them to consider a career in agricultural production. You can find out more about the program and look at last year’s application at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/layapp. Around November the new application will be available online and through county 4H extension agents. A due date has not been set, but it will likely be the beginning of 2012. In addition to the application, an interview is part of the selection process. Selections will be finalized by early spring.

3) I was surprised to learn that the LSU AG center and local agents have helped nearly 200 schools in Louisiana start school gardens. Do you have a school garden? We’d love to hear about your school garden and see a digital picture. Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

4) We all know that it is best to establish healthy eating and activity patterns early in life. That’s why in September LPB will launch a new web site called STEP IT UP! for teens and tweens. The site http://www.lpb.org/stepitup, developed by LPB and funded by a grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana, will help teens and tweens control and reduce their weight. It will provide information from health professionals to motivate and encourage young people to get active and eat healthier. It will have handy excerpts from LPB’s program Kids: Trying to Trim Down and our series Step by Step: Kids Trimming Down. Students will also be able to ask questions on the site that will be answered by health professionals. Tips will be provided to help tackle the problem of childhood obesity. You don’t have to be a teen to benefit. Everyone is welcome to log on to the free site http://www.lpb.org/stepitup and take part in the program. It might be great to start the new school year by doing something nice for yourself. We can all Step It Up!

5) Enrollment is now open for the Fall 2011 PBS TeacherLine online professional development courses! Start the new school year by checking out two new courses on STEM—Global Climate Change Education for Middle School and Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering for PreK-6th grade. Receive CLUs and graduate credit for courses to go towards recertification or your 30+. Fall courses begin October 26th and end December 6th. To browse the Course Catalog and to register for a course go to http://pbsteacherline.org. For more information contact Nancy Thompson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

6) If you ever wondered about the science behind the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, or pondered how you should react in such a disaster, then you will want to watch the special back-to-back NOVA episodes on September 8, 2011. Japan’s Killer Quake airs at 8 p.m. followed by an all new program, Surviving the Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation at 9 p.m. on LPB HD. These programs should also be available in the New Orleans area on WYES, but check their schedule because air times may differ.

Japan’s Killer Quake combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe. Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured the Japanese disaster on video. Surviving the Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation relays remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined. As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after-the-fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons on how we should all act in the face of life threatening disasters.

7) How do you help students prepare for real life and the management of their personal finances in these rough economic times? You may learn how at the 2011 Financial Education Summit, “Preparing Louisiana for Real Life” on September 15-16 at the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge. The summit is sponsored by Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Rachel Ramsey Cruze of the Dave Ramsey Organization will be a keynote speaker. Registration fee is $75. Seats are limited. You can register now online. The summit has been designed for Middle School, High School and Post-Secondary Educators, Bank and Credit Union Professionals, Faith Based and Youth Development Professionals, Family and Community Development Groups, Home School Parents and Corrections Professionals. Teachers can earn up to 11 CLUs. Session topics will focus on these core concepts: Earning/Income, Spending, Saving and Investing, Borrowing and Protecting. Questions? Contact Debbie Lapeyrouse at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

8) Are you looking for reports on the impact of the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Keys? Then check out GulfWatch.org, a collaborative website that LPB and a dozen public television and radio stations have developed to provide news about incidents such as the BP oil spill, challenges and activities involving the Gulf Coast region. The news department of these public media stations produced more than 430 reports examining the impact of the oil spill on people, marine life, birds and marshland that are havens for many species in the Gulf. The video and audio reports are available free on the website.

9) Congratulations to Heather Howle, an eighth grade earth science teacher from West Feliciana Middle School in St. Francisville, who was among 50 educators from across the nation who recently participated in the 2011 Siemens STEM Institute. From July 31- August 5, Heather spent the week at Discovery Education’s global headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, learning from experts in the STEM community and seeing real world applications of STEM subject matter at leading Washington, D.C. institutions. She engaged in discussions and workshops around key topics, such as 21st century school reform and changing the face of science and engineering.

10) The National Science Foundation would like you to save the date for an all day conference on Science: Becoming the Messenger, Communicating Science to a Non-Technical Audience scheduled for November 17, 2011, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. with a Reception from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Baton Rouge Marriott in Baton Rouge. Advanced registration will be required; the NSF online registration link will be announced later. One speaker will be Chris Mooney, a bestselling science journalist, commentator and the author of three books, most recently Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future.

11) It seems to happen every year that tragic car accidents claim the lives of young students. State Farm’s $2,000 Project Ignition Grants are for public high school students and teachers to address teen driver safety through service-learning. For eight years students in the United States and Canada have used their service learning to create awareness and engagement campaigns to reduce auto deaths. Twenty-five schools will receive $2,000 grants. Ten schools will receive an additional $5,000 to participate in a significant national conference or event. Applications are due November 15, 2011, and can be downloaded at http://www.sfprojectignition.com/.

12) State Farm Youth Advisory Board member applications are now available at http://statefarmyab.com/apply/the-board . If chosen, the student would become part of a diverse group of 30 youth, aged 17-20 charged with managing and distributing $5 million per year in service-learning grants.

13) Now for something fun…Join LPB and the Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center for “Hot August Night” with Dinosaur Train on Friday, August 19th from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond! Our special guest will be Buddy from Dinosaur Train! In the lobby of the Columbia Theatre, kids can get their faces painted, the Tangipahoa Parish Library will provide lists of dinosaur books available to check out, plus we will have an exhibit of dinosaur-related fossils from the Audubon Zoo, hands-on dinosaur activities, refreshments, and goodie bags for the kids to take home. In the theater, at 5:30 and 7:30p.m., we will have screenings of the new one-hour Dinosaur Train movie, Dinosaur Big City, before it airs on LPB! Admission is free. The Columbia Theatre is located at 220 E. Thomas Street in downtown Hammond. For more details, go to http://www.lpb.org or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Dinosaur Big City premieres on LPB on Monday, August 22nd at 8 a.m.

I hope that you find something here of interest. We’ll have more to come!


Ellen W. Wydra, Ph.D.
Director, Educational Television and Technology
Louisiana Public Broadcasting
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
(800) 272-8161, ext. 4453
(225) 767-4453






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