Here are a few things that may interest you, your students, and your own children.
1) On January 19th at 9:00 a.m. the online electronic fieldtrip, The War of 1812, will explore the generation after the Revolution, when Americans were once again plunged into war with Great Britain. Why? Join Henry Clay, Tecumseh, Andrew Jackson, James Madison, and others as they struggle to determine what course the United States will take. Pre-register for The War of 1812 at http://www.lpb.org/etrips. The field trip will also be aired on LPB 2.
2) Another resource is the PBS 2 hour documentary, The WAR of 1812, which is available online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2089393539. The War of 1812 presents the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent. Re-enactments, animations, and commentary of experts tell the story of the 2 ½ year long fight of Americans against the British, Canadian colonists, and native nations. It was a struggle that threatened the existence of Canada and divided the United States so deeply that the nation almost broke apart. The website with educational resources can be accessed at http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/.
3) Start your new year off right with a Winter PBS TeacherLine online professional development course! Courses start January 25th and end March 6th. Registration deadline is January 27th. To browse the catalog of courses go to http://www.pbs.org/teacherline/catalog.
5) I understand that some of you had a considerable delay in receiving the message about The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I think you would have enjoyed it—that is, if you had known. We will be airing it again. I will notify when it will air, so you can enjoy it.
6) If you are starting to think about the upcoming LEAP tests, remember that the preparatory videos are available online at LEAP, Making the Grade. A short video also gives tips for helping children sleep and eat better prior to the tests.
7) Register now for the electronic field trip, When Freedom Came, that will take place on Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. Everyone knows Abraham Lincoln freed all the slaves . . . or did he? Freedom came to enslaved people over the course of many months and years — and it arrived in different ways in different places. Discover how enslaved Americans made everyday choices during the Civil War that helped bring about their freedom. To register go to http://www.lpb.org/etrips.
8) You may also want to see the TV program, Slavery by Another Name, on Monday, February 13, at 8 p.m. on LPB. A Sundance Film Festival selection for 2012, this new documentary based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon, explores the little-known story of the post-Emancipation era and the labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South that persisted well into the 20th century. Blackmon examines the concept of “neoslavery,” which sentenced African-Americans to forced labor for violating an array of laws that criminalized their everyday behavior.
9) Save the date for another live field trip—this time to Mt. Vernon, the historic estate of George and Martha Washington! The field trip will be on February 15, 2012, at 9 a.m. and noon, students nationwide will be given the opportunity to experience Mount Vernon. Students will be able to question experts, interact in an online poll, and access a wealth of information from historical interpreters in a live, electronic field trip entitled “Exploring Mount Vernon.” This 21stcentury learning model, rich with content and historical significance, encourages students to actively engage in the learning process by becoming a part of 18thcentury America. Watch for registration information at http://www.lpb.org/education.
10) Mission US: “Flight to Freedom” launches January 24th! Spread the news! Mission US, a multimedia project by WNET New York Public Media, is designed to immerse middle school students in U.S. history through the use of free interactive role-playing experiences. In Mission US: “For Crown or Colony?” players assume the role of Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. They encounter both Patriots and Loyalists, and when rising tensions result in the Boston Massacre, must choose where their loyalties lie. Mission US: “Flight to Freedom” puts players in the shoes of Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act brings disaster. Will Lucy ever truly be free? You can take a sneak peek now at a preview of "Flight to Freedom at http://mission-us.org! The trailer can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY7vYLgdwAc&feature=player_embedded.
12) Do you love 3D technology? Then you might enjoy 3D Spies of WWII that premieres on Wednesday, January 18th at 8 p.m. on LPB. It is a suspenseful story of how 3D photo intelligence helped defeat Hitler. Alarmed by rumors about advanced weapons of mass destruction, Allied intelligence recruited a team of brilliant minds from British universities and Hollywood studios to pore over millions of air photos through 3D stereoscopes, the team spotted telltale clues that revealed hidden Nazi rocket bases. The photos led to devastating Allied bombing raids that were crucial setbacks to the German rocket program and helped ensure the success of the D-Day landings. NOVA uses 3D graphics that recreate exactly what the photo spies saw in this eye-opening documentary.
13) Equally intriguing for art enthusiasts is Mystery of a Masterpiece that premieres on Wednesday, January 25th at 8 p.m. on LPB. Is the striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress a recently discovered Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece? Originally sold for around $20,000, the portrait is now thought to be an undiscovered masterwork by Leonardo da Vinci worth more than $100 million. How did cutting edge imaging analysis help tie the portrait to Leonardo? NOVA and National Geographic meet a new breed of experts who are approaching “cold case” art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover “who committed the art,” and follow art sleuths—as well as renowned art historians, such as Martin Kemp--as they deploy new techniques to combat the multi-billion dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.
14) Custer’s Last Stand: American Experience premieres at 7:00 p.m. on LPB on January 17th. An encore presentation airs on Sunday, January 22nd at 4:00 p.m. This biography of one of the most charismatic and contradictory American leaders of the 19th century takes viewers on a journey from Custer's memorable, wild charge at Gettysburg that turned the tide of the battle, to his lonely, untimely death on the windswept plains of the west. Along the way, viewers learn how, time and time again, the supremely ambitious son of a blacksmith ricocheted from triumph to disaster, from battlefield heroism to impetuous escapade.
15) On President’s Day, the American Experience series on the Presidents continues with Clinton. The two part program explores the fascinating story of an American who rose from a turbulent childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history--and one of the most complex and conflicted characters ever to stride across the public stage. Part one is February 20th at 8 p.m., and Part two is February 21st at 7 p.m. on LPB.
If you have missed any of the series on the Presidents, you can watch them at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/collections/presidents/.
16) Our First Ladies have been important too, so you don’t want to leave them out. You can review biographies and other information on each First Lady at http://www.firstladies.org/biographies .
17) If you are looking for resources to teach foreign languages you might want to check out the free videos at watchknowlearn.org/Category.aspx?CategoryID=99 and check out specific foreign languages at http://www.about.com/. French can be found at http://french.about.com/ and Spanish at http://spanish.about.com/ . Resources for other languages are also available.
18) If you are hooked on Downton Abbey and missed the first episode of season 2, you can watch it online at http://www.pbs.org/. All of season 1 is still available at http://www.pbs.org/. On Sundays from January 8th through February 19th, the 7 part season 2 of Downton Abbey airs on LPB at 8 p.m. You may also be interested in seeing Secrets of the Manor House airing on Thursday, January 26th at 7 p.m. and Saturday, January 28th at 10 p.m. This special looks beyond the dramatic view of the world of the British Manor House and examines the truth of how life was in these ancient British houses, and how mounting financial, political and social pressures were about to bring momentous changes to both the wealthy and their servants. The program covers the background of the British titled class in Edwardian times, the realities for servants working in their estates, the concept of the entail that passed estates to the next generation, the growing influence of American wealth in British aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th Century, and the impact of the first world war on the social class system evident at a British country house.
I hope you are able to enjoy some of these resources.