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Education Newsletter - December 2016 »

Here are some things that may interest you, your students, or your own children this holiday season:

1) Most of us don’t know that someone has been working for decades to preserve the heirloom seeds and stories of small farming communities in Washington Parish. On December 6th at 7 p.m. on LPB HD, Deeply Rooted premieres with the story of John Coykendall, a renowned heirloom seed saver, a classically trained artist, and Master Gardener at Blackberry Farm, one of America’s top resorts. Since 1973, he has made annual pilgrimages to Louisiana to collect the oral histories, growing techniques, recipes, and folktales of Louisiana farmers and gardeners and has documented them in more than 80 beautifully illustrated journals. Because he preserved rare seeds, farmers have been able to restore heirloom crop varieties. His work inspires us to reconnect with the land, seeds and expertise of our ancestors and pass that legacy on to future generations - while there is still time. Preview and live simulcast:

2) Did you know that you do not need a high school equivalency (formerly the GED and now the HiSET exam) to enroll and graduate from college? The 13 colleges of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) are open to everyone and they do not require that students hold a high school diploma or equivalent. All Louisiana adults, regardless of whether they graduated high school, can earn college credentials in high-wage, high-demand fields like welding, electrical, construction crafts, plumbing, and healthcare. The LCTCS colleges have established a scholarship that fully funds six credit hours for adults without a high school diploma. More information.

Louisiana adults who are interested in taking the HiSET exam might be eligible for a scholarship that covers the examination fee. LCTCS colleges will help eligible adults with a high school diploma access federal financial aid. More information.

3) In January PBS Kids is going 24/7 on LPB 2 (27.2) and through cable providers across the state. LPB will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day and offer a digital livestream, making it easy for children to watch their favorite series during primetime and other after-school hours. The broadcast will include popular favorites, such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train, as well as Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go! The animated math mystery, Cyberchase, will air from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. featuring a team of curious kids who use their math and problem solving skills to outwit and outsmart the villain Hacker in their quest to save Cyberspace.

4) SciGirl Profiles, real-life stories featuring women in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), might be just the thing to interest your female students in these lucrative careers. The stories highlight innovators, problem-solvers and dreamers who help to make the world a better place.

5) A fun way to interest your students in computer science is to have an Hour of Code the week of December 5th -11th when millions of students in over 180 countries use a one hour coding tutorial selected from the numerous tutorials in the library. Check for how to take part, to review and select a tutorial, and the procedure for hosting an Hour of Code.

6) Whether you teach literature, history, or theatre, three upcoming shows fit the bill. The War of the Roses Miniseries follows the fighting between two royal houses, the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster for the crown of England.

a. Henry VI, Part One airs on December 11th at 8 p.m. on LPB HD. The King dies, England is in crisis, war rages with the French, and divisions within the English court threaten the crown. The scene is set for Civil War when young Henry VI causes outrage by marrying Margaret of Anjou, forcing an unwanted truce.

b. Henry VI, Part Two airs on December 18th at 8 p.m. Feeble King Henry is overshadowed by Queen Margaret and his reign further undermined by disaffected nobles supporting the House of York. Battle and bloodshed ensue and the Yorkists triumph. Edward IV takes the thrown, but his youngest brother Richard has his eyes firmly on the crown.

c. Richard III airs on December 25th at 8 p.m. Richard, the most notorious of Shakespeare’s kings, manipulates and betrays his way through the court on a bloodthirsty and ruthless path to the throne. After Richard’s defeat at the battle of Bosworth Field, the Houses of Lancaster and York are united, ending the Wars of the Roses.

Students will probably love to learn about the somewhat gruesome discovery of bones beneath a parking lot, identification of the bones as belonging to King Richard III, and his reinterment.

7) On December 13th Discovery Education will dig into the mining industry, taking middle school students on an online trip to see how companies like Freeport-McMoran (with administrative offices in New Orleans) provide crucial, natural resources such as copper, and how the resources enrich our daily lives. Geologists, Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Reclamation & Environmental Managers will discuss career options, STEM applications in each phase of copper recovery, and will answer student questions live! A different phase of the mining process will be showcased at the top of each hour from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Register. You can prepare your students by using Discovery’s virtual labs and digital interactives, like the Dig a Little Deeper Virtual Lab and From Ore to More Virtual Lab.

8) PBS has introduced PBS Kids Playtime Pad, a 16 GB kids’ tablet loaded with PBS KIDS’ educational content including more than 25 games, 120 video clips and music videos, 100+ hours of video on the PBS KIDS Video App, and other popular apps such as PBS KIDS Scratch Jr and PBS Parents Play and Learn. The Playtime Pad features a front-and-back camera and a Paint Box coloring app that encourages kids to flex their creative skills. The tablet is kidSAFE® Coppa-certified, and includes controls that enable parents to customize the device for each of their children, set limits on screen time using a play timer and manage what kids can access. The PBS KIDS Playtime Pad is available ($79.99) at Best Buy stores and on,, and Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatricians has changed its recommendations about children and technology? See what they have to say.

9) PBS also has a free K-12 Homework Help Resource app that links students to resources in multiple subjects within PBS LearningMedia. Download Homework Help Resource.

10) Suppose you want to teach about John Steinbeck and the depression, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, John Kennedy and TV, the history of Immigration Control or Black Lives Matter, Modern Art and many other topics and would like some new ideas. Free online webinars from America in Class, National Humanities Center could help you. Review all the selections for Spring 2017, get further information, and register.

11) If you are looking for short courses that will provide you with new ideas and skills, then you might want to look at the flexible PBS TeacherLine courses that range from 1.5 to 3 hours, are self-paced, and are always open for enrollment. The new courses, Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age, can help update your skills. Check the courses. You can always find current courses, scroll to bottom left of screen.

12) Do you think technology has moved on without you? Catch up with PBS LearningMedia. Short videos demonstrate how to use hashtags, make memes and mashups, edit sound and video and more.

13) Not everyone agrees that the World Health Organization should have removed the Zika Virus from international epidemic status. The problem is not going away anytime soon, but your students can see how scientists are working to modify genes to reduce the presence of the Zika virus.

14) PBS Teachers Lounge is a webspace for teachers to get and share educational ideas.

15) If you are looking for free art resources across media, periods, and artists with news of the field then you should look at Google Arts and Culture. You can lose track of time enjoying all the information.

16) Through PBS NewsHour your students can get the scoop on current news and events across politics, the economy, art, science, health, education, and the world. They can be on the Frontline of news happenings too. If you are teaching civics or history, your students can keep up with current events in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court through C-Span online. C-Span 3 American History TV website is filled with stories, video, field trips and more documenting people, times, and events in our nation’s history. Remember to that you have three libraries of digital assets to help you teach all subjects: Discovery Education, PBS LearningMedia, and Louisiana Digital Media Archives. All are available at

17) If you are looking for resources to teach your students about agricultural careers, Discovery has an array of resources you may find helpful. Careers spotlights are available in various areas such as Agribusiness, animal systems, food processing, biotechnology, environmental service systems and more.

18) December 15th is the deadline to apply for a Teacher Institute Scholarship from Colonial Williamsburg. The Teachers Institute, open to Elementary, Middle and High School teachers, and will take place in June, July and August of 2017. During six-day sessions on location in Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding area, 25 participants and a Master Teacher will engage in an interdisciplinary approach to teaching social studies with American history as the focus. Teachers have the opportunity to exchange ideas with historians, meet character interpreters, and become part of the story. Throughout each day, teachers work collaboratively with Colonial Williamsburg staff and Master Teachers to examine interactive teaching techniques and develop instructional materials that bring history to life in the classroom. For more information and to apply.

19) PBS KIDS Holiday Month and All New READY JET GO!
Throughout December, LPB’s children’s programs will be sprinkled with special holiday episodes celebrating the season. At 11:30 a.m. December 12th through the 16th, Thomas & Friends will air new holiday episodes. Classic holiday specials will include Wild Kratts Creature Christmas (December 23rd and 25th at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. and December 25th at 8 a.m. on LPB HD), Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (December 16th and 18th at 7:30 a.m. and December 25th at 7:00 a.m.), Peg + Cat + Holidays (December 13th at 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on LPB HD and December 13th at 5:30 a.m. on LPB 2), and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about Christmas (December 17th and 25th at 6 a.m. on LPB HD). The week of December 26th through the 30th five new episodes of Ready Jet Go! will debut at 6:30 a.m. on LPB HD. Check the online schedule for more shows and times.

20) Finally, here are some pleasurable holiday shows coming up:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE CONCERT is the adaptation for an orchestral concert with choir and soloists, memorable songs, and the story performed by New York and Chicago theater luminaries. December 18th at 10:30 p.m.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR FEATURING LAURA OSNES AND MARTIN JARVIS on December 19th at 8 p.m. Enjoy the Broadway star, British screen actor, four Metropolitan Opera soloists, the Choir, and Orchestra at Temple Square for the annual Concert.
CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT on December 25th at 2 p.m. Grammy-winning host Kathy Mattea and nearly 700 student musicians, Belmont School of Music faculty and Nashville Children’s Choir perform traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites.
• Check the schedule for the annual New Year Eve Concert from Vienna.
• Season Four of Sherlock Holmes begins on January 1st.
LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER, New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve on December 31st at 7 p.m. Ring in the New Year with American classics including beloved works by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Create 3. Don’t forget that you can enjoy many Christmas and holiday crafts, cooking and travel shows on Create, LPB 3, throughout December. Create can be received over-the-air with a digital antenna. Check the online schedule for shows and times.

I hope you have a safe and fun holiday season. Happy New Year!

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