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Friday, March 14, 2008

You've made it through another week. It's time to rest your brain, have some fun, explore some new resources kick back and start your weekend off on a light note!

You've made it through another week. It's time to rest your brain, have some fun, explore some new resources… kick back and start your weekend off on a light note!


Dozens of new postings this week, same as every week! Among the great resources you'll find this week…

Snack Attack
Fruits and Vegetables vie for attention in this week's Readers Theater script, perfect for Nutrition Month.

Education Humor With Regina Barecca
Maybe you think the most interesting thing a Slinky does is to walk down stairs?

Google's Newest Tools for Teachers
Ed World blogger Brenda Dyck explores these tools tailor-made for teachers...

For more practical content, explore this week's updated Channel pages:
Lesson Planning      Administrator's Desk      School Issues
Professional Development              Technology Integration
Be sure to visit our partner Web site too:


Which of these statements best describes your thoughts about whether or not students need to know basic facts about history and culture?
This info is essential for students to think critically about our world.
It is more important to teach kids how to find info than to know it.
Students don’t need to learn this stuff.


My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles
Many Very Elderly Men Just Snooze Under Newspapers
Men Very Early Made Jars Serve Useful Needed Purposes

Chances are you memorized one of those mnemonics to help you remember the sequence of the nine planets from the sun. But now that Pluto has been declassified to "dwarf planet" status and two more dwarf planets have been added to the celestial lineup, a new mnemonic is needed. And National Geographic has come to the rescue with help from a 10-year-old Montana girl who won their Planetary Mnemonic Contest. The contest was timed to coincide with NG's release of . Of course the new mnemonic had to account for the eight planets and the three dwarf planets -- Pluto, Ceres (pronounced SEER-eez), and Eris (EE-riss). And the winner is
My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.
Note the placement of the C-word between the M- and J-words; it is there because Ceres follows an orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Read more about the contest and contest winner.


Have you ever caught Jay Leno's on-the-street interviews with average Joes and Jills? Leno asks pretty basic questions about history and current events, and the passersbys' responses are, er, pretty frightening. We viewers are left to wonder if folks aren't just acting ignorant in order to get on national TV, but the folks at Common Core might have us believe they aren't acting. Recently, the organization released results of a survey of 1,200 high school students, which reveal "stunning ignorance" of history and culture. Many students have no idea when Columbus sailed, why the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision is an important one, or who Adolph Hitler was. So what do you think? Is it important for kids to know this information? To have a basic "cultural literacy"? Let us know how you feel by responding to this week's In the News survey question. To see the kinds of questions high schoolers were asked, you might want to take the test yourself.

See the results of the last TGIF survey about using mnemonics to learn.


Often, it is difficult for our students to visualize large numbers such as 4.5 million or 2.25 billion. Good teachers use a wide variety of tools for helping students grasp the likes of big numbers. One tool that's been around for years is David Schwartz's book, more books for teaching about a million.) In addition to books, the Internet offers some great tools. Check out the MegaPenny Project, which visually illustrates for students what a million or a billion pennies would look like. Another resource, What Is a Billion?, puts into words what the word billion means. And What Is a Billion Dollars? provides another powerful visual image.


Learning U.S. geography, especially the locations of all 50 states, can stump some kids. But you can make it fun with one of the educational games on the Kaboose Web site. The U.S. State Detective game flashes the name of a state at the top of the screen and prompts kids to click on that state on a U.S. map. If they click on the wrong state, the game corrects them and lets them try again. You might set up this game as a learning center activity that kids visit each week for a month or two. Each week, they record the time it takes them to correctly identify all 50 states. Once students are close to mastery, you might create a State Detective Competition and award special badges to the "state detectives" who identify all 50 states within a specific amount of time. Sometimes… and with some kids… fun practice can build real awareness and learning in ways that many other approaches can't.

EducationWorld has reviewed thousands of sites of interest to educators. Be sure to visit our Site Review Archive. You might also visit our Sites to See themed listings.


Learn more or buy the book.


Maybe Monday will be a good day to approach your school or district leaders about attending one of these upcoming conferences put on by well-known national associations.

Touch a Life: Teach Music
The bi-annual conference of the National Association for Music Education (NAME) will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from April 9 - 13, 2008.

Becoming Certain About Uncertainty
The annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) will be in Salt Lake City, Utah, from April 9 - 12, 2008.

Youth for a Change
The annual National Service-Learning Conference will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from April 9 - 12, 2008.

For a more complete list of upcoming conferences, see our Conventions and Conferences Center.

If your national non-profit organization's conference should be listed here, send an email to [email protected]. We will be happy to include it in our rotation so long as it is open to all educators and/or administrators (not only members).


Your son has a remarkable ability to gather needed information. He was caught cheating on a test.
Karen has an endless supply of energy and vitality. She can't stay in her seat for five minutes.
Sean has a fantastic imagination! I've caught him in lies too many times to count.
High expectations don't intimidate Margie. She hasn't done one assignment all quarter.
A super athlete with superior hand-eye coordination. She stung me with a rubber band from 15 feet away.

Now go and enjoy your weekend!