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Resources for the classroom.

Exploring the world of Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark for Kids: Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities places the explorers' story within its larger historical context. It lets readers ages 9 and above know about such related topics as Thomas Jefferson's vision of the mission, why he spearheaded it, and why it is historically significant. The book introduces Indian guide Sacagawea, explaining how she aided the expedition and saved their lives more than once. The narrative also details what the trip was like for York, Clark's black slave; how the explorers behaved toward the Indians; and how the Indians regarded Lewis and Clark. Activities invite students to record history by drawing pictures on a winter count calendar, create a buffalo mask, speak in Indian Sign language, and stir up a batch of Great Plains Stew. (Chicago Review Press: 814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610; 312-337-0747)

For educators only

Colors and shapes for all ages

While concept books are traditionally aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, a growing number of titles with intricate illustrations, interactive participation, complex puzzles and sophisticated themes have expanded the audience for concept books to elementary, middle-school and even older students. Color and Shape Books for All Ages calls attention to more than 450 titles focused on the concepts of color and shape. Their purposes range from learning the names of colors and identifying simple shapes, to recognizing intricate geometric shapes, or even understanding how color affects responses, moods and attitudes. The book is categorized by subject, from science and math to art and illustration. Suggested activities, accompanied by reproducible worksheets, round out each chapter. (Scarecrow Press: 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706; 800-462-6420)

Who wants to be a zillionaire?

Coaching young entrepreneurs on to success is the goal of Rosen's new Be a Zillionaire series. The texts offer up a basic course in applied economics, all presented with zippy text and illustrations. A segment on savings, for instance, notes that "Just as a magnet grows more powerful as it gets bigger, the bigger your money pile gets, the harder it can work for you and the faster it can grow by attracting more money. That's the magic of compound interest, which is the return that your interest earns." Titles include The Young Zillionaire's Guide to Producing Goods and Services; Distributing Goods and Services; Buying Goods and Services; Investments and Savings; Taxation and Government Spending; and Money and Banking. (Rosen Publishing Group: 29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010)

For educators only

Inspirational education leaders

In the late 1980s, writer Mark Goldberg embarked on a series of interviews--to date more than 40--of important educators and public figures with an abiding interest in education. Examinations of 19 such individuals are collected in Profiles of Leadership in Education, which draws on articles published in Educational Leadership and the Phi Delta Kappan between 1989 and 2000. Goldberg's subjects include many of the leading voices in the national conversation about education during the last decade of the 20th century. They range from education philosophers and thought leaders to critics, commentators and politicians. Students of education leadership will find both historical snapshots that provide a sense of how the education conversation has been shaped, and timeless perspectives that merit serious reflection because they will likely shape that conversation in the future. (Phi Delta Kappa International: P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789; 800766-1156)

A new nation rises

The fourth installment in Bluewood's The Making of America series, Rise of a New Nation, chronicles U.S. history from 1787 to 1815. From the Constitutional Convention to the Battle of New Orleans, this book tells the tale of America in the early years of its development by highlighting such pivotal events as the struggles between states' rights and the federal government; the emergence of early leaders including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; and the disputes and wars with foreign countries. The text also features a "Where to Go" section guiding readers to parks, historic sites, museums and interpretive centers where many of the events actually occurred, or places which have exhibits relating to the lives of the people who lived during that era. (Bluewood Books: 38 South B Street, Suite 202, San Mateo, CA 94401; 650-548-0754)

For educators only

The word on words

Do you want your students to care about words as much as the teacher in the movie "Pay It Forward" did? Check out What's in a Word: Fascinating Stories of More Than 350 Everyday Words and Phrases. Informative and humorous, the book explains where we get such phrases as "by the skin of the teeth" and "born with a silver spoon in one's mouth." Or how about the phrase "knows it like a book"? Author Webb Garrison explains that when books were scarce on the American frontier, women would teach their children from the two or three texts in the village. Inevitably, a mother with a large family would end up committing those books to memory. So when she was familiar with a matter, she might say she "knew it like a book." (Rutledge Hill Press: P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214; 615-244-2700)

Tiles and smiles

First appearing more than 3,000 years ago, mosaics have endured as one of the most creative, yet functional, ornamental and decorative art forms in history. From the Byzantine period, through such movements as Art Nouveau, the colorful, geometric, patterned forms now grace every conceivable type of surface, from swimming pools and banks to busy subway platforms. With Amazing Mosaics, kids ages 8 and up can learn to create their own mosaics. Using stones, shells, buttons, foil and even beans, children can craft a picture and make a colorful mosaic frame for it. The 12 activities include transforming a shoebox into a treasure chest, and creating imaginative mobiles of fish and other animals. Detailed illustrations augment step-by-step instructions for each project. (Barron's: 250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788; 631-434-3311)

For educators only

Teaching with King Award books

Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Awards: 101 Ideas & Activities is a practical handbook for grade 1-6 educators who wish to stimulate classroom interest in 19 honored titles, including Africa Dream, Aida, The Friendship, Nathaniel Talking and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. Nancy Polette, author of more than 150 books for children and professionals, presents plot summaries and author/illustrator bios for each award-winning title. She then offers up educational games, easy craft projects, pre- and post-reading activities (including Internet-related projects), exercises to strengthen library skills and suggestions for further reading. (Highsmith Press: P.O. Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800; 800-558-2110)

Cases that changed teen lives

Does the concept of "free speech" apply to teens? Can teachers use physical punishment on disobedient students? Can a high-schooler get an abortion without informing her parents? Can a teen be sentenced to death? These issues were decided by the Supreme Court, but they were brought to the court's attention by teens. Who are these young people and what did they do, get caught doing, or refuse to do that brought their cases before the highest court in the land? In Teens on Trial: Young People Who Challenged the Law--and Changed Your Life, Judge Thomas A. Jacobs profiles 21 teenage legal trailblazers from the 1920s to today. The author demystifies the legal process, making it more understandable and relevant to teens, but he never diminishes its importance. "The law is for the people--and that includes teens," Judge Jacobs says. (Free Spirit Publishing: 217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299; 612-338-2068)

For educators only

Silly solutions for classroom blahs

Grade 3-8 teachers who want to spread both laughter and learning might want to pick up Silly Salamanders and Other Slightly Stupid Stuff for Readers Theatre. Author Anthony Fredericks, an associate professor at Pennsylvania's York College, offers up two dozen reproducible scripts based primarily on fractured fairy tales and twisted legends--plus a few wacky original ideas, such as "Teachers Live in the School Basement and Never Come Out at Night." Send-ups of age-old tales include "The Fire-Breathing Dragon Finally Uses Mouthwash," "Beauty and This Incredibly Ugly Guy," and "A Story About a Really Dumb Prince Who Doesn't Know the Difference Between Salamanders and Frogs." To help students build their own writing skills, the book also includes the beginnings of eight scripts that cry out for creative completion, including "Jack and Jill Don't Like the Stupid Author Who Wrote Their Story." (Teacher Ideas Press: P.O. Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633; 800-237-6124)

The alphabet, naturally

In ABC Nature Riddles, each letter of the alphabet is represented by a rhyming riddle meant to spark the curiosity of readers ages 5-8 and help them develop logical problem-solving skills and phonemic awareness. Author Susan Joyce comes to the project from an interesting perspective. "As a young child, I had dyslexia and had a very difficult time reading, writing and speaking words," she writes. "Fortunately, my parents believed that children can learn language and be entertained at the same time. So as a family we played a word game we called alphabet riddles. We would invent riddles while riding in the car, or waiting on a bus, or whenever we had a few minutes to spare. It worked like magic." Now, she hopes those riddles will help unlock the learning potential of other beginning readers. (Peel Productions: P.O. Box 546, Columbus, NC 28722; 800-345-6665)

Meet women naturalists

The six women portrayed in Girls Who Looked Under Rocks loved to climb trees and roll over logs when they were children. Their passion for nature never left them. In fact, they all grew up to become internationally recognized scientists and writers. YA readers might find just the career inspiration they need in these profiles of women who devoted themselves to understanding and protecting nature. Subjects include Maria Sibylla Merian, who sailed from Europe to South America in 1699 to study insects; Anna Comstock, an entomologist who became the first woman professor at Cornell University; Frances Hammerstrom, who left a modeling career to study prairie wildlife; Rachel Carson, whose Silent Spring led a movement to understand how chemical use can upset the balance of nature; and Jane Goodall, who study of chimps showed that the differences between animals and humans may not be as great as once thought. (Dawn Publications: P.O. Box 2010, Nevada City, CA 95959; 800-545-7475)

For educators only

A provocative view of standardized testing

Our students are tested to an extent that is unprecedented in American history and unparalleled anywhere in the world. Politicians and businesspeople, determined to get tough with students and teachers, have increased the pressure to raise standardized test scores. Unfortunately, the effort to do so typically comes at the expense of more meaningful forms of learning. That's the disturbing conclusion Alfie Kohn arrives at in The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools. The book, written in q&a format, draws from the latest research in contending that a test-driven curriculum can be harmful to students. Among other things, former teacher Kohn contends that: high scores often signify relatively superficial thinking; many of the leading tests were never intended to measure teaching or learning; and as much as 90 percent of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction. (Heinemann: 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912

For educators only

Bibliography Bonanza

In Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K-Grade 6, the National Council of Teachers of English provides an annotated bibliography of texts published from 1996 through 1998 for elementary-level readers. A rich variety of topics is covered, including Our Changing World, Families, Fine Arts and The Craft of Language. Teachers and curriculum specialists might appreciate the inclusion of comments and reactions by educators and children who have used these texts in classroom and library settings, as well as their suggestions for additional uses. This edition is the result of a collaborative project involving study groups across the country made up of teachers, librarians, university faculty, school-age and university students, and parents. Extensive indexes--organized by author, title, illustrator and subject--help make this a valuable resource. (National Council of Teachers of English: 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096; 800-369-6283) NOW PLAYING

Hands-on physics lessons

Physics By Inquiry: A Video Resource takes viewers inside the six-week National Science Foundation Summer Institute in Physics and Physical Science conducted by the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. At the intensive institute, K-12 teachers take part in a hands-on, inquiry-oriented approach to professional development. Guided by instructors through carefully sequenced questions and experiments, the teachers develop: deeper understanding of fundamental physics concepts; better scientific reasoning skills; and a familiarity with inquiry teaching methods. Divided into four segments, this 90-minute video shows teachers observing, predicting, questioning and thinking critically about common primary and secondary topics: properties of matter, light and shadow, electric circuits, and astronomy by sight. (WGBH Boston Video: P.O. Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05407-2284; 800-949-8670)
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Publication:Curriculum Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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