Saturday, December 5, 2009

Babies from Around the World

This documentary will be released in April 2010. Here's a testimony that babies are babies all around the world. I love the end of this small preview and look forward to seeing this documentary!

This visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world - from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Science of 350 - Global Warming

Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. Now we are at 387. Learn more about 350 - what it means, where it came from, and how to get there. Get involved, see the local cities and what they are doing...
I have wanted to put this post up for a while. I really admire the founders of this website and do hope parents and teachers will share it with their children. Next weekend Dec. 11-13 2009 during the Copenhagen climate conference there be many activities and discussions around the world to share our efforts to reduce the global warming. Several weeks ago I was in a local high school science class where they were learning about CO2. The bulletin boards had no mention - especially of this website.
Our school children can brainstorm how they may make an effort to effect a positive change to lower CO2.
Here are a few suggestions, please let us hear from you too!
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Wash your clothes with a full wash
  • Walk to school if you live within a mile
  • Eat seasonal foods
  • Eat LOCAL when possible
Please visit the website see what's happening around the world and locally...

Friday, November 20, 2009

YOUtopia - The Free Range Youtopia Grant

Free Range Studios in celebration of their 10th Anniversary is offering two grants of $15,000. One grant to a non profit and another for profit or hybrid. The grant will offer the winners services from Free Range Studios to design a web site, marketing campaign or their services to help further the mission and help the cause of the applicant.

Take a look at Free Range Studios to see the wonderful work they do! We have been admiring their work for a long time....mooooo!

Here are the steps to vote for our project - Teach to the Child, not to the TEST!
Click on this link
You will be taken to this page and click on the Signup at the top right of the page
After you click Signup you will get to another page that looks like this:

Now click on Signup

You will get the next page to fill in your information, it should look something like this:

After you fill in this info you can sign-in, FINALLY, and click on the Education tab on the right.

Go to Teach to the Child NOT to the TEST! and cast your vote for three which is the maximum for this category.

You may vote for any category and you get 3 votes for each one...yes, a bit confusing...I appreciate you helping me out...and if you need more help, let me know and I will walk you through...THANKS!!!! This means a lot to me!!!

The deadline is December 1st. Please tell your friends, families, whomever!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Plimoth Plantation Museum in Plymouth, Mass., created this awarding winning site in 2003 and it still ROCKS! I have used it with very young children - kindergarten and 12 year old +(PLUS). There is a comprehensive teacher guide on the site. The site gets busy as the holiday approaches November 26th (2009), so if you need there is the capability to download the entire site (an external hard disk will be need - ask your technology person for assistance) so you don't need to be connected to the Internet and it still may be viewed.
The History Channel has more information that adds to the interesting information such as a menu of what may have been offered for their celebration. Perhaps a discussion may ensue as to why ham may not have been put on the menu. Were they smoking and preserving hams for the winter? The early settlers had to learn to adapt to their new surroundings and the native Americans were helpful to them. Do you know how?

Beginnings...the Canadian, SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology created a website, A Journey into Time Immemorial, both cultures-Canadians and Americans lived near the shore, compare the lifestyles of the two, how are they similar? Or different? How was a woolly dog integrated into their lives and how was it useful? These and other parallels of the evolution of cultures may be found on this website.

Please take the time to review these sites, use the whole site or parts that work for your students and you. Let us know what you think.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Season, Energies, and Mind Stimulation

I am very fond of The Visual Thesaurus. I saw it several years ago at a Museum and Web conference. This site made me sit up and take notice of what was happening on the Web and an idea of what was coming with interactives. I use the Visual Thesaurus to look up synonyms or to stimulate ideas of other words that may help express my thoughts better. Learning and seeing go hand in hand for me, I am definitely a visual learner. I subscribe to the Visual Thesaurus and have given it as a gift. There are special annual rates for schools. Vocabgrabber added in May 2009 is a wonderful new add-on feature. You can cut and paste text and it pulls out words and gives you their part of speech and a definition. Words are classified into several groups: Geography, People, Social Studies, Arts and Literature, Math, Science and Vocabulary. Please try it for yourself, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Did you have a Piggy Bank as a kid? - Museum of American Finance

I had a cash register savings bank that when I put money into it a bell rang, it was fun, but I was more concerned how to get the money OUT! As a kid I had a bank account, but was not watching how it grew, and it grew so slow! Learning about how to manage your finances that are controlled by you, for you is a skilled not taught in our schools nor many families. This museum offers some interesting insights and may spur thoughts of how to manage finances and possible options available to you.
The current exhibit focuses on Women and Money.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In a Digital Future - or not so future - Textbooks Are History

This article appeared in the New York Times on August 9, 2009
Recently, I weighed a textbook belonging to a high school student and it confirmed what I thought, "'s so heavy, expensive, old, and one dimensional...". This article confirms what I have been thinking and talking about for several years.
I have been entering international museum and cultural web sites into a database, The Cultured Web. Ultimately The Cultured Web search tool will generate a relational visual result. Serving as a complement and supplement to the on-line textbooks and because of its content will be safe and not compromised by filters placed on searches and sites by IT administrators. Some of the noteworthy sites have been included in this blog, please take a look and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lego Millyard Project

I subscribe to a blog ExhibiTricks written by the "chief instigator" Paul Orselli. I get an email informing me of a new listing on his blog from time to time. I really like what Paul talks about and shows. Even though this online reference to the Lego Millyard Project is focused on visiting the museum, the concept can be a valuable educational resource. For students studying CAD this adds value and a lot of other attributes: planning, collaboration, and history etc. I enjoyed seeing the collaboration of Lego working with: SEE Science Center in Manchester N.H., FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), CLD Consulting Engineers, and NELUG (the New England LEGO® Users Group) to make this a reality. The City of Manchester also sponsored this project. The Manchester Historic Association provided research materials, and awarded SEE with an Historic Preservation Award for the project in 2006.
You can get the details of this project on their site.
Flickr has many photos here is a link for one, ENJOY! and thanks to Paul for instigating!

I would like to see a project like in my town, and yes it can be scaled down quite a bit, for students studying CAD (computer aided design), historic structures, architecture, etc. Every town has a historic or noteworthy structure to be replicated.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

LOUVRE - Click here to enter

Before you enter the LOUVRE by clicking on the title, let me give you a bit of background and some insights.
Here is the main page of their site, they know you are in an English speaking country. Take a moment to look around....
Please take note that this website has material for Young People (under 26) but rather disappointing sparse and no interactivity.

Another interesting find on their site were offerings for classes for Social Workers.

The parts of the museum where virtual tours were created, and seeing the collection that has been included in this site, with brief cartoon type stories are delightful and makes you want to remain on the site for a while, or fly out to Paris...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Are you a Birder?? Or interested in Birds...

I must admit I am not a birder, but I enjoy watching nature and birds are a vital part of our universe. Recently I obtained several guinea fowl. People say they are noisy, but for me that is their communication talking and each sound means something, though I must admit I don't understand them all yet, but I am learning. The warning of a predator is obvious and they do make a racket! They have been characterized as dumb, and I feel that term is a bit harsh. Perhaps if you observe their behavior we, humans, can reconnect with our earthly life sources. It takes time, so be patient.

This is an excellent database of Birds. The Cornell site of Ornithology is worth a view as well and there are materials for teachers.

WolframAlpha - computational knowledge engine...

First watch the Overview Video, try entering your birthday, your city etc. This is a new venture and will take some time for it to evolve. You will need to play with the correct wording, but the results generated are quite interesting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can you KENKEN?

Will Shortz has moved to another numerical brainteaser, KenKen, which is somewhat like Sodoku, but this is Math...don't get put off by this, it is a lot of fun. The game was invented by a teacher in Tokyo to help kids learn math; kenken means "cleverness squared" in Japanese. Time Magazine, the New York Times have write ups of this new wonderful teaching/learning tool, can you KenKen?

Monday, March 16, 2009

We Tell Stories - Penguin Press

Billed as an Internet-Age Storytelling, We Tell Stories, has won the best in show at the 2009 Southwest Interactive Conference. This site can be used for a wide age range, fill in the blanks, travel with the story, let me know which of the six is your favorite. Why, any comments? Please!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Opera and Puppetry

Last Saturday at a local theatre in Great Barrington, MA, Madama Butterfly was broadcasted from the MET in New York City. I thought the puppet was wonderful and it stimulated thoughts to use with children. Reading stories with the children and creating puppets with them, planning them out, and then have the students perform using their puppets. On Blind Summit's web site look at some of their other wonderful puppets. I note here that when I say children we can use this with students of all ages.
The puppet was manipulated by three puppeteers, one controlled the hands, another the feet and another the head, they also looked like they truly enjoyed their roles.

See what is noted about this creative use of puppetry:

The new Madama Butterfly made by the English National Opera, Lithuanian National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, Madam Butterfly's child, known sometimes as "Sorrow" and sometimes as "Trouble" is played by a puppet. Blind Summit created the puppets and made the puppetry happen.

"The production really felt like a pivotal moment for UK Puppetry"
D. Max Pryor, British Council On Tour Magazine

Love him or hate him, this little guy certainly caused a fuss:

“In the aisles and lobbies during the second intermission of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” which opened the season on Monday night before a star-studded audience, patrons could be overheard heatedly debating the puppet used to portray Butterfly’s little boy.

This nonspeaking minor character is typically played by a cute child in a sailor suit. In this production the director Anthony Minghella has introduced a small puppet boy manipulated by three puppeteers cloaked in black who stand behind him. The child moves with eerily human gestures, and his baldish head has a wizened, hopeful yet anxious look.

Some people thought it was “more real than any real child they could have had,” as one patron put it. Others thought it was intriguing but very strange. Somewhere in the house, Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the Met, must have been beaming.
New York Times, 29.9.06

Thursday, February 19, 2009

TED - Technology, Education, Design

I am listening and watching a performance at TED by the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra. Wondering how long it took to get these young musicians to get to this point. What were their lives before? How has this experience and skill impacted them and their families? Yes, ART and CULTURE is the CORE of education - and is too often the first to face budget cuts. Let's wake up and develop the inner talents and interests of our youth.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum located on New York's Lower Eastside has made a substantial improvement to reach out to viewers and get them to interact. This part of the site is so appropriate to middle aged school children.

I recently asked some 8 graders if they knew what countries their families came from before living in the United States. Many did not know, they did not realize their names indicated where their families emigrated from. Take a tour of what life was like coming from various corners of the world and settling on New York's Lower Eastside.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jazz at Lincoln Center - Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame

This part of the web site for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York possesses an excellent database of famous jazz musicians from the 1890's. The site gives a history timeline and a jukebox. Try it, enjoy the music, try the Trivia Quiz!

New York Antiques Show

I have always loved this show, it's in a great location the Armory on Park Avenue and 67th Street near Hunter College. The entry fee is $20 which includes the catalogue and is good buy these days. Proceeds go to a good cause, East Side Settlement House in the Bronx