Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Play Ball!

Welcome to baseball season! In honor of my favorite time of year, let's talk baseball lessons!
Do you know what historic baseball event happened on April 4, 1974? Please add a comment with your guess.

Baseball is a great resource for making connections with students. Even if your students aren't fans of baseball, the concepts behind the game can make learning fun.

  • Try a good old-fashioned game of classroom baseball when reviewing. (walking the bases when correctly answering questions provides a nice kinesthetic break to a long afternoon)
  • Have students use the many statistics in baseball to practice math skills. (Why is a .300 batting average so great? It doesn't seem like a big number.)
  • Brainstorm common expressions and additions to our American culture that are connected to baseball. (Stepping up to the plate)
  • Practice geography by matching teams with cities and locating them on a map. Make predictions and research the origins of baseball team names. 
  • Learn about the many different players in the world of baseball: Negro Leagues, integration in the major leagues, women in baseball during WWII, the impact of baseball in Latin America, Japanese baseball leagues in WWII internment camps, etc. 
The following link provides some great ideas from PBS. If you have never seen the Ken Burns documentary on baseball, the sheer history of the beginnings of baseball with the exclusive men's social clubs and elaborate rules in the mid to late 1800s, will be enough to fascinate any history student.

From PBS:
Some resources that connect to the newest addition to the Ken Burns documentary on baseball titled "The Tenth Inning".  Lesson plans include longer activities or some quick ideas called "Seventh Inning Stretch" activities.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

I've always loved the visual aspect of RSA Animate to help me retain complicated concepts. This takes a speech by Ken Robinson on the current state and trends and discussions on education. It is very fascinating to watch if not only to spark your own internal dialogue.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Amazing Field Museum

A great friend of mine invited me to an event at the Field Museum this week, and although the event was a party for Drupal web developers, I wore my teacher hat and I will share with you some great facts I learned while at the museum:

Did you know that the Field Museum has about 26 million items? The researchers joked that the collection is so vast, the museum actually lost an entire whale skeleton for a few years!
Only a fraction of the items that the museum owns are on display for the public. The remainder are housed and catalogued underneath the museum and ground between the museum and Lake Michigan. The Field Museum began after the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exhibition. Items on display from around the globe started the collection. The museum continues to collect thousands of items each day. What makes the collection so unique is that many of the items that the museum has are no longer able to be collected in our modern world. Many artifacts are from rare or endangered species or from environments and habitats that are too fragile to collect scientific specimens.

During our visit, we were given a very rare behind the scenes tour. We viewed the area were bird specimens are collected, catalogued, and 'cleaned' using a rare beetle. The flesh-eating beetles from the most arid part of Africa strip the specimen to the bone. The beetles have been a part of the museum for over 80 years. They cannot survive out of their controlled environment so there is a great symbiotic relationship. They thrive in the controlled environment. They constantly get fed. They will not destroy any part of the collection because they cannot survive in the other parts of the museum.

I was also lucky enough to meet some of the great people who worked in the education department at the museum. They shared with me a great program they have for Professional Development. The "Field Ambassadors" are a learning community that make a commitment to attend a handful of workshops at the museum throughout the year. They are asked to bring knowledge back to their schools and create a project with students to connect to the museum. This program is free and a great opportunity for any science teacher!

Adding visual supports to lessons? Check out the photograph archives of the museum!

Virtual field trips. Who needs to schedule a bus and collect permission slips when many online exhibits are available from the museum. Check out the online exhibits that highlight many of the current exhibits at the museum.

Happy "Field" tripping!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

School House Rock - Sufferin' Till Suffrage

School House Rock! Students of every generation can appreciate how awesome School House Rock is. The difference is, learners today don't need to wait for Saturday morning cartoons, the videos are on demand via YouTube and other places on the internet.

Teaching Ideas and Resources for Women's History Month

Motivate student learning this month by celebrating the accomplishments of women and amazing events in history.  There are some ideas for history and non-history teachers alike. 


Here are some places to start your planning:

Exhibits on influential women of the last 100 years, women's influence in aviation, suffragettes, inventors, and great portraits of women artists. Exhibits include suggestions on how to integrate into your lessons.

The theme for the Woman's History Project for 2011 is"Our history is our strength". The women's history project combines resources from the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, National Gallery of Art and others to help teach about the amazing contributions of women in our nation.

An interesting article about women overlooked during the civil rights movement. 

For lower school students check out, Woman Who Changed History from Scholastic. Some great ideas to introduce younger students to the important accomplishments of women in history.

Math connections (The image below shows a woman teaching geometry)
Ten women to know more about in the world of math. 
More from the National Women's History project with an emphasis on math.

Some additional links to Art and Music can be found at the NWHP site.

Look for more connections and resources to come!