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Big Learning News 2-3-04

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 2:4 February 3, 2004

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Table of Contents

Big Learning News Book Give-Away #2
Big Learning on the Road: The Everglades
Book Review: Evening Meals Around the World
Web Site: SFSKids Music Site


Big Learning News Book Give-Away #2
We have a winner in the Big Learning News Book Give-Away - a subscriber in Waldorf, Maryland. Stay tuned for the next book give-away coming soon.


Big Learning on the Road: The Florida Everglades


A highlight of our recent visit to Miami, Florida was our airboat ride through the Everglades. We set out from Coopertown (pop. 8) and ventured into the "River of Grass" that is the Everglades. After a few very noisy minutes of high-speed fun (they hand out cotton balls to use for ear plugs), we motored slowly through grass around "hammocks," tiny islands of trees that rise out of the grass. The guide seemed to know every individual alligator's stomping grounds. We even saw a nest of baby and toddler alligators.

No less spectacular were the shorebirds. Our guide had marshmallows to attract the brilliant purple gallinules that gathered around our boat, and the kids got to feed the marshmallows to the birds. There were egrets, great blue herons, wood storks, and anhingas everywhere we looked. 


After the ride, the kids enjoyed looking at the confined alligators behind the store. At the ticket counter, the guide removed a two-foot alligator from an aquarium handed it to each of our kids in turn, to hold for a photo op.


At the gift shop, we bought a pocket-sized guidebook that proved useful throughout our visit to Florida: A Guide to the Everglades National Park and the Nearby Florida Keys by Herbert Zim (Golden Books, 1992). Many of the birds we saw around the hotel and in the Keys were in the book, which also includes common reptiles, mammals, shells, and plants, as well as background information about the Everglades and Keys.


For more information about Coopertown Air Boat Rides, call (305) 226-6048 or e-mail coairboat@aol.com .


Book Review

Evening Meals Around the World by Michele Zurakowsky (Picture Window Books, 2004).


Here's some big learning for smaller folks. In this clever introduction to world cultures, Ms. Zurankowsky answers just one question - what do people around the world eat for dinner? In all likelihood, only questions involving bathrooms would have attracted the target audience more.


The book includes some thoughtful resources, like a map showing the places mentioned in the book, and a couple of recipes kids can make. All of the continents are represented except South America (Why not South America? C'mon, one more page). The cheery text includes little snippets about interesting cultural practices.

As with many books for young children, important information is lost in the quest for simplicity. Americans can discern the level of simplification by reading the United States page, which says we eat hamburgers for dinner. Not all of us, and not every night, but I guess it's the best you can do in a short book.


Evening Meals  a fun book. Look for it at your library if you find the hardcover-only price (around fifteen dollars online) too steep.


Web Site
San Francisco Symphony's SFS Kids
http://www.sfskids.org


If you're looking for a fun introduction to classical music, check out the SFSKids site. It has music to listen to, information on major composers, and fun little tools for learning about important musical concepts like rhythm, tempo, and pitch. It's also a great place to learn about orchestral instruments.


The "Radio" is a good place to start. The Radio offers six stations, all playing short classical pieces. As each piece plays, accompanying text describes the theme of the piece.


With some pieces, the text includes a link for playing the piece yourself on the "Performalator." The Performalator is an eight-key keyboard, with each key a different color. Music notes above it are color-coded to match the keys to be played, so by following the colors and clicking the mouse on the keys, kids can play a short phrase from the music.


Kids that are interested in the sounds different instruments make will love the "Instruments of the Orchestra" section. They can see photographs of each instrument, hear its sound, and read about its history and function in the orchestra.


Feel free to forward this newsletter to a friend who might want to subscribe to Big Learning News.
Subscribe or browse through prior issues at www.biglearning.org/newsletter.htm .
To unsubscribe, go to go to https://ezezine.com/home/531 , or send a blank e-mail to off-531@ezezine.com .
Big Learning News © 2003 Karen Cole
All Rights Reserved.


 

Feel free to forward this newsletter to a friend who might want to subscribe to Big Learning News.
Subscribe or browse through prior issues at www.biglearning.org/newsletter.htm .
To unsubscribe, go to go to https://ezezine.com/home/531 , or send a blank e-mail to off-531@ezezine.com .
Big Learning News © 2003 Karen Cole
All Rights Reserved.




 

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