Big Learning News 9-14-04
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It's been a rough hurricane season in Central America, the Caribbean, and the southeastern part of the U.S. If the news (but hopefully not personal experience!) has made your kids curious about the storms, here are some resources.
Hurricane names: http://www.fema.gov/kids/hunames.htm
Hurricane categories: http://skydiary.com/kids/hurricanes.html
More hurricane info and some short QuickTime movies: http://kids.earth.nasa.gov/archive/hurricane/
Top 50 cities most likely to be hit by hurricanes: http://www.hurricanecity.com/Rank.htm
How to help: If you're lucky enough to be out of harm's way, your kids may want to know how they can help others who are affected. This page has lots of ideas: http://www.networkforgood.org/topics/animal_environ/hurricanes/
Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know by Shari Graydon, Illustrations by Warren Clark (Annick Press, 2003)
Ages 10 and up
According to Made You Look, a young person sees up to 16,000 pieces of advertising each day. Graydon's task is to help make young people more critically aware of the media that surrounds them. Kids will get a solid grounding in the tricks and strategies advertisers use to hook kids, including the ways they use images and language and how they make use of new kinds of media. It's very up to date, with information on product placement (showing products prominently in movies and TV shows) and other forms of "Guerilla Marketing."
Also included is a kid-language version of ad-industry rules for ads directed at children, as well as contact information for government regulatory agencies where consumers can register complaints. The book encourages activism throughout - in one example, Graydon tells the story of an ad campaign that was cancelled after just four complaints to the company.
Made You Look is fun and readable. The book's format has plenty of hands on "Try this at home" activities, sidebars, and other short bits that makes the book fun to browse even if you don't read the whole text presentation.
Any parent concerned about media awareness will find this book a rich source of dinner table and supermarket conversation. When your kids beg for the products they see on TV, you'll be able to turn the situation into a learning opportunity, encouraging them to think about how the ads got them to want the product so badly and whether those reasons are valid.
The book also makes a great resource for an after-school club or for any teacher who wants to bring the real world into literacy instruction.
Puppetry for Kids: Legends and Lore Puppet Site
This is a great collection of easy puppet-making instructions, puppetry techniques ("how to make your puppet come alive", for example), scripts for puppet shows, and lots more.
Visit this one while you can - the site says that the company has been acquired by Baby Einstein, so I suppose the future of the site is uncertain at best.
Special Report on the Impact of Testing: The Sun, a Los Angeles area paper, has an in-depth series on the impact of high-stakes testing. Interesting conclusions about the value of tests, the role of parents, and what's being cut from the curriculum.
Home-Based Education Program Links Seniors, Children: Kids are helping their grandparents get online.
Elementary Blasts Off with NASA: Selected schools are participating in NASA's "Explorer Schools" program. They get science teaching resources and the chance to teleconference with astronauts.
These and more at http://www.biglearning.org.
Big Learning News © 2004 Karen Cole
All Rights Reserved.