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March 17, 2009

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Women’s History Month—March 2009
Information Today, Inc. Announces Publication of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Pubic Libraries Announces Aha!Science Supplemental Curriculum Solution
PLATO Learning Releases Next Generation of PLATO Learning Environment
ABC-CLIO Launches Defining Moments Series
Free Resources: WGBH Teachers’ Domain’s Adolescent Literacy Collection Targeting Struggling Readers
Discovery Education's New Progress Zone Connects Diagnostic Formative Assessments with Digital Media for Remedial Instruction
New ISTE Book Explores Videoconferencing in the Classroom
The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) to Offer Online Professional Learning Resources in Partnership with Teachscape

Free Resources: Women’s History Month—March 2009

There are some great facts, links, and other resources available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s "Facts for Features: Women’s History Month—March 2009" web page that you can point teacher colleagues to, largely compiled from (where else?) U.S. Census data. They’re grouped into categories such as Motherhood, Earnings, Education, Voting, Jobs, Military … The list goes on.


Thanks to Gary Price’s ResourceShelf for this tip … once again.


Click HERE to link to the "Facts for Features: Women’s History Month—March 2009" page.

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Information Today, Inc. Announces Publication of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Pubic Libraries

Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has announced the publication of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Pubic Libraries, by Tasha Squires. In the new book, young adult library consultant Squires demonstrates a range of ways in which school and public libraries can create mutually beneficial relationships.


According to Library Journal’s 2009 Budget Survey, most libraries are anticipating and preparing for budget cuts during this fiscal year. This means that libraries and librarians are facing the task of doing more with fewer resources. In Library Partnerships, Squires offers practical strategies for school and public librarians to appreciate, communicate, and build on the benefits of public/school library relationships in order to make the most of tight budgets, create resource rich environments, and promote the development of lifelong learners.


For public and school librarians to reap the benefits of working together, they must embrace one of Squires’s core principles: collaboration. "While we all know what collaboration is, and we know that we are supposed to be doing it, we don’t always find the time for the one type of collaboration for promoting literacy in the youth we serve: collaboration between school and public libraries," Squires said. "This is a disservice to the youth we worry about night and day, trying always to increase their desire to read, learn, and grow, both within and outside our library walls."


Library Partnerships includes the following chapters:


1. Relationships Take Work
2. Partnership Basics
3. Changing Seasons
4. After-School Blues
5. From Basic to Bravo!

6. Using Technology to Partner
7. Resource Sharing
8. Visits
9. Garnering Support
10. Keeping it Going


In addition to the Foreword by Gail Bush, Library Partnerships features an Introduction by the author, interviews with school and public librarians who are currently involved in collaboration efforts, numerous helpful sidebars, a recommended reading list, and an index.


Author Tasha Squires currently works as a young adult consultant for the Shorewood-Troy Public Library District in Shorewood, Illinois, collaborating on programs for teens while completing her certification as a school library media specialist. Tasha holds an MLIS from Dominican University.


Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Pubic Libraries (224 pp/softbound/$39.50/ISBN 978-1-57387-362-8) is published by Information Today, Inc. It is available in bookstores and direct from the publisher by calling (800) 300-9868 [outside the U.S., call (609) 654-6266]; faxing (609) 654-4309; emailing ; or visiting the ITI websites.

Source: Information Today, Inc.,

Back to Contents... Announces Aha!Science Supplemental Curriculum Solution has announced its newest web-delivered supplemental curriculum, Aha!Science for grades 3-5, with broad instruction and exploration of physical, earth and space, and life sciences. Its interactive content sets students on the path to becoming science thinkers, according to the announcement.


Aha!Science helps teachers reinforce the scientific process with inquiry-driven exploration and engages students to apply what they are learning in games and simulations. Online journaling gives teachers a tool to build cross-curricular activities and lets them clearly see how well students understand important scientific concepts.


A flexible design supports whole class, small group, and individual student learning. Aha!Science content is aligned to National Science Education Standards and state science standards.’s solutions are built on an instructional model designed to maximize student learning. The model features:

* Multisensory experiences – visual, auditory, and interactive – to allow for richer, more complete learning.

* Opportunities for students to model and hone their new skills.

* Digital coaches that support students with multiple levels of immediate feedback and instructional support.

* Content designed to be relevant to students’ lives, with humor and a sense of playfulness that in combination lead to motivated and engaged learners.

* Context for learning experiences, giving students a clear understanding of how and when they would apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems.

* Game-based learning, all within real-world contexts that students find relevant and interesting, and that include opportunities for students to apply specific learning strategies and build their problem-solving skills.


For more information and to see sample curriculum, visit Educators can receive 25 percent off their order of Aha!Science for orders placed by June 30. customers can receive 50 percent off their order, provided they are a customer as of March 31, 2009.


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PLATO Learning Releases Next Generation of PLATO Learning Environment

PLATO Learning, Inc. has announced the version 1.3 release of the PLATO Learning Environment (PLE). The new version includes a Create Custom Resource tool, teacher and student communication tools, and enhanced batch enroll features.


Licensed on a subscription basis via an internet application service provider (ASP), PLE combines 21st-century technology with PLATO Learning’s curricula, assessment, and standards management to create a unified system for integrating the key aspects of the educational process—delivering engaging classroom content, formative, prescriptive assessment, and instruction; standards and curriculum management; custom course creation and publishing; data analysis and reporting—through a single online interface, the announcement states.


PLE offers seamless integration of standards, content, and assessment to provide a personalized learning experience, according to the announcement. It is also supports full user customization of content and provides comprehensive reporting features for accountability compliance.


For more information about the PLATO Learning Environment, visit

Source: PLATO Learning,

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ABC-CLIO Launches Defining Moments Series

ABC-CLIO has launched its latest teacher resource, Defining Moments. The  34-part series of ready-made, easy-to-download lesson plans is designed to help social studies educators harness the power of alternative thinking and brings two innovative and engaging research tools to the classroom: the analysis of primary documents and the revealing speculation of alternative history.

The Defining Moments series covers the defining events of U.S. history in a way that satisfies curriculum standards. Those events include John Brown's Abolition Raid, the Civil Rights Movement, the Watergate Scandal, and the fall of the Soviet Union. Each Defining Moments learning resource features the following:

* A PDF lesson that focuses on a single, key event that was a turning point in history—a fork in the road after which the behaviors and fortunes of individuals, peoples, and places changed.

* A Need to Know section provides a more detailed discussion of the events leading up to and including the Defining Moment.

* A brief timeline is included for quick reference to specific events.

* A What If? section speculates what might have or could have happened had events within the Defining Moment turned out differently.

* Two critical thinking activities are included, each with detailed lesson objectives, materials needed, and specific instructions.

* Glossary terms and references provide helpful study support for students.


Each Defining Moments downloadable can be purchased for five dollars. With this new series, ABC-CLIO provides support to students as well as teachers, by giving students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of well-known events by working with real historical sources and by thinking critically about what happened and what might have happened, and providing educators the background information and resources they need to teach historical inquiry in a lively, authoritative way.

Source: ABC-CLIO,

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Free Resources: WGBH Teachers’ Domain’s Adolescent Literacy Collection Targeting Struggling Readers

WGBH Teachers’ Domain, a free online educational service for teachers developed by Boston public television station WGBH , has announced the launch of an adolescent literacy media resource collection targeting struggling readers in grades 5-12.

"Inspiring Middle School Literacy: Reading and Writing in Science and History" can be viewed at and features 15 standards-based activities for students designed to enhance their literacy skills. Teachers choose a science or history topic, then have students proceed through reading passages, videos, and interactive activities, using a glossary to build vocabulary and a note-taking area to submit writing assignments. The resources are designed to help struggling readers improve their literacy skills by building comprehension and encouraging active thinking.


"Inspiring Middle School Literacy: Reading and Writing in Science and History" is the first collection on Teachers’ Domain that focuses exclusively on building literacy skills across content areas. It is comprised of interactive activities that middle school teachers can use to supplement their science, social studies, or language arts curriculum.


Social studies topics covered in the "Inspiring Middle School Literacy" include:
Mayan Civilization
Native and Settler Perspectives on the Land
Resisting Slavery
The Story of Pocahontas
The Three Branches of Government
Debating the Constitution
Alexander Hamilton
Building the Erie Canal


Science topics covered include:
Exploring the Everglades Environment
Newton’s Third Law: Action-Reaction
Asexual and Sexual Reproduction Strategies
Snake Jaws: A Lesson in Evolution
Behavioral Adaptations for Surviving Winter
Continental Drift: From Idea to Theory
Transitional Fossils


Media resources on Teachers’ Domain are adapted for the classroom and are drawn from award-winning PBS shows including NOVA, ZOOM!, Design Squad, Frontline and American Experience. Unlimited free access to Teachers’ Domain is available through after completing a simple registration process. Resources cover all content areas and are correlated to state and national standards for registered users.


Key Features of the "Inspiring Middle School Literacy" Special Collection:

Short video segments engage students in the topic

Standards-based topics in science and history

Media-based activities

Interactive classroom activities ideal for computer lab settings or at-home assignments

Interdisciplinary approach

Vocabulary-building online glossary

Structured writing assignments encourage active thinking


The "Inspiring Middle School Literacy: Reading and Writing in Science and History" collection was produced by WGBH and funded by the Leon Lowenstein Foundation. Major funding for Teachers’ Domain was provided by the National Science Foundation.


To explore the entire media collection on Teachers’ Domain now covering all content areas, go to


Source: WGBH Teachers’ Domain,

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Discovery Education's New Progress Zone Connects Diagnostic Formative Assessments with Digital Media for Remedial Instruction

Discovery Education has introduced Progress Zone, a formative assessment service enabling educators to monitor student academic progress through teacher-created diagnostic tests linked to state curriculum/assessment standards. Progress Zone helps educators use assessment results to prescribe digital media for individualized instruction, according to the announcement.

Progress Zone allows educators to create, share, and administer custom academic probes using a bank of more than 35,000 assessment items. All items are aligned to state standards with skill/sub-skill definitions. The Progress Zone item bank contains reading, math, science, and U.S. history questions for grades 1-12.

After students take the assessments, administrators can utilize detailed reports to summarize and analyze generated data. From this data, educators can evaluate a student's performance on a particular skill, monitor improvement over time, and adjust classroom instruction to meet the needs of individual learners.


By analyzing student performance on the assessments, Progress Zone recommends engaging digital content that can help students in need of additional instructional support. Utilizing media from Discovery Education streaming, Progress Zone provides direct access to digital content aligned to state standards that can immediately impact achievement. Valuable classroom instruction time is saved as Progress Zone automatically identifies remedial content in the form of videos clips aligned to curriculum /assessment standards, the announcement states.

When complemented by Discovery Education's suite of assessment services, including Predictive Benchmarks and Response-to-Intervention, Progress Zone is designed to provide schools with a balanced, comprehensive solution unlike any other service available.

Source: Discovery Education,

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New ISTE Book Explores Videoconferencing in the Classroom

The new book Interactive Videoconferencing, published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), provides educators with lesson plans and shows them how to use interactive videoconferencing (IVC) with Web 2.0 technologies to provide opportunities to students. The publication focuses on integrating videoconferencing with teachers' standards-based lessons to enhance learning.

Authors Kecia Ray and Jan Zanetis offer an innovative guide that shows how educators can utilize videoconferencing in the classroom. IVC benefits students because it allows teachers to use visual and voice interaction and develop Web 2.0 lessons that are guaranteed to increase interaction and enthusiasm in the classroom, according to the ISTE announcement about the publication.

The book includes lessons for all grade levels, evaluation tools, student work samples and guiding templates to help get teachers started. The 175-page publication is geared toward K-12 educators, administrators, and technology coordinators.

Interactive Videoconferencing is available online for $24.45 for ISTE members and $34.95 for nonmembers. More information about the book, including a free downloadable excerpt, is available at

Kecia Ray works for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in the Office of Policy and Planning. She is the vice president of ISTE's SIGTel, the special interest group for telelearning, and has been actively involved with the NECC Program Committee’s distance education initiatives.

Jan Zanetis is the market manager for education at TANDBERG, a videoconferencing solutions provider. Zanetis currently serves as the president of ISTE’s SIGIVC, the special interest group for interactive video conferencing.

Source: The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE),

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The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) to Offer Online Professional Learning Resources in Partnership with Teachscape

The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) has announced a partnership with Teachscape through which it will be able to deliver a 24/7 professional development program for literacy and math educators that will provide curriculum support to maximize student achievement. Teachers will be able to study material at their convenience and review the information as many times as necessary to perfect skills on a topic or concept.


Teachscape provides web-based content for professional learning. Featuring video-based case studies, exemplar teaching, and instruction led by researchers, Teachscape’s online professional resources focus on extending understanding of the practices that form the foundation of effective student achievement.  The resources include literacy, math, coaching, and leadership titles – all designed to support research-based instruction and ongoing learning.


The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) works collaboratively with schools, districts, state organizations, and education agencies around the country as an advisor at all levels of K–12 education to support literacy and math achievement growth for all students. CORE's expertise in early reading, intervention, special education, assessment, writing, English-language learners, and Response to Intervention has led to impressive achievement gains in some of the nations most vulnerable school systems, according to the announcement.

Source: The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE),; Teachscape,

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