April 2003

Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The Alabama Supercomputer Authority is the technology partner for ALEX, the Alabama Learning Exchange. Over the past few months, several new features have been added. A printer friendly version of each Course of Study is now available. The Teacher Zone has been completed. It contains a professional development calendar with professional development opportunities for educators around the state. Use the calendar to search for and schedule training events. Users can rank ALEX lesson plans and the highest-ranking lesson plans will be featured. We want your opinion! Online Polls are available for your feedback. Users can suggest variations to existing lesson plans. Web Resources (submitted by ALEX users) have now been categorized by subject and grade. The Teacher-to-Teacher section has been completed. Forums and listservs are now available and next month's E-resource will provide additional information on these resources.

NOTE: On Tue, 25 Mar 2003 10:56:40 -0600, Kay Harris, Shades Valley High School, Birmingham, AL wrote

Lisa, I read your message board back in December. I had never heard of the Toyota International Teacher Program. I applied and found out I am going to Japan for 2 weeks this summer! Thanks for keeping us informed.

Congratulations, Kay!

Research and Technology
American children regardless of their age, income, or ethnicity, greatly increased their use of the Internet from home, school, or library over the past two years. Yet even with these growth trends, children from under-served populations still significantly lag behind more advantaged children both in home and school access. This report from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting examines the trends and the implications of children connecting to the Internet. The study finds that almost two-thirds of children between the ages of two and 17 logged onto the Internet during 2002. The biggest gain -- a 205 percent increase -- occurred among African-American children. See: http://www.cpb.org/ed/resources/connected/

Education and the Internet
ALLTHE WORLD'S A STAGE Personal feelings and emotions are expressed in many different forms, but none are as heartfelt as poetry or as heart-wrenching as a live performance on stage. MarcoPolo is featuring lessons and resources on two forms of personal expression -- poetry and drama -- in conjunction with National Poetry Month and the 439th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birthday. Use the warm-up activities found at http://www.marcopolo-education.org/MarcoGrams/Apr2003.html to help students explore, organize and communicate their thoughts through expressive poems or dramatic skits. Then scroll down for links to additional lessons and resources.

ABOUT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME from WebExhibits.com Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April. Time reverts to standard time at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. In the European Union, it starts at 1 am the last Sunday in March, and ends the last Sunday in October. Daylight Saving Time, for the U.S. and its territories, is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Eastern Time Zone portion of the State of Indiana, and the state of Arizona (not the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe). Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, due to its large size and location in three states. This site includes detailed information, history, laws and more! Other Sites:

Britannica.com: Clockworks: From Sundials to the Atomic Second
The Quartz Watch: What's inside your wristwatch?
A Walk Through Time
Telling Time by the Light of the Moon
Telling Time without a Clock

THIRTEEN NEW LEARNING RESOURCES in health & safety, language arts, & social studies have been added to FREE. The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) website makes it easy for teachers, parents, students, & others to find learning resources from more than 40 federal organizations.

Health & Safety

"Emergency Planning" is a one-stop website offering information that can help school leaders plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent incidents, & terrorist acts. Excerpts from a soon-to-be-published model "emergency response & crisis management plan" are also available. http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan/

Language Arts

"Middle English Texts" offers lyrics, tales, & other Middle English works (1350-1485) that occupy an important place in the literary & cultural canon but that are not readily available in student editions. More than 250 texts are online, including "The Greene Knight," "The Prophecy of Merlin," "The Death of Robin Hood," & "Robyn Hod & the Shryff off Notyngham." Each text is supplemented with an introduction & notes. http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/tmsmenu.htm

Social Studies

"American Revolutionary War: Morristown National Historic Park" describes the mansion and environs where General Washington & his aides were headquartered for 200 days. It was here in the Ford Mansion that he met with officers, scouts, spies, statesmen, and foreign diplomats. His troops -- the Continental Army of over 10,000 soldiers -- were encamped on the windswept hills & farmland nearby, where they built a "log-house city" of more than 1,000 structures. Washington had selected this site in Morristown, NJ, for strategic reasons. From here, he could keep an eye on the British wintering in & around Manhattan Island. He could guard roads that connected New England with Philadelphia (the Revolutionary capital) & move troops swiftly to any threatened point. Also, Morristown's rugged hills & mountains & broad swamps provided a defensive advantage. http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/morr/morroverview.html

"The Battle of Midway: Turning the Tide in the Pacific" examines a pivotal World War II battle. In the spring of 1942, after victories in the Pacific & southeast Asia, Japan was preparing to establish a toehold in the Aleutian Islands, occupy & convert Midway into an air base for invading Hawaii, & lure the U.S. Pacific Fleet into a final battle & finish it off. The Japanese fleet depended on radio codes that codebreakers in Hawaii & Washington, D.C., worked around the clock to interpret. This website tells how they broke the code & how the U.S. Pacific Fleet ended Japan's seemingly unstoppable advance across the Pacific. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/90midway/90midway.htm

"The Battle of Glorieta Pass: A Shattered Dream" examines the Civil War battle known as the "Gettysburg of the West." Texans invaded this mountain valley, intent on conquering New Mexico. Victory here would be a necessary prelude to detaching the western states from the Union & expanding the Confederacy to the Pacific Ocean. They were met along the canyon & ridge on March 26, 1862, by volunteers from Colorado. A three-day battle ensued, culminating with the Confederates retreating to Texas & Confederacy hopes of expanding west shattered. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/91glorieta/91glorieta.htm

"The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection" recounts the creation of a series of parks in Boston in the 1880s. At that time, Boston was crammed with buildings & people. It was overcrowded, noisy, & dirty. City officials, concerned about the health & well-being of Bostonians, hired Frederick Law Olmsted, who had designed Central Park in New York, to create a park system. He developed & wove together a series of small parks -- gardens, waterways, meadows, tree museums, & others -- into what became known as Boston's Emerald Necklace. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/86bostonparks/86bostonparks.htm

"Mount Auburn Cemetery: A New American Landscape" describes the country's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public. The cemetery, established four miles outside Boston in 1831, stood in stark contrast to the barren, crowded burial grounds in the city. Providing ample space in a tranquil, natural setting, Mount Auburn attracted not only mourners, but city dwellers wanting to experience nature, as well as tourists & students. It inspired many offspring -- other rural cemeteries, the first public parks, & the first designed suburbs in the 19th century. It marked a major shift in the way we bury our dead. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/84mountauburn/84mountauburn.htm

"Papers of Jefferson Davis" features more than 40 letters & speeches written by the man best known as president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Davis was also a Mexican War hero, member of the Senate & House of Representatives, & secretary of war under Franklin Pierce. After the Civil War he became a symbol of the Lost Cause. The website provides extensive information on Davis & his family & numerous images. http://jeffersondavis.rice.edu/

"Saratoga: The Tide Turns on the Frontier" examines the turning point in the American Revolution: two battles that demonstrated to France that the ragtag Continental Army could win against Britain's better trained, disciplined troops. Within months of the Battles of Saratoga, France signed accords with Ben Franklin & other American envoys in Paris recognizing America's Declaration of Independence & pledging full military & financial support. France's allies, Spain & Holland, also entered the conflict in support of the U.S. The victory at Saratoga turned the American Revolution into a global war that Britain could not win. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/93saratoga/93saratoga.htm

"Savannah, Georgia: The Lasting Legacy of Colonial City Planning" describes the establishing of Georgia as a colony in America & the design of the settlement. When a friend in jail for debt died there, General James Oglethorpe, a member of the House of Commons, asked Parliament for an investigation into the suffering of debtors in London jails. A committee concluded that a colony should be established in America for the poor. Oglethorpe led a sea voyage of 114 men, women, & children who hoped for a better opportunity in America. He also designed the settlement layout to reflect both egalitarian principles & classical standards of fortress construction. Savannah remains one of the few surviving colonial city plans in the U.S. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/83savannah/83savannah.htm

"Thomas Jefferson's Plan for the University of Virginia: Lessons from the Lawn" tells the story of the creation of the University of Virginia. After serving as President, Jefferson continued advocating for a statewide system of education in Virginia, hoping to extend education beyond the elite to the common man. Although the Virginia legislature refused to fund a plan for primary & secondary education, when it approved funding in 1818 to establish a state university, Jefferson immediately drew architectural plans for his ideal university. It would be "an academical village" where professors would have their own separate houses ("pavilions"). The curriculum would focus on scientific knowledge, unlike at other universities, where preparation of clergy for the church was the focus. The library would be located at the center of the university -- a revolutionary concept because libraries were not important features of other institutions where learning was based on students' recitation of facts memorized from professors' lectures. When construction at the site in the countryside west of Charlottesville began, Jefferson made the four-mile trip on horseback from his home, Monticello, almost every day to oversee the work. The importance Jefferson attached to this work was reflected in the epitaph he wrote for his grave marker. He omitted the fact that he'd served as President of the U.S., noting instead that he was author of the Declaration of Independence, author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, & father of the University of Virginia. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/92uva/92uva.htm

"Thurmond: A Town Born from Coal Mines & Railroads" recounts the story of the New River Gorge area in West Virginia. It is mountainous & remained sparsely populated & largely inaccessible until 1873, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company laid track through the gorge. Coal mining companies, towns, & camps appeared almost overnight to mine the coal deposits. One of these towns, the railroading town of Thurmond, reached its peak as the major revenue producer for the C& Railroad during the early 1900s -- a time when coal was king. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/28thurmond/28thurmond.htm

"Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site: Monument to the Gilded Age" describes this Hyde Park estate that includes a palatial Beaux-Arts mansion, stunning views of the Hudson River & Catskill Mountains, & over 600 acres of landscaped property. The mansion was built in 1895-8 by Frederick Vanderbilt, an heir of the fortune created by Cornelius"Commodore" Vanderbilt. Cornelius, at the age of 16, borrowed $100 from his parents, purchased a periauger (a flat-bottomed sailing barge), & began a ferry service now known as the Staten Island Ferry. Cornelius built a shipping empire, bought up small railroads, & at his death in 1877, was worth $105 million, a larger sum than in the U.S. Treasury at the time. Heirs to his fortune, including grandson Frederick, lived like European royalty, redefining what it meant to be rich in America. The Hyde Park estate came to symbolize the enormous wealth accumulated by a privileged few during the Gilded Age. http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/78vanderbilt/78vanderbilt.htm

JOURNEY NORTH SPRING 2003 http://www.learner.org/jnorth/spring2003/species/index.html Track spring's journey across the Northern Hemisphere from February to June! Includes wildlife, nature, migration paths, maps, lessons and more!

NATIONAL ARCHIVES: THE DIGITAL CLASSROOM http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/index.html Need to learn about using primary sources? Who better then the National Archives to give you some help and an abundance of resources! Other primary source resources:

American Memory from the Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/lessons/primary.html
Avalon Project at the Yale Law School http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm
EuroDocs: Western European Primary Historical Documents http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/homepage.html
AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History http://www.ku.edu/carrie/docs/amdocs_index.html
EyeWitness - history through the eyes of those who lived it http://www.ibiscom.com

AWESOME LIBRARY organizes the Web with 22,000 carefully reviewed resources, including the top 5 percent in education. The Awesome Talking Library includes the Awesome Talkster, custom designed by Code-It. It combines a browser, directory, search engine, and text-to-voice technology allowing you to select online text and have it spoken to you. You can also set it to speak entire online articles, pages, or books. Having an online voice that can speak articles to you has many benefits. For example, the "computer" can speak online stories or books to children while an adult supervises, helping the children learn to read or improve their reading skills. The "computer" can speak news articles to you in one open browser while you are searching for information in another browser window. It can speak online books to you while you (or your children) commute. It can just be more fun to hear what you read as you read it. Awesome Talkster can also make the Web more accessible to persons with impaired vision or persons with impaired ability to navigate a page with a mouse. It can be navigated with keystrokes. Awesome Talkster is very fast and has the largest screen area of any known browser. Talkster can accept additional voices, such as Spanish and other languages, so it can be very helpful in bilingual education. The voices do not translate into other languages, but they can speak online text written in other languages. In this way, Talkster can make the Web more accessible for persons who do not normally speak English, persons learning English, or persons learning a second language.

The Amazing Picture Machine Web site is designed to help educators find pictures, diagrams, and maps that are available on the Internet.

News You Can Use
Magic words when it comes to technology in schools. That's what open source technology does. It introduces students to computers. Connects them to the Internet. And it does it very, very inexpensively. Some schools can't afford to buy a computer, much less a computer lab. And yet for others, when technology budgets are available, a large share of the money is spent on costly proprietary technology and software licenses. This doesn't have to be. Using inexpensive or even free open source software, budgets could be spent on more hardware to bring more computers to more students, and hiring and training a technical staff to teach them. Open source software is a solid, smart alternative. It works. But most of all--it brings technology to schools that couldn't afford it otherwise. Want to learn more? Sign your school up today to join in OSN's Army of Friends! Discover Red Hat Academy, Red Hat's new curriculum program for classroom computing and workforce skills development on Linux and open source. For cash-strapped schools, open source technology may offer an appealing choice over costly proprietary software. http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/2003/03/update.html

NASA EDUCATOR ASTRONAUT PROGRAM - NASA has begun to recruit and select K-12 educators to join NASA's Astronaut Corps, supporting the Agency's education mission - "...to inspire the next generation of explorers...as only NASA can." NASA's vision is that K-12 educators can help NASA explore the bold frontiers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in ways never done before. NASA hopes these selected educators will become a direct connection to classrooms by sharing with their fellow educators and students the talents and disciplines necessary to make history, to break barriers, and to explore frontiers. The application deadline is April 30, 2003. Please visit the Educator Astronaut web site for complete information.

WELCOME TO KIDS HEALTH! KidsHealth is the largest and most visited site on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, the award-winning KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use. KidsHealth has been on the Web since 1995. KidsHealth has separate areas for kids, teens, and parents - each with its own design, age-appropriate content, and tone. There are literally thousands of in-depth features, articles, animations, games, and resources - all original and all developed by experts in the health of children and teens. A new section, "Worrying About War," includes sections for parents, kids, and teens.

PEOPLE GET ATTACHED TO THEIR SEARCH TOOLS. Some people try out different search engines and settle on the one that seems to do the best job; others stick with one long enough to get better at using it. My favorite is Google. While it makes sense to have a single search tool you can rely on most of the time, using only one tool can be limiting. Different search tools have different features, and it makes sense to have several in your "toolbox" for searching the Web. Three of the newer search tools are Teoma, Vivisimo, and WiseNut, and each has unique features that you may find useful.

ALL POLITICS ASIDE: Please give a "Thank You" to the men and women who this very moment are serving ourcountry. It is truly the land of the free because of the brave. If you are so inclined, visit the Department of Defense web page and sign a brief message thanking the men and women of the U.S. military services for defending our freedom. The compiled list of names will be sent out to our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines at the end of the month. Pass the word that we can honor and support the defenders of freedom during National Military Appreciation Month http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html