Earth Day, K-12
“Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Apollo 13, the Beatles' last album, the death of Jimi Hendrix, the birth of Mariah Carey, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina -- an incident not acknowledged for 18 years. It was into such a world that the very first Earth Day as born.” (

Earth Day Network's Environmental Education Program provides tools to integrate environmental issues into core curriculum subjects. It includes games, interactive quizzes, and a variety of other fun and informative ways to learn about the environment. Earth Day Educators' Network includes the following:
• Resources that promote civic education, engagement, and responsibility
• Five editions of Environmental Jeopardy
• Monthly lesson plans conforming to state standards and tested by educators
• Ideas for celebrating Earth Day and engaging students in local community issues
• Access to a network of dedicated environmental educators

A second resource is an educational play about the final two days Henry David Thoreau spent in his cabin before leaving Walden Pond. The complete script, lesson plans, poster art, performance program, director and actor instructions, music and more is available free to schools,

Go to the Walden Web site listed above for instructions on how to e-mail for your password for full access to all the support materials for the play.

Explore the Human Body, 4-12
This is a National Geographic site full of text, visuals, interactive activities, and more that focus on the brain, heart, digestive system, lungs, and skin. Students will be able to stimulate the brain and find out how this complex organ is the body’s primary control system. They can feed the body different foods and find out how the digestive system is the body’s fuel factory. Students can watch how aging and stresses like cuts and sunlight can affect the skin.

Teachers’ Domain Science Videos, K-12
Teachers' Domain Collections feature more than 1,000 classroom-ready multimedia science resources to enhance students' learning experiences, including:

  • High-quality multimedia from NOVA, American Experience, and other public television productions and partners.
  • Video and audio clips, interactives, images, and documents
  • Explanatory background articles for each resource
  • Correlations to state and national curriculum standards
  • Media-rich lesson plans
  • Resource management tools
  • Search by keyword, subject, media type, or grade level.
  • Create custom folders or add notes to selected resources.
  • Integrate this content into existing curriculum with the lesson plan feature.

Heads Up! Science, 5-8

These DVDs are available for checkout. Each is 28 minutes in length.

Do Other Planets Have Weather? (#073307)
Do UFOs Really Exist? (#073301)
How Big Is the Earth? (#073296)
How Can I Explore Space? (#073304)
How Cold Is Pluto? (#073293)
How Do I Become an Astronaut? (#073282)
How Do We Get Around in Space? (#073288)
How Do You Drive a Space Robot? (#073306)
How Does the Earth Move? (#073299)
How Far Can We Go in Space? (#073295)
Is Anyone Out There? (#073294)
Is Earth the Only Planet With Water? (#073291)
Is There Life on Other Worlds? (#073297)
What Are Shooting Stars? (#073290)
What Happens When You Fall Into Black Holes? (#073298)
When Are We Going Back to the Moon? (#073302)
When Can I Go to Mars? (#073283)
When Can We Take Holidays in Space? (#073305)
Where Do Stars Come From? (#073303)
Where Is the Center of the Universe? (#073300)
Where’s Our Place in Space? (#073286)
Why Are Planets Round? (#073287)
Why Do Comets Have Tails? (#073289)
Why Do Some Planets Have Rings? (#073292)
Why Do Stars Twinkle? (#073285)
Why Is the Sun So Hot? (#073284)

Explore Ancient China, 5-9
This Web site contains visual and textual resources such as paintings, coins, weapons, jewelry, and models from The British Museum's collections. Topics covered include war, religion, art and architecture, trade, and transport. It includes timelines, geographical information, primary sources, photographs, etc.

Political Speeches (Audio), 6-12
Hearing a speech can be fundamentally different from simply reading the text. History and Politics Out Loud (HPOL) helps make that difference concrete by providing audio recordings of hundreds of important political speeches from the 20th century in a searchable archive. HPOL is searchable by title, speaker, date, subject, or transcript. The materials range from formal addresses delivered in public settings to private telephone conversations conducted in the White House. This site provides an accessible source of audio information to bring to life instruction and learning in history and politics and to enable easy access for teachers and students to the rich audio archives of American history and politics.

Only files in the public domain are posted. The files do not download. They stream to the desktop and then disappear. This technique allows quick access and saves disk space since the files are not residing on your computer.

The audio files vary widely in quality. Some of the files were created with low quality technology, which frequently generated poor results. Other files are very clear in quality. HPOL attempts to improve the audibility of these materials without distorting the voices of the participants or fundamentally changing the original materials.

Current Events, 9-12

Click on the title to go online to reserve the DVD/video.

The Ottomans and Their Capital Instanbul (#073280)

Syria: On the Road to Damascus (#073281)

The Koran: The Sound That Calls Allah (#073273)

The Middle East: Land of Contrast (#808563)

Israel and Palestine: The Roots of Conflict and the Fight for Peace (#808564)

Blue Islam on the Silk Road (#073275)

Fez: Scent of Medieval Islam (#073276)

The Umayyads and Their Capital Damascus (#073278)

Two Islamic Regimes in Cairo (#073279)

Dateline Afghanistan: Reporting on the Forgotten War (#808670)

Syria: On the Road to Damascus (#073281)

Fundamentalism and Terrorism: Israel, A Case Study, Part 3 (#808482)

Fundamentalism and Terrorism: Perspectives, Part 1 (#808480)

Fundamentalism and Terrorism: Terrorism in the United States (#808484)

Fundamentalism and Terrorism: The Rise of Terrorism, Part 4 (#808483)

Fundamentalism and Terrorism: The Tools of Terrorism, Part 2 (#808481)

Inside Iran (#808308)

Illegal Immigration: A Dangerous Journey (#808291)

Nightline: War in Congo (#808275)

Pickles, Inc.: Arab-Israeli Women Launch a Business (#808256)

Turkey’s Tigers: Integrating Islam and Corporate Culture (#808309)

Nightline: The Curse of the Congo, A Story of Wealth, Exploitation, and Ruin (#808276)

Building Democracy in War-Torn Afghanistan (#808310)

Ladies First: Rwandan Women Help Heal Their Nation (#808255)

U.S. History Map, 4-9
The United States History Map is an interactive Web site by Annenberg. The Web site is divided into five sections with each section including background information on the topic, interactive activities, and an assessment to test students' knowledge.
In the first section of the site, students examine a map of the United States and correctly identify major geographic features such as mountains, rivers, and oceans. The second section of the site focuses on the various regions and states. The next three sections of the site focus on the original inhabitants of North America, the European colonists who settled the continent, and the expansion of the United States' territory through wars, treaties, and land purchases. After reviewing interactive overviews in each section, students will be challenged in a series of timed quizzes to correctly identify different elements relevant to the geography and history of the United States.

Teaching the Constitution DVDs, 9-12

These DVDs were created to help educators teach about the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution. Current Supreme Court justices are featured and interviewed.

The Constitution Project: An Independent Judiciary, 40 min. (#255705)
This program chronicles two key moments that defined our understanding of the role of the judiciary: the Cherokee Nation's struggles before the Supreme Court in the 1830s to preserve its homeland and Cooper vs. Aaron, the 1958 Supreme Court case that affirmed that states were bound to follow the Court's order to integrate their schools. It features Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

A Conversation on the Constitution: Judicial Independence, 32 min. (#255707)
Supreme Court Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor field questions from 50 high school students from the Philadelphia and Los Angeles areas. The students and justices discuss the significance of the judiciary and the ways that independence is protected by the Constitution.

A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Fourteenth Amendment, 42 min. (#255708)
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a group of students gather at the Supreme Court to discuss the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment and how it came to embody and protect the principle of "We the People."

A Conversation with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. on the Origin, Nature and Importance of the Supreme Court, 37 min. (#255706)
Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. and a group of high school students discuss the history of the Supreme Court. They explain the methods used in selecting and hearing cases, the role of an independent judiciary, and other issues crucial to a democracy.

Math: Last Brain Thinking, 6-12
This is a mental agility game show that provides a fun, challenging environment to increase math and English skills. To improve their brainpower, students simply enter the studios and play the single-player games. Once they’ve fully trained their brains playing the single-player games, they can test their mind against other players in the multi-player studios that have easy, medium, and hard levels. Teachers’ notes are available to download for use in the classroom. The notes contain an overview of each game, what the game tests, goals of the game, curriculum relevance, key objectives, how to use the game, useful information, and useful Web links.

Teens and Credit and Finance, 9-12

Here are some new videos and DVDs that can be used to enhance students’ financial literacy. Click on the hyperlink to go to the online reservations form.

Careful With Credit (#808571)

Give Yourself Some Credit: Paying on Time (#808548)

Teens and Money (#073236)

What’s Up in Finance?: Investing in Your Financial Future (#073205)

Teaching Tools for Microeconomics (#808667)

National Poetry Month, K-12
This is one of the largest literary celebrations in the world. This Web site includes resources and ideas to celebrate National Poetry Month and to get your students excited about poetry. You can view a PDF of the 2008 National Poetry Month poster. Teachers and teacher librarians can request a free copy be mailed to them. Teachers can also visit the Poster Gallery to view and buy copies of posters from previous years. This year’s programs include Poem in Your Pocket Day, Poetry and the Creative Mind, Life Lines Contest, Poem-A-Day, Spring Book List, and National Poetry Map. Resources include creative and inexpensive ways for teachers to highlight poetry, instructions for a Poetry Read-a-thon, ideas for teacher librarians to make poetry more visible in the library, and 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month.

A local celebration of poetry will be held at the Second Annual Iowa Book Festival in downtown Adel on April 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce and is free. Featured poets are Michael Carey, Mary Swander, and Deb Marquart. For further information go to

New Reading Inservice Videos, K-12

Here are new inservice materials added to the collection in the last few months. Many of the programs include examples of best teaching practices and explicit instructional models. Click on the hyperlink to go to the online reservations form.

Building Adolescent Readers (#255817)

Strengthening Students’ Reading Comprehension, Part 1: Enhancing Explicit Comprehension Instruction, Grades 3-6 (#255719)

Strengthening Students’ Reading Comprehension, Part 2, Practical Strategies That Improve Students’ Reading Comprehension, Grades 3-6 (#255720)

Fluency Rubric by Debbie Diller (#255760)

Good-Fit Books (#255759)

In Search of the Novel (#255646)

Current, Best Practices for Teaching Reading Comprehension, Part 1: Making Connections, Summarizing, and Questioning, Grades K-2 (#255721)

Current, Best Practices for Teaching Reading Comprehension, Part II: Predicting and Inferring, Visualizing, and Determining Important Content in Informational Text, Grades K-2 (#255722)

Small Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Intermediate Readers, Grades 3-8 (#255794)

Small Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Beginning and Struggling Readers (#255793)

Free Online Flow Chart, Diagram, Graph Creation Tool, K-12
Heartland is continuing the series on Web 2.0 applications in the classroom with this article on Gliffy. Gliffy makes it simple to organize your thoughts and share them with students, colleagues, family, and organizations. When users take their ideas and organize them visually, it's easier for them and others to fully understand them. Plus, users can move things around, test different options, and find the right solution. With Gliffy, users can:
• Create floor plans and shift furniture around to find just the right set-up.
• Do mind mapping to improve learning, get organized, or boost creativity.
• Set up organizational charts that others can update themselves.
• Arrange seating charts for classes or events.
• Define a process and publish it to your team.
• Collaborate on a methodology.
• Publish a diagram to augment class materials.
• Map out an idea in a line drawing.

In short, users can create an endless variety of professional-looking diagrams, drawings, process flows, interfaces, and designs. This Web 2.0 tool makes it easy to create, share, and collaborate on a wide range of diagrams. Gliffy users can communicate more clearly, improve decision-making, and work more effectively because a graphic image really is worth a thousand words. There is no software to buy or install. All you need is an account.

Drag-and-drop shapes from an extensive library of shapes then point-and-click to format.
Just a click publishes the diagram. It creates a URL to a read-only version of the diagram to share with anyone. Users can also easily embed images into wikis, blogs, and hosted office applications.
Diagrams can be saved as a .JPG, .PNG, or .SVG so users can import it into Word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and Web pages. Diagrams can also be opened into an illustration program.

Free Open Source Software, K-12

These free publishing applications will be of interest to educators looking for interactive teaching tools.

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

Utah States EduCommons

MIT OpenCourseware

Slapdash: Harvard University Open Source Courseware

Amazing Kids of Character, 5-8

This series profiles kids whose actions illustrate character traits. Each VHS is 17 minutes.
Amazing Kids of Character: Portraits of Courage (#808630)
Amazing Kids of Character: Portraits of Empathy (#808631)
Amazing Kids of Character: Portraits of Perseverance (#808632)

Developing Self-Confidence (#808651)
These videos feature vignettes and animated cartoons to learn four strategies.

Becoming Successful in Middle School: Five Live Strategies for Successful Teens (#073224)
Becoming Successful in Middle School: Surviving Peer Pressure (#073225)

This Is Emily Yeung, PreK-12

This DVD series features Emily, a dynamic six-year-old host, who leads children and adults through a new era of discovery utilizing her unique perspective. Each episode introduces a new experience. A special guest accompanies Emily and facilitates learning in a risk-free, exciting environment. The interactive Web site supports the programs. This series may be used with younger students to prompt discussion or with older students studying child development. Available for loan. 30 min.

Episode 1: Getting Creative, Part 1 (#808723)
Episode 2: Getting Creative, Part 2 (#808724)
Episode 3: All Sorts of Animals (#808725)
Episode 4: Great Canadian Wonders (#808726)
Episode 5: Fit and Fun (#808727)
Episode 6: Great Times in All Kinds of Weather (#808728)
Episode 7: Creatures, Creations, and Conservation (#808729)
Episode 8: A Few of My Favorite Things (#808730)
Episode 9: A Day in My Life (#808731)
Episode 10: Let's Get Cookin' (#808732)
Episode 11: Sharing Multicultural Traditions (#808733)
Episode 12: At the Farm (#808734)
Episode 13: Putting on a Show (#808735)

Iowa Core Curriculum

The Iowa Core Curriculum (also known as Model Core Curriculum) provides local school districts a guide to delivering instructional content that is challenging and meaningful to students. The curriculum identifies the essential concepts and skill sets for literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies, as well as 21st century learning skills (civic literacy, financial literacy, technology literacy, health literacy, and employability). To read more, go to

Go to and enter any of the following in the Search box for video presentations that explain the curriculum and sample units:

  • Iowa core curriculum
  • Science core curriculum
  • Math core curriculum
  • Literacy core curriculum

Summer PD Classes

Professional development activities are being scheduled for the summer. You can search or browse the offerings and register online.

Technology Counts Report
Business leaders, governors, and others are urging a redoubled commitment to strengthening U.S. students’ preparation to succeed in the subjects known by the increasingly familiar shorthand of STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A state-by-state report and comparison is available online.

New Professional Books

Click here for descriptions of the 100 books added in the last month.