New Instructional Materials

New DEstreaming Videos

VoiceThread, K-12

Ed.VoiceThread is a Web-based, secure global communications network for K–12 students and teachers. Students can use this worldwide network to create and record their work and to explore and collaborate with students and teachers. There is a private and public network area. The majority of work takes place within the private layer with the ability to view, comment and edit controlled by the teacher. Students can talk about and share their images, documents and videos. It’s really digital storytelling made simple and easy. It’s a tool for having conversations around media, images, videos, documents or presentations or any combination of these. Ed.VoiceThread can securely capture and hold an entire group discussion on one page. Students from your classroom or around the globe can comment by phone, webcam, microphone, text, or file upload. Think about the fascinating ways students can create and collaborate on digital stories and documentaries, practice and document language skills, explore geography and culture, solve math problems or simply find and sharpen their voices through your curriculum content. Go to

PBS Teachers Connect, K-12

PBS Teachers Connect is a free Web portal that provides teachers, school teacher librarians, technology coordinators, early childhood educators and other education professionals with opportunities to share ideas, collaborate and support the effective use of instructional technology and multimedia to enhance student learning. Users create profiles, select avatars and tell other members how they are using digital media, and the questions they may have about it, in the K-12 setting.

Educators can search more than 3,000 standards-based classroom activities, lesson plans, interactive resources and other materials on the PBS Teachers Web site, then easily bookmark, annotate, share and manage their tagged content within the PBS Teachers Connect community. The community features a personalized homepage for each user, enhanced user profiles, a searchable database of resources and community members, bookmarking tools and discussion threads. By customizing their homepage, users will receive local PBS station and event schedules, in addition to local educational resources. Additional online components, such as private messaging, community feeds, friend feeds, online events, and a digital media gallery, will be available this fall. According to a PBS statement, "The power of Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, wikis and forums, enables educators to grow their network exponentially, connecting with teachers across the United States and around the world. Social networking in education opens doors to an unprecedented array of learning opportunities in an environment where educators often feel freer to express themselves, share their ideas and be catalysts for change." To access this Web portal, go to

Parent/School Tech Survey

Studywiz Spark recently announced the results of an independent, nationwide parent survey regarding online access, mobility, gaming and safety within the school environment. To view the entire survey, go to A summary of the major findings show that:

  • 92% of parents surveyed say that they would like to have online access to the same content and curricula used to instruct their children, but only 49% report that their schools provided this access.
  • 78% of parents reported that they are not satisfied with the use of technology in their school, reporting that more computers are needed, or more should be done with what schools have.
  • 75% of parents report being comfortable with the use of multimedia tools (Web 2.0 tools, such as YouTube videos, audio clips, and web links) within the classroom and this number increases to 95% when multimedia tools are integrated into lesson plans in teacher-monitored, safe environments.
  • 59% of parents see a benefit in having access to their childrens' schoolwork through mobile devices.

DogEared: Blog About Books, 2-6

DogEared is a blog about books from National Geographic for Kids. The name “dogeared” comes from turning the top edge of a page. It features six bloggers from ages eight to eleven. They blog about all kinds of books--good books, funny books, adventure books and books about animals, friendship, pirates, and faraway places. Students can mark (“dog-ear”) the Web page so they can return to it often in order to read real kids’ reviews and recommendations. They then share their own opinions and create their own reading wish list as if it were their own online book club,

MYVisit Virtual Author Series, K-8
The MYVisit Virtual Author Series is a great opportunity for your class to interact with some of today's best children's book authors. Each MYVisit series consists of a 45-minute live broadcast with an integrated Q&A during the show that can be viewed via satellite or Web. Teachers register online for a series, and about a month prior to the broadcast date, receive access to Web-based curriculum materials with downloadable modules. Registered teachers also have access to exclusive online video content after the live broadcast. These are short video "extras" that will enhance the overall MYVisit experience and are available via the MYVisit Web site or Apple iTunes University. If teachers are unable to fit the live broadcast into the classroom schedule that day, they can record the program and go through it with the students as their schedules allow. Teachers can also check the author's page to view the videos as they are available. Here’s a sample of some questions third and fourth graders posed to Andrew Clements about The Report Card:
1. What made you come up with the idea of writing a story about kids and their report cards?
2. Why did you pick a girl to have bad grades?
3. Why did the girl get all bad grades except for spelling?
4. Is this book based on your experiences in school?
5. Why did you choose spelling as the bad grade? Were you bad at spelling?
Another excellent site Heartland provides for teachers to access author interviews, discussions and readings is Go to and type in your email address for full access.

Celebrating Maurice Sendak, K-6

Award winning author and illustrator Maurice Sendak turned 80 this past summer. Best known for his children’s books, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, the 1964 Caldecott Medal Winner for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, has spent the past fifty years bringing to life a world of fantasy and imagination. In addition to receiving the Caldecott Medal, Sendak also was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen International Medal in 1970 for his body of children's book illustration, the American Book Award in 1982 for Outside Over There, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his contributions to children's literature and in 1996, he was honored by the President with the National Medal of Arts. In 2003, Maurice Sendak and Austrian author Christine Noestlinger shared the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature. His unique vision is loved around the globe by both young and old. Beyond his award-winning work as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, Sendak has produced both operas and ballets for television and the stage. Since the first book he illustrated in 1951, Maurice Sendak has illustrated or written and illustrated more than 90 books.

Please see the list of resources below to learn more about Maurice Sendak and his work.

Online resources

NPR Interview: June, 2005

Teacher Resources from the PBS American Masters: Maurice Sendak

This American Master's series lesson for teachers contains activities for both elementary and middle school students.

Grow Your On Writing Interview January, 2007

YouTube Video: In The Night Kitchen

YouTube Video: Where the Wild Things Are

A shadow play based on Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are as seen through the eyes of 2nd and 3rd graders.

Kindergarten Teaching Unit for Where the Wild Things Are

Heartland Professional Library Resources

Artist to artist : 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their A rt (741.642 Art)

Open Books: Literature in the Curriculum, Kindergarten Through Grade Two (372.64 Hur)

Heartland Children and Young Adult Library Resources

Check the online catalog for a list of books by and about Sendak.

Online Databases offers the follow resources featuring Maurice Sendak

  • 7 Author programs
  • 15 Book guides
  • 10 Book readings

Thinkfinity Lesson Plans

New WWW for Female Engineers, 7-12

Research indicates that low enrollment rates of college-bound young women choosing engineering as their major have led to dwindling numbers of females entering the profession, suggesting that women do not perceive engineering as relevant to their educational or professional goals.

Engineer Your Life (tm) is spearheaded by members of the engineering community and WGBH Boston, who teamed up in 2004 to find out why girls weren't participating in engineering in greater numbers. The initiative focuses on exposing and educating high school girls about different engineering fields -- from mechanical to chemical engineering. In the "Find Your Dream Job" section of the Web site, visitors can learn about specific engineering work -- a bioengineer's project to grow tissues that help repair damage caused by heart attacks and an electrical engineer's work on communication satellites.

"Engineer Your Life(tm) is unique in that it focuses on the rewards of an engineering career while many other initiatives concentrate on the challenges of pursuing engineering careers," said Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president of corporate responsibility for Northrop Grumman which is one of the Engineer Your Life (tm) sponsors. Through the profiles, visitors to the site get a glimpse of the women who make up the next generation of engineers and enjoy a day-in-the-life look at their dynamic professional lives. Engineer Your Life (tm) showcases 12 in-depth profiles of young female engineers whose choices embody the campaign's key messages and provides information on the paths they took to reach their professional goals. Their stories present engineering as a realistic option for young women who are interested in careers that make a difference in the world while being flexible, fun, and creative, and as a goal that is desirable and within their reach.

Engineer Your Life(tm) also advises counselors, parents and engineers on addressing stereotypes and inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in engineering. The campaign plans to reach out to approximately 50,000 high school girls later this year and host informational tables at college fairs around the country that reach 800,000 people annually.

The program is built around three key messages which aim to change the perceptions high-school girls have about engineering and to encourage them to enroll in undergraduate engineering programs.

  • Creativity has its rewards.
  • Make a world of difference.
  • Explore the possibilities.
Go to

Explore the Moon, 5-8

Lockheed Martin, the Space Foundation and SpaceClass have launched a strategic online education collaboration called Orion’s Path. Orion is one of NASA’s Constellation Program vehicles that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon, and Mars. The interactive virtual classroom project will form a link between teachers, students and NASA’s human space exploration program known as Constellation. Orion’s Path is an interactive lesson on SpaceClass, a Web-based education program using videos and virtual science labs to engage students in research being conducted for space exploration.

Students get an in-depth look at Constellation vehicles and how they will work; hear from a lunar habitat and spacesuit expert; meet an astronaut who explains why it is important to explore the moon and beyond; and learn about making oxygen and water from the resources found on the moon. Finally, students can take Orion to Mars and compare the geology, gravity, temperatures, and other special features of the red planet to those of the moon.

Lesson contents meet National Learning Standards for middle school grades, and use of the site is free to teachers. The Space Foundation contributed additional resources to the site for teachers who require more in-depth information about space science topics.

NASA eClips, K-12

NASA eClips are relevant educational video segments teachers can use to engage students to make real world connections and current applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, topics. These video clips provide flexibility, sequencing and pacing options to differentiate for students. The educational materials used by NASA on this Web site were selected based on the national curriculum standards identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Project 2061, a nationwide initiative to ensure that all high-school graduates are science literate. The program is separated into K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade levels with grade appropriate topics. Click on the NASA for Educators link to find teaching materials such as educator guides, lesson plans, classroom activities and more.

Election Resources, K-12

Check out the Web sites below for activities, mock elections, videos, lessons plans, primary source materials and more to help your students become immersed in the election process and the impact it will have on their lives,

Get Students Involved in the Election Process
The producers of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer are preparing the.Vote and the.Gov—a series of eleven 4- to 5-minute reports on the 2008 campaign leading to the inauguration of the next president. After Election Day, the series will evolve from the.Vote to the.Gov and look at the process of forming a new government, identifying key issues for the new administration and new Congress. The video segments, hosted by the.News journalists, will be provided free to middle school and high school teachers and their students. Each segment of the.Vote and the.Gov is accompanied by online, standards-based activities that will give students the opportunity to create multimedia works: you.Edit allows students to rework and re-edit video material provided by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, and you.Report serves as a home for student-generated content with students’ perspectives on policy issues and the election process. All segments will be closed captioned. An initial the.Vote report has been posted online, allowing educators to become familiar with the.Vote and the educational opportunities it provides. Regular production will begin in September and run up to the inauguration in January 2009.

ServiceVote 2008
Service Vote is a campaign to engage young people in the political process, beginning with voting. The program challenges youth to think critically about how they can affect issues by getting involved in the political process, and provides opportunities to participate in the presidential election. The Web site features news and information on various races, the presidential candidates, defining the issues and opportunities for peer interaction through a discussion forum where students can post videos, images and audio files.

National Student /Parent Mock Election
Dating from 1980, the National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter education projects. This year, Google is providing teachers with an online, customizable Mock Election Toolkit, using YouTube and tools like Google News and Google Maps, to help students learn about the 2008 presidential election. The Mock Election will take place on October 30. Real time results will be displayed on a Google Map.

C-Span Classroom
Developed with a team of social studies teachers, the site features hundreds of video clips and related classroom materials organized into six major topic areas: principles of government, legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch and political participation.

Google for Educators: Election Tools for Teachers
Google has teamed up with the National Student/Parent Mock Election to get students of all ages excited about the November U.S. elections by bringing into the classroom some of the tools and technologies that didn't exist during the last Presidential election. Elections Tools for Teachers makes it easy to bring some of the best Internet tools into the classroom to get students engaged. Descriptions and suggested learning activities for tools like YouTube, Google Maps, Elections Video Search and Power Readers are included.

Also, for additional high quality materials on Election 2008, remember the online databases Heartland provides.
AP Images: Elections 2008
AP Images has added an Election 2008 tab to access photos in showcases categories such as Atmosphere and Supporters and the American President Collection and featured events such as top election images, today's images and presidential debate. Teachers and students have access to AP Images by using their online database username and password. See you teacher librarian if you need help.

SIRS Researcher: Leading Issues Election 2008
SIRS Leading Issues provides an excellent overview of the election; issues of the election including the economy, energy and the environment, health care, immigration and Iraq and the war; interactives and multimedia; and a research guide about how to analyze the facts and apply your knowledge with templates for writing a research paper or mini research paper, creating a PowerPoint presentation or a debate online or analyzing Election 2008 editorial cartoons.

Teach the First Amendment, 9-12

This Web site includes free teaching guides and lesson plans as well as other resources like tools for starting and protecting student newspapers and broadcast stations. Educators can also find a short quiz on the site to test their own knowledge and students’ knowledge of the First Amendment. The Web site, which links to lesson plans, posters, books and student media assistance was developed in response to a 2005 national survey that showed that high school students lacked knowledge of the First Amendment. University of Connecticut researchers found that nearly half the students surveyed believe the government can censor the Internet, and one-third think the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees. To access this site, go to

Make a Run for the U.S. Presidency, 8-12

An online learning game lets players call the political shots in presidential campaigning, The 2008 eLECTIONS: Your Adventure in Politics game was recently released by Cable in the Classroom (CIC). This free 3-D, high-speed broadband adventure uses interactive tools, allowing children and adults to experience a self-directed run for the U.S. Presidency. The game is designed to educate people about the political process and the power of one vote.

eLections was first released in 2004 and has been updated in 2008 for the election cycle. Now infused with a voice-over host character - using the image of George Washington - and more video and "Learn More" options, the game offers expanded learning opportunities. The teacher section of the game includes learning guides, helpful links, and a preview area of the videos included in the game so that lesson plans can be generated. Other features include:

  • Accessible: Available for free to anyone with a high-speed internet connection.
  • Multi-sensory: Players see, read, hear and interact with multimedia content from CNN, C-SPAN, and the Hidtory Channel.
  • Content rich: Players explore independently how a presidential campaign works - through a fun and interactive experience.
  • Self-directed: Players make the choices that influence the outcome of the game. They continue to learn and explore fundamental election concepts with the "Learn More" content - all at their own pace.

GIS and Geographic Inquiry, 6-12

Geospatial technologies (geographic information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS), and remote sensing (RS) tools) are becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives. These technologies use "smart" maps that can display, query, and analyze geographic databases; receivers that provide location and navigation; and global-to-local imagery and tools that provide context and analysis.

As these tools become vital to helping community leaders ask and answer questions with both local and global implications, the ability to think spatially is an increasingly important skill for students. Hundreds of jobs--in such areas as planning, law enforcement, environmental management, business, public safety, health, and agriculture--now require key geographic inquiry skills.

Though GIS technology appears in the National Geography Standards, teachers in earth, environmental, biological, and general science also are incorporating geospatial technologies into their lessons. The growing use of these tools in an array of social studies and STEM subjects supports authentic, problem-based instruction, helping students tackle real social and environmental research projects in their communities.

This Web site is a collection of news stories, best practices, and other resources designed to integrate GIS and other geospatial technologies in the classroom,

Facing the Post-War World: Everett Dirksen

On February 21, 1945, then Congressman Dirksen set out on a world trip that would take him to twenty-one countries, logging 32,000 miles. This was not an ordinary junket. Dirksen traveled on behalf of the House Committee on Appropriations to inspect American embassies, reconstruction agencies, intelligence services, and the armed forces. He had a bird's-eye view of Europe and the Middle East as World War II neared its end. His stops included London, Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Karachi, Teheran, Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Palestine, Beirut, Damascus, Ankara, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Florence, Paris, Rheims, Augsburg, Dachau, Wiesbaden, and Leipzig, among many others.

The Dirksen Center has created a Web-based feature that will give you an idea of what Dirksen's trip was like and how it affected his thinking about the state of the world in 1945. This Web presentation consists of the introduction, a timeline of Dirksen's trip with links to selective, digitized trip log entries and letters home, and a set of seven "anchor" documents with accompanying study questions. The historical documents are drawn from The Dirksen Congressional Center's archival holdings.

Character Counts Week, K-12

CHARACTER COUNTS! Week is October 19-25. Last year over 5 million kids in 51 countries celebrated the Six Pillars of Character. This is a great opportunity to connect with others around the globe to celebrate the universal values everyone shares. Teachers can register online and begin receiving lesson plans, fundraising strategies, ideas for parents, Red Ribbon Week tie-in activities, downloadable curriculum resources and more. Remember Heartland offers Character Counts posters. Order the set of six for $1.00 by filling out a blue production request form.

Doing What Works: ELL, K-5

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “In the last two decades, the population of students who are limited English proficient has grown by 169%, while the general school population has grown only 12%.” The Department of Education created a Web site with videos, slideshows and tools for teaching reading to K–5 English learners. “English learners can learn to read in English at the same rate as their peers in the primary grades, if schools provide intensive and systematic instruction for all students, supplementary instruction for those falling behind, and language practice in both peer and teacher-student interactions.” The site’s resources are based on five research-based recommendations: screen and monitor students’ progress; provide small-group reading interventions; provide vocabulary instruction throughout the day; develop academic English competence beginning in primary grades; and schedule regular peer-assisted learning opportunities, including structured language practice.

Iowa Core Curriculum, K-12

The Iowa Department of Education and the Area Education Agencies (AEAs) are rolling-out of the Iowa Core Curriculum. The ICC, mandated by the Iowa Legislature, could be the most significant, wide-reaching reform policy undertaken by the State of Iowa. More than a set of curriculum standards and benchmarks for math, literacy, science and social science, the Core Curriculum incorporates critical aspects of classroom assessment and instruction that will reinforce best practice currently in place in Iowa classrooms and will support and strengthen the important work of all Iowa teachers.

Each AEA has dedicated time for an individual or team to facilitate the roll-out of the Core Curriculum information to school districts and accredited non-publics. The first phase of the roll-out begins this school year with a Core Curriculum Leadership Development Series. Heartland's Core Curriculum team will deliver these trainings in regional settings for district leadership teams throughout the 2008-2009 school year beginning October 6. Other AEAs may have already begun their sessions or will begin them in the very near future. The primary audience for this training is PK-12 leadership teams. Six half-day sessions will include basic information regarding the Core Curriculum and discussions about the Core Curriculum plans that districts will be creating in the near future. Each session will be offered multiple times to accommodate the number of participants and schedules.

The Iowa Core adventure has begun. Please feel free to contact members of Heartland's Iowa Core Curriculum team if you have questions or need additional information.
Julie Hukee, Team Leader:
Linda Bierman Hoobin:
Becca Lindahl:
Lynn McCartney:
Brad Niebling:
Jennifer Riedemann:
Deborah Humpal, Iowa Department of Education
Julie Melcher, Iowa Department of Education

Free Test and Quiz Generators, K-12

Creating tests and quizzes for both traditional and online classes can be very time-consuming. Luckily, there are now many free online "generators" being designed that take much of the work out of online test design. Educators interested in creating a simple online test, can explore the six user-friendly tools listed below.

Quiz Center

This easy to tool will allow users to create, publish and grade quizzes online. This generator can be used for multiple grades and with various content areas.

Easy Test Maker

Users can create different tests formats: multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, short answer, true or false and more. This robust tool includes a spell check function as well.

JavaScript QuizMaker

This is quiz generator provides JavaScript that you can cut and paste into a teacher or class Web page.

This program creates Flash-based multiple choice quizzes and games. The use of Flash means that the quizzes can be used on any Web page, learning environment, intranet or just a single computer. Users have a choice of three different quizzes:

  • The Big Quiz: designed for interactive whiteboard / projector use.
  • Quiz + Text: a mini quiz together with a customizable rich-text area that provides users with a reading text or even a mini-webquest.
  • Mini-quiz: a mini-quiz that can be added to an existing page or used as part of a larger development. Ideal as a quick quiz to engage users.

Learning Impulse
Users can create their own web based games for free. No programming knowledge is necessary.
Users simply create questions and categories and instantly a personalized educational game for children ages 3 + is created. To get started, go to

ProProfs QuizSchool

This tool offers many powerful features including additional multiple question types, quiz types, authentication controls, grading features, RSS feeds and more.

Soundzabound, K-12

Royalty free music is available for schools. Use Soundzabound for easy listening at athletic events, student projects, music study, multicultural music for social studies projects, etc. This is a robust collection of music clips that every student (and teacher) will enjoy exploring and using in their teaching and learning. Go to
You an also access it through Com Cat federated searching at As an example, you could do a single search on Brazil culture and find books, magazine articles, encyclopedia articles, and Soundzabound music clips. The music will add a new dimension to the country reports.