Rosen Teen Health & Wellness Online Database, 7-12

This award-winning database provides comprehensive curricular support and self-help tools on topics such as diseases, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, fitness, mental health, diversity, family life, work readiness, and more. It includes reliable age-appropriate information that can be used for reports or for students' personal learning,

New Instructional Materials, K-12

Reality Avenue, 7-12
This new DVD series uses student focus groups and teaches teens to take control of their lives. These 12 titles may be used in health, guidance, and counseling, or as discussion-starters in home base,

Advanced Physics, 10-12
This five-part DVD series features lectures and demonstrations on photonics, phase and matter, sound waves, special relativity, and the synchrotron,

Disney's Animal World, K-3
This series features live-action wildlife clips of animals in their natural habitats combined with footage from Disney animated classics. There are 13 DVDs in this series,

Heads Up!, 6-9
This space science DVD series includes 26 titles. Sample titles: How far can we go in space?, What happens when you fall into black holes?, Where is the center of the universe?, Why do comets have tales?,

Frontline, 7-12
Seven new titles are available,

Green Matters: What In the World Is Going On?, 7-12
This DVD series looks at global and personal ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Each program includes information from governments, corporations, environmental agencies and individuals who are finding ways to improve the planet,

Journeys Into Islam, 9-12
This series is available as DVD or VHS and describes Islamic history and the Muslim way of life in several countries,

Information Literacy Curriculum, K-12

Digital Citizenship and Creative Content provides educators with teaching resources, an experiential student curriculum, and interactive tools to ensure students have the knowledge to become influential, respectful consumers and beneficiaries of intellectual property in a digital economy. It is aligned to national standards and is available free online at

Living and Learning with New Media, K-12
Results from the most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media show that America's youth are developing important social and technical skills online - often in ways adults do not understand or value.

"It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online," said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher and the report's lead author. "There are myths about kids spending time online - that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age."

The major findings of this newly released study include:

* Youth engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online.
* Most youth use online networks to extend the friendships that they navigate in the familiar contexts of school, religious organizations, sports, and other local activities.
* In both friendship-driven and interest-driven online activity, youth create and navigate new forms of expression and rules for social behavior.
* Adults should facilitate young people’s engagement with digital media.
* Given the diversity of digital media, it is problematic to develop a standardized set of benchmarks against which to measure young people’s technical and new media literacy.
* In interest-driven participation, adults have an important role to play.
* To stay relevant in the 21st century, education institutions need to keep pace with the rapid changes introduced by digital medi

Seven 21st Century Skills Students Desperately Need, K-12

Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, conducted research beginning with conversations with several hundred business, nonprofit, philanthropic, and education leaders. With a clearer picture of the skills young people need, he then set out to learn whether U.S. schools are teaching and testing the skills that matter most. Wagner observed classrooms in some of the nation's most highly regarded suburban schools to find out whether our "best" was, in fact, good enough for our children's future.

He included some of his research findings in a recent article published in October's Educational Leadership. In the article, titled Rigor Redefined, Wagner concluded that students of this generation are not unmotivated; they're just differently motivated. "They're multi-taskers, they are drawn to graphics, they like instant gratification, they use Web 2.0 tools to create, and they love collaboration," he said. "If we can figure out how to grab their interest in learning, they'll become great thinkers and be eager to learn the basics."

In the article, Wagner shared a list of seven "survival skills" that students need to succeed in today's information-age world, taken from his book, The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can do About It. "It's a school's job to make sure students have these skills before graduating", he said. The seven skills are:

1. Problem-solving and critical thinking
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
3. Agility and adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
5. Effective written and oral communication
6. Accessing and analyzing information
7. Curiosity and imagination

Wagner's conclusions have much in common with the Iowa Core Curriculum's 21st Century Skills Essential Concepts and Skills. Both seem to agree that preparing today’s youth to succeed in the digital economy requires a new kind of teaching and learning. Skills such as global literacy, computer literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation have become critical in today’s increasingly interconnected workforce and society--and technology can be the catalyst for bringing these changes into the classroom.

To access the full article, Rigor Redefined, go to

Measuring Skills for the 21st Century, K-12

"Leaders in government, business, and higher education are calling for today's students to show a mastery of broader and more sophisticated skills like evaluating and analyzing information and thinking creatively about how to solve real-world problems. But standing in the way of incorporating such skills into teaching and learning are widespread concerns about measurement. In this report, Senior Policy Analyst Elena Silva examines new models of assessment that illustrate that the skills that really matter for the 21st century can be measured accurately and in a common and comparable way."

The intellectual demands of 21st century work, today's leaders say, require assessments that measure more advanced skills, 21st century skills. Today, they say, college students, workers, and citizens must be able to solve multifaceted problems by thinking creatively and generating original ideas from multiple sources of information—and tests must measure students' capacity to do such work.

The full report is at

Build Children's Literacy, 2-5
This Web site provides free reading games and activities for children, parents, caregivers and teachers to use in the classroom or at home. PBS KIDS Island gives children the tools to build an online island carnival by playing reading games with PBS KIDS characters. Providing a familiar and comfortable environment for emerging readers, the research-based program guides children through seven literacy-building levels, including rhyming, alliteration, phonemic awareness, letter identification, letter sequencing, phonics and reading/vocabulary.

Between the Lions, K-3

Fourteen new 30-minute videos (VHS) have been added to the collection,

Spin Stories, Tell Tales, K-6
Students can discover the who, what, where, when, why and how of storytelling through interactive games, media galleries, lesson plans and more. Interactive demonstrations and quizzes help students appreciate and master a storyteller's primary tools of words, imagination, face, body, and voice.

Climate Classroom: What's Up with Global Warming?, 4-12
Climate Classroom, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, offers age and developmentally appropriate ways to address global warming in the classroom. It also provides resources and project ideas for parents, teachers, kids, and teens at school, at home, or in their community. Highlights include complete lessons and cooperative community projects aligned with established science teaching standards, resources for student to explore careers that will be critical to solving the problem of global warming, and engagement strategies for parents and students at home. The curriculum encourages students to analyze the science of global warming and its relevance to current events and their daily lives.

Go Green Database, K-12
The George Lucas Educational Foundation recently launched the Go Green Database on as the centerpiece of an ambitious new package on the state of environmental awareness in public education. The package includes an online, user-driven database, exclusive short-form video documentaries available on demand, with additional links dedicated to the growing importance of teaching and practicing sustainability.

The Go Green Database features green projects, lesson plans, service-learning opportunities, and other resources site visitors can search in many ways -- by topic, grade level, cost, and location. This online power tool, is a permanent feature on, and allows visitors to add, rate, comment on, and upload their own resources.

Design Squad: Focus on Engineering, 3-7
PBS’s Design Squad introduces students to the world of engineering and empowers them to learn about and experiment with science. The visually compelling format attracts and motivates students to read, watch, build, and learn. The video section includes show and bonus footage and also offers students an inside look at the competing teams and an opportunity to “meet” the cast, while building projects range from creating a mini zip line to building a motorized car.

The Design Squad Educator's Guide has four units divided into 10 engaging, hands-on challenges that emphasize teamwork and creative problem solving. Teachers can choose to do one meeting, one full unit, or all four units. From the leader notes to the discussion questions to the challenge sheets, teachers have what they need to get students thinking like engineers.

Season 2 of Design Squad returns to PBS with 13 half-hour episodes starting the week of April 2. This season’s shows feature the teams constructing cardboard furniture for IKEA, building hockey net targets for a Boston Bruins player, and designing underwater prostheses for an amputee dancer. These real world experiences give students a stronger understanding of engineering, equip them with science and math skills, and lay the foundation they need to participate in engineering activities later in life.

Teaching with Lincoln, K-12

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth this February 2009 with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s free classroom poster. The front side, suitable for classroom display, is a portrait of Lincoln, while the reverse contains resources for educators, offering suggestions for incorporating Lincoln’s legacy into the classroom. To request this poster, please call (202) 707-6998 or visit and click on "For Teachers".

On the Web site, educators can view resources from educational organizations, search lesson plans, find event ideas, and classroom resources.

Educators can also download a free Abraham Lincoln calendar featuring primary sources from the Digitized Collections of the Library of Congress. The calendar is made available by Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University and is accessible at

The Library of Congress Learning Page has introduced a new page, the Community Center for Abraham Lincoln. The page features links to many resources for teachers and students as well as activities and suggestions for search terms. To access this page, go to

Teaching with Lincoln was created by Teaching with Primary Sources consortium members as a tool for educators of any grade level or discipline as a repository of Lincoln related resources for teachers, especially highlighting those which incorporate the digitized primary sources of the Library of Congress. The site is divided into three main sections: two timelines that represent events during the life of President Lincoln Personal and Professional, and "Additional Resources" which are items that don't fit into one space on the timeline. After selecting a timeline, you may click on a particular year to find links to Teacher Resources, Student Resources, Library of Congress Primary Sources and Other Resources. To access this site, go to

You Are Here, 3-6
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has developed a website to educate young American consumers about their rights when shopping. The website is set in a shopping mall. The site teaches kids how to be savvy consumers by demonstrating the benefits of competition, how advertising can influence buying decisions, and the rules and regulations in place in the US that many business people deal with. It also helps parents and teachers to help kids understand their role in the marketplace. The site offers fact sheets for parents and teachers covering advertising, marketing, and competition in more detail, along with ideas for related activities. The site features animated guides who help visitors navigate a virtual mall and interact with shopkeepers and other consumers. Kids can design and print advertisements for a shoe store, uncover suspicious claims in an ad, and guess the retail price of various candies based on their supply, demand, and production costs. One game that has players match the features of various cell phones with certain audiences illustrates the principles of target marketing; another allows visitors to compare sales pitches from three pizza joints as it explains competition. A short film playing at the cinema illustrates the history of the FTC. Consumers should note the information provided on this site is based on US legislation.

This free site uses interactive games and activities to teach kids aged 8-12 key consumer concepts. Teachers can use the site in classroom activities related to consumer economics, government, social studies, history, language arts, and other related topics.

Free Video Podcasts on the Great Depression & WWII, 6-12
Students can listen to and watch noted American history scholars discuss the impact of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and World War II. These vodcasts are now available from iTunes. Lesson plans and teaching modules can also be accessed from this iTunes site.

Celebrating Lincoln in Iowa, K-12

This article includes links to national Web sites, curriculum, primary sources, and tools for educators to teach about Lincoln. There will be special exhibits at Pella, at West Branch, and at Iowa City. The official Lincoln Celebrations in Iowa Web site includes Iowa-Lincoln connections, a list of events from around the state, and suggestions for possible activities,

Human Rights Day, 6-12

Human Rights Day provides an opportunity for teachers to integrate a global perspective into their curriculum. December 10, 2008, was the 60th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “a document establishing a common standard for human achievement for all peoples and nations, rooted in the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect, and shared responsibility”.

The following links provide resources for promoting and protecting human rights.
Every Human Has Rights

Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights 2008 is the UDHR 60th Anniversary website organized by the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe. Their kid's corner has a number of resources, including the links to animations, the UN's Cyberschoolbus, UNICEF's Voices of Youth, and a number of additional resources.

Human Rights Education Library
The HRE Library contains over 2,000 full-text guides, curricula, textbooks and other documents that can be used for both formal and non-formal education about, for and in human rights, many of which are available in multiple languages. In particular, there are resources for teachers like Amnesty International's "First Steps: A Manual for Starting Human Rights Education".

ABC: Teaching Human Rights
This is a downloadable book aimed at offering practical advice to teachers and other educators who want to foster human rights awareness and action, among primary and secondary school children, including suggestions for developing learning activities.

Help Spread the Word
The resources on this page are a starting point for teachers and schools who want to incorporate the Every Human Has Rights campaign into the curriculum.

Get the Week's News, 7-12
The creators of Flocabulary,, have launched the Web site “The Week in Rap.” Every Friday, Flocabulary’s hip-hop artists produce a two-minute music video summarizing the major news stories of the week. The classroom-safe videos are posted online. The idea is that students who spend the majority of their time listening to music and watching videos online can now catch up on current events by checking out each week’s post. Each episode contains lyrics to the songs with highlighted key words linked to news stories from leading news outlets where students can get more information about that news topic. Teachers and students can also share episodes with others by clicking on links to sites such as, Facebook, or Twitter. They can comment on different episodes, embed an episode, or subscribe to receive the weekly episodes automatically. Recent posts discuss such current events as the economic downturn, politics, the Iraq War, sports, Nobel Prize winners, and technology.

Feed the Pig, 4-6
This is a fun, hands-on financial literacy program to help students learn about the importance of saving while building important math skills through real-life applications. It was developed by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants with input from the Teacher Advisory Board through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Feed the Pig helps students learn about the importance of saving while building important math skills in an interesting, engaging way. Teaching materials, including coursework that reinforces math skills with real-life applications such as tracking expenses and balancing a checkbook, are free to download through a quick registration process.

Everyday Math, K-6

Mixing in Math (MiM) includes 40 activities that can be used to “slip a little math” into students’ everyday routines. Activities include using clocks and calendars, figuring lengths and widths, gathering and organizing fun facts about everyday things, and adding shapes and numbers to stories and skits.

Mixing in Math activities are an easy way to put math into snack time, outdoor time, clean-up, or almost any other part of the school day. The activities complement math lessons and provide a chance for students to build and maintain everyday skills such as measuring, timing, estimating, and mental math. The activities engage a broad range of learners by involving physical activity, drawing, talking, and game playing.

To find an activity that is right for your students, look over the activities on this site and check the level of difficulty, group size, “when to mix in” (cooking, fitness, literacy), and variations. The activities are geared for the elementary grades, but can easily be adapted for those slightly older or younger. A content chart is included for details on the math concepts in each activity.

Here are a few activities to try to get started:
Turn My Way

Math Challenges
Majority Rules
Read the Label

Young Children
I Spy Shapes
Take Ten

Daily Routines
Taking Attendance
Line Up

Skill Building and Review
Guess My Rule
Jumping to 100

Webcasts on What Works, K-12
SchoolsMovingUp has archived webcasts from the WestEd research laboratory. It includes resources materials. You can watch and listen to the presentation, questions, and discussion of over 89 webcasts from the last two years. Here is a sample:

* Formative Assessment: Improving Teaching and Learning with Margaret Heritage and Ellen Osmundson
* Closing the Learning Gap: Steps That Work
* Quality Teaching for English Learners: High Challenge and High Support
* Making Standards-based Lessons Understandable for English Learners: The SIOP Model
* English Learners in Secondary Mathematics: Rigor and Excellence
* What the Research Does—and Does Not—Say about Teaching ELL
* Doing What Works: Teaching Elementary-School English Learners
* Early Childhood Education Initiatives for Raising Program Quality
* RTI in a Secondary School Setting
* RTI Process Steps
* Critical Science Vocabulary
* A County Immersed in Vocabulary
* Using Formative Assessments to Accelerate the Academic Achievement of English Learners
* The Key Three Routine: Comprehension Strategy Instruction
* Data Use and Teacher Collaboration: One School’s Success Story
* The Envision Schools Approach to Project-Based Learning
* Reading Science for Understanding in Middle and High School
* Standards-Based Instruction: Is It Possible for Students with Disabilities?
* Word Lists: Choices and Uses

School Innovation Videos on iTunes, K-12

Edutopia recently announced free downloadable video content through the iTunes U Beyond Campus portal, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store featuring free, 24/7-access to material showcasing public school K-12 innovations. A selection of more than seventy-five videos from their archives is available now, with more to come soon.

According to Edutopia, the content is intended for integration into classroom presentations and professional and community development programs, providing practical examples of high-level, abstract concepts. Some of the issues addressed include:

* An exploration of poverty, as seen through life in developing countries
* A documentary on one school's curriculum-based gardening program
* An interview that looks at the inclusion of video games in the learning process

The videos are organized into six “Core Concept” Albums:
1. Integrated Studies
2. Technology Integration
3. Social and emotional learning
4. Project learning
5. Teacher development
6. Assessment

Users can access the video downloads in two ways:
1. Visit Edutopia on iTunes U at
2. Find links directly to specific videos by clicking the Download link on any Edutopia video page. Here's an example:

Edutopia also offers embedded code on their video pages for use in blogs (look for the "Embed Video" links), and Web pages. Many of their videos are available on DVD compilations for presentations for which the highest-quality resolution is desired. Several of these DVDs are on order and will be available for checkout at Heartland.

Edutopia is published by The George Lucas Educational Foundation, founded in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas as a nonprofit operating foundation that publishes media to document and disseminate the most innovative practices in K-12 education, including how technology offers many new opportunities for teaching and learning.

Iowa Core Employability Skills

As each Iowa student is provided access to essential concepts and meaningful learning experiences in the core academic content areas, it is imperative that we also look to 21st century skills to build capacity in students so they are prepared to lead productive, satisfying lives. According to Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the 21st century skills set “is the ticket to economic upward mobility in the new economy” (Gewertz, 2007). Business and industry are providing a very clear message that students need the skills to “work comfortably with people from other cultures, solve problems creatively, write and speak well, think in a multidisciplinary way, and evaluate information critically. And they need to be punctual, dependable, and industrious.” (Gewertz, 2007).

The Framework for 21st Century Learning stated, “We believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects” (2007). 21st century skills bridge the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of students from the core academic areas to real life application.

“The primary aim of education is not to enable students to do well in school, but to help them do well in the lives they lead outside of the school.”
-Ray McNulty, ICLE
Iowa High School Summit, December 10, 2007

In the 2007 session, the Iowa Legislature established the Iowa 21st century framework as:
1. employability skills
2. financial literacy
3. health literacy
4. technology literacy

Employability skills are those which can be applied to most workplace situations. They are general in nature, and cover a range of 'whole of job' experiences. They are sometimes referred to as the 'soft' skills, but this should not be interpreted to mean they are dispensable or easy to learn. For many students, mastering employability skills can be a challenging and confronting process, requiring intensive teacher and school input and explicit teaching, role modeling and task planning.

The Iowa Core Curriculum Employability skills are:

  • Communicate and work productively with others, incorporating different perspectives and cross cultural understanding, to increase innovation and the quality of work
  • Adapt to various roles and responsibilities and work flexibly in climates of ambiguity and changing priorities
  • Demonstrate leadership skills, integrity, ethical behavior, and social responsibility while collaborating to achieve common goals
  • Demonstrate initiative and self-direction through high achievement and lifelong learning while exploring the ways individual talents and skills can be used for productive outcomes in personal and professional life
  • Demonstrate productivity and accountability by meeting high expectations

Listed below are free online resources to support teaching employability skills.

NetTrekker Career Skills: Career Preparation

NetTrekker Career Skills: Job Preparation

NetTrekker Career Skills: On the Job

IPTV Guidance, Careers, and Vocational Resources

Road Map to Recruit and Retain Young People to Iowa

Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education

Employability Skills Profile

Saskatchewan Education: Career and Work Exploration

National Work Readiness Council: Skills New Workers in Entry-Level Jobs Need

Are They Really Ready To Work?

Promethean: Employability Skills

The 21st Century Student: Skills for the New Economy

Edutopia: Crash Course: Learning to Go From Schools to Career

From MySpace to My Job: Online Interaction Prepares Students for Employment

Minnesota Business Academy: Kids Learn the Connection Between School and the Real World

Learn & Live: Preparing for Life Beyond School

Biotech Academy: Challenging Assumptions and Changing Lives

Student Entrepreneurs Win Big: "Changing the World and Our Community"

Online self-report survey to assess one’s level of performance with regard to employability skills.

NWREL: Developing Employabilty Skills

Employability Skills Assessment: Self Report Survey

Conference Board of Canada: Employability Skills

The Career Education Consumer Report

Career Advisor

Wage Finder

Tennessee: Teens2Work

Career OneStop: Explore Careers and Salary Ranges

US Department of Labor: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008/8 Edition

Wall Street Journal's Career Journal: Salary and Hiring Info by Industry

Wired Science: Careers in Science

Livelyhood: Careers and Vocational Education Classroom Resources

In the Mix: Careers: Focus on Your Future