Friday, December 21, 2012

Eagle Snatches Baby from Park

Someone happened to be taking a video in a park in Canada when an eagle swooped out of the sky and grabbed a baby. Fortunately the eagle dropped the baby, who seemed to be all right. Millions of people have seen this amazing video on YouTube.

But the event never happened.

See the video and read or listen to the story: 'Golden Eagle Snatches Kid’: Canadian Student Project Fools the World , PRI's The World, Dec. 20, 2012. Things to talk about:
  • Isn't that an amazing video? Would it fool you?

  • How can you tell what to believe on the Internet? Do you think other people are trying to fool you? Do you think people are sometimes just wrong?

  • The students who made the video are in a program where they will get bachelor's degrees in 3D animation and digital design. In a press release about the video, the school said, "The production simulation workshop class, offered in fifth semester, aims to produce creative projects according to industry production and quality standards while developing team work skills." This video (3:21) shows clips from many students' work. Is that something you could imagine doing one day? What skills do you think you'd need in a program like that?

  • The four students who made that one-minute eagle video estimate that they spent about 400 hours working on it. Do you think it was worth it? What sort of projects would you be willing to work that long on?
More information about computer animation careers:
  • Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, Multimedia Artists and Animators
  • Department of Labor statistics
  • Animation Career Review. (Site includes a directory of art schools with animation programs.)
  • To find programs in Washington State, go to Washington Career Bridge, click on Find Education, then use the Job Title menu to select Multimedia Artists and Animators. You'll see there are different types of programs at different types of colleges and universities.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fun Science Quizzes

The Nature Conservancy has some Nature Trivia quizzes that are fun. They're multiple choice and  you can keep on guessing till you get the answer. The topics are water, the sun, plants, animals, birds, and the oceans. I think the level is maybe 4th grade to 8th grade.

This might be an activity a  student and tutor could do together when homework is done. Each quiz  takes just a short time. Again, something for when a student says  "I don't feel like reading my book."

There's a cute video showing adults and children trying to answer questions: Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why do zebras have stripes?

60-Second Science

screen shot with logo
Scientific American offers 60-Second Science -- short (60-second!) podcasts on science topics. I think this could be good for students in middle school or high school:

  1. The stories are interesting.
  2. Students can build general knowledge.
  3. The stories would expose students to good vocabulary words and crisp writing.
  4. Students can read the stories at the same time they listen, to help with pronunciation, vocabulary, and comprehension.
  5. They're short! Teens who say they don't have time to read books can hardly say they don't have time to listen to a one-minute story once in a while.
The podcasts are about many different science subjects, for example:

If you can't talk your students into reading books at home, try challenging them to listen to and read some of these. (Even if they do read books, you can suggest the podcasts as a garnish.) Later, you can have a conversation about what they listened to and learned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Library Blogs for Teens

Seattle Public Library has a blog written by teens and the librarians who work with teens: Push to Talk. Other blogs to watch for good teen reading, homework tips, etc.:
Teen Reads @ InfoSoup has lots of lists—Adventure Fiction, All One World (Multicultural Fiction), Animal Stories, Award Winning Books, and so on, all the way to Twilight Read-Alikes.

How 10th Grader Uses

Here's an interview with a student who talks about how he's using to learn new words: A High School Sophomore Plays With Friends, blog, Dec. 3, 2012. A 30-second video shows how to play with Facebook friends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Washington State History


HistoryLink banner is a free online encyclopedia of Washington State history. It's been operating since early 1999, and by 2011 had well over 6,000 essays. It's an outstanding resource.

Washington State Historical Society

Wash St Hist Society banner

The Washington State Historical Society's Featured Collections gives you access to lots of photos, drawings, and maps.

You can see all the tables of contents for Columbia Magazine (the Society's magazine), and selected articles. Topics are varied, for example:
Columbia Anthology banner

The Columbia Anthology "offers a snapshot of Washington history as presented in the pages of COLUMBIA Magazine by our state's leading scholars." It has about 60 articles, arranged by topic (early settlers, explorers, fur trade and missionaries, etc.).

Columbia Kids banner

Columbia Kids was an online magazine for kids. It only ran for four issues in 2008-10, but they're all online still and have lots to look at.

UW Digital Collections

UW Libraries logo
The University of Washington Libraries has a lot of digital resources about the Pacific Northwest, including photos, essays, online exhibits, and maps.

Check out the Seattle Collection to see what our city was like in the past.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest banner

Based at the UW, the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest supports research, teaching, and public programs. Look under Resources for links and research.

The site has material for an undergraduate course on Washington State history. See the course index page for a list of web pages on different topics with lots of wonderful illustrations. 

More  Photos

MOHAI banner

WSU Digital banner

WSU Libraries Digital Collections

Wash Digital Archives banner

Washington State Archives - Digital Archives

You can find all kinds of things in the archives. For instance, here is a picture of prisoners wrestling from sometime in the 1950s or 1960s.'s Photos page includes 79 Historical Photo slideshows, such as Seattle During World War I, Historic Seattle in the Snow, and Seattle History: Northgate Mall.

small snip of PI Photos page

Northgate Mall, 1965

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

History Videos Online

I've started a page linking to videos about U.S. history. There are lots of videos on and other sites that students can watch on their computers. The videos can fill in a lot that the textbooks don't, and in a livelier, more engaging way.

It's pretty cool that so much is available. You can see FDR giving his first inaugural! You can see Martin Luther King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington!