Back to School: Curriculum Ideas

By Joseph, Linda C. | Multimedia & Internet@Schools, July/August 2008 | Go to article overview

Back to School: Curriculum Ideas


Joseph, Linda C., Multimedia & Internet@Schools


FIFTEEN years ago, CyberBee began scouting the internet for content that was informative, engaging, and aligned with national standards. From 1993 to 1996, the World Link newsletter was published for librarians around the world for the price of postage, or for free at the Columbus Freenet gopher site. It included CyberBee's Tips and highlighted content that was being offered for the first time to anyone who had access to the internet. In 1996, CyberBee became a column for MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine and a website for teachers.

The internet has changed dramatically from the early days of text-based gopher and painfully slow modems. It has evolved into an array of dynamic interactive multimedia tools and gadgets powered through the World Wide Web. The internet has also revolutionized the way information is distributed. That is why it is vitally important to teach students how to critically evaluate content, since just about anyone can post just about anything on the web. The WWW CyberGuide Ratings for Content Evaluation (to be discussed later) is a tool CyberBee uses to review web content.

CyberBee thought it would be fitting to revisit some of the great websites that you may have missed over the past few years. There should be plenty of ideas to help you plan your lessons for the new school year.

THE ARTIST'S TOOLKIT: VISUAL ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES

Discover the tools of the trade, such as line, color, and balance, and build works of art. As you explore the toolkit you can watch as art is created, find the same elements in other works of art, and design your own work using an interactive palette along with the elements and principles that were demonstrated. Videos show artists in action and the processes they use for producing art. Rounding out the site is an encyclopedia that includes definitions and visual demonstrations of the artistic concepts.

THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM: CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

Which state did not send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention? Who insisted that the Bill of Rights be adopted? Who gave the most speeches? Begin your research at the National Archives, where you can view original documents, read transcriptions, and gather biographical information about the founding fathers who attended the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. High-resolution images of documents can be downloaded for printing and observation, while changes in the Constitution are indicated with links to the current verbiage or amendment. In addition, there is an article about the restoration of the historic murals found in the rotunda of the National Archives. Teachers will want to use this site for preparing lessons.

CHILDREN'S FOLK GAMES

For the international community, the PEARN organization has created a website dedicated to the preservation of children's folk games. The games, rhymes, tongue twisters, and traditions are written in the native languages. This is a great site for ESL and Foreign Language teachers.

COUNT ON

Count On is an awesome site that features games, puzzles, mysteries, and competitions for all ages. In the game "Dino Dig," students learn how to plot the ? and y axes while looking for dinosaur bones. In "Math Mysteries," students can help Dottie Double fix the computer and tally votes at the Pop Awards. New games are added on a regular basis. For teachers, there is a database of problems to search and use in the classroom.

DINOSAURS: FACTS AND FICTION

From a scientific viewpoint, the study of dinosaurs is important to understanding the causes of past major extinctions of land animals and for understanding the changes in biological diversity caused by previous geological and climatic changes of the Earth. These changes are still occurring today. A wealth of new information about dinosaurs has been learned over the past 30 years, and science's old ideas of dinosaurs as slow, clumsy beasts have been totally turned around. …

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