Resources for the Classroom

Article excerpt

Celebrating the hidden wealth of African-American history

Most history classes teach that Columbus explored America in 1492, but they don't mention that when Columbus landed he heard stories of courageous black sailors who arrived before him to trade gold with the Native Americans. Most of us have heard of Thomas Edison, but how many Americans know of Lewis H. Latimer, an African American who invented a way to make light bulbs last longer. And most kids may not realize that one out of every five cowboys in the Wild West was black. A Kid's Guide to African-American History: More Than 70 Activities looks at just such fascinating people, experiences and events. Exploring a history both triumphant and sad, the book shows readers ages 6-11 how African Americans made amazing discoveries, outstanding accomplishments, and helped build the nation. (Chicago Review Press: 814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610; 800-888-4741)

A poetic life

Students in grades 5 and up looking for a great contemporary figure to focus on during this year's African-American History Month might find Maya Angelou: Author and Documentary Filmmaker worth a close read. A gifted poet, screenwriter, director, performer and social activist, Angelou overcame a difficult childhood and dedicated her life to using the power of her words to change people's outlook on the world for the better. Her works include the National Book Award-nominated I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, as well as I Shall Not Be Moved and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. In addition to chronicling her life, this entry in the Ferguson Career Biographies series also includes appendices that outline how to become a writer and a filmmaker. (Ferguson Publishing: 200 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60606; 800-306-9941)

For educators only

How to conduct great educational research

Educational Research: A Guide to the Process is a different kind of research text. It emphasizes the process of research--what researchers actually do as they go about designing and carrying out their research activities--rather than passively presenting research operations. It promotes content mastery by using a three-step pedagogical model that involves a manageable chunk of text, a comprehension or application exercise, and author feedback on the exercise. This second edition features some 150 of these exercise-feedback units. Part one of the book covers basic aspects of the research process, provides an example of a student research proposal, and shows how to evaluate a research report. Part two provides a separate chapter for each research methodology, including two chapters on qualitative research. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.: 10 Industrial Avenue, Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262; 800-926-6579)

Where science and society meet

In its new Focus on Science and Society series, Rosen examines controversial cases where scientific exploration clashes with vocal critics. Any one of the eight titles for YA readers could provide enough grist for a long classroom discussion-Animal Testing: The Animal Rights Debate; Biological and Chemical Weapons: The Debate Over the Right to Die; Fertility Technology: The Baby Debate; Genetic Engineering: The Cloning Debate; New Medications: The Debate Over Approval and Access; Organ Transplant: The Debate Over Who, How, and Why; Scientifically Engineered Food: The Debate Over What's on Your Plate. Topical issues--and all engendering a multitude of strongly held viewpoints. Each book provides an historical perspective and pertinent facts to bring the debate into sharp, fascinating focus. (Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.: 29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010)

For educators only

Meet the picture-book creators

The 100 Most Popular Picture Book Authors and Illustrators draws fascinating profiles of celebrated picture-book creators in addition to their bibliographies. Contemporary authors whose works are still in print provide the focus of the book, but you'll also find several timeless luminaries, such as Beatrix Potter and Dr. …