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December 2011 Big Deal Book of Technology Newsletter
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December 1, 2011
Timely reminders, fabulous freebies, best sites & more "worth the surf"
In This Issue
Grants and Other Funding Sources
Awards, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Mobile Learning on the Move
"Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites
Bookmark These!
In Partnership With:

Grants and Other Funding Sources

Address Environmental Challenges with Youth Around the World
The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) funds innovative hands-on environmental projects to encourage youth around the world to work individually and collectively to solve environmental problems in their neighborhoods and communities. U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million are eligible for the grant. CPF grants are limited to $2,500, and preferential consideration is given to applicants who have secured at least 50 percent matching or in-kind funding for their programs.
Deadline: January 15, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Inspire and Engage Families in Pursuit of Education
Applications are now being accepted for the national Better World Books/National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) Libraries and Families Award. Each year three winning libraries are awarded $10,000 in grants to recognize their exceptional family literacy programming. Existing library-based literacy programs serving families as well as start-up programs will be eligible. Funding comes from Better World BooksLibrary Discards & Donations program, a free service that helps libraries manage their unwanted books. Better World Books sells those books online, sharing the revenues with the libraries and one of its nonprofit literacy programs. The specific award criteria and application are available online.
Deadline: February 6, 2012
Click Here for More Information
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Awards, Competitions and Other "Winning” Opportunities

Express Ideas Through Poetry Performances
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies on Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition and ultimately to the National Finals. The curriculum for Poetry Out Loud takes place over the span of two to three weeks; it can be delivered in the fall and through early winter, with slight variations by state. The freeTeaching Resources include a downloadable Teacher’s Guide with teacher preparation materials, lesson plans and a suggested class schedule as well the NCTE English standards that the lesson plans and activities fulfill. Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip (with adult chaperone) to Washington, D.C., to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion.
Deadlines: Vary by state; the National Finals will take place May 13–15, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Check the website for details.
Click Here for More Information
Click Here to Access Free Teaching Resources
Plus: ThePoetry Learning Lab is part of the Poetry Foundation’s website, which includes an archive of more than 800 poets and 8,000 poems. Among the resources are annotated poems, discussion questions, writing ideas, teaching tips, audio poems and videos, podcast discussions of individual poems and poem guides offering close readings of core texts. In addition, a literary glossary includes more than 200 poetic terms with examples from the Poetry Foundation’s archive of poems and poets.
Click Here to Visit Website
Save the Building Blocks of Science
World Book’s Building Blocks of Science characters have been kidnapped by an Evil Scientist—the dastardly Dr. Edwin Quark. He has hidden the Building Blocks of Science characters throughout the universe, and World Book needs help in finding them in time to publish the 10-volume graphic nonfiction series. (Each of the 10 volumes in the series features a whimsical character to guide the reader through a physical science topic: Gravity, Magnetism, Matter, Energy, Light, Sound, Electricity, Force and Motion, and Heat.) Luckily, according to the Geneva Convention rules that regulate Evil Scientists, Dr. Edwin Quark is obligated to provide clues that will help World Book friends find the Building Blocks characters. Dr. Quark will regularly post clues on both World Book’s website and World Book’s Facebook page. Visitors who help World Book find the characters will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes for World Book products and other prizes.
Deadline: December 9, 2011
Click Here for More Information
Integrate Digital Content into Your Curriculum
Discovery Education has joined CDW-G and SMART Technologies in creating Web 20.11, an online destination for teachers seeking helpful techniques and strategies to assist them in integrating digital content into their curriculum. Web 20.11 offers free resources in media literacy, Internet safety, Web 2.0, presentation tools and blogs from education experts. Teachers can also enter the Web 20.11 Tech Tune-Up Sweepstakes for a chance to be the grand-prize winner of an AverMedia AverVision F50 Document Camera, a trip to ISTE 2012 in San Diego and a $1,500 digital media grant from Discovery Education. Two runners-up will receive a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.
Deadline: December 31, 2011
Click Here for More Information
Describe Acts of Political Courage
The John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest challenges high school students to conduct research and write about acts of political courage that occurred after the publication of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage in 1956. The essay should be an account of how an elected official risked his or her career to take a stand based on the dictates of conscience, rather than the dictates of polls, interest groups or even constituents. The first-place winner receives $10,000—a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 to grow in a John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan—and is invited to the Profiles in Courage Award ceremony to accept his/her award. (The ceremony is held in May at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.) A second-place winner receives a $1,000 cash award, and up to five finalists each receives a $500 cash award. In addition, all winners receive a hardcover copy of Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. The nominating teacher of the first-place winner is also invited to the Kennedy Presidential Library to receive the John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant in the amount of $500 for school projects encouraging student leadership and civic engagement. All participants receive a Certificate of Participation.
Deadline: January 7, 2012
Click Here for More Information
Plus: You can implement the Profile in Courage Essay Contest as a class project, using the activities under the Curriculum Ideas for the Classroom link. Several of the activities meet National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Standards and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Standards for English Language Arts.
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Free and Inexpensive Resources

Broaden Students’ Understanding of the Middle East
Teaching the Middle East: A Resource for Educators was written by scholars in the field of Middle Eastern studies and created in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and three University of Chicago units—the Oriental Institute, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the eCUIP Digital Library Project. The core Foundations lesson plans help students gain a broader understanding of the Middle East. Historical Perspectives lessons compare aspects of culture before and after the advent of Islam. Classroom Connections help teachers explore and share their newfound knowledge with students. Each learning module contains scholarly essays to help frame the issues and examine stereotypes. For each learning module, high school educators have created two lesson plans with guiding questions for student research and classroom discussion.
Click Here to Access Free Online Resource
Explore the Impact of Occupy Wall Street
The writers of Moving the Movement, a free, online lesson plan from the New York Times Learning Network, suggest students consider the impact the Occupy Wall Street movement has had so far, and what might become of it in the future. Students are asked to explore their own views of the protests, expressing support or opposition in their journals for some of the issues. For more in-depth study, the writers suggest students conduct a SWOT—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats—analysis of the movement.
Click Here to Access Free Lesson Plan
Join the Fight for Freedom on the High Seas
The USS Constitution Museum has launched a K–12, interdisciplinary curriculum about the War of 1812. The curriculum brings interactive history lessons into classrooms and homes. The museum, located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, in Boston, across from "Old Ironsides,” built the curriculum to parallel the online game A Sailor’s Life for Me. This website invites students to join the fight for freedom on the high seas when they virtually enlist as sailors on board USS Constitution and travel back in time to engage in the War of 1812. The curriculum takes this history lesson one step further, offering 120 printable lesson plans and activities for the classroom that utilize history, science, math, social studies, art and language arts to explore Constitution and life at sea in 1812. Printable copies of primary sources and artifacts in the museum’s collections can be downloaded for free. With the approach of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, everyone anywhere can learn and share in this history.
Click Here to Access Free Curriculum
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Mobile Learning on the Move

See What’s Happening in The Field
Treasures lie hidden within The Field Museum’s vaults. Creatures lurk within its halls. Students can unlock the museum’s secrets via Specimania, a new, free downloadable iPhone and iPadapp that contains collectible cards featuring artifacts, animals, fossils, plants and more from the institution’s vast collections. As they explore the deck, students will learn more about the headline-making history of each card character and test their newfound knowledge with the Trivia Question portion of the game. They can also compete with their friends to see who comes out on top. Young students can get in on the action, too, by matching card characters in a memory game.
Click Here to Visit App Store
Tap, Snap, Speak ... Study
With StudyBlue’s updated mobile app for iPhone and Android devices, students can now create flashcards on their smartphones. The free app offers the ability to snap and insert photos, as well as transcribe speech to text directly into their flashcards. View a demonstration video to see these features in action.
Click Here to View Demo
Master a New Language
SpeakingPal helps students master a new language through role-playingsessions and feedback. This freeapp for iPhone, iPad and Android consists of multiple bit-sized video scenarios students can watch and repeat with the onscreen text. Students are given immediate feedback based on how clearly they repeat each phrase. For example, one video has someone asking for directions, another has a shopping scenario and a third involves booking a hotel room. After they watch the exchange between the actors, students then interact. In some cases, then can choose from one of two responses, such as "Please take me to my hotel” or "Can you help me with my bags?” When they speak the phrase aloud into their iPad (or other mobile device), they’ll see a color-coded bar along the right side of the video that reflects their performance: red for poor, yellow for OK and green for good. SpeakingPal was the winner of the International E-Learning Association’s Mobile Learning Award in 2011.
Click Here to Visit Website
Click Here to Visit App Store
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Track Seasonal Changes in Nature
Journey North is a free, Internet-based program that explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. Through interrelated investigations, students discover that sunlight drives all living systems, and they learn about the dynamic ecosystem that surrounds and connects them. Journey North for Kids is a simple, student-directed entry point to Journey North studies. Engaging stories, photos, videos and slideshows from the natural world build observation skills, inspire scientific thinking and create fertile ground for discussions and new questions.
Click Here to Visit Journey North Website
Click Here to Visit Journey North for Kids Website
Unite Conservation, Research and Education
Polar bears are a perfect focal point for teaching all kinds of things—from biology to geography, from mathematics to physics, from environmental science to cultural sociology. Polar Bears International (PBI) offers free teaching and learning materials created by teachers and zoo educators on a range of topics that support national literacy standards and learning outcomes for specific school districts. The Polar Bears and Ecotourism Research Unit is a comprehensive lesson series that incorporates science, social studies and mathematics standards by using current polar bear research as an integrating context for learning. In this investigation, students use the data collected from an actual research project to make a decision regarding ecotourism policies for the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, The Polar Bear Capital of the World. PBI also offers lesson plans connected with its Tundra Connections broadcasts. These plans integrate technology and 21st century learning skills to focus on authentic learning experiences surrounding real-world problems. They include pre- and post-broadcast activities, plus follow-up grading rubrics and assessment activities. At the end of each unit, students are encouraged to develop a solution and take action to solve the problem they have chosen to address. Also find polar bear mini posters, polar bear music videos and a variety of other materials for classroom use.
Click Here to Visit Website
Explore Galileo’s Universe
The Museo Galileo website presents the scientific instruments that Galileo conceived or constructed through educational and interactive applications, films and in-depth examinations. Students can explore Galileo’s inventions, such as the compass, telescope, microscope. They’ll learn the history of the invention and discover its component parts and how it operates through interactive 3-D models. They’ll also get a better understanding of what the invention is used for through interactive animations.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: Science in Play is an online educational game that offers a first approach to science and to Galileo Galilei. Students must answer a series of questions correctly, starting from square 1 and through square 52, to complete the course and finish the game. Along the way, a special cartoon figure will accompany them. For the Instruments and Discoveries section, Galileo, who is seen intently observing the sky or doing an experiment, presents a question inside a bubble. A young Renaissance scientist character guides students through the section on Events and Locations, and a scholar character takes them through the section Figures and Legacies of Galileo.
Click Here to Access Free Game
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"Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites

Find High-Quality, Trustworthy Websites
SweetSearch is a search engine that seeks out only sites that have been reviewed and approved by a team of librarians, teachers and research experts. In all, 35,000 websites have been reviewed and approved by SweetSearch. In addition to the general search engine, SweetSearch offers five niche search areas: SweetSearch Web Research Tutorial teaches web research skills to educators and students; SweetSearch4Me is a search engine for emerging learners; SweetSearch2Day is where students can learn something new every day; SweetSearch Biographies offers profiles and outstanding search results for thousands of famous—or infamous—people from many walks of life, professions and countries, spanning many centuries; and SweetSearch Social Studies is an indispensable resource of primary source materials, such as speeches, letters, news reports, government documents, photographs and maps.
Click Here to Visit Website
Discuss Cameras in the Courtroom
Why can’t we watch U.S. Supreme Court proceedings on C-Span? Cameras in the Court? is an introduction to the U.S. Supreme Court on a topic that students can immediately relate to in this age of instant and universal video. There is a smiling photo of each Justice (with dates of birth and appointment to the Court) along with brief quotes about his or her views on opening the Court to cameras, based on public statements. (Most are against the "proposition.”) The website is welcoming to struggling readers. For students who are ready for more challenging material about cases that the Court has heard or will soon hear, a host of resources (video and links to readings) are included in the C-SPAN series America and the Courts.
Click Here to Visit Website
Introduce the Civil War in a New Way
The online Civil War Era National Cemeteries travel itinerary website, developed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, offers several ways to discover and experience the historic places that shaped and illustrate the history and development of the National Cemetery system. Descriptions of each featured National Cemetery on the List of Sites highlight its significance and include photographs and other illustrations. Essays provide background on important themes in the development of the National Cemeteries during and after the Civil War and offer context for understanding historic places featured in the itinerary. Maps help visitors plan what to see and do and get directions to historic places to visit. A Learn More section provides links to relevant websites with information on cultural events and activities, other things to see and do, and dining and lodging possibilities. This section also includes a bibliography. View the itinerary online or print it as a guide if you plan to visit in person.
Click Here to Visit Website
Plus: The Civil War Trust’s website provides free, downloadable apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad to help students experience the battlefields. At present there are apps for four battles: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and Bull Run.
Click Here to Download Free Apps
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Bookmark These!

Browse for a wide variety of products published by leading K–12 education companies, all of them delivered digitally. Many of the ebooks can be used on interactive whiteboards and various mobile reading devices. All of the books whose covers you see displayed are on sale at a 15% discount. To stay informed about what’s going on with ebooks in K–12 schools, sign up for the freeenewsletter, K12 TeacherFile.
Get a free copy of The Big Deal eBook of Resources for 21st Century Teaching and Learning: From the 3Rs to the 4Cs. Explore this collection of resources to help students move beyond the 3Rs and embrace the 4Cs—Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity—the 21st century skills cited by industry as keys to innovation and invention in an increasingly challenging global economy.
Sign up at The Big Deal Book Website for hELLo!, afree quarterly ELL e-newsletter that includes a wealth of information on interactive resources for students, teachers, librarians, principals and others involved in the education of English language learners.
Download a free eBook of the popular print edition of The Big Deal Book of Technology for K–12 Educators. Explore the many opportunities to fund your special programs, access timely reports and articles, locate free and inexpensive resources and identify engaging interactive Web sites.
Join The Big Deal Book of Technology’s "Amazing Resources for Educators” community on the edWeb to get more frequent updates on grant deadlines, freeresources and hot new sites for 21st century learning. And, of course, you can share any great new resources that you’ve unearthed!
Browse the new Big Deal eBookstore, in partnership with! Find thousands of titles from your favorite educational publishers.
Explore the Web Wednesday feature on Here you’ll find new interactive experiences and resources that incorporate 21st century themes and skills into the study of core subjects.
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