Our Top Five Resources in December 2018

By Julia O’Connor

Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in December.

1. New Experiences Designed for Children
Xyza is a news experience made just for elementary and middle school–aged children. Whether reading, watching, responding, or contributing, students get the opportunity to learn about the events that are occurring in the world right now. Xyza’s news stories cover politics, world events, entertainment, sports, arts, culture, science, technology, and more.

2. Winter Holiday Videos
PBS LearningMedia’s All About the Holidays is a collection of short videos exploring the history and significance behind Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Teachers are invited to use the videos to spark a discussion with students about the history, traditions, and cultural roots of these holidays. The videos are accessible in Englishand Spanish.

3. High-Tech Biology Kits for the Next Generation of Scientists
The BioBits Project was started by a group of synthetic biology researchers at Northwestern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, who wanted to help students learn biology by doing biology. Their aim was to enable students to perform a range of simple, hands-on biological experiments without the need for specialized lab equipment and at a fraction of the cost of current standard experimental designs.

4. Essay Contest on Issues Related to Human Rights
The Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation is offering a $1,000 first prize and a $500 second prize to high school students in the United States who are judged to have written the best answers to the following question on American civil liberties and human rights: “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims that ‘US government policies continue to sanction [that is, condone or permit] human rights violations against immigrants. Do you think the ACLU is right? If so, what policies, laws, or other factors (political, economic, cultural, etc.) are responsible for the violations and what actions should be employed to end them? If you think the ACLU is wrong, explain why it is wrong.” The essays will be judged according to how clearly and effectively students answer the question posed and the extent to which their responses are supported by research.

5. Neutral, Biased, or Balanced?: Recognizing Points of View in Media
Before the recent inauguration, then Vice-President Elect Pence accused the news media of being biased. As the media and Washington seem to be careening out of control, our students and their families are becoming more confused about navigating news. In fact, a recent survey report by Teaching Tolerance states that educators have become “medics on the frontlines.”

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