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Weekly Web Finds -- Jan. 22, 2009

Education & the Economy

Bad news –- Slump tests schools’ ability to help kids (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) reports

on the growing number of schools providing non-school related services, like groceries and

clothing.  More children and their families are homeless and schools are trying to help.  So

we guess, that’s sort of good news, too.  As is another story from the Atlanta

Journal-Constitution, Teachers asked to ‘donate’ their raises.  It’s bad news that the

Fayette County school system is struggling with its education budget and needs teachers to

give back.  But it’s good news that they’re being creative and looking for ways to get

through the economic slump without serious cutbacks, right?  We saw this next story and

thought we’d add it to show that this economic slump is worldwide.  Banking ‘threat’ to new

schools from the BBC looks at how renovation plans for schools are being undermined because

banks are refusing to lend. 

Good news -- We take good news wherever we can find it.  Milford schools budget climbs 3.49%

according to the New Haven Register.  It’s a small increase compared to previous years and

some initiatives were cut.  USA Today reports that Stimulus gives schools $142 billion – with

strings.  The money proposed in the “stimulus could bring school advocates closer than ever

to a long-sought dream: full funding of the No Child Left Behind law and other huge federal


The Education Commission of the States has posted a PowerPoint presentation as part of its

Leadership Forum that looks at “the national and state economic situation; How past economic

downturns have impacted education spending; and How education budgets will be impacted.”

Searching Social History

Fighting child labor, women’s rights, the Depression; these and other social movements are

part of American Social History, a fine collection of collections from the Digital Library

Federation.  You can browse by topic or search the collections.  Primary documents and images

are digitized for a host of events and movements.  Collections’ links take you to the hosting


This Week’s Reports

eSchool News Online has posted a special report, Project-Based Learning.  “Project-based

learning engages students and garners results, its proponents say.”  One project-based

learning curriculum, according to the report, has been adopted in 26 states.

Preschool Curriculum: What’s in It for Children and Teachers is a report from the Albert

Shanker Institute.  It provides research and guidance on preschool curriculum including:

“effective instructional practices; key components of a strong curriculum; suggestions for

working with English language learners,” among other topics.

UNICEF has released The State of the World’s Children 2009.  This year’s report looks at

maternal and newborn health.  Some interesting demographics are offered.


Tutoring effort failing in Michigan, nation is a story in the Detroit Free Press about the

free tutoring requirements under NCLB.  “The tutoring sounds good in theory but is failing in

practice... There are no educational requirements for tutors beyond a high school diploma,

and nothing to guarantee students are tutored in the areas they need the most help.”

Tech giants Microsoft, Intel and Cisco are teaming up to create a 21st century skills

assessment framework according to eSchool News Online (Tech giants vow to change global

assessments).  The “companies unveiled plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to

develop new approaches, methods, and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century

teaching and learning efforts in classrooms around the world.”

Teacher wants to expel Huck Finn according to the Los Angeles Times.  John Foley, a teacher

near Portland, OR, “wonders whether 'Huck Finn' ought to be sent back down the river. Why not

replace it with a more modern, less discomfiting novel documenting the epic journey of

discovery?”  He also thinks the same for To Kill a Mockingbird.  Hmmm, another editorial


Science Stuff

SiemensScienceDay is a joint partnership between Siemens and Discovery Education designed to

engage young science learners.  The site “provides standards-based videos and hands-on

activities for earth, life, and physical science that can help educators turn fourth through

sixth graders into aspiring scientists.”  It’s colorful and has activities for teachers and

parents that use everyday things (like candy, fruit and rubber balls) to get kids interested

in science.  

Google = Art?

First, Google wants to digitize every book ever published.  Now Google is moving into the

world of art.  Google makes famous artwork more accessible, from eSchool News Online, looks

at a new project undertaken by Google Earth and the Prado Museum in Madrid.  The project

“allows people to view the gallery's main works of art from their computers--and even zoom in

on details not immediately discernible to the human eye.”  You’ll need to download the Google

Earth software to be able to view the images. 

Typical Cat Behavior

We are rather partial to cats as evidenced by the number of end pieces featuring felines we

include.  So here’s another one.  This cat, real not animated, is having a great time.  Who

needs those expensive cat toys?  Enjoy!  [URLs: 



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