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Big Learning News 9-7-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:25 September 7, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Gas Prices
Web Sites: Hurricane Sites for Kids
Education News: Great interview with Gerald Bracey
Book Review: Deserts
Web Site: Cool Reads

Hurricane Relief

If your family would like to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, try these links:

American Red Cross: www.redcross.org

Network for Good: http://www.networkforgood.org/topics/animal_environ/hurricanes/: This site has links to lots of other relief organizations.

Math Moment

Gasoline Prices


Get your child involved in scouting out cheap gasoline with this web site. They can type their zip code and the distance you're willing to travel ("radius" - use a map and a compass to explain how the term "radius" is the same one they've learned for the distance from the center of the circle to the outside) and get a list of stations with the lowest prices in your area. If there are savings a few miles away, have your child figure out how much you'd save on a whole tank by paying, say, five cents less per gallon. Figure out how much gas you'd use to drive to the far station, and whether or not you'd actually save enough to make it worth the trip.

More math resources and our Math Moments archives on our Fun Math for Kids page on BigLearning.org - http://www.biglearning.org/big-learning-math-activities.htm

Web Site: Hurricane Sites for Kids

http://www.miamisci.org/hurricane/disasterquilt.html Miami Science Center "healing quilt:" I love that a science center remembered that storms, while intellectually interesting from far away, affect the real lives of children who live through them. On these pages, kids who have experienced natural disasters tell their stories.

http://www.wildwildweather.com/hurrican.htm Lots of good stuff, including hurricane names, learning activities, and the Safford-Simpson scale (Categories 1-5).

Not just for kids, but interesting, is http://hosted.ap.org/specials/neworleanssatellite/: Here you can view before-and-after maps and satellite images of New Orleans. If you click "View labeled map" you can see where the levees were breached and how much of the area was flooded.



Interview with Gerald Bracey


The always-interesting Gerald Bracey (associate professor at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia and outspoken critic of high-stakes testing and No-Child-Left-Behind) corrects a bunch of misconceptions in this fun-to-read interview. He discusses NCLB and pseudo-science, phonics instruction, poverty, and corruption in education research and politics.

Book Review

True Stories of Baseball's Hall of Famers by David Kellogg (Bluewood Books, 2000)

Ages 9-12

In this fun and inspiring book, Kellogg gives young readers insight into the character and personalities of 60 hall-of-famers. He's a master of "show, don't tell" writing, for example, letting Mickey Mantle's offhand comment to a teammate speak volumes about Mantle's pluck and belief in himself.

This would also be a fun read-aloud book for baseball fans under age 9. There's a fair amount of baseball vocabulary in the writing, but if your child understands it or you are willing to pause and explain, these are just plain good stories.

Buying Information

More Books for Kids at http://www.biglearning.org/newsbookreviews.htm.


Web Site

Cool-Reads book reviews by and for kids


All the 2000+ book reviews on this site were written by kids 10-15 years old. The site's creators were 11 and 13 when they launched the site. Kids who are looking for something to read will like the easy navigation and the well-organized reviews. Kids who are interested in starting a web site will enjoy reading about the history of the site.

Ordinarily any kid can submit a review, but they've gotten behind in editing and posting, and so they've shut down submissions until they catch up.


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Big Learning News (c) 2005 Karen Cole
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