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This Month‘s Featured Teaching and Learning Resources from NBC Learn

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Welcome Friends of NBC Learn!

“April has never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”

 -- Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Your school year has most likely kicked into high gear, and here at NBC Learn, we’re showcasing content from our archives and original collections that can help engage and inspire your students. In this October edition of our monthly newsletter, you’ll find enchanting resources for Halloween, links to timely CueCards that commemorate historic anniversaries, and playlists that can help your students celebrate the birthdays of important figures in American history. In our new Subscriber Spotlight, an instructional coach for the Syracuse City School District shows how she uses NBC Learn to challenge her students’ preconceived notions about historical events.

Want to remain more connected to our content every day? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. We update our pages on these sites every day with current events and relevant archival stories connected to that day in history. 

Best Wishes,

The NBC Learn Team

Spooky Science

NBC Learn has so many learning resources related to Halloween, it’s scary! In our award-winning collection, Chemistry Now, students can learn about the chemical reactions behind three hallmarks of the fall season: fear, foliage, and everyone’s favorite treat, chocolate. The Chemistry of Fear and Fright illustrates how “fight or flight” responses rely on adrenaline and cortisol to send a shiver down our spines. The Chemistry of Changing Leaves reveals how the pigment molecule chlorophyll tints autumn leaves to a dazzling gold or a zesty red. And The Chemistry of Chocolate uses the process of chocolate-making to demonstrate chemical reactions like melting point and the formation of crystalline structures.

The Chemistry of Fear and Fright

K-12 | Higher Ed

The Chemistry of Changing Leaves

K-12 | Higher Ed

The Chemistry of Chocolate

K-12 | Higher Ed

You can also get your students’ attention with some slimy science experiments from a chemist on the TODAY show. Sink your fangs into another TODAY show clip that examines spiders and their venom. And from our partners at San Francisco State University, learn about the discovery of a creepy-crawly insect that is turning honeybees into "Zombees." 

Science Experiments for Halloween

K-12 | Higher Ed

Here, Hold this Tarantula: A Guide to Spiders

K-12 | Higher Ed


K-12 | Higher Ed

Featured CueCards in October

 85 Years Ago: Black Tuesday

Black Tuesday, or the Wall Street Crash of 1929, followed a speculative boom when stocks were bought for margins of 10 percent cash and 90 per cent credit. In this playlist, learn more about Black Tuesday and why stock market failures have continued throughout America’s history. 

K-12 | Higher Ed

65 Years Ago: The People's Republic of China Founded

On October 1, 1949, after a victory by the Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China. Learn about the tumultuous history of China from the Great Leap Forward to its recent economic boom in this playlist.

K-12 | Higher Ed

10 Years Ago: Christopher Reeve Dies

The actor best known for playing Superman died on October 10, 2004 at the age of 52. Nine years earlier, Reeve had been thrown from a horse, leaving him paralyzed below the neck. In spite of a devastating spinal cord injury, Reeve led an inspiring life as an advocate for stem cell research. With his wife, he started a foundation called The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which continues to research treatments for spinal cord injuries.

Christopher Reeve Speaks to Democratic National Convention

K-12 | Higher Ed

Christopher Reeve Discusses Stem Cell Research

K-12 | Higher Ed

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Helps Paralyzed Men Move Again

K-12 | Higher Ed

United Nations Day

United Nations Day, on October 24th, commemorates the 69th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations. This year’s theme for UN Day is “Global Citizenship and Youth.” Inspire your students to be global citizens with this playlist that explores the history of the United Nations.

K-12 | Higher Ed

October Birthdays

October marks the birthdays of three historic American figures: John Adams, second president of the United States (October 30, 1735), Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States (October 27, 1858), and Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the United States (October 11, 1884). Commemorate the accomplishments of these extraordinary Americans with the playlists below. 

 "I read my eyes out and can't read half enough.  The more one reads the more one sees we have to read." - John Adams

K-12 | Higher Ed

 "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." - Theodore Roosevelt

K-12 | Higher Ed

"All of life is a constant education."- Eleanor Roosevelt

K-12 | Higher Ed

NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: "Using NBC Learn to Challenge Preconceived Notions About History"  

Melanie Dalton profile picture

Meet Kathleen Argus, a secondary Social Studies Instructional Coach for the Syracuse City School District. Argus leads professional development and trainings for teachers, ELA coaches, administrators and parents. In her trainings on NBC Learn, Argus suggests that students do an interactive exercise before watching a video to sharpen their critical-thinking skills.

“Students have preconceived images of history from movies and video games that can either be reinforced or challenged with NBC Learn videos,” she explains. Argus cites as an example the video Martin Luther King, Jr. Debates Segregationist Editor, a half-hour televised debate from 1960 between King and James J. Kilpatrick, the editor of the Richmond News Leader. Before students watch the video, Argus hands out sections of the transcript for them to read.

“The students read the text with the emphasis they think the debaters would use, and often they exaggerate certain terms and phrases,” noticed Argus. “But once we show them the actual video, students are often conflicted with their previous ideas about King and how he spoke during the debate. This leads to a discussion of ‘dignified debate’ and comparing the cultural behaviors of the 1960s with today.”

Syracuse City Schools has recently put a number of initiatives in place like the DBQ Project, which provides materials and training for using Document-Based Questions to help prepare students for college. Argus finds that NBC Learn can help there, too. “NBC Learn helps us support these initiatives in argumentative writing and informed action. I have created lessons with NBC Learn that support skills of sourcing, contextualization, close read, and corroborating evidence. I don’t think you run across any history teacher that isn’t excited about NBC Learn.”

Syracuse teachers also use NBC Learn playlists for quizzes and evidence-based writing, and they share playlists in a flipped classroom setting. 

Kathleen Argus' Progressive Era Playlist

NBC Learn Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight: "NBC Learn Increases Student Participation Tenfold"

Meet Shanti Srinivas, a Sociology professor at Galen College of Nursing in Louisville, Kentucky. She uses NBC Learn to engage nursing students who are more familiar with science than sociology.

“The evidence we use to support sociological concepts is often very different from what my medically-oriented students are used to. The practical, real-life stories on NBC Learn help my students understand the social causes behind how societal viewpoints change.”

Srinivas demonstrates how societal viewpoints have changed by contrasting videos on the same subject. For example, by juxtaposing A Look at Family Life in the Suburbs from 1955 with The Choice to be Childless from 1979 students can witness first-hand how the perception of the family unit has changed.

“I want my students to understand that it is not just our values and viewpoints that change, but society as a whole changes. They should understand the social background of every individual thing happening in their lives, and news-reporting establishes that connection for them.”

At the end of Srinivas’s course, her students write an essay about a personal issue and analyze the topic through a sociological lens, using NBC Learn videos as one of their main sources. In her online course, Srinivas embeds NBC Learn videos into the Canvas LMS so students can refer to them in the class discussion board for debate. “Embedding the videos into Canvas is very easy. I can just hit ‘download’ and embed them automatically. The videos really motivate my students. After watching a video, I ask them to give their viewpoint or criticisms, and their participation increases tenfold. NBC Learn opens up the door and generates immense interaction between my students.” 

Shanti's Playlist

NBC Learn Series Win Awards 

The Science of Golf, a video series produced in partnership with the United States Golf Association and Chevron, has received an S.E.T. Award for “Best Online Program.” The S.E.T. Awards are presented by the Entertainment Industry Council to productions portraying and promoting the fields of science, engineering, technology and math in an accurate yet entertaining way.

On October 2nd, NBC Learn Executive Editor Mark Miano accepted the RNRF Outstanding Achievement Award for the series Sustainability: Water.  The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation award recognizes a project, publication, piece of legislation, or similar concrete accomplishment in the natural resources field. NBC Learn is the only media organization to win the award twice. Sustainability: Water was produced in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Trainings Galore 

The NBC Learn team has been keeping busy with trainings across the country. Michael Levin, Director of Technology, visited the Miami Dade County Public Schools for their first ever Digital Learning Day and was interviewed by the NBC affiliate WTVJ about the event. Cyndy Harrison, trainer, met with librarians, instructional designers and faculty at California State University, Bakersfield. 

Education Nation Monthly Twitter Chat

In honor of Bullying Prevention Awareness month, Education Nation (@EducationNation) is hosting a Twitter chat Tuesday, October 28th at 7pmET to talk about ways families and educators can help children cope with bullying and prevent bullying altogether. The featured guest is educational psychologist, TODAY Show contributor and Parent Toolkit expert Dr. Michele Borba (@MicheleBorba). Join in with hash tag #ToolkitTalk and share stories from your school district on bullying prevention efforts. 

Dollars for College: Financial Aid Toolkit from America's Promise

NBC Learn’s partner America’s Promise Alliance and uAspire, with support from the Citi Foundation, has launched a financial aid tool designed to promote greater access to higher education. The increased opportunities and quality of life that college offers are well known, but too often the cost can seem prohibitive and the financial aid process can be daunting. The Dollars for College Financial Planning Toolkit seeks to help students and families understand all the available resources and options that can make higher education affordable. Dollars for College includes five comprehensive and easy-to-follow chapters, each offering solutions to potential challenges and directing students to resources that will help them to stay on track. The financial aid process is clearly presented in the form of a timeline to coincide with the steps that need to be taken at each grade level. The Dollars for College Financial Aid Planning Toolkit is available in English and Spanish, free and accessible to all through the following link. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance, visit AmericasPromise.org.

Blackboard Never Stop Learning Event

On October 20, NBC Learn will be at Towson University, an NBC Learn subscriber, to take part in the Never Stop Learning Tour, presented by Blackboard. The Never Stop Learning Tour is a FREE 1-day Teaching & Learning event for faculty, instructional designers, and academic leaders. NBC Learn will join more than 200 representatives from  regional colleges, universities, Blackboard content partners, and media and technology companies to help Blackboard clients extend their Blackboard environment in new and innovative ways to improve their educational experience.

How are you using NBC Learn as a teaching and learning resource? E-mail us at newsletter@nbclearn.com with examples of NBC Learn videos that especially engaged your students or summaries of your lessons.  We may feature you in a future K-12 or Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight!

Want to read more Subscriber Spotlights? On the Home page of NBC Learn K-12 or NBC Learn Higher Ed, look under the heading NBC Learn in the Classroom.

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