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

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Welcome Friends of NBC Learn!

“Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”

 -- O.Henry

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we would like to thank you, our educators, for being a part of our loyal NBC Learn community. The NBC Learn team is pleased to provide you with timely and relevant resources for your classroom, but without your suggestions and feedback, none of this would be possible, and for that we are truly grateful. In this November edition of our monthly newsletter, you’ll find a cornucopia of resources, including videos about the expansion of democracy, timely in light of the approaching mid-term elections; riveting eye-witness testimony from NBC anchor Tom Brokaw as he watched the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago; and, of course, stories about the Pilgrims and Indians to commemorate Thanksgiving.

Best Wishes,

The NBC Learn Team

 Featured Videos in November

Off to the Polls

On November 4, hundreds of House and Senate seats will be up for grabs as Americans go to the polls to vote for who will stay on Capitol Hill and who will go. This election season, teach your students about the importance of the right to vote with this playlist that spans American history. You’ll find milestones about the fight to expand voting rights, including women’s suffrage, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and recent debates over voter ID laws.

K-12 | Higher Ed

Thanksgiving Resources

NBC Learn has plenty of resources to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Steer your students’ attention to the Mayflower voyage and consider what life was like when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Explain how an alliance formed between the Puritans and the American Indians and how the first Thanksgiving came to fruition. And teach your class about three Native American foods: corns, beans, and squash, and exactly why they are called the “three sisters.”

Life Aboard the Mayflower

K-12 | Higher Ed

Plymouth Settlement

K-12 | Higher Ed

Pilgrims at Plymouth

K-12 | Higher Ed

Puritans and Indians

K-12 | Higher Ed

The Story of the First Thanksgiving

K-12 | Higher Ed

The Three Sisters: Corns, Beans, and Squash

K-12 | Higher Ed

In our award-winning collection Chemistry Now, you can discover the chemistry behind the season’s signature dessert, pumpkin pie. You probably didn’t know that two of the main spices in the recipe, clove and nutmeg, come from two nearly identical molecules: eugenol and isoeugenol. Watch the video The Chemical Bond Between Cloves and Nutmeg to understand how the strength and placement of just one chemical bond gives them their special taste and smell. 


K-12 | Higher Ed

25 Years Ago: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

After 28 years of isolation from the west, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989, that people could travel freely to West Germany. As young West Germans climbed the wall and pulled their Eastern counterparts over the historic divide, NBC News was there, as the only American network to broadcast the events live as they unfolded.

Reports from this pivotal moment in history can be found in our playlist on the Berlin Wall. To introduce the historic context of this seminal moment, you can show your students the famous speeches like John F. Kennedy, “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech and Ronald Reagan’s demand to “tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev.” You can find more personal stories about the struggles for freedom behind the Iron Curtain, like the Emmy-award winning NBC News documentary, “The Tunnel,” which follows a group of West Berlin students who dug a secret tunnel under the Berlin Wall into communist East Berlin to rescue 59 friends and family members. 

K-12 | Higher Ed

Historic Female Firsts in November

40 Years Ago: Ella Grasso Elected Governor of Connecticut

On November 5, 1974, Ella Grasso became the first woman ever to be elected governor of a state (without inheriting the office from her husband). In the years since, thirty-two women have gone on to become governors, and in this midterm election, there are 24 women who hope to follow in Grasso’s footsteps to their respective governor’s mansions, including three Republicans, ten Democrats and eleven independent candidates. 

The Connecticut Democratic Party Nominates Congresswoman Ella Grasso

K-12 | Higher Ed

Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso Takes Office

K-12 | Higher Ed

The First Woman Governor Dies in 1981

K-12 | Higher Ed

10 Years Ago: Condoleezza Rice Nominated for Secretary of State 

On November 16, 2004, President George W. Bush announced Condoleezza Rice as his nomination for secretary of state. Rice became the first female African American secretary of state, the second African American secretary of state, following Colin Powell, and the second female secretary of state, following Madeleine Albright.

President George W. Bush Chooses Condoleezza Rice to Be Secretary of State

K-12 | Higher Ed

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Makes First Overseas Diplomatic Trip

K-12 | Higher Ed

Women of the War Room

K-12 | Higher Ed

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

Melanie Dalton profile picture

Meet Rebecca Millhench, a sixth grade teacher of contemporary world culture at Mikey Leland College Prep Academy for Young Men in Houston, Texas.  Millhench prepares a playlist for each cultural region studied in class, such as North Korea or the Middle East. She uses the NBC Learn Current Events collection to revamp class topics and make them personal for students. Last year, she taught a “Bring Back Our Girls” unit to help students better understand the kidnapping of three hundred Nigerian girls.

“For two weeks, students watched daily updates and, with their parents’ permission, they made their own posts on social media using #bringbackourgirls. They really felt like they became a part of the movement and a voice for action. My students really took it to heart because they could see these girls were the same age as they were and realized just because they are in a different country doesn’t make them any less human. When you can relay that message, it helps end prejudices.”

One of the students’ first lessons was to examine limited versus unlimited power. Millhench used the video Hidden Planet: North Korea, reported by NBC News's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, to show students what unlimited power looks like.

“The kids could not believe what they were seeing, how the people behaved, and how the country looked like. My students were shocked North Koreans didn’t know what Facebook was! Now they ask about Kim Jong Un all the time because the culture is so fascinating to them. All my students want to have Richard Engel’s job. Soon we will discuss the three monotheistic religions that came from the Middle East and I will be using his Hidden Planet: Jerusalem video.”

In another unit that covers recent conflicts in the Middle East, Millhench paired a “film strip” activity with this playlist. She gave each of her students a storyboard, with a designated space for each video in the playlist. After a video was played, students would summarize the video with an illustration.

“They haven’t heard of ISIS, but when they left class, they understood how a terror organization can come to power and the effects it has on not just one country, but the world. I think the combination of the audio and visual elements make the lessons stick, because I see their grades increase as well as their interest. Kids give NBC Learn videos 100% of their attention, and it has a commanding presence in the classroom.”

New Parent Toolkit Growth Chart: Social and Emotional Development

It has been argued that EQ, or emotional intelligence, is more important to overall success than IQ. The good news? It can be taught. Some school districts already tackle this topic with SEL, or Social and Emotional Learning, curriculum. Now there’s a resource to help parents and caregivers with these topics on the NBC Parent Toolkit. Check out the new Parent Toolkit growth chart on Social and Emotional Development today for tips and advice to promote perseverance, responsible decision-making, social skills and much more! 

Submit Your Stories to #IamUnbroken

Students, teachers and parents are invited to share their stories of triumph over adversity in the #IAmUnbroken campaign, an NBCUniversal-wide initiative that celebrates and inspires unbroken spirits from across the world.  The campaign leads up to the December 25, 2014, release of Unbroken, the new epic drama from Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie that follows the incredible life of Olympian and World War II hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell).  Stories may now be uploaded at the project’s official page: www.IAmUnbroken.com. Beginning on November 11, 2014, in honor of Veterans Day, and leading into the release of Unbroken, these powerful testaments to resilience will be featured regularly on www.IAmUnbroken.com. Selected stories may also be featured on NBC’s TODAY, and those who submit have the opportunity to receive an invitation to the film’s world premiere. And watch for NBC Learn’s Unbroken page appearing soon, featuring videos about the historical background to the movie, interviews with Louis Zamperini and classroom resources from Scholastic!  

NBC Learn at NCSS

Going to the NCSS in Boston? We’ll be there, showcasing NBC Learn’s vast offerings in social studies, including over 75 brand new videos on U.S. and world history, government and economics, created with Pearson Education. Come look for NBC Learn representatives at the Pearson booth, and check the NBC Learn Events Page and @nbclearn on Twitter for updates before the conference. The 94th NCSS Annual Conference takes place November 21-23, 2014 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston. 

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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