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September 2019

sub heading icon Can't-Miss Teaching Extras

Keep the learning going with additional videos, book recommendations, discussion starters, and more! 

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The Mystery of the Stolen Bugs

Why would anyone want to take 7,000 creepy-crawly creatures?

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New Orleans has the largest insectarium in the United States. Take your class deeper into the world of creepy-crawlies by showing this 1-minute video

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To experience the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavillion without leaving your classroom, visit their photo gallery. Take a few minutes to review the pictures beforehand and choose your favorites to show your class. 

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This 1 1/2-minute news clip shows the actual security camera footage of the bug heist!


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The Wild Life of Christian the Lion

Can a lion born in a cage ever learn to be free?

 

 

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Your students might be surprised to hear that lions aren’t born knowing how to roar. Check out this 1-minute video of an adorable lion cub trying to roar—too cute! 

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For a fun compare and contrast activity, share this helpful article that explains how lions and pet cats have more in common than we think. 

Fun Fact

The London department store where the men bought Christian was Harrod’s. They opened their pet department in 1917 and sold animals until most of them were outlawed by the 1976 Endangered Species Act. You’ll find more background here.

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Teach your students more about Born Free USA, which campaigns to protect wild animals and wild places and works to ensure every individual animal is treated with compassion and respect. You can see their work here--be sure to check out the monkeys in their Texas primate sanctuary. Born Free USA is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

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George Adamson is a small part of our article, but a big part of the story. Get to know this unique man in this 5-minute clip filled with images that explain why he was nicknamed “Father of Lions.”


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This Is the Loneliest Place on Earth/This Is the Most Crowded Place on Earth

Where would you rather live?

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This fascinating video gives you a tour of Tristan Da Cunha in two minutes. It also includes short interviews with residents.  

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Our article mentions that the people of Tristan had to relocate to England after the devastating eruption of their volcano. This 2 ½-minute video documents the arrival and departure of its residents to Southampton, England. If you only want to show one group’s triumphant return, start the video at the 1:15 minute mark. 

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This 4-minute video about ways to improve life in Dhaka is admittedly not made with young children in mind, but it’s worth sharing to see the city’s traffic and overcrowding, and may spark a conversation about how people come up with solutions to big problems.


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Mango, Abuela, and Me

Mia’s grandmother has come to live with her—but she doesn’t speak English. How will they get to know each other?

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Your students will learn lots more about author Meg Medina by reading this fun FAQ

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You can also show your kids an interview with Meg. We suggest the questions at 0:15-1:00, 5:27-6:59, and 9:13-10:21.

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Explore the site of the book’s illustrator, Angela Dominguez. Ask students if they’ve read any of the other books she’s illustrated. Which ones would they like to read? 


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I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic

George thinks he’s the luckiest boy alive to be on this grand ship. But then disaster strikes.

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When your students read this play, let them know that it was based on Lauren Tarshis’ book, I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic. Encourage your students to enter our contest for a chance to win a signed copy of her book! 

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In this 1-minute video, author Lauren Tarshis shares a surprising research strategy--one you can try with your students! 

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For years, scientists have worked to recreate exactly how the Titanic sunk. Here’s a 2 1/2-minute video of James Cameron and his team creating new CGI of how the ship sank. They explain what’s happening in a way your students will understand.

From the Storyworks Jr. Archives

We’ve covered the Titanic in many ways over the years: narrative nonfiction, a poem, short nonfiction about the cracker (yes!) that survived the disaster, and another story about Titanic 2, due to set sail in 2022! 

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Your students will be fascinated to see what the wreck of the Titanic looks like today, over 100 years since it sank. This nearly 6-minute video shows footage shot at an expedition to the wreck. We recommend starting at the 0:53 second mark, as the first minute is full of scientific jargon that will go over kids’ heads. Be sure to pre-screen it to make sure it won’t be too scary for your students!


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Should Chocolate Milk Be Banned From Your School?

Some say it’s too sugary. Others say it’s a healthy treat. What do you think?

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San Francisco banned chocolate milk from schools back in 2017. This article explains how students there reacted (spoiler: not very well!).

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Have students research how much sugar is in a serving of their favorite drink (and then make sure they know that a typical drink bottle contains at least two servings). From there, have them create a bar graph illustrating each drink’s sugar content. 

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Have your students guess which foods contain hidden sugar. The answers--bread, ketchup, flavored yogurt, even soup--will surprise them! Share more sugar facts with this infographic.


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I Invented My New Arm

Jordan Reeves turned her disability into a superpower. Now she helps others do the same.

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Want to show your students how Jordan’s Project Unicorn prosthetic arm actually works? Show them this one-minute demonstration from Jordan herself. 

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Get to know Jordan in this 3 ½-minute TODAY Show profile. You can also ask your students: Does anyone know someone who has a prosthetic limb? 

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Jordan’s organization, Born Just Right, is always looking for creative kids to volunteer their design talents. If your students are makers-in-the-making, encourage them to step up!

From the Storyworks Jr. Archives

Share these paired texts about Charlie, an amazing kid whose talents are way more interesting than his differences.

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The organization “Don’t Hide It, Flaunt It” celebrates the visible and invisible differences that make every child unique—whether it’s having curly hair, being adopted, having only a few fingers and toes. Share these personal and moving essays from kids; they’ll make perfect mentor texts.


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Wild Home

Words and a photograph illustrate the natural setting of lions in the wild.

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Help your students get to know Rebecca Kai Dotlich through the personal stories she shares on her website

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Take a virtual class trip to the African savanna! After watching this three-minute video, ask your students if they recognize any of the animals and trees based on what’s mentioned in the poem. 

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Your students will be interested to know that Rebecca’s journey to becoming a poet has not been smooth. She reveals the honest details here.