Secrets of the Dead: China’s Terracotta Warriors

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: PBS. Secrets of the Dead: China’s Terracotta Warriors. 2011.

Plot Description:
Archeologist and scientists examine the collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, that were found in 1974, dating back to about 2200 years ago. They determine how the clay figures were created. Engineers recreate armor and weapons found among the statues and test their effectiveness. (Spoilers: they’re very effective. It took the Western world over a thousand years to catch up.)

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 55.4

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This television episode is presented in first- and third-person, focusing on the history of China. It teaches the science behind the artifacts. The media is 10th grade level.

Content Area: Social Science-History

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great tool to use in Social Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade through 12th grade. It explores history and archeology.

Supporting Digital Content:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/chinas-terracotta-warriors-watch-the-full-episode/844/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army

Froguts Virtual Dissections

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: Froguts Inc. Froguts Virtual Dissections. 2001.

Plot Description:
This online biology software guides a student through the process of dissecting several different subjects, including squid, starfish, and the original frogs. The full-color virtual dissections and quizzes prepare biology students for the actual dissections in their classroom labs. It is also a valid substitute for in-person dissections in 18 states including California.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 33.8

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This tool is presented in third-person, focusing on the selected subject for dissection. It teaches biology skills and vocabulary. The media is 9th grade level.

Content Area: Science-Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a fun tool to use in Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade through 12th grade. It explores biology and dissection.

Supporting Digital Content:
http://www.froguts.com/

Note: I last used Froguts about a decade ago, and the program was impressive even then. It now includes x-rays and other new tools.

Everyday Algebra Lesson Plan

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: PBS Learning Media. Everyday Algebra Lesson Plan. 2002.

Description:
This lesson teaches algebra using patterns, relationships, and rules. It includes three videos, several worksheets, and additional online activities.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 50.1

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This video is presented mainly in second-person lecture format, focusing on the details of algebra that trip up students. It teaches skills needed to pass the GED. The media is 9th grade level.

Content Area: Math-Algebra

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a good lesson to use in Math Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade through 12th grade. It explores basic algebra.

Supporting Digital Content:
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/2ec23eda-14cf-4768-8c40-c39ef944e3f7/everyday-algebra/
http://tdcms.ket.org/targetedmath/L.7EverydayAlgebra.pdf

Gerald McBoing-Boing

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: Geisel, Theodor Seuss. Gerald McBoing-Boing. 1950.

Plot Description:
When Gerald McBoing-Boing began to speak, he didn’t use words, but sound effects. His parents didn’t know what to do; the doctor couldn’t cure him. He couldn’t make friends; the school couldn’t teach him. A radio program hired him to make all the sound effects they needed. His parents were proud that he found his niche.

Quantitative Reading Level: Accelerated Reader: 3.5

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This video is presented in third-person, focusing on Gerald’s troubles from being different. It teaches that everyone has a specialty, if only they can find it. The media is 3rd grade level.

Content Area: English

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea; #4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area; #7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text; #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great short video to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 1st grade through 3rd grade. It explores themes of acceptance.

Supporting Digital Content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNsyQDmEopw
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_McBoing-Boing

Note: This is the only Dr. Seuss story that was not published as a book first. Gerald’s tale was first a radio reading.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: Hank Green’s SciShow. Why Do Dogs Pant? 2014.

Plot Description:
Panting is the main way that dogs release heat from their bodies. Humans do this by sweating; dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their paws. Dog tongues are wide and flat, giving them a larger surface area for saliva to evaporate off of, removing heat quickly. This does dehydrate them, so on hot days dogs need lots of water that they can use up.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.9

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This video is presented mainly in second-person, focusing on why dogs pant and the scientific reasoning behind it. The media is 3rd grade level.

Content Area: Science-Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea; #4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area; #7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text; #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great short video to use in Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 2nd grade through 5th grade. It explores dog biology.

Supporting Digital Content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8sxpxXjSBs&list=UUZYTClx2T1of7BRZ86-8fow
https://www.youtube.com/user/scishow

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Chapter Book

Bibliographic Information: Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1900.

Plot Description:
Dorothy lived in Kansas with her aunt and uncle and dog. A freak cyclone lifted her house clean off, and landed in Oz, on top of the Wicked Witch of the East with silver slippers. The Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy that the shoes were now hers, but she just wants to go home. She travels to the Emerald City in the center of Oz, where the Great Wizard might be able to help her. Along the way she befriends a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion, who join her travel as each of them also want something from the wizard (a brain, a heart, and nerves, respectively). They have to stay on the Yellow Brick Road that Dorothy had been traversing, lest they get lost or are bewitched by the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard meets the travellers, agreeing to grant their desires if they’ll defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. They set out west; she sends wolves, crows bees, and soldiers to kill them, but fail. Her winged monkeys capture them. The witch tricks Dorothy into taking off one of the magical slippers; angry, she throws a bucket of water on the witch, who melts. Dorothy and her companions return to the Wizard, he is revealed to be an ordinary man. He gives the males a totem of their desires, which just gives them the confidence to use their natural intelligence, love, and courage. To return Dorothy home, he sets up his hot-air balloon. She exits the craft to retrieve her dog, but it has already flown too high. The Good Witch of the South reveals to Dorothy that the silver shoes have the power to transport her any location she wants, including home.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 1030; Accelerated Reader: 7.0

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the adventures of Dorothy and her friends. It teaches about how you already have almost everything you need to succees and be happy. The text is 6th grade reading level.

Content Area: English

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; #8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great chapter book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 4th grade through 6th grade. It explores themes like mystery and adventure.

Note: In the movie, the slippers were ruby, because The Wizard of Oz was one of the first color films, and the red showed up much better than silver.

The Golden Compass

Chapter Book

Bibliographic Information: Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. New York: Random House, Inc., 1995.

Plot Description:
Lyra Belacqua spends most of her time with her daemon companion around Oxford University, where her guardian works. Lyra secretly watches her Uncle Asriel in a meeting that talks about Dust, a particle that congregates around adults but not children. He gets funding for a project in the Arctic to prove that alternate universes exist. Her guardian gives her a pocket watch that reveals truth to the right questions. Meanwhile, children have been going missing all over and she befriends Mrs Coulter, who takes her in. She flees when she realizes Mrs Coulter is behind the disappearance of the children. She travels with a nomadic people, who explain that the woman is actually her mother and that Asriel is actually her father. Lyra befriends and frees a sentient bear. She finds out that the kidnapped children are being experimented upon, and sees a boy whose bond with his daemon has been cut, which essentially cuts a person off from their soul. She encounters Asriel again, who claims that Dust is the source of all misery and that he will be the one to erradicate it. He leaves for a parallel universe. Lyra and her daemon vow to stop him, and follow him.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 930; Accelerated Reader: 7.1

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the adventures of Lyra. It teaches about how few things are as they seem. The text is 6th grade reading level.

Content Area: English

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; #8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great chapter book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 4rd grade through 6th grade. It explores themes like mystery and adventure.