Media Matters

February 2013

Scholastic Book Fair: Feb. 11-15 in Room 203

Six Teaching Tools for Black History Month

Edutopia has posted a website with an abundance of valuable teaching resources to help celebrate Black History Month 2013 -- from interactive timelines and rich multimedia to lesson plans and study guides.

Education World: February Holidays

Education World is one-stop shopping for curriculum-based activities and resources for celebrating Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and Presidents' Day. You will find websites, internet scavenger hunts, quizzes, math practice, heart and circulatory system lessons, research projects on the presidents, and more!

Numberphile Videos

Numberphile is a series of videos by Brady Haran that reveal (in short, fun snippets) some of the mystery behind numbers and math. The videos would be great to use as class openers. Students could also make their own math videos to teach a concept to their classmates, similar to these, using stop-motion animation, drawings, infographics, etc.

E is for Explore!

E is for Explore is a blog that provides a collection of fun learning activities/ideas from other sources. There is an index that helps you find just what you need quickly and easily. Topics include discovery/exploration, science/engineering, mathematics, art, literacy, social studies and seasons/holidays. You can search by keyword or through a multi-category search (in the sidebar on the right).

Mission US

Mission US is an interactive adventure game designed to improve the understanding of American history by students in grades 5 through 8. Mission 1 (“For Crown or Colony?") puts players in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. They encounter both Patriots and Loyalists, and when rising tensions result in the Boston Massacre, they must choose where their loyalties lie. In Mission 2 (“Flight to Freedom”) players take on the role of Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover that life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act brings disaster. Will Lucy ever truly be free? Other missions are planned for release in 2013 and 2014. This website provides information and materials to support the use of Mission US in your classroom. Download all the teacher materials as a DOC or PDF.

Physics Central

Physics Central is a great website for students to explore science, activity books, experiments and activities. Students can learn more about physics in action (physics as found in the world around us), meet physicists, and learn about physics research. Categories include sound, electricity and magnetism, force and motion, light and optics, material science, quantum mechanics, space and the universe, and thermodynamics and heat. Be sure to check out the Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair section, which includes a downloadable kit that includes a manual, comic book, and four related activities.

The Holocaust Teaching Resources

The New York Times provides an outstanding collection of resources for teaching about the Holocaust. You will find lesson plans on the Holocaust and It's Legacy; Genocidal Acts and Crimes Against Humanity; and Tolerance, Hatred, and Human Rights; There are many articles on Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, as well as other resources on the web.

Glencoe Online has a multimedia presentation with an image gallery, videos, interactive maps, timelines, and online (printable) journal for students to answer discussion questions.

Great Source iWrite

Great Source iWrite is a collection of writing resources and support for educators, students in grades 5-12, and parents. A variety of templates, tutorials, and graphic organizers introduce and explain the major forms of writing (narrative, persuasive,expository, research, response to literature) and help students develop practical writing skills – from coming up with a topic idea to publishing a polished work. Be sure to check out the Writers' Tools tab (for each form or writing) for graphic organizers, topic ideas, and grammar help!

Ten Resources for Detecting and Preventing Plagiarism

Plagiarism, we all hate it, but how can we teach students to avoid it and how can we detect it? Just as the Internet makes plagiarism easy, the Internet also makes detecting plagiarism and prevent plagiarism easy. What follows are ten resources for detecting plagiarism and teaching students to avoid plagiarism. This is provided by Richard Byrne on his Free Technology for Teachers blog.

Detecting Plagiarism
1. The most obvious way to check a student's work for plagiarism is to do a quick search on Google. If you notice that a student has strung together some phrases that you don't think they've written, put the suspected phrase inside quotation marks and search. You may want to search on Google as well as on Google Scholar.

2. The Plagiarism Checker, created as a project for the University of Maryland, is an easy tool for detecting plagiarism. Simply enter a chunk of text into the search box and the Plagiarism Checker will tell you if and from where something was plagiarized.

3. Doc Cop offers a free service for checking small documents and a free service for checking documents against each other. Doc Cop also offers a fee based service that will check large documents and do a more comprehensive check than that offered for free.

4. Glatt Plagiarism service offers a simple self-detect program that you or students can use. Like the Plagiarism Checker you simply type or paste in a document to detect plagiarism.

Prevention of Plagiarism
5. The Purdue OWL website is the number one place I refer students and parents to for questions not only about Plagiarism, but for questions about all parts of the writing process.

6. FAQ's for Educators was created by four students at the University of Illinois. On this website you will find a list of lesson plans for teaching students about plagiarism. Lesson plans are available for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. In addition to lesson plans, teachers will find reference materials regarding copyright and intellectual property law.

7., produced by the same people that produce the commercial plagiarism detection software Turn It In, has a free learning center for students and teachers.'s learning center includes tips about avoiding plagiarism, definitions of plagiarism, and explanations of when you do or do not have to cite a reference.

8. offers some practical tips for students, teachers, and parents about avoiding plagiarism. also offers some tips about the research and writing process.

9 and 10. Like many universities and colleges both Northwestern University and theUniversity of North Carolina offer student writing guides that include examples of plagiarism with explanations of why the text is considered to be plagiarized. The examples on both websites include examples that many students would not think are examples of plagiarism.

Something to think about...

Are we preparing our students for 2020?

From The Institute for the Future (

Likewise for 2013!