Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holidays: Some laughs

What's your favorite holiday movie? Have a discussion about what makes a great holiday movie. Do you have a tradition of watching a certain movie every year?

Holidays: 5 ways to stay healthy for the holidays

Read this article. Then, have a discussion about holiday stressors that your students experience. Have students create a plan to help reduce stress during the holiday season.

Holidays: Are they too materialistic?

Read this article. Then, have a discussion about steps each student can take to make the holidays more meaningful. This is also a great opportunity to discuss family traditions.

Current Events: CSPAN student cam 2010

C-SPAN's StudentCam is an annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think seriously about issues that affect our communities and our nation. Students are asked to create a short (5-8 minute) video documentary that responds to one of the topics listed below.

This Year's StudentCam Topic:

Students are asked to create a 5-8 minute documentary on:

A) One of our country's greatest strengths;


B) A challenge the country is facing.

Choose one, grab a camera, and get started on your documentary today!

This could be a great advisor activity that could last the entire month of December!

Current Events: UN Cyberschoolbus

Check out what is going on around the world through the UN's cyberschoolbus.

Current Events: World News for Children Podcasts

Explore 4 minute weekday news bulletins for 7-14 year olds by the BBC in a podcast format. Also, go to their home page to check out their entire website for kids.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Surprise

What really happened at the first New England
feast? Was it duck or turkey on the plate? (Were
there any plates?) A historian shares some secrets.
Click the picture above to find out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gratitude: 20 Little Things to Treasure

Have students create a list of 20 little things to treasure about: _________. You can choose the topic. Here is an example using the fall season:

20 Little Things To Treasure in Autumn

  1. Quiet dinners by the fire
  2. Reading mystery novels in darkened rooms
  3. Flannel sheets at the end of a long day
  4. Candles Flickering
  5. Smelling cinnamon, oranges & cloves
  6. Pumpkins
  7. Roasts, Potatoes & Carrots
  8. Fluffy feather beds on a cold night
  9. Watching movies snuggled in soft blankets
  10. Cozy socks
  11. Pie in the oven
  12. Warm crackling wood stoves
  13. Squash with buttered brown sugar
  14. Chili and corn bread smothered in honey
  15. Wind blowing through leaves
  16. Glow of lamps through windows
  17. Laughter filling a room
  18. Scrabble and popcorn
  19. Caramel apples
  20. Family

Gratitude: Make a Thankful Tree or Pile of Leaves

Use this printable sheet and copy it onto fall colored paper. Have students create thankful leaves by writing directly on the leaves. You can choose to do this activity in a general way or have students focus on what they are thankful for from each other as we did with the bucket drops.
Additional leaf shapes can be found here:

Gratitude: Create a Journal

Students are often asked at this time of year to recall all for which they are thankful. It may involve one lesson or a week's worth of lessons and/or a culminating activity on the last day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Instead of making Thanksgiving break the stopping point for thankfulness, why not make it the starting point? Students can start a gratitude journal over Thanksgiving break and maintain it until winter break. This way, middle school students can truly see the many people, places, and things for which they should give thanks.

Current Events: Student News Daily is an incredible current events website designed for middle school to high school students. They feature the following:

Current World Events:

If you want your students to get lost in the world, is the place to do it! Each section of the world has its own films in a documentary form with shorter films called "moments" that are great to use if you don't have the luxury of time to view the entire film in class.

There are also photos that are tagged into categories such as "culture". The photos are stunning and offer a great springboard for discussions as well as an incredible source for writing prompts.

Included are interviews with people that are making a difference in that part of the world. These interviews will encourage discussion about what the challenges are in trying to make a difference.

Another great feature is the question of the month. This month's question is: What is the key to a happy life?

This site has it all...high interest video, beautiful photography, and connections to people. Students will love to explore! Teachers will love to use this educational site as a guide to exploring the world with their students!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Current Events: Sesame Street Turns 40

This week, the beloved children's show Sesame Street turned 40 years old! The New York Times wrote an article called Same Street, Different World. Have a discussion about how the world has changed in 40 years. Here are some guiding questions:
  • What do you remember most about Sesame Street?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • What is timeless about Sesame Street?
  • What changes have happened in the world over the past 40 years?
  • If you were to make an updated version of Sesame Street, what would it be like? What characters would you include? Where would it take place?
ps.... cookie monster is NOT veggie monster is an urban legend.

CNN Heroes

Click the picture to go to the CNN heroes page to watch videos of everyday heroes. You can even vote for your favorite hero! All of these videos will spark conversations in your advisor group about what it means to be a hero.

Heroes: What is a hero?

  1. How do you define the term "hero?"
  2. What adjectives would you use to describe heroes?
  3. Who are some individuals whom you would classify as heroes? Explain why you would assign that label to each person you listed.
  4. How would you define the term "celebrity?" What are the differences and/or similarities between heroes and celebrities? Can celebrities be heroes? Explain.
  5. Do you think that it is important that we have heroes? Why or why not?
  6. How do you think that we should choose our heroes? What criteria should we use?
  7. Do you think that heroes are born or made? Explain.
  8. Do you believe that one person can make a difference in the world? State your rationale.
  9. Who is your hero? How has this person made a difference for the better? Is there a specific event or turning point that motivated your hero to take action?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Current Events: Using Cartoons


1. What is the point of Nate Beeler's cartoon?

2. Do you agree with this assertion? Explain your answer.

Current Events: Using Cartoons


Tone is the attitude a cartoonist takes towards a subject. Which pair of words best describes the tone of this cartoon?

a) paranoid/fearful
b) solemn/serious
c) light-hearted/humorous
d) condescending/mocking

Sunday, November 1, 2009

World Series 2009

Check out the World Series website to talk about the games and watch some great replays!

Current Events: Daily Local News

The Daily Local News can be an excellent source for local current events!

Current Events: CNN student news

CNN Student News has a video news clip from each day that is about 10 minutes long. There are discussion questions and quizzes for each video. I would preview the clip before showing it since it is based on real-world news. This is an outstanding current events resource!

Do you have a phobia?

Almost everyone is afraid of something and most of the time these fears keep us safe. However, some fears are stronger than usual and become phobias. The word phobia comes from a Greek word meaning "to be frightened." Arachnophobia, or fear of spiders, is one of the more common phobias. Here are some others:

Agoraphobia—the fear being in open spaces
Coulrophobia—the fear of clowns
Glossophobia—the fear of speaking in public
Nosophobia—the fear of catching a disease
Acrophobia—the fear of heights
Phasmophobia—the fear of ghosts

Some people are afraid of things that seem very unusual.

Triskaidekaphobia—the fear of the number 13
Zoophobia—the fear of animals
Amathophobia—the fear of dust
Macrophobia—the fear of long waits
Chromophobia—the fear of colors

Do you have any phobias?

What is daylight savings time anyway?

Click the picture to find out all about daylight savings time. Also, read more here.