Friday, September 30, 2011

Episode 124 – 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year

It’s Friday September 30th, 2011 and welcome to episode 124 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This episode we have an excerpt from a recent presentation given by the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year to a group of EIU preservice teachers from earlier this month. The Teacher of the Year event was organized by the EIU chapter of the Association for Childhood Education International.  We also have another Teaching with Primary Sources segment where we will be talking with Dr. Cindy Rich the Director of the Teaching with Primary Sources program here at EIU about natural disaster resources available from the Library of Congress. September has also had a large number of technology related announcements so I will also share my Technology Pick of the Week.

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(46 minutes 24 seconds)

First up we have Annice Brave, the winner of the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year Award. She recently talked about a variety of topics related to education at an evening event here on campus. Her talk covered current educational news items including the movie Waiting for Superman, the Save our Schools march held this summer in Washington DC, how poverty is impacting our local schools and she ends her presentation by sharing her recent experiences with the other Teacher of the Year award winners from across the United States at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.  Without further delay here is an excerpt from the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year presentation given by Annice Brave to teacher education students here at Eastern Illinois University.

Matt Damon speaks before SOS March

Teaching with Primary Sources

Natural Disasters
September 30, 2011
When teachers are looking for resources relative to this topic, the Library of Congress may not be the first place that comes to mind to look.  Remember, primary sources are created for every event and come in many formats. 

Natural disasters seem to be headlining the news more frequently.  The story may have played out on the other side of the globe or within our own state or community.  Even if we are not directly impacted by the event, it is amazing how many different disciplines and topics these discussions fit into.  Regardless, we want to show our students ways that they can connect with these events and hopefully encourage them to learn more. 

Let’s take a look at the diverse scenarios relative to nature taken to the extreme are reflected in the Library of Congress digitized collections.  We can take a look at items from the basic level of recognizing what they are, to how they fit into curriculum and sample activities that develop critical thinking skills.
Basic level of understanding: what are natural disasters and what types of primary sources exist that are relative? - earthquake, tornado, flood (hurricane, tsunami), drought (dust bowl), heat wave, blizzard, volcano & more.
  1. Basic search from homepage for images, maps, docs, etc. – when I enter flood in the search box there are 6468 items displayed.  I am shown a long list of relative terms such as flood control, floodplain, floods Mississippi, floods 1920-1930…  The same would happen for tornado, blizzard, etc.
  2. Today in History– archive search for flood gave 12 hits ranging from the 1775 creation of the Army Corp of Engineers to modern day.  We heard about flooding farms and rerouting the Mississippi in So IL this year and I was fascinated by information on the Hoover Dam.
Ideas for different content areas
  1. Science – the most obvious fit.  Beyond the homepage, primary sources in American Memory collection Weather and events are referenced in the papers of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as well as those from the Chicago Daily News, Prairie Settlement and more. Do you know about Everyday Mysteries?  from the Kids and Families link.  Science based questions with answers and an opportunity to ask questions.
  2. Geography –  Map Collections offer resources for studying changes in landscapes over time, Places in the News .
  3. Social Studies/History – Use maps to research impact on communities, culture over time.
  4. Languages arts- setting and context, dust bowl 6  in American Memory – America from the Great Depression to World War II (Photographs from the FSA/OWI 1935-1945) , American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940   and Voices from the Dust Bowl
Taking it into the Classroom and Critical Thinking

Nature’s Fury
– 7 a lesson for grades 6-12 looking at personal stories about natural disasters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries through newly invented motion pictures, panoramic photos, personal accounts and poignant song lyrics.

Topics in Chronicling America – 8
The Great San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 – various articles that students can review and compare perceptions from different newspapers
Next month in honor of Veterans Day we will look at music available at and discuss copyright, fair use and guidelines.

Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology Pick of the week this week is from the recent Amazon event held Wednesday in new York City. Amazon announced three new Kindle devices to add to their staple of ebook readers but the big news of the event was the affordable prices that will most likely bring the use of ebooks to the masses. The lowest cost device is the all new Kindle coming in at a price of $79. The middle model comes in two flavors and is called the Kindle Touch that has wifi with a price of $99 and the Kindle Touch 3G that has Whispersync that allows the purchase and downloading of content over the 3G network. The big news of the day however is the new Kinndle Fire that is a color tablet similar to the iPad but at less than half the cost with a starting price of $199. The Kindle Fire not only is an ebook reader but is also a tablet device that can playback HD movies and also download apps from the Amazon Store. These prices are the most affordable we have seen to date and most likely will give ebooks a boost with the general public.
Amazon Kindle

From the Amazon website:
“We are excited to announce four new products: the all-new Kindle for only $79, two new touch Kindles – Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G – for $99 and $149, and a new class of Kindle – Kindle Fire – a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199.”

That wraps it up for episode 124 of TechTalk4Teachers. I want to thank the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year award winner, Annice Brave, for sharing her presentation. I also want to thank Dr. Rich for her Teaching with Primary Sources segment on natural disasters this month. Show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at To leave a comment or suggestion, please send an email to or leave a comment on the Tech Talk for Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom. Keep on Learning.