Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Earth Day Every Day

This Wednesday, April 22nd, we'll celebrate our 39th Earth Day. Yes, we've been especially remembering our vital connection to the life of the earth on this day for thirty-nine years. To recap (and start preparing for next year's big 40th), you can read a short history of Earth Day, written by its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson.

But shouldn't we be conscious of our reliance on earth's resources every day? Definitely. That's why LEARN NC offers Focus on Planet Earth with interactive sites, great lessons, and field trip ideas for North Carolina teachers. Bookmark this site and revisit it regularly--not just next week--for classroom resources for local and global environmental learning.

By all means, let's plant a special seedling or tree on Earth Day. But every day we can teach that our personal and public decisions about the environment are important for our shared life on earth. That's sustainable global learning.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Food for Thought

It's spring break around here, with the daily reminder that there are countless ways to get hooked into some online activity. Invariably you suddenly find that hours have passed, and you haven't accomplished anything.

If you or your out-of-school students are looking for some online fun that produces actual, calculable, and beneficial global results, go to FreeRice. Put your vocabulary to the test, and you'll earn free rice (10 grains per correct answer) for the world's hungry. The sponsors whose banner appear on the site fund the food you earn by playing.

FreeRice is produced by the United Nations World Food Programme with its partner, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Since the site opened in 2007, more than 60 billion grains of rice have been donated. The rice has been distributed in Bangladesh, Uganda, Cambodia, Nepal, and other countries where hunger is a continuing problem.

The default page offers the vocabulary quiz, but click on Subjects and you'll find quizzes on art, chemistry, English grammar, and math. And if you want to test your global knowledge (and why not?), try the Geography challenges (identifying countries and capitals) and Language quizzes (French, Spanish, German, and Italian).

Miss a question? Don't worry. You'll find out the correct answer right away and be given a second chance in just a while. Then you'll nail it!

Sharpen global knowledge while feeding the world's hungry. Now that's a reason to stay online just a little while longer.