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Multimedia Bibliography: Ecosystems

Purpose and Scope
This bibliography is intended to serve as a resource for elementary school teachers or librarians working with a student population between fourth and fifth grade.  The expected age of children should range from approximately nine to eleven years old.

In Texas, teachers follow the Texas Administrative Code which specifies knowledge and skills to be taught as part of the curriculum. Beginning in the 4th grade, students are expected to learn about ecosystems as part of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills(TEKS).

According to TAC Chapter 112, the  TEKS dealing with ecosystems in the fourth grade are as follows:

(9)  Organisms and environments. The student knows and understands that living organisms within an ecosystem interact with one another and with their environment. The student is expected to:
(A)  investigate that most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food, while consumers are dependent on other organisms for food; and
(B)  describe the flow of energy through food webs, beginning with the Sun, and predict how changes in the ecosystem affect the food web such as a fire in a forest.

The TEKS in TAC Chapter 112 states fifth grade students will learn the following about ecosystems:

(9)  Organisms and environments. The student knows that there are relationships, systems, and cycles within environments. The student is expected to:
(A)  observe the way organisms live and survive in their ecosystem by interacting with the living and non-living elements;
(B)  describe how the flow of energy derived from the Sun, used by producers to create their own food, is transferred through a food chain and food web to consumers and decomposers;
(C)  predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans, such as the overpopulation of grazers or the building of highways; and
(D)  identify the significance of the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle to the survival of plants and animals.

The materials discussed in this bibliography address the TEKS as well as other relevant material useful for creating a holistic understanding of an ecosystem, and are organized first by media type and then alphabetically within the type divisions. Where possible, annotations include information on how well each item meets the criteria of factual accuracy, elimination of stereotypes, concept clarifying illustrations, encouragement of analytical thinking, clear organization, and interest stimulating style. Read more…

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Multimedia Bibliography: Food and Nutrition

Introduction: Since the origin of humanity, food has been an essential component of society. Across centuries families and communities have been “breaking bread” together, so to speak, for centuries, however a shift in American food production in the mid-twentieth century towards a mass production/fast food culture has drastically changed Western society’s eating habits.  Families rush through a drive through for dinner, 5 minute meals cookbooks fly off the shelves in bookstores and libraries, and it has become increasingly common for kids to eat solely pre-packaged, processed  meals. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity amongst children and adolescents has tripled since 1980. Presently, over 17%–or 12.5 million–children in the United States ages 2-19 are obese. These alarming statistics trigger a gamut of questions, two of the most significant being: is there a lack of information on nutrition and healthy eating habits?  Or is there simply a lack of awareness/usage of these nutrition resources? This bibliography targets the latter question by compiling a list of multimedia resources appropriate for middle grade children–examining  text, realia, web and media sources. Cookbooks are included in realia, because the often the best way to demystify healthy food choices is to see, touch,  create and taste  them yourself.

Reference
CDC. “Obesity Rates among all Children in the United States.” Accessed November 22, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html/

Target Age: 2nd-5th grade

PRINT

Schlosser, Erick and Charles Wilson. Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Chew on This explores the sinister economic, agricultural and health implications of the fast food industry by recounting the inception and growth of this type of food preparation and distribution. The sheer size (318 pages!) of Schlosser’s and Wilson’s book may intimidate readers; however, its lively tone and stand-alone chapters make this book an engaging read.

Bramwell, Martyn. Food Watch. Dorling Kindersley, 2001.
In true DK fashion Food Watch teems with graphics, text boxes and beautiful full color photographs. Bramwell discusses topics that are deceptively obvious, such as where food really comes from. Targeting the disparity between food scarcity in developing states and the abundance of food in the first world,  Bramwell points out, “Pie eating contests are fun, but only rich people can afford to waste food. Tonnes of unwanted food and packaging are thrown away every day” (13). Food Watch decodes buzzwords readers may be familiar with but not really understand, such as “fair trade, “famine,” “nutritionist,” and includes numerous experiments, such as ripening bananas to look for ethylene that further illustrate Bramwell’s narrative (21). Overall this book is fascinating, frightening and completely on point in regards to the production, packaging and dispersion of food not only in North America but throughout the world.

Goldberg, Jake. Food: The Struggle to Sustain the Human Community. Franklin Watts, 1999.

Goldberg asserts on the dust jacket of his book, “Food is the fuel of human labor, and everything we have accomplished, or failed to accomplish depends upon it.” Because a trip to the local supermarket does little to reflect the story of how food really is grown, produced and distributed–and the impact of these activities on the world–Goldberg delves deeply and eloquently into topics such as the origin of food, agricultural development, food and civilization, hunger and more. This book is relatively lengthy (204 pages) and text heavy, so it would be best for older readers.

Powell, Jillian. Everyone Eats: Rice. Raintree, Steck-Vaughn, 1997.
Powell’s book explores the composition, farming and customs surrounding the world’s second most popular grain: rice (4). Complete with full color illustrations, photographs and recipes this book is an excellent tool to educate young readers a food they may often eat, but know very little about.

Peeples, H. I. Where Does this Come From?: Bubble Gum. Contemporary Books, Inc.
Annotation: This matter-of-fact book draws upon the origins, production and consumption habits of bubble gum. While it does discuss corn syrup and synthetic ingredients Peeples does not delve into the consequences of excessive sugary gum chewing, such as increased risk of cavities. This brief book would be best for younger readers (i.e. 1st-3rd grade). Read more…

Multimedia Bibliography – Titanic

Introduction

I compiled this bibliographic resource for use by educators, particularly middle grade teachers and school librarians, who wish to present students with an instructional unit on the historical aspects of the Titanic sinking of 1912. The materials selected for this bibliography are suitable for middle grade students (grades 3-6). However, certain materials listed are also acceptable for students as young as the second grade, including the picture books Polar the Titanic Bear and Titanicat. I opted to include these picture books to accommodate younger readers or readers with low reading comprehension skills.

In compiling these resources, I visited several branches of the Austin Public Library to peruse their collections of juvenile materials relating to the Titanic. I also consulted the School Library Journal, which offers reviews of several seminal children’s works about the Titanic sinking. Ultimately, I selected five books which provide insight into varying aspects of the Titanic’s history. A school librarian could use these five books to create a Titanic display for students at a variety of reading levels who are interested in learning more about the Titanic, whetherfor a report, for pleasure, or for both.

Furthermore, I also utilized the internet to locate websites and videos which usefully underpin the books I selected. The “ALSC’s Great Websites for Kids” list provided me with one particularly useful website on the Titanic called “Titanic Destination…Cyberspace.” I also discovered that reputable websites like the History Channel website and the Discovery Channel website have digital content suitable for middle grade students and younger. Having personally visited several Titanic exhibits, I was also aware of several great community resources available for students in the state of Texas. I also chose to include potential field trips, realia, and games in this bibliography because of the value of immersive, experiential learning.

Books

Brewster, Hugh. Illustrated by Ken Marschall. Inside the Titanic (A Giant Cutaway Book). Little, Brown & Company, 1997.

Illustrated by one of the foremost Titanic authorities, this book realistically depicts the experiences of two children who sailed aboard the Titanic in 1912. Impressively sized and richly illustrated, this book will immerse even very young readers in the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage. The “cutaway” nature of the book’s illustrations allows readers to “explore” the Titanic in a literal way. Readers can view the interior of each deck in vivid detail, from the first-class cabins to the steerage compartments. When presenting a unit on the Titanic, this resource will attract reluctant readers who are turned off by text-heavy books.

Crisp, Marty. Titanticat. Illustrated by Robert Papp. Sleeping Bear Press, 2011.

Jim Mulholland is a cabin boy aboard the Titanic. As the ship prepares for its maiden voyage, Jim is tasked with taking care of the ship’s cat, whom he dubs 401. What follows is a fictionalized version of true events, providing a lighthearted perspective on a usually somber subject. Young readers will delight in this beautifully-illustrated picture book and the whimsical, slightly mysterious story it tells. Rendered in oil on canvas, the cover of this book will add visual appeal to any displays created about the Titanic.

Kentley, Eric. Illustrated by Steven Noon. Story of the Titanic. DK, 2012.

This beautifully-illustrated book tells the story of the Titanic from start to finish. Beginning with the construction of the Titanic in Belfast and concluding with the inevitable legal inquiry which followed her sinking, no detail is spared in describing this important historical event. In addition to key facts, Noon’s artwork includes highly-detailed illustrations, cutaway views, archival and photos. As an oversized book, Story of the Titanic provides more visual detail than the average Titanic book aimed at children, making it an essential addition to any library or classroom collection. Read more…

Greek Mythology: A Multimedia Bibliography

This bibliography is designed for 4th or 5th grade teachers who wish to teach a lesson or a unit on Greek Mythology. I reviewed items from ALSC’s list of Great Websites for Kids, and also used general search techniques to find a number of resources from museums, universities, and trusted publications like National Geographic.

Podcasts:

Riordan, Rick. “Episode for Families: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” Interview by Sean Hemingway. MetMuseum. Web. http://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/audio/kids/068-episode-for-families-percy-jackson–the-olympians-the-lightning-thief-at-the-met

This podcast is a recording of Sean Hemingway, an Associate Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of art, interviewing Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson & the Olympians. The interview covers Riordan’s interest in Greek mythology and the how his readings of Greek mythology affected his books. The podcast is both informational and entertaining, and gives listeners a chance to connect to a popular YA novelist as well as learn about how Greek mythology can be seen and understood in our modern lives.


Websites:

ODYSSEY Online. Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art. Web. http://carlos.emory.edu/ODYSSEY/GREECE/home.html

This interactive website allows users to explore many different ancient cultures. Of particular interest to this bibliography is the sites section on ancient Greece and Greek mythology. This section of the site allows users to interact with Greek myths, Gods and Goddesses and teaches users about the concept of myths and their importance to ancient Greek society. The site uses visuals like constellations and photos of statuary to represent the Gods and Goddesses, which helps users to connect mythology to art and astronomy.

Windows 2 the Universe. National Earth Sciences Teachers Association. Web. http://www.windows2universe.org/

This website allows users to explore many aspects of our planet and and solar system. Included in this broad scope is information on myth and mythology, especially in terms of myths about the planet or natural phenomenons. Read more…

Volunteering and Philanthropy

Multimedia Bibliography on Volunteering and Philanthropy

While many children’s fiction books feature philanthropy as a theme, non-fiction materials are more difficult to find. Much of the non-fiction focuses on the environment, so this bibliography should help teachers and caregivers develop a more well-rounded selection when teaching about philanthropy. These items are suitable for a range of ages, from 3 to 12, as noted below. I used library catalogs, WorldCat.org, audible.com, and A to Zoo by Caroline Lima to find these items.

Phone and Tablet Apps

Bee Kind. Available from the Apple App Store. Free version.
A cartoon bumblebee teaches you to be kind to yourself and to others. Spin a wheel to generate ideas for good deeds. This creates an interactive To Do List that allows you to check off tasks and add your own. This is a very simple app that has a bright kid-friendly interface. Some tasks may be better suited for parents like “Give money to a charity,” but it works well overall for ages 6 and up.

Dr. Duncan Dog on Duty. By Lisa Dunn-Dern. Illustrated by Andrea Yomtub. E-book app available from the Apple App Store. $0.99.
With charming watercolor illustrations, this interactive e-book demonstrates the power of service. The little girl tells us that even the family pet has a job to do: he is a therapy dog. Readers are introduced to the idea that everyone has talents to share, and one important talent of dogs is their therapeutic presence. Features include read-to-me audio narrated by the pleasant voice of a young girl, auto play, and personalization of narration.

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help. Oceanhouse Media. Available from the Apple App Store. $3.99.
The Bear Scouts are earning their Good Deeds Merit Badge in this interactive e-book featuring Christian-oriented themes of philanthropy. The app features professional narration, background audio, and enlarged illustrations. Read to me, read it myself, and auto play.

Doing Good Deeds. Available from the Apple App Store. Written by Umm Ilhaam. $1.99.
Part of Darul Kitab’s Learn About Islam Series, this e-book app for the iPad introduces young children to a variety of good deeds that are in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. Engaging narration accompanies beautiful illustrations.

Mitzvah Hunt. Available from the Apple App Store. Free.
This game app for the iPad features Jewish-oriented philanthropic lessons. Learn to observe the good rather than the bad by tracking the good deeds of others.

Videos

Franklin. / Franklin helps out
Author: Paulette Bourgeois; Brenda Clark; Nelvana (Firm); Family Channel (U.S.); Canadian Television Fund.; All authors
Publisher: [Toronto, Ont.] : Visual Education Centre Ltd., [2009]
Edition/Format: eVideo : Animation : Juvenile audience : English
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Mr. Owl sends his class out into the community to learn first hand, the benefits of volunteer work. By day’s end, Franklin has found jobs for everyone except himself and feels he hasn’t accomplished his goal.

Two Bobbies : a true story of Hurricane Katrina, friendship, and survival
Author: Kirby Larson; Mary Nethery; Jean Cassels; Nutmeg Media (Firm)
Publisher: [S.l.] : Nutmeg Media, [2010]
Edition/Format: DVD video : Juvenile audience : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Based on a true story, Two Bobbies takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when many pets were lost or abandoned. A dog and cat wander together through the devastated city and miraculously survive hunger, floods and other dangers. When they are finally taken to an animal shelter, the volunteers discover that the cat is blind and could not have survived without the dog’s help. Although their owner or owners are never found, the two friends, re-named Bob Cat and Bobbi, find a new home and a happy ending to their ordeal. The story includes an authors’ note and a photograph of the real Bob Cat and Bobbi. Includes a conversation with the authors.

We all contribute & make a difference
Author: Noon E. Productions.; Clearvue & SVE, Inc.
Publisher: [United States] : Clearvue & SVE, [2007], ©2003.
Series: Government & citizenship collection.
Edition/Format: DVD video : Juvenile audience : English
Summary from WorldCat.org:
Illustrates the ways we all can make differences in others’ lives and in our country, and stresses the importance of participating, volunteering, and leading.

Winnie the Pooh: Helping Others. 1988. VHS Video. Also available in four parts on YouTube.
Four classic episodes of the 1990s television series are brought together in this compilation that features the theme of helping friends. The friends help Owl learn to sing, Piglet learn that his small size doesn’t make him any less important, etc. Read more…

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