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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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Favorite Sites


collected by Paul and Vicki


AMERICAN INDIAN REPERTORY THEATRE - Creating American Indian Theatre for the 21st Century
The American Indian Repertory Theatre is a non-profit American Indian theatre production company with the purpose of providing an American Indian theatre experience for Native and non-Native audiences. The company is dedicated to telling the stories that have come to us from our ancestors and to telling the stories of a vibrant contemporary American Indian culture. The company was founded by former members of the Haskell Indian Nations University Thunderbird Theatre to provide a professional American Indian theatre which will make quality American Indian theatre productions available nationally and internationally.

Gingerbread is a baked treat that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is thought to have first appeared in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, when the Swiss monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana baked gingerbread on holidays, and gave it to the sick. Over the years, baking gingerbread cookies and building gingerbread houses developed into a popular American Christmas tradition.

Celebrating Christmas: Gingerbread House 101
"From very simple designs for busy moms and dads to challenging art projects for those artists among us, we've got it all. ... Let the decorating begin!!!" Celebrating Christmas offers a potpourri of gingerbread house advice, from how to plan a gingerbread party to recipes for gingerbread tree ornaments. Highlights are six gingerbread house blueprints (including a log cabin, chapel, country store and Victorian) although you will need to enlarge the patterns before using them

Flickr: The Gingerbread House Showcase Pool
I'm trying really hard not to say "a picture is worth a thousand words," but if you are fishing for gingerbread inspiration, what better way to find it than at this collection of more than 600 gingerbread house photos? To find specific kinds of houses, you can search within the pool with the search function in the upper right-hand corner. You can find more gingerbread pix by following tags such as "gingerbread" or "gingerbreadhouse."

Highlights Kids: Design Your Own Gingerbread House
To add a little computer fun to today's topic, this pick is an online game. Decorate your virtual gingerbread house with the usual Candy and Icing, or go crazy with silly Food and Stuff such as a whole fish, a tennis ball, or alphabet blocks to spell out your name. Move items onto the house by clicking once to pick up, then again to release onto your house. Controls include Rotate, Resize, Flip, Start Over, and Print (so you can hang your finished creation on the refrigerator door.) How to Build a Gingerbread House is my pick of the week because of the simple printable patterns (in two sizes), abundance of building tips, and the illustrated step-by-step house assembly instructions. "For quick and easy gingerbread house patterns, print out the pattern pieces on paper or cardstock. For extra durability, cut out the pieces and trace them onto cardboard. Cereal boxes work great for this! Just cut open the cereal box, flatten, and then trace the pieces. Laminating the pieces will help them to last longer so you can use them year after year!"
Geography, the study of the Earth's land and inhabitants, is divided into two main branches. Physical geography includes landforms, natural resources, weather and the environment. Human geography covers populations, political systems and religion. When choosing today's sites, I tried to cover both areas, although most sites focus on either one or the other.

Geography 4 Kids
Andrew Rader Studios serves up another winner with Geography 4 Kids. The site introduces physical geography and basic earth science including Earth's structure, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. In addition to the topic tours that start on the homepage, the site includes interactive quizzes, a gallery of panorama photos, links to live cams and monitors, and a collection of wallpapers for your computer desktop.

Google Earth
"Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and even explore galaxies in the Sky." After viewing the short tutorial video, and downloading the free software, I recommend starting with a worldwide Sightseeing tour. Highlights include the Eiffel Tower, Beijing's Forbidden City and Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Look in the left-hand Places menu for the Sightseeing folder. Select it with a check mark, and then click play.
Lizardpoint: Test your Geography Knowledge
Web designer Lyndsey McCollam has built a fun collection of thirty-six map quizzes covering continents, countries, states, and capital cities. For each question, you get three tries to correctly identify the answer on a map with a mouse click. Some of the maps, such as the one on the USA state quiz, can be toggled between a mutli-colored map (where each state is a different color) to a single-color map, making the quiz a tad bit harder. Can you identify Iraq on a map? Take the Middle East quiz and find out.
National Geographic: Play Geography Games
"Test your geography smarts right here online. Each day we'll post ten questions from the National Geographic Bee. Some of them are real stumpers, but it's okay if you miss a few – you can play as often as you like. Come back everyday for a brand new quiz and another chance to beat the Bee!" GeoBee is just one great choice here at National Geographic's Geography Games site. You can play at either an apprentice or expert level, and compete to make the day's high scores board. GeoSpy is another terrific click, a map game where you click to identify continents, countries or states.
Owl & Mouse: Maps That Teach
With interactive map puzzles, mouseover maps, printable maps, make-your-own maps, and free downloadable map software, Owl & Mouse uses maps to teach geography. Some of the more unusual features are Mega Maps (print maps up to seven feet across) and the printable Make Your Own USA activity. For this exercise, you'll print the background map on normal paper, and the colorful lakes and mountain ranges on tracing (or transparent) paper. With scissors and glue, students cut out geographic features and put them on their map.

The preschool years are simultaneously enchanting and exhausting. So much energy bundled into those tiny little bodies! These activity sites are sure to help when you are looking for something fun to share your kids that is both easy to whip up and engaging for all involved.

First-School Preschool Activities and Crafts
These crafts, lesson plans, themes and activities are adaptable for ages two to six, and can be used at home, in the classroom, or at day care. First stop is the basic materials list, which includes construction paper, tempura paints, tape, crayons, and the ever important cover-up such as an old t-shirt. The activities themselves are divided into printable activities and themes (such as alphabet, colors, numbers and so on.)

Preschool Express
Noteworthy stops at Jean Warren's Preschool Express include the toddler and preschool activity calendars with a different mini-activity nearly every day of the month. "Draw the first letter of your child's name on paper. Have child glue over it with leaves." "Find cities of distant relatives on a map." "Sing your phone number to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Other highlights are the Music & Rhyme, Skill, Discovery and Inspiration Stations.
Story Nory: Free Audio Stories for Kids
Story time is one of my favorite toddler activities, so I was thrilled to discover these wonderful audio stories, all narrated by Natasha Gostwick. Story Nory is an archive of stories old and new, with a brand new recording released every week. These can be listened to on the computer, easily transferred to an iPod, or copied to a CD for listening in the car. The stories are classified as Original, Fairytales, Classics, Educational and Junior (which are the simplest stories specifically for toddlers and ESL students.)
Stories for Kids
Story time is one of my favorite toddler activities, so I was thrilled to discover these wonderful audio stories, all narrated by Natasha Gostwick. Story Nory is an archive of stories old and new, with a brand new recording released every week. These can be listened to on the computer, easily transferred to an iPod, or copied to a CD for listening in the car. The stories are classified as Original, Fairytales, Classics, Educational and Junior (which are the simplest stories specifically for toddlers and ESL students.)
Ziggity Zoom
Ziggity Zoom is a super fun play environment for kids age two to eight, created by Kristin Pierce Fitch and her mom, illustrator Sharon Pierce McCollough. In addition to the online activities (games, stories and coloring pages), there are plenty of offline activities such as crafts, printables, and fun kid recipes like Mermaid Bananarama. For a quick overview of the site, I suggest stopping by the Parent's Guide, because although kids might like the colorful icons that do not have labels, I found them confusing.

Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree) was one of the best-known abolitionists of the nineteenth century. Born a slave in New York in approximately 1797, she was freed in 1828. She took the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 when she began lecturing on the abolition of slavery and for women's rights.

Digital Library: The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
Although Sojourner Truth never learned to read or write, she dictated this autobiography to Olive Gilbert, a white abolitionist. Published in 1850, it tells the story of a Dutch-speaking slave child who transformed herself into a traveling speaker, abolitionist and women's right advocate. "The following is the unpretending narrative of the life of a remarkable and meritorious woman – a life which has been checkered by strange vicissitudes, severe hardships, and singular adventures."

Sojourner Truth Institute: Sojourner's Biography
The Sojourner Truth Institute of Battle Creek, MI, has a terrific collection of resources for students of all grade levels. Best clicks include Legacy of Faith (an illustrated narrative biography for middle school and older), a four-part timeline of her life, In Her Times (a timeline of American history during Sojourner Truth's lifetime), and the puzzles in Test Your Knowledge. For teachers, there is a third-grade lesson plan (look for the link on the main biography page.)
Sojourner Truth Memorial: History of Sojourner Truth
In 1843, Sojourner Truth moved to Massachusetts where she lived in and near Florence for eight years, and where she now has a memorial statue. Visit for a short biography and the history of her memorial. "Born a slave in upstate New York in approximately 1797, she labored for a succession of five masters until the Fourth of July, 1827, when slavery was finally abolished in New York State. Then Isabella - as she had been named at birth - became legally free."
Sojourner Truth in Ulster County
Sojourner Truth was born in Ulster County, upstate New York at the end of the eighteenth century. On the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz, a three-story library is dedicated to her. "It may seem ironic that a library is named for a woman who could not read or write. It is just as ironic that this great communicator is one of the most famous persons to come from Ulster County. She often said 'I can't read books, but I can read the people.'" This one-page illustrated biography was penned by librarian Corrine Nyquist.
Women in History: Sojourner Truth Biography
This biographical vignette is published by Women in History, a non-profit project that brings history to life with live performances of historical monologues and online biographies. "Sometime around 1815, she [Isabella Baumfree] fell in love with a fellow slave named Robert, who was owned by a man named Catlin or Catton. Robert's owner forbade the relationship because he did not want his slave having children with a slave he did not own (and therefore would not own the new 'property')."

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Students And Teachers Against Racism announces their new website that offers insight into the Native American perspective to teachers and educators.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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