Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
1, 2010 - Volume 8 Number 2
by Paul and Vicki
Acclaimed as America's premier postclassical
string quartet, ETHEL boldly infuses contemporary concert music
with fierce intensity, questioning the boundaries between performer
and audience, tradition and technology. Formed in 1998, New
York's ebullient ETHEL is comprised of Juilliard-trained performers
Cornelius Dufallo (violin), Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson
(cello) and Mary Rowell (violin).
Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was born in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma
and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Mr. Tate is dedicated
to the development of American Indian classical composition,
and a recent review by The Washington Post states that "Tate's
connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent
in this piece
rarer still is his ability to effectively
infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism."
This review was a response to a recent performance of Iholba
(The Vision), for Solo Flute, Orchestra and Chorus, which
was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and premiered
at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Thunderbird Records is dedicated to capturing and preserving
the music of contemporary American Indians for distribution
across the world. All Thunderbird releases include music by
Indian composers or performances by Indian musicians. We strive
for the highest artistic integrity as well as exceptional
sonic quality in order to provide an outstanding listening
Nation Division of Arts and Humanities
The study of the arts and humanities is necessary to the success
of the Chickasaw Nation. The disciplines highlight the culture
by expressing the beauty, strength, intelligence and spirit
of the people and enhance the rich legacy of who Chickasaws
were, who they are and who they will be.
As I spent time planning for 2010, I also took
time to look back over the fifty-one subjects I reviewed in
2009. I chose these five sites as representative of the best
of the best. Keep in mind, unlike the Oscars, these are not
sites that were new in 2009, just culled from my archive of
educational website reviews done during the year. Happy New
Year to you and yours!
The Environmental Literacy Council website is a huge library
of K-12 lessons, articles and news about environmental studies,
including subjects such as global climate change, biodiversity,
energy, and land use. Topics can be accessed via the subject
menu on the left-hand side, from the site map, or via the site
search. Each article concludes with an outstanding collection
of Recommended Resources, making this site a terrific first
stop for further research and one of my picks for middle-school
and high-school students writing papers or doing science fair
"Mrs. P is concerned because fewer and fewer kids are reading
these days. Also, according to recent reports Mrs. P has seen,
it is becoming harder and harder for many parents to find the
time to read to their children." Storyteller Mrs. P (played
by actress Kathy Kinney) is my video pick of the year, with
her classic children's stories, read along options, engaging
personal anecdotes, animated games and clever presentation.
If you have a high speed connection, you can turn on more even
more animated fun by clicking on Start Here, and selecting options
such as "Bookcase titles say funny things."
Woo hoo! Multiplication.com is one of yearly picks because of
the unique themes that make their games super fun. For example,
in Pizza Pizazz you are presented with a problem, such as 8
x 9, a pizza, and a restaurant full of tables waiting for their
order. To earn a point, you need to deliver your pizza to table
number 72. Other fun concepts include Math Models ("Mix
and match clothes to come up with your favorite outfit. The
more math problems you get right, the more clothes you have
to choose from.") and Color Creations ("Unlock the
colors to paint the pictures by answering the problems correctly.")
Hey there folks! Welcome to American Folklore. This folklore
site contains retellings of American folktales, Native American
myths and legends, tall tales, weather folklore and ghost stories
from each and every one of the 50 United States. You can read
about all sorts of famous characters like Paul Bunyan, Pecos
Bill, Daniel Boone, and many more. So grab a cup of coffee,
pull up a comfy chair, and stay awhile.
Migration: Whooping Crane Reintroduction
Operation Migration includes photos, field journals, lots
of sound files, population counts, and a kids section. The
site navigation, however, is not up to par, so use the site
map to find your way around. "What is aircraft-led migration?
This technique relies on the birds' natural instinct called
imprinting. Imprinting means the just-hatched waterfowl chick
immediately trusts the first object it sees and follows the
object. As soon as the chicks hatch, they bond with their
parents and become inseparable. The OM team acts as surrogate
parents, helping the birds imprint on the aircraft and conditioning
them to fly with it."
Air pressure is the weight (or force) of the atmosphere
at any particular point. Although you can't feel it or see
it, air pressure plays an important part in weather, and can
be demonstrated with some really fun experiments.
Atmospheric Pressure Makes the Wind Blow
"What type of pressure is there around you right now? Is
your area surrounded by a high or low pressure? Unlike temperature,
moisture, and wind, you can't easily determine the pressure
through your five senses. Because it is difficult to perceive
pressure through our senses, it is tempting to assume that pressure
is not very important. This assumption would be very incorrect.
Pressure is extremely important, and has a dramatic effect on
our weather." This illustrated geology lesson for elementary
and middle-school students includes songs ("Why Does the
Wind Blow") and an introduction to atmospheric pressure,
density, wind patterns, and the Coriolis effect.
It's a Breeze: Atmospheric Pressure
In addition to the short lesson, this NASA Kids Earth site includes
three air pressure experiments, a word search puzzle, five discussion
questions ("What do you think causes wind?") and a
couple of online experiments. One of these, called Take a Balloon
Ride, demonstrates what happens to a hot air balloon as it rises
from sea level to 10,000 meters. Can you guess what happens
to the balloon when it is six miles above the earth? "As
you move the mouse over the altitude scale to the left, you'll
notice that the balloon changes shape and size."
National Weather Service: Air Pressure
Today's lesson from the National Weather Service Online Weather
School is all about air pressure, and this online classroom
is my pick of the day because of the six do-it-yourself experiments
or labs, called Learning Lessons. Heavy Air is the first, and
it demonstrates that air has weight by balancing a yardstick
with two balloons to each end. If one balloon was heavier than
the other, what would happen to the yardstick? Would the heavier
end move up or down?
"Gravity shapes and influences all atmospheric processes.
It causes the density and pressure of air to decrease exponentially
as one moves away from the surface of the Earth." This
illustrated chapter on atmospheric pressure for high school
and college students is from the online textbook "Fundamentals
of Physical Geography" by Michael Pidwirny, Associate Professor,
University of British Columbia. It is hyperlinked to a large
glossary of terms (from abiotic to zooplankton), so clicking
on any bolded word will take you to its definition. At the bottom
of the page, you'll find links to a study guide, bibliography,
and related websites.
The Physical Environment: Air Pressure
"Air is constantly moving to seek an equilibrium between
areas of more air molecules (higher pressure) and those with
less (lower pressure). You have probably experienced this
by opening a container that has been vacuum packed."
Professor of Geography Michael Ritter, from University of
Wisconsin, Stevens Point, provides another excellent online
textbook for high-school and college students. It is illustrated,
includes a glossary, and links to external movies, podcasts
and interactive activities. For the multimedia extras, follow
the "Contents" link at the bottom of every page,
and you'll find them listed by chapter.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet and short-story
author, known as a master of the macabre, but also credited
with pioneering work in the detective genre and science fiction.
Born in Boston, MA, Poe was orphaned at an early age. The
cause of his death at age forty has never been determined,
and is the subject of much speculation.
Allan Poe Museum
"The Poe Museum provides a retreat into early 19th century
Richmond where Edgar Allan Poe lived and worked. The museum
features Poe's life and career by documenting his accomplishments
with pictures, relics, and verse, and focusing on his many years
in Richmond. "Although not all the exhibits are online,
reasons for a virtual visit include a Poe biography, family
tree, selected works, genealogical records from the Poe family
bible (in Museum Treasures) and an interactive quiz (under Educational
Created for middle and high school students, Knowing Poe is
a multimedia educational portal for exploring the man, the writer
and his works, and is my Poe pick of the week. In Poe the Person,
you'll discover what Baltimore was like at the beginning of
the nineteenth century, and learn more about Poe's mysterious
death. In Poe the Writer, you'll learn about how authors use
point of view to tell a story from a character's or narrator's
perspective. The Poe Library includes a selection of Poe's personal
letters, links to poems and short stories, and links to additional
Books: Edgar Allan Poe
There are many sites for downloading free classics, but I chose
Many Books because of their clean interface, and the variety
of their download formats. Specifically I was thrilled to see
the native Kindle format, although nowadays PDFs are also Kindle
compatible. This download site includes the five volumes of
"Collected Words of Poe", "The Fall of the House
of Usher," and a four volume "Masterpieces of Mystery"
which is an anthology that includes Poe as well as A. Conan
Doyle and Anton Chekhov.
Created for Richmond, Virginia's 2009 celebration of Poe's bicentennial,
this student section is still relevant today. It provides middle
and high-school students with a Poe introduction, a look into
his puzzling death ("Can you be the one to finally solve
the mystery of Poe's death?"), and an interactive quiz.
The teachers section also has a bundle of Poe goodies for students,
including four PDFs about Poe's life: a timeline, a family tree,
common Poe myths, and quotes about Poe from his literary contemporaries.
Although best known for his creepy, scary tales, "Edgar
Allan Poe also wrote stories about adventure on the high seas,
buried pirate treasure, and a famous balloon ride. Poe invented
the detective story with tales like 'Murders in the Rue Morgue'
and 'The Purloined Letter'. Sherlock Holmes and other fictional
detectives would later be based on the characters that Poe
created." Focusing on Poe's short stories and poems,
PoeStories.com offers story summaries, quotes, a glossary
of vocabulary words, a Poe biography and timeline.
Because the cold winter months are the hardest for wild birds,
February and March have been named National Bird Feeding Months
by the National Bird-Feeding Society. You can help your local
bird population by providing supplemental food, water and
shelter, and start a fun, educational hobby at the same time.
About Birds: Feeding Birds
"Bird feeding has been an American tradition since at least
the times of Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau. It provides
us with wonderful opportunities for close viewing of birds.
It can also be good for birds." All About Birds provides
great advice on choosing a bird feeder, types of bird seed,
and where to place your feeder. For science curriculum ideas,
follow the Teach link listed under Get Involved on the main
navigation menu. There you'll find science activities, resources
for teachers, and the BirdSleuth curriculum for classroom and
Bird Feeding Basics
Although birdseed and suet from feeders provides dietary supplement
to more than 100 North American bird species, bird feeders also
increase dangers such as window collisions, predators and disease.
Audubon offers tips on safely attracting and feeding birds,
maintaining a feeder and guarding against squirrels. "A
recent study found that colliding with a window is the most
common cause of bird death associated with feeders. To avoid
such collisions, position feeders at least three feet from the
Lab of Ornithology: Project Feeder Watch
Project Feeder Watch is a winter survey of backyard birds. From
November through early April, participants periodically count
birds at their backyard feeders. "FeederWatch data help
scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations
and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance."
And there is still time to sign up for the 2009/2010 season,
which ends on April 9. For $15 you'll get a Research Kit with
instructions, bird identification poster, bird feeding guide,
and tally sheet.
Bird-Feeding Society: Best Backyard Bird-Feeding Practices
"Here you will find the basic ingredients that when mixed
together will create a recipe for a successful backyard bird
feeding and habitat program." The ingredients are bird
seed, bird feeders, bird safety, and bird habitat tips for housing
nesting birds and sheltering birds from predators and harsh
weather. Best click for birding beginners is the Top Ten Bird
Feeding Tips, also available as a PDF download for easy printing
Birds Unlimited: Educational Resources
The Wild Birds Unlimited website has a huge educational section
that includes information on bird feeding, bird species, bird
behavior (such as bathing, courtship and migration), choosing
binoculars, and creating a wildlife habitat in your backyard.
A great click for beginners is Get Started with Bird Feeding,
which includes a number of PDFs about custom seed blends,
and seed recommendations for eastern and western states.
Students And Teachers Against Racism
announces their new website that offers insight into the Native
American perspective to teachers and educators.
Winds Advocacy Center
Through presentations, classroom sessions, curriculum, fund
raising, charitable works, and multi-media efforts, we seek
to raise public awareness of the stereotyping, discrimination,
racism and other unique situations facing Native Americans.