Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
1, 2010 - Volume 8 Number 8
by Paul and Vicki
Monkeys, classified in the order Primates, are small, smart,
lively mammals that live in the tropical regions of Central
and South America, Africa and Asia. Because of their fanciful
antics, they are always a crowd favorite, whether in the wild
or in a zoo. Most of the 200 species live in forests and trees,
although some do inhabit savannahs (tropical grasslands).
Stuff Works: Difference Between Monkeys and Apes
Is there a difference between monkeys and apes? Yes, and this
one page article explains how monkeys and apes are related,
and how they differ. It's a good introduction to the scientific
classification of orders, suborders, and species. "The
235 modern primate species are divided up into two suborders
- the prosimians and the anthropoids." There are some interesting
links at the bottom of the page, and a printable version with
Science: All About Monkeys
"One of most recognizable animals in the world, a monkey
is a long-tailed, medium-sized member of the order of Primates.
The primate order also includes macaques, baboons, guenons,
capuchins, marmosets, and tamarins. " Science publisher
Imaginova brings together twenty-three feature articles about
monkeys. Visit to learn why monkeys groom the boss, or how grey-cheeked
mangabeys in Uganda use their knowledge of the weather to choose
the best days for fruit foraging.
Geographic: Video: Leisurely Life of Spider Monkeys
National Geographic hosts a terrific collection of seventeen
short videos about monkeys and lemurs. This one shows how troops
of spider monkeys employ a lookout to keep an eye out for approaching
danger while the others play and eat in the branches above.
The rest of the monkey videos are listed below the video player,
but some will auto-play in a loop if you continue to watch past
the commercial at the end of this video.
Zoo: Black Howler Monkeys
Reubin and Jolla, a pair of black howler monkeys from the
Tulsa Zoo and Lowry Park Zoological Garden in Florida, arrived
at the National Zoo in 2003. With their distinct howls and
playful ways, they have been a hit with visitors ever since.
Click around this virtual exhibit from the zoo's Small Mammal
House to learn more about howler monkeys and other primates.
"Howler monkeys have a curious reaction to heavy rain.
As a rainstorm approaches or begins, they often start an excited
chorus of howls."
Sometimes random facts (or trivia) are just more fun to read
than, let's say, an encyclopedia article. You might even say
these forty random monkey facts are more fun than a barrel
of monkeys. But since I've never had one, I couldn't say for
certain. "Fact 16: Monkeys peel their bananas and do
not eat the skins." "Fact 21: Old World monkeys
have 32 teeth. New World monkeys have 36."
Years ago, while standing in my driveway at night, a frog hopped
onto my foot. I probably screamed (wouldn't you?) but when I
saw what it was, I bent down to pick him up. We kept the frog
for awhile, feeding him live crickets and naming him Hoppy,
before releasing him into a wetlands preserve near our house.
These sites are for you, Hoppy. Wherever you may be.
"Frogs are members of the zoological class called Amphibia.
Amphibians are cold-blooded (or poikilothermic) vertebrate animals.
They differ from reptiles in that they lack scales and generally
return to water to breed." From facts to fun, All About
Frogs covers all the froggie bases. For school reports, you'll
find "true, weird and wacky facts" as well as a brief
explanation of the environment threats faced by frogs. For pet
owners, there is a guide to buying your first frog, and an FAQ
covering common questions
Museum of Natural History: Frogs: A Chorus of Colors
This AMNH site is my frog pick of the day, with frog sounds,
a Dart Poison Frog Vivarium (visit to learn why the dart poison
frogs on display at the museum in New York are actually harmless),
a peek into the work of the museum's professional herpetologists,
and fun frog facts. "Frogs were the first land animals
with vocal cords. Male frogs have vocal sacs - pouches of skin
that fill with air. These balloons resonate sounds like a megaphone,
and some frog sounds can be heard from a mile away."
The Exploratorium's online frog exhibit brings us well-written
articles, illustrated with photos and video clips. The lead
feature, The Amazing Adaptable Frog, is a must see, as is the
click-and-hear (ribbit, ribbit) Frog Tracker exhibit. For something
a little different, venture beyond biology with Tales and Tours,
where you can become acquainted with Frog City, Louisiana or
learn about Frog Myths Across Cultures.
All About Frogs for Kids and Teachers
Oodles of frog facts organized as questions and answers make
All About Frogs an excellent destination. Beyond the Q's and
A's you'll find frog crafts, songs and poems, original froggie
clipart (free for non-commercial use), and links to lesson plans
for K-8 teachers. Although the bulk of this site is for elementary
students, middle and high-school students will find links to
sites with more in-depth coverage under More Frog Facts and
Wow! With excellent content for elementary and middle-school
students and dozens of printable worksheets for elementary
grades, this KidZone section is surely a crowd pleaser. Frog
Facts is organized into thirteen chapters, from "Frogs
are Amphibians" to "Frog Species" such as Darwin's
Frog and Goliath Frog. Frog Activities is my favorite click,
because it houses more than a dozen printable worksheets such
as the Life Cycle of Frogs and a Frog Picture Book.
Often described as the Civil War's turning point, the Battle
of Gettysburg took place on July 1-3, 1863, in the town of
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was an extremely bloody battle,
in the midst of an extremely bloody war. But in the end, the
Union troops led by George G. Meade were victorious over the
Confederate army led by Robert E. Lee.
of Congress: Gettysburg Address
In 1863, David Wills, a Pennsylvania judge, was given the
task of "cleaning up the horrible aftermath of the
[Civil War] battle" at Gettysburg. Wills acquired seventeen
acres for a national cemetery and three weeks before its
dedication, invited President Lincoln to "formally
set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate
remarks." Lincoln's brief remarks at the cemetery on
November 19, 1863 became one of the most memorable presidential
speeches ever given. Can you recite it? "Four score
and seven years ago . . ."
Foundation: The Battle of Gettysburg
The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, non-profit educational
organization that works with the National Park Service. Much
of their site pertains to visiting the Battlefield, but under
the Learn menu tab, we'll find some educational goodies for
students. "Gettysburg. This place was a small town in
July 1863, situated at the crossroads of a network of byways.
But that summer, that advantageous location became Gettysburg's
curse, as all roads led to the largest battle ever fought
on American soil."
Park Service: Gettysburg
This kids section from the Gettysburg National Military Park
answers lots of questions about the Battle and the War, in
a kid-friendly voice. "Whew! You need a scorecard to
keep track of everyone who was important at the Battle of
Gettysburg! Check out who some of the big (and little) shots
were." Be sure to click on the underlined section titles,
as they lead to more content. And don't miss the printable
twenty-question quiz The Gettysburg History Challenge.
The Civil War: Battle of Gettysburg
"The Battle of Gettysburg, the second day: By the morning
of July 2, 1863, 150,000 Union and Confederate troops had
converged on the little Pennsylvania town." From the
companion website for Ken Burn's PBS film, The Civil War,
we find three maps that summarize the three days of the Battle
of Gettysburg. Each page has a short annotation, and a thumbnail
map you'll need to click to enlarge. To view Day Two and Day
Three, look in the left-hand vertical navigation menu.
Army: The Battle of Gettysburg
"The summer of 1863 would mark the turning point in one
of the bloodiest periods of American history. Tens of thousands
had already perished in the great conflict known as the American
Civil War. Hundreds of thousands more would die by the time
it was all over." This beautifully produced Flash site
is my Gettysburg pick of the day. If Flash is not your thing,
there is a text-only version (look for the link in the footer.)
After the intro, the Battle of Gettysburg is summarized, play
by play, day by day. Additional topics are listed below the
main playing screen. They include Profiles, Weaponry, Statistics,
and Resources (links to more Civil War pages and a free Gettysburg
Rivers are an important part of our ecosystem as a source
of water, food, transportation, defense, energy, and last,
but certainly not least, recreation. Learn more at this week's
selection of sites.
Monster: Principal Rivers of the World
The Fact Monster almanac lists the fifty-five biggest rivers
in the world, with links to additional articles about most of
them. The Nile (the longest river in the world) tops the list
with a length of 4,180 miles, and the Tigris is the shortest
river on the list, with a length of 1,180 miles. A separate
Rivers of the United States page annotates rivers 350 miles
or longer, but is listed alphabetically, not by length.
Botanical Garden: Rivers and Streams
"From outer-space, the earth looks like it is covered with
veins and arteries, similar to our bodies. The earth's arteries,
however, are really a vast web of rivers and streams that channel
water across the planet, from mountains to oceans." This
excellent lesson for middle and high-school students covers
watersheds, surface runoff, water pollution, how streams become
rivers, river zones, river creatures (such as the Arrau River
turtle) and hydroelectric power (dams).
of Illinois Extension: The All-Star River Explorers
"Rivers are an essential part of our world. Since the beginning
of time, people have traveled on them and built cities along
them. Rivers have provided food as well as a source of commerce
and entertainment for centuries." This multimedia exploration
for third through fifth grade students, introduces river basics,
describes their importance, and includes a section on river
explorers such as Henry Hudson, and Lewis and Clark. There is
a Teacher's Guide that outlines classroom activities, and a
River Resource page with additional site recommendations.
Water Science for Schools: Rivers and Streams
This informative site for high-school students is part of the
U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science for Schools project.
It includes a water science glossary, hyperlinks to related
pages, and a chart showing the comparative lengths of the world's
major rivers. "A river is nothing more than surface water
finding its way over land from a higher altitude to a lower
altitude, all due to gravity. When rain falls on the land, it
either seeps into the ground or becomes runoff, which flows
downhill into rivers and lakes, on its journey towards the seas."
& Scenic Rivers: Rivers and Kids
Otter B. Goode explains the history of the Wilderness Act,
the Clean Water Act, and most specifically the National Wild
& Scenic Rivers System, which was created by Congress
in 1958 to protect 165 rivers and their tributaries. These
protected American rivers total about 11,409 miles. "Not
every state has a wild & scenic river ? 39 states and
Puerto Rico have rivers in the National Wild & Scenic
Rivers System. Does your state have a wild & scenic river?
Do you live near it?" Find out by following Otter B.
Goode through this kids site.
Franklin's Kite Experiment
In June of 1752, Ben Franklin sought to prove that lightning
was electrical by flying a kite in stormy weather. When Franklin
touched the iron key attached to the kite's string, he saw
sparks fly between his knuckle and the metal key. But some
historians doubt that this famous experiment really happened.
Learn more at today's batch of sites.
Check: Ben Franklin and the Kite Experiment
Code Check, a publisher of books about building and electrical
codes, is not the usual educational site for middle-school
students, but they feature Ben Franklin in many of their books
because he "made major contributions to each of the four
main disciplines of building inspection: Building, Plumbing,
Mechanical, and Electrical." This page explains Franklin's
famous experiment, along with an overview of the Leyden Jar
used in the experiment. "The first device capable of
storing an electric charge was the Leyden jar. Invented by
a German, Ewald G. von Kleist, on November 4, 1745, he made
the discovery by accident.."
T. Rubin: Ben Franklin
Because there was no eyewitness account written about Franklin's
kite experiment, some historians argue that the experiment
didn't occur at all, and others argue that it happened differently
than described. "It doesn't really matter if Benjamin
Franklin indeed performed the kite experiment in reality.
What really matters is the question if this experiment (or
maybe only a theoretical proposal) is founded on sound scientific
principles and as a matter of fact it is a possible experiment
that enables the conclusion that lightning is an electric
of Hoaxes: The Electric Kite Hoax
Historian Tom Tucker has his own ideas about Franklin's electrifying
kite adventure, and published a book about it ("Bolt
of Fate: Benjamin Franking and his Electric Kite Hoax")
in 2003. Tucker argues that the experiment was originally
proposed as a joke to get back at the British Royal Society
because they had given a cold shoulder to his earlier electrical
research. "It was his way of saying, Go fly a kite in
a storm! But when his suggestion reached France, where people
took it seriously, Franklin decided to play along and claimed
he really had conducted the experiment."
Ben Franklin: How Shocking
"From a simple glass rod to an invention that still today
saves lives, explore some of Franklin's electrifying discoveries
and test your knowledge of electricity." This fab multimedia
activity from PBS demonstrates three of Franklin's experiments,
including recreating his kite experiment. Choose material
for the key, various parts of the kite string, and then pick
your weather conditions, and watch what happens.
Wright Center: Franklin's Kite Experiment
From Wright Center for Science Teaching, this seven page PDF
for high-school and college students, is just one piece of
a larger project titled "Ben Franklin As My Lab Partner
? Experiments in Electrostatics." Learn more about Franklin's
experiments by following along with Joseph Priestley's 1775
account of it, along with related excerpts from other eighteenth-century
scientists. Author Dr. Robert A. Morse concludes that given
the number of times the experiment has been safely reproduced,
there is no reason to doubt the accounts given by Franklin
Tiananmen Square Massacre
After the death of pro-democracy Chinese official Hu Yaobang
on April 15, 1989, mourners gathered at Tiananmen Square in
Beijing by the thousands. Weeks passed and the crowd grew larger,
filled with students and intellectuals demanding democratic
reforms. On June 4, the People's Liberation Army tanks cleared
the Square, and hundreds of causalities and injuries ensued.
On This Day: 1989 Massacre in Tiananmen Square
This one page BBC news article about the Tiananmen Square events
of June 4, 1989 includes a video news report and links to a
China country profile. In addition to the news report, there
is a sidebar analyzing the event. "The demonstrations in
Tiananmen Square have been described as the greatest challenge
to the communist state in China since the 1949 revolution."
Epoch Times: Twentieth Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre
For the 2009 twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre,
independent news site The Epoch Times created a special edition
with dozens of articles analyzing the event. Of particular note
is "China Briefs: Remembering Tiananmen" with news
stories from around the world, and several photo galleries.
The first of these galleries includes several disturbing pictures,
but does include a warning at the top of the page.
York Times: Tiananmen Square
"In the early hours of June 4, as the world watched in
horror, the tanks of the People's Liberation Army rolled toward
Tiananmen Square and troops fired on the crowds, killing hundreds
and wounding thousands." This New York Times section is
a collection of reporting from both 2009 (the twentieth anniversary)
and 1989. Notable clicks include the lead article by Nicholas
D. Kristof, which provides an excellent background on the death
of Hu Yaobang, a precursor to the protests that lead up to the
Tiananmen Square tragedy, and the blog entry "Behind the
Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen."
Frontline: The Gate of Heavenly Peace
In addition to background about the PBS film The Gate of Heavenly
Peace, this companion site contains articles analyzing the events
leading up to the demonstrations, video and audio clips, posters,
and photographs. Even though one of the images is broken, my
favorite click is the Interactive Tour of Tiananmen Square.
Click on any image to learn more about Tiananmen Square.
Frontline: The Tank Man
"After all others had been silenced, his lonely act of
defiance against the Chinese regime amazed the world. What
became of him? And 20 years later, has China succeeded in
erasing this event from its history?" The Tankman referenced
in the title of this site was an unknown man, captured in
several photographs, standing in the middle of the street
in front of a line of tanks arriving at Tiananmen Square on
that fateful day in 1989. This PBS Frontline site is my Tiananmen
Square pick of the week. Not only can you watch the entire
90 minute PBS special online, but the site also includes a
timeline of events, world reaction, and the transcript of
a panel discussion on China's struggle to control information
and censor the Internet.
Father's Day Poems
Whether you are making a Father's Day card from scratch, or
looking for something to add to a purchased card, these sites
are chock full of Father's Day poems to help you find just
the right words to express your love. Some include original
poems, others feature works from famous dead poets. Most allow
the use of their poems on handmade cards, but be sure to check
the each site for more specific terms of usage.
4 the Teacher: Father's Day Poems and Rhymes
Apples 4 the Teacher hosts fifteen poems honoring dear old Dad,
by poets such as Winifred Sackville Stoner, Henry W. Longfellow
and William Wordsworth. Other Father's Day content includes
coloring pages, printable cards, crafts, recipes, and gift ideas.
For reading time, there is printable chapter book about Pinocchio
and his dad Geppotto.
for Free: Father's Day Poems
Free for personal or non-commercial use, poet Nicholas Gordon
shares his poems online as well as for use in homemade Father's
Day cards. Gordon is a prolific poet, and his collection is
the largest of today's picks. "You are our knight in shining
armor, / Pilgrim of our plea, / The Atlas for our wounded world,
/ Our rescuer at sea."
"I love you, Dad, and want you to know / I feel your love
wherever I go. / Whenever I've problems, you're there to assist
/ The ways you have helped me would make quite a list."
I was already a fan of poets Karl and Joanna Fuchs, so I was
happy to see their names again when searching for Father's Day
poems. The married duo write all the poems at Poem Source, and
no commercial usage is allowed. Although in some cases they
do allow a single poem to be published on a personal website,
please read their usage guidelines carefully, because I can't
cover them adequately in this limited space.
Poems about Fathers
For high-school students and adults, Poets.org takes a more
scholarly approach to poems about fathers, with a look at half
a dozen poems from well-known poets, and a suggested reading
list that includes works by Dylan Thomas, Edgar Guest, Sylvia
Plath, and others. Here's the start of one by E.E.Cummings.
"my father moved through dooms of love / through sames
of am through haves of give, / singing each morning out of each
night / my father moved through depths of height".
Quotes for Father's Day
"A father's words are like a thermostat that sets the
temperature in the house," Paul Lewis. For a little variety
in today's sites, Thinkexist brings us not poems, but quotes.
The quotations are sorted by popularity, which means you can
vote for your picks (or pans) by clicking on the up (or down)
thumb. Pay special attention to the tiny icons next to each
quote. They provide one-click access to sending each quote
as an e-card, copying to your clipboard, or printing.
Battle of Little Bighorn
The Battle of the Little Bighorn (also known as Custer's Last
Stand and the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek) took place on June
25-26 of 1876, during the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. General
George Custer led 700 U.S. troops into defeat (with more than
250 casualties) at the hands of about 900 Native American warriors,
led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
Images of Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn
Robert J. McNamara, the About guide to nineteenth century history,
has gathered twelve images from the New York Public Library
Digital Collections to create an annotated gallery. Some of
the images are black-and-white photographs, others are book
illustrations, and one is a copy of Walt Whitman's hand written
poem "A Death-Sonnet for Custer." Whitman's poem expressed
the shock many Americans felt when news of the battle reached
them. The poem was published in the New York Tribune on July
10, 1876, and was later included in editions of "Leaves
to History: Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876
After an introduction setting the scene of the battle, George
Herendon tells his eyewitness account, as reported in the New
York Herald. "Herendon served as a scout for the Seventh
Cavalry -- a civilian under contract with the army and attached
to Major Reno's command. Herendon charged across the Little
Bighorn River with Reno as the soldiers met an overwhelming
force of Sioux streaming from their encampment."
of the Little Bighorn Battlefield: The Battle
Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield is a non-profit association
supporting the educational activities of the Little Bighorn
Battlefield National Monument near Crow Agency, Montana. Best
clicks include Road to Little Bighorn (a timeline of events
from 1400 to 2003 when the Indian Memorial was dedicated) and
Custer's Last Stand (a pictorial history.) The archeological
digs of 1984-85, 1989 and 1994 uncovered dozens of spent cartridges,
fired bullets, and human remains. Explore more in the Archeology
Ten Myths of Little Bighorn
"An examination of ten of the major myths about the Battle
of the Little Bighorn follows. The first two myths are widely
held fallacies that do not require Indian testimony to discredit;
the last eight myths are largely discredited by eyewitness accounts
of those on the winning side." The first myth debunked
is that all of Custer's men were killed. The second is that
Custer did not listen to his scouts. Click on over to learn
of the South: George Custer
George Armstrong Custer, born December 5, 1839, graduated
West Point in 1861 and "was an active and daring cavalry
officer during the Civil War, distinguishing himself on many
occasions." This Civil War site brings us a bio of Custer,
along with an illustrated look at his Last Stand. "Never
comprehending the overwhelming odds against him, believing
that the Indians were 'on the run', and thinking that between
himself and Reno he could 'double them up' in short order,
Custer had sealed his fate."
Celebrated as a national French holiday, Bastille Day commemorates
the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison on July 14, 1789
by an angry Parisian mob. It is frequently considered the start
of the French Revolution, which eventually saw the overthrow
of the monarchy, and the establishment of the French Republic.
Dedicated entirely to explaining Bastille Day and the French
Revolution, this site is divided into four sections: History,
Biographies, Symbols, and Quizzes. History starts with the political
and economic reasons for the Revolution, and continues through
The Reign of Terror that occurred at the end of the Revolution.
Of course, it includes the story of the Storming of Bastille
on July 14, 1789. Biographies covers ten personalities whose
lives are intertwined with the Revolution, including Louis XVI,
Marie Antoinette and Maximilian de Robespiere.
France: Place de la Bastille
"The French national holiday, celebrated annually on July
14, is officially called the Fête Nationale, and commemorates
the Fête de la Fédération - but it is commonly
known in English as Bastille Day." Although primarily a
travel site, Discover France also covers culture, history and
language. The seven-page section about the Bastille includes
its early history as a fortress during the Hundred Years' War
(it was built between 1370 and 1383) and the story of one famous
but anonymous prisoner known as The Man in the Iron Mask. The
Storming of the Bastille is covered in Parts 3 and 4.
the French Revolution: Paris and the Politics of Rebellion
Created in collaboration with George Mason University, City
University of New York and the National Endowment for the Humanities,
this site for high school and college students, archives more
than 600 primary documents, and unites them with a timeline,
a glossary and maps. Here the storming of the Bastille is analyzed
more deeply than at other sites. For example, it asks the question
"[G]iven the sharply rising bread prices in Paris at the
time, were the crowds that gathered on the 14th engaging in
a more traditional form of protest, a large-scale 'bread riot,'
that took on political significance only as events unfolded?"
Wiz: The Storming of the Bastille
"Taken from the French word 'bastide', meaning fortress,
the Bastille was constructed to defend the eastern wall of Paris
in 1382. But because it had previously been used to house political
prisoners, it had long been a symbol of royal tyranny."
This illustrated history lesson briefly introduces the history
of the Bastille, and describes the angry Paris mob that stormed
the walls on July 14, 1789.
Stuff Works Videos: The French Revolution: The Storming of
With video clips of modern-day Place de Bastille, where the
Bastille fortress once stood, this two-minute movie briefly
tells the story of the storming of the Bastille that "marked
the beginning of the bloody phase of the Revolution."
Additional French Revolution videos can be in the "History:
Europe: Battles & Revolution" section, or by using
the search function near the top of the page.
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.