2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month at PBS

Who were the people that lived here before Europeans first explored America? In this episode of Crash Course, students get an enlightening U.S. history lesson presented by John Green, who talks about the Native Americans who lived in what is now the U.S. prior to European contact. Green starts the lesson by shedding light on the established way of life of American Indians prior to colonization, and later, discusses what life was like during the first sustained European settlement in North America by the Spaniards. As Green describes, the Spanish have a long history with the natives of the Americas, and not all of it was positive – they were not known to be peaceful colonizers. Green then teaches students about early Spanish explorers, settlements, and what happened when they didn't get along with the indigenous people. WATCH: http://to.pbs.org/1L3FclF

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Antiques Roadshow Teaches Me History

I don't watch tv.  

Wait--that's not true.  I watch Dr. Who, and that's it.
This is my Doctor.

Wait--that's not true either. Sometimes I will pretend NOT to watch Antiques Roadshow when my husband is watching it, but we both know better.  I don't care about the ugly paintings people bought at garage sales, although I still catch myself exclaiming, "Ten thousand DOLLARS??? For that ? WHAT???" before going back to mindless clicking games on my computer.  What I do enjoy are the stories.  There are so many fascinating histories made personal with a trinket or a spoon or a chair.  Sometimes you catch a doozy of a story:

During the Civil War, Union soldier Fernando Robbins was captured by the Confederates and imprisoned. Robbins kept a diary while in prison, writing about the conditions he faced and the people he met. He collected numerous other artifacts during his time in the South, including a small Confederate flag, a stencil of his name, and several pieces that he carved while in prison. These items were passed down through the Robbins family, along with a photograph that shows him in uniform. 

Share this video from Antiques Roadshow with your class as they examine some of these artifacts alongside appraisers. This “unique archive” offers an illuminating historical glimpse into the experiences of a Union solder who served time as a prisoner of war. WATCH: http://to.pbs.org/1JBI2Hp

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I'm not a Biologist, but I Can Blog about Marine Biology and Ecosystems!

Whales fascinate me.  I've always thought about how graceful they are despite their size.  Ever since seeing the crew from Star Trek use George and Gracie, two humpback whales, to save Earth, I have yearned to see a whale in the ocean.


This summer my family visited Boston, and we booked a whale-watching trip.  It was incredible!  We found two humpback whales, and for at least half an hour we watched them blow water and air, fluke, and dive right next to the boat.  It was a very moving experience for me.  My kids thought I was insane when I brushed tears from my eyes.

On August 31, I was lucky enough to catch PBS's video of a blue whale returning to a part of the ocean where there hadn't been whales in many years.  I could explain what that was like for me to watch and for the host of the show to witness, but instead I'm just going to share the link with you.  See for yourself! 

Did you cry?

I loved how the host explained how the whales were just starting to come back because the ecosystem was healing.

In healthy island ecosystems, living things and the natural resources surrounding them are in balance. This balance creates resilience. A resilient island has a greater ability to bounce back when forces outside its control, including climate change, disturb it; however, if an island’s ecosystems have been weakened because of harmful human activities, the balance is lost, which has a negative effect on living things and makes it much more difficult for them to recover.

In this interactive activity, students explore Pacific high island and atoll ecosystems, learn about the threats to island resources and residents, and discover how communities are preserving their future. They also learn about the services these ecosystems provide and how they become compromised by change. EXPLORE: http://to.pbs.org/1L9Xlxm

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!