Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

As I "complained" to my hubby about my upcoming birthday, he told me my birthday was the best, "after all, who else gets people to go out and celebrate with party hats and horns?" Yup, my birthday is New Year's Day. I would be marking my 29th birthday yet again, but since my oldest son turned 29 himself this year, I guess I can't do that anymore. Today's freebie presents information about a traditional 15th birthday celebration in Mexico, but actually contains even more of a story.

Title: Sweet 15
Description: The traditional 15th birthday celebration symbolically ushers a young Mexican girl into adulthood. When her father cancels the gala event, she accidentally uncovers her father's secret--he has never become a legal resident of the U. S.
Suggested Grade: 6-12
Format: VHS videotape
Running Time: 120 minutes
Availability: Schools, libraries, and nursing homes in the United States.
Terms: Borrowers must have a User's Agreement on file with this source--available by mail or via the Internet. Return postage is paid by borrower; return 12 days after showing. Book at least three weeks in advance. All borrowers are limited to a total of ten items per semester.
Order Number: SIHISPI-video
Source: Latin American Resource Center
Stone Center for Latin American Studies
Tulane University
100 Jones Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 1-504-862-3143
Fax: 1-504-865-6719

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Day

Oftentimes while creating this blog, I Google "today in history." That is not something I have to do for today, a very notorious day in history. Today marks the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While not the joyous celebration that anniversaries usually are, it is an anniversary we must never forgot. Today's freebie provides more information about a mess attendant who provided heroic service to his fellow shipmates.

Title: Black Pearl: The Story of Dorie Miller, the Hero of Pearl Harbor
Description: Learn about the contributions of this mess attendant stationed on the battleship Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Suggested Grade: 5-12
Format: Online Lesson Plan
Availability: All requesters
Source: Dionne Smith Jones

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's a Whale of a Tale

On this day in 1851, the ever popular story of Moby Dick was published by Herman Melville. This time-enduring book is now in the public domain and you can read the entire story on-line!

Title: Power Moby-Dick
Description: Presents the entire tale of Moby Dick along with interesting points highlighted.
Suggested Grade: 6-Adult
Format: Complete book online
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Herman Melville (well he wrote the book, someone else put it online :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Time Is It, Anyway?

One year ago I was standing in a cold rain at a bus stop in Galway, Ireland. I waited, and waited, and waited--that was when I first learned that Daylight Saving Time is not unique to the United States--the bus showed up one hour later! This freebie will help you learn about the history of daylight saving (or as some may say, daylight shifting), the standardization of time, and when regions around the globe spring ahead and fall back.

Title: Daylight Saving Time
Description: Information about the history of Daylight Saving Time. Also presents some incidents and anecdotes about the time change that are more interesting (and maybe less embarrassing) than mine.
Suggested Grade: 4-Adult
Format: Web Site
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement

Monday, October 19, 2009

Show Me the Money

On October 20, 1996, Congress signed into law the "Commemorative Coin Act of 1996." This law was responsible for the commemorative quarters so many people collect today. Coins were released five coins per year, in the order in which the States were admitted to the Union. In today's freebie, students explore the relationship between pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters and learn more about US currency.

Title: Number Cents
Description: Six lessons about money.
Suggested Grade: 1-4
Format: Online Lesson Plans
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Grace M. Burton

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Who Wants to Be Famous for a Fire?

On the evening of October 8, 1871 the worst recorded forest fire in North American history raged through Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, destroying millions of dollars worth of property and timberland, and taking between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. As a student in Wisconsin we learned all about this tragic fire. Have you heard of it? Perhaps not as the Chicago Fire, allegedly started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow, happened the same night. Perhaps it's the interesting story about the start of THAT famous fire, but the tragic events in Peshtigo, which took a much higher toll on lives and resources, were eclipsed by the "Great Chicago Fire." This freebie will let you all about that lesser known fire.

Title: The Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871
Description: The most comprehensive source on the web for information about this fire.
Suggested Grade: 6-Adult
Format: Web Site
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Deana C. Hipke

Monday, September 28, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month. About 192,370 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2009 (men can get it, too). The number of individuals known to be afflicted with breast cancer has actually increased in recent years, due to the ever-increasing awareness of breast cancer and its symptoms. Thanks to early detection, breast cancer is more easily and more successfully treated. Today's freebie provides questions and answers about breast health and breast cancer prevention.

Title: Questions and Answers About Breast Health and Breast Cancer
Description: Answers some of the most common questions about breast cancer prevention and detection and its treatment.
Suggested Grade: 5-Adult
Format: Brochure (may also be downloaded from web site)
Availability: Limit of 1 copy to schools, libraries, and homeschoolers in the United States and Canada.
Source: American Institute for Cancer Research
Publication Orders
1759 R Street, N. W.
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 1-800-843-8114
Fax: 1-202-328-7226

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Seasons Change

I live directly across the street from the park. Nowhere is the changing of the seasons more apparent than when I look out my window and see the beautiful trees go through the changes that are the four seasons in Wisconsin. This morning, I noticed a lone tree that has started to change color indicating the imminent arrival of Fall. Today's freebie is a fabulous presentation, all ready for teachers to use, that explains the reasons the seasons change.

Title: The Reasons for Seasons
Description: A collection of sixty power point slides explaining the changing of the seasons.
Suggested Grade: 6-12
Format: Power Point Presentation
Availability: All requesters
Source: Edward M. Murphy

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Labor Day "officially" marks the end of summer. In our little community of under 2,000 residents it is a huge event--more than 10,000 enter our village for a parade, all sorts of activities in the park, and to consume 8 tons of FREE sweet corn--it's no wonder I like FREE stuff. (Did I mention that the park is right across the street?) Today's freebie, although brief, explains the history of "summer's last hurrah."

Title: Labor Day
Description: Provides the history, and links for more information, about this holiday.
Format: Online Article
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: KU Medical Center

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Irish and Their Music

Saturday marked beautiful weather in Wisconsin so my son and I ventured to Milwaukee to partake in Irish Fest. He had studied in Galway, Ireland last year and was immediately taken by the folk music that is so prevalent in their culture (he also rather liked the venue so many musicians chose to play in--the pubs). We were treated to lots of Irish music at this fabulous festival on Milwaukee's waterfront. This freebie will treat those of you who couldn't attend to some of the great music from Ireland and other countries.

Title: Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and America
Description: Lots of music to listen to, along with lyrics, from these countries, as well as historical background and tune related links.
Suggested Grade: All ages
Format: Web Site
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Lesley Nelson-Burns

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Snakes Alive

My local newspaper reported yesterday that a python snake was found under a porch at a nearby residence. I live in the state of Wisconsin and snakes are not a common sight. It turns out it was someone's pet who left home about a month ago to "see the sights." This freebie will help you teach students more about this often scary, always fascinating reptiles.

Title: Snake Lesson Plans
Description: Lesson plans to educate about these slithery critters.
Suggested Grade: 5
Format: Online Lesson Plans
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: David Wines

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Atom Bomb Tested

The events that took place in a remote area of New Mexico during the predawn hours of July 16, 1945 forever changed the world. That was the first test of the Atom Bomb. This freebie offers biographies, documents, treaties, photos and more for an in-depth study of the ethical and historical implications for the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Title: Atomic Archive
Description: Explores the complex history surrounding the invention of the atomic bomb - a crucial turning point for all mankind.
Suggested Grade: 6-12
Format: Web Site
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: AJ Software & Multimedia

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Baseball--An All American Sport

My DH and I had the great pleasure of attending a Milwaukee Brewer baseball game last Saturday with our son--who is such a huge fan that he has a season ticket package. The Brewers won in the bottom of the ninth in what turned out to be a fantastic game. While not exactly on the Major League level, this freebie provides tips for all people playing baseball to follow to ensure the game remains fun and safe.

Title: Baseball Safety Fact Sheet
Description: Tips to keep baseball fun, rather than an injury-prone sport.
Availability: A limit of 50 copies will be sent through the mail to schools, libraries, and homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. May be copied to create additional copies for distribution. This article may also be downloaded from the web site.
Suggested Grade: 4-Adult
Format: Printed Article
Source: U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amelia Earhart

I'm a firm believer that women can do anything they put their mind to. In that spirit, we celebrate the accomplishments of Amelia Earthart who embarked on the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman 71 years ago today. This freebie tells all about the life of this female pioneer.
Title: Amelia Earhart FAQ
Description: A complete biography of Amelia Earhart.
Suggested Grade: All ages
Format: Web Site
Availability: All requesters
Source: Naval Historical Center

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tiananmen Square--20 years ago today

June 4, 1989 was an infamous day in history--events that took place in Tiananmen Square in China resonated around the world. This freebie provides an account of this day.

Title: Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History
Description: Presents detailed (and previously classified) U.S. government accounts of the infamous military assault by the Chinese government on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June 1989.
Format: Electronic Briefing Book
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: compiled by Jeffrey T. Richelson and Michael L. Evans

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Job Seekers

I'm so proud of my youngest child who graduated from college three weeks ago. Unfortunately, with things the way they are today his only job offer was to return to his "summer" job at the frozen food plant where he had been employed for the previous four summers. (I say unfortunately but believe me, I know it is a very good thing, many of his classmates have no job at all.) The following freebie gives a little insight into a career as an actuary--maybe it's the field for you.

Title: Actuarial Career Video
Description: Learn more about becoming an actuary.
Suggested Grade: 8-12
Format: VHS videotape
Availability: Schools, libraries, and homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. This videotape may be retained permanently. It is also available as streaming video from the web site. You may write to the address below to make your request or order via the Internet.
Source: Casualty Actuarial Society
1100 North Glebe Road, Suite 600
Arlington, VA 22201

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It was a night of violent storms in my area last night--sadly a number of tornados did a lot of damage in the Midwest. This freebie provides more information about these sometimes deadly storms.

Title: Fabulous Funnels
Suggested Grade: 7-12
Format: Online Lesson Plan
Availability: Available to all requesters
Description: An interactive Internet lesson in which students will learn what tornados are, how they are created and measured, and what their effects are on communities.
Source: Alexander Sabatino, Jr.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo freebie

It seems hard to believe that tomorrow marks the 5th day of May already. In observance of the annual Mexican celebration of "Cinco de Mayo," here is just the tiniest tidbit of a freebie that will tell you some facts about this day that you may not know (did you know that it is more widely celebrated in the United States than Mexico?)

Title: Cinco de Mayo
Suggested Grade: All ages
Format: Web Site
Availability: Available to all requesters
Description: Tells about the "fifth of May" as celebrated in Mexico and the United States.
Source: KU Medical Center

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

U. S. Constitution Freebie

On this day in 1788, Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution. The following freebie allows students to access primary documents, identify arguments for and against the ratification of the Constitution, and produce a broadside in which they take a position on whether their state should ratify the Constitution. Would they have agreed with Maryland?

Title: The Constitution: Counter Revolution or National Salvation?
Suggested Grade: 11
Format: Online Lesson Plan
Availability: Available to all requesters
Source: Claudia Argyres and Jim Smith

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Freebie

In honor of Earth Day, the following freebie is sure to help students learn more about how precious our environment is and how to preserve it.

Title: Charlie Chestnut Curriculum Manual
Suggested Grade: 4-8
Format: Downloadable Curriculum
Availability: Available to all requesters
Description: A complete curriculum manual for helping students learn more about this disappearing tree.
Source: The American Chestnut Foundation
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