|Community Classroom Projects
Welcome Back Teachers! This year we will be offering 3-5 strong Lesson Plans a week, finished on Friday of that week. Those lesson plans and guides will focus on topics of discussion and new-worthy stories in the Times Union for that given week. We will also be sending out a weekly newsletter which will contain those lesson plans and an additional 5 topics of focus for that coming week.
Monday, September 16- Friday, September 20:
1. Egyptian Artifacts in Albany: Reunions require complicated planning. But the Albany Institute of History & Art has pulled off a doozy by reuniting the far-flung coffin parts of Ankhefenmut, a 3,000-year-old 21st Dynasty Egyptian priest and sculptor in the Temple of Mut, who had long been separated from two important pieces of his funerary box. Click here for multiple Ancient Egyptian history lesson plans.
2. Saratoga Commemorates 1777 Battle: The opening shots echoed across a lush landscape at around 1 p.m. on Sept. 19, 1777. By dusk, British-led troops overcame American forces to capture Freeman’s Farm, but at a price that would cost them nearly three weeks later. Click here for a lesson plan on the American Revolutionary War.
3. 2013 Harvest Moon: A harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, hovers over Saratoga Lake on Thursday. What does the harvest moon signify? Click here for educational resources on the Fall Equinox and the Harvest Moon.
4. The Humanities: Don’t put down “The Great Gatsby” just yet. One off the casualties of the Great Recession has been the liberal arts. As people have less money to spend, college has been increasingly viewed as a luxury. Click here for a great literacy in humanities lesson plan.
Monday, September 23- Friday, September 27:
1. General Electric Turbines: General Electric has been given the task of building state of the art Turbines. Click here for a lesson plan that teaches about the functionality of turbines and the science behind them.
2. Lyme Disease Advancements: Since it's rise in recent history, Lyme Disease has become more manageable and even preventable. Click here to learn all about this disease and resource guide to it's prevention.
3. Moose On the Loose: A moose was spotted, not in the woods but on the streets! Click here for the popular book "If you give a moose a muffin" lesson plan for elementary students.
Monday, September 30- Friday, October 4:
1. Health Care Budget Standoff/ Government Shutdown: When will it end? Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years. As the clock struck midnight Monday, House Republicans were demanding that the Senate negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. Minutes before midnight, the White House ordered a shutdown. The Democratic Senate on Monday twice rejected GOP demands to delay key portions of what has become to known as Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open. Click here for a current lesson plan to help teach about the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare.
2. Youthbuild Program: The house at 843 Emmett St. is the 27th in the city renovated by YouthBuild since 2006. The program, run by Northeast Parent & Child Society, helps high school drop outs between 18 and 24 years old earn their high school equivalency diplomas and learn job skills in the health care and construction fields. Click here to learn all about the Youthbuild program.
3. Pumpkin Power: Pumpkins are part of the squash family and are packed with nutrients, vitamins A and C, fiber, beta-carotene and phytosterols that help lower bad cholesterol. They are also high in protein, low in fat and have more potassium than a banana. Why not think outside the, um, circle and add pumpkin — you can also use 100 percent pure pumpkin puree from a can — to any cookie, cake, pie or bread recipes in place of the fat to make it more nutritious. Be sure not to toss the slimy insides away; they make great soup stock and treats for the birds still hanging around your house. Don’t forget to roast and snack on the pumpkin seeds. Click here for a lesson plan all about pumpkins!
4. Fall Foliage & Color: Fall foliage is a parting gift from nature, a radiant going away party for summer. Red, yellow and orange sweep through the trees, chasing the green reserved for warmer weather. But what’s going on beneath the surface of each leaf is hardly serene. At the molecular level, the plant is hauling nitrogen, chlorophyll and enzymes out of the leaves and back into the branches and trunk. Leaf-peeping might be a relaxing ride in the country for you, but the trees are hustling like an air raid siren just went off. Click here for a science lesson plan on Fall leaf color change.
Monday, October 7- Friday, October 11:
1. Heating Up: Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot — permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2045. And eventually the whole world in 2047. Click here for a lesson plan on global warming and natural gas emissions.
2. Junk Food: A new Yale University study says that youths are exposed to endorsements by professional athletes for food products that are energy-dense and nutrient-poor. Some parents, and experts, are posting the results on social media feeds and attributing kids’ love of sugar and fat-filled goodies to the pro athletes who endorse these treats. Click here for the American Heart Associations lesson plans page on eating healthy for middle schoolers.
3. The Sky is Filled with Stars: When astronomers peer through their telescopes into the dark night sky during a Dudley Observatory Hilltown Star Party, they know the truth is out there.
Amateur stargazers of all ages gather monthly in an open field at the Octagon Barn in Delanson, a rural site with limited light pollution, to navigate the constellations with a professional astronomer. Click here for an Astronomy-based lesson plan.
Monday, October 14- Friday, October 18:
1. Smokey the Bear: Smokey Bear visits Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center, 195 New Karner Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday with activities and displays to teach visitors about wildfire prevention and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool in the preserve. Click here for multiple lesson plans on wildfire prevention.
2. Education Initiative: The Common Core is a set of more rigorous curriculum standards being rolled out nationally. It requires students to learn material more thoroughly, proponents say. For example, children learn to explain equations and the way
hey reach answers to science and math problems, rather than just memorizing formulas. Click here for multiple resources and sample lesson plans for teaching The Common Core for every subject.
3. Italian Food:
The Electric City and its Rotterdam and Scotia suburbs are home to 10 Italian restaurants and bakeries so venerable that, combined, they have been in business for more than half a millennium. Click here for a lesson plan dedicated to Italian heritage and cuisine.
Monday, October 21- Friday, October 25:
1. Snake Worm Invader: Macpherson’s property has been besieged by the slimy critters, identified by earthworm specialists last week as belonging to the Asian species Amynthas agrestis, otherwise known as the “crazy snake worm.” A fast-moving invader, the worms have devoured Macpherson’s yard, garden and surrounding forest’s leaf litter, which supplies nutrients to trees. Click here for a lesson plan on invasive species and the threat they have to our environment.
2. English Literacy: The English Language Arts exam has long been a staple of New York’s testing program for children in grades 3 to 8, and it’s a key indicator of how a given school is performing. In coming years, though, students may instead take a Spanish Language Arts Exam. That’s because New York, like a handful of other states, is considering asking the federal government to let it offer an alternate exam for students who are new arrivals to the United States and may not speak English, much less read or write it. Click here for multiple English lesson plans for teaching literacy.
3. School Test Scores at Odds: Preliminary results of a new statewide evaluation system for teachers suggest that educators and their unions have little to worry about. But the state’s leading teachers union isn’t backing off its criticism of the way teacher ratings are done in conjunction with the new Common Core curriculum and standards. Click here for a lesson plan which is in class debate on standardized testing.
4. Common Core Criticism: State Education Commissioner John King listened Thursday evening at Myers Middle School as 67 parents and teachers complained about the state’s handling of the Common Core and its impact on students. Teachers criticized the speed at which the curriculum was installed, giving neither them nor parents time to adapt to teaching the children. Click here for more resources for teachers on the Common Core.
Monday, October 28-Friday, November 1:
1. Fire Safety: The 8-year-old boy knew the dangers of fire, but was still curious about what it could do to the metal springs on his bed. Fire is “really bad. It burns anything, except I don’t know if it burns metal or metal springs; that’s why I did it,” he admitted. Click here for a fire safety lesson plan for kids.
2. Invasive Species: It would be illegal for New Yorkers to possess any of more than 120 invasive species under proposed state rules disclosed Tuesday, although bans would be held back temporarily for two invaders now being sold commercially — an ornamental plant common at nurseries and a boar used for hunting.
The state’s first-ever rules on invasives would cover a wide variety of species, including plants, fish, insects and even algae, from the Asian clams that threaten Lake George to a type of algae that can coat the bottom of fishing streams. Click here for an invasive species lesson plan.
3. World Series Champs:Boston Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara and catcher David Ross celebrate winning the World Series after getting the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter to strike out Wednesday in Boston’s Fenway Park. The Red Sox won the Series in six games and David Ortiz was named MVP. Click here for an activities lesson plan on based around the World Series of baseball.
4. Native American Relics: Thousands of years before T-shirt shops, mini golf and Jet Skis, Lake George was already a destination.
That’s what archaeologists with the State Museum discovered after digging at the lake’s south end in the Million Dollar Beach area, where they unearthed Native American artifacts from as long ago as 8,000 B.C. Click here for a lesson plan on our NYS Native American ancestors.
Monday, November 4- Friday, November 8:
1. Dredging the Hudson: As dredging of PCBs from the Hudson River ends for the season later this month, nearly three-quarters of the toxic chemicals that were targeted for removal by the federal government will be gone. Click here for a lesson plan on dredging of PCB's and how it helps the biological river environment.
2. Milky Way Life: Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life
Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone. Click here for an astrology lesson plan on our galaxy and the planet Earth.
3. General Electric Science Day: Is there a scientist in the house? Dave Moore, a Ph.D. and lead scientist for General Electric, gladly fits the bill Thursday, playing the part of “Post-Doc” as he explodes a hydrogen balloon during a magic versus science show at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna.
It was all part of the 25th anniversary of Science Day at GE. Click here for a great science lesson plan by General Electric.
Monday, November 11- Friday, November 15:
1. Typhoon Haiyan:
Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines. Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population and, to a much lesser degree, climate change combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies. And Typhoon Haiyan was one mighty storm. Click here for a science lesson plan all about natural disasters and typhoons.
2. Styrofoam Banned: Albany Styrofoam containers, the standard for takeout coffee and food, will soon become a rarity in Albany County. A new law will prohibit chain establishments from selling any prepared food or drink in a polystyrene foam container, commonly known as
Styrofoam. The ban, effective in six months, passed the County Legislature Tuesday night in a 24-12 vote and only applies to businesses with at least 15 locations nationally. Click here for a lesson plan on the dangers of pollution.
Deborah Matos’ daughter cupped her hands on either side of her head and wept softly in the back of the room as her mother recounted being attacked by a gang of more than 20 youngsters in front of Mont Pleasant Middle School when she tried to protect her daughter from a bully. Click here for educational resources on bullying you can use in your classroom.
4. Tackle Football: A state lawmaker is broadening his proposed ban on organized youth tackle football to include all kids younger than 14, citing what he described as mounting
evidence of the vulnerability of children’s brains to even blows that fall short of causing concussions. Click here for a gym lesson plan on tackle football.
Monday, November 18-Friday, November 22:
1. The Nutcracker Ballet:Children watch dancers perform Sunday during the Nutcracker Tea event by the Northeast Ballet Company at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs. The event benefits SPAC’s performing arts education programs. Dancers playing the part of sugarplum fairies, above, perform in the crowded hall. Click here for a lesson plan involving this famous holiday play.
2. Common Core Disrupt: Some two dozen kids from around the state ditched school Monday and came to Albany for an up-close lesson in the First Amendment. The students, many of them accompanied by their parents, joined other protesters on the steps of the State Education Building to blast the Common Core school standards as a gross federal government overreach and a violation of states’ constitutional right to run their own education systems. Click here for a resources on the common core.
- 3. Quit Smoking: A program that helps Capital Region residents quit smoking faces state funding cuts by the end of June and will no longer be able to use its remaining state grant to provide direct counseling. Click here for a health lesson plan on smoking and it's harmful effects on your health.
4. JFK Anniversary: For this generation — the Americans who were 17 and under on that day and, today, are from 67 down to, say, 49 — the assassination of John F. Kennedy remains the watershed event that birthed the decade we know as the ’60s and rippled out, year after year, into politics and science and art and culture. It has been a singular snowball rolling down a hill, still gathering debris and holding onto momentum as it hurtles through succeeding generations. Click here for a lesson plan on this outstanding President.
Monday, November 25- Friday, November 29:
1. U.N. Climate Report: The fifth issued by the U.N. since 1990, outlined and reaffirmed the long-standing global scientific consensus that emissions of greenhouse gases from burning of fossil fuels are warming the climate, melting glaciers and polar ice caps, causing oceans to acidify and sea levels to rise. Click here for a lesson plan on climate change.
2. Cleaning Loeffel Water: A new $2.5 million treatment plant to cleanse PCBs and other toxins from water leaking from the infamous Dewey Loeffel dump in Nassau will start operating in January, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Director Judith Enck said during a visit there Tuesday. Click here for a lesson plan on water environments and how to keep them clean.
3. Happy Hanukkah: The eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, which began Wednesday night, celebrates the miracle of the lights on the menorah in the temple in Jerusalem that burned for eight days even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day. Click here for a lesson plan based all around this special Holiday.
4. The Peace Corps at UAlbany: Jean DeMarco and Elizabeth Stevens had different reasons for pursuing master’s degrees in public health, but their decision to study at the University at Albany was based on the same factor — the Peace Corps. Click here for information on the Peace Corps.