Story Preservation Initiative®

Preserving the Stories of Our Lives by capturing the voices, words, and meanderings of artists, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, and eyewitnesses to history. Listen, learn, and be amazed! WEB: www.storypreservation.org

Posts from the ‘In the Classroom’ category

Getting by with a lot of help from our Friends

Story Preservation wishes to thank Morgan Blum Schneider the Director of Education at the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco for allowing us to use and share with Learning Lab partner schools the original lesson plan, which she developed, titled Surviving Hitler: A Love Story.  The lesson plan follows the story of Jutta and Helmuth Cords and their involvement with the plot to assassinate Hitler.  Jutta and Helmuth Cords daughter, Claudia Cords-Damon, shared her parents’ story with SPI.  As has been said on numerous occasions, the resulting recording “reads like a novel.”

To find out how your school can participate in the Story Preservation Learning Lab, go to: http://www.storypreservation.org, or contact us at info@storypreservation.net

The JFCS Holocaust Center is dedicated to the education, documentation, research, and remembrance of the Holocaust. The Holocaust Center is Northern California’s primary resource for Holocaust education, leading the effort to increase awareness among the general public about the causes and consequences of racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance, and indifference during the Holocaust and today.JFCS Holcoaust Center LOGO b&W.jpg

Getting by with a lot of help from our Friends

Story Preservation wishes to thank playwright Tom Anastasi for allowing us to use and share with Learning Lab partner schools his script for the play Surviving Evil.  The play is a theatrical depiction of the life of holocaust survivor Stephan Lewy, whose oral history is part of Story Preservation’s collection.

What better way to teach young people about the holocaust than to have them listen to the stories of those who survived it and then, as we are now able to offer, have them take on the roles of victims, witnesses, and perpetrators.

From Stephan’s Story Preservation oral history relative to Kristallnacht:

“What they did, the Germans, they took the kids. We were about roughly fifty girls and fifty boys. They put us into the synagogue, and they couldn’t torch it, because we had Gentile people living on either side. So, above the arc, there is an eternal light burning in every synagogue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ours was a gas-fired light. It could be electric; it could be a large candle that burns for seven days, and so on. But ours was a gas-fired light. What they did, they cut the gas line to this eternal light and let the gas escape. We were all sitting in

these seats —one hundred kids. They walked out, locked the doors on us, and walked away, hoping that we would suffocate in the process. So, fortunately, one of the boys, who probably was about fourteen years old, had enough sense to take a chair and break some windows, figuring he would be punished for breaking the window, but that’s what saved our lives that night. There were 279 synagogues that were either burned or demolished that night.” 

The children of the Baruch Auerbach orphanage; Stephan Lewy, third row, far left.  Photo courtesy of Stephan Lewy

This is a Learning Lab project and play well suited as a way to observe the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, and to observe Genocide Awareness Month, which in many states is observed during the month of April.

To find out more about SPI’s Learning Lab, go to: http://www.storypreservation.org or contact Story Preservation at info@storypreservation.net.

Books are Meant to be Shared

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Story Preservation wishes to thank the family of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Maxine Kumin and long-time Kumin family friend Suzy Colt for gifting a large selection of Maxine’s books to our lending library.   

Included: 

  • And Short the Season, W.W. Norton, 2014 (paperback)
  • Still to Mow, W.W. Norton, 2007 (paperback)
  • Jack and Other New Poems,W.W. Norton, 2005
  • Bringing Together: Uncollected Early Poems 1958-1988, W.W. Norton, 2003 (paperback)
  • The Long Marriage, W.W. Norton, 2001
  • Connecting the Dots, W.W. Norton, 1996
  • Up Country, Harper & Row, 1972
  • The Nightmare Factory, Harper & Row, 1970 (paperback)
  • Lizzie! Seven Stories Press, 2014
  • Quit Monks or Die, Story Line Press, 1999 (paperback)
  • The Roots of Things, Northwestern Univ. Press, 2010 (paperback)
  • Always Beginning, Copper Canyon Press, 2000 (paperback)
  • Inside the Halo and Beyond,W.W. Norton, 1999
  • The Pawnbroker’s Daughter, A Memoir, W.W. Norton, 2015
  • Oh, Harry!, Roaring Brook Press, 2011
  • What Color is Caesar?,Candlewick Press, 2010
  • Mites to Mastadons, Houghton, Mifflin, 2006

Story Preservation maintains a small but growing library of books that complement our audio collection.  All are available on a lending-basis free of charge to teachers involved with the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab.

April is National Poetry Month – Get Inspired

 

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ANNOUNCING SPI’S FIRST ANNUAL STUDENT POETRY CONTEST!

The SPI Learning Lab contains the voices and stories of nationally and internationally renowned poets. We combine their stories with suggestions for projects that engage students in the art and craft of poetry writing.  OUR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH CONTEST is open to K-12 students from schools subscribing to the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab.  To subscribe to the Learning Lab or to register for a 10-day free trial, click Login / Register here. 

Prizes will be awarded in each of the following four grade categories:  Grades 1 – 3  /  4 – 6  / 7 – 9 / and 10 – 12.

Students can write on any subject and in any form they choose.  Looking for ideas? Here are some PROMPTS.

 

Middle / High:
  • Referencing Stephen Kuusisto’s narrative found in the Learning Lab – ARTS/ POETS with focus on Track 06 “Creating Images that Can’t be Seen,” write a poem that depicts the invisible.
  • Referencing Chard deNiord’s narrative with focus on Track 05 “The Cold Eye,” write a poem with adjectives and then a second poem with the adjectives removed.
  • Referencing Wesley McNair’s narrative with focus on Track 02 “First Poem” and Track 05 “Young Adulthood,” write a poem about a personal life experience as viewed from a distance.

 

Elementary:
  • Referencing Bruce McEver’s narrative with focus on Track 02 “Poet in a Business Suit,” write a poem that is inspired by a work of art.
  • Write a brief letter or email to a special relative or beloved pet and turn that letter into a poem with the help of
    READWRITETHINK Line Break Explorer.

 

Prizes:

Grand Prize Winner’s poems will be published on the Learning Lab site. Grand prize winners will also receive a custom designed framed print of a line from their winning poem. Grand Prize, as well as second and third place winners from each age group will receive a personal note of congratulations from Story Preservation Initiative National Poetry Month Contest judge, Wesley McNair.  (Maximum of four Grand Prize Winners, four Second Prize and four Third Prize Winners, representing one from each grade group).

 

JUDGED BY MAINE POET LAUREATE AND 2015 PEN NEW ENGLAND AWARD WINNER, WESLEY MCNAIR

 

Poet Philip Levine has called Wesley McNair “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.” He has won grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, two Rockefeller Fellowships, two NEA grants in creative writing, and an Emmy Award.  He has twice been invited to read his poetry by the Library of Congress.  He was recently selected for a United States Artists Fellowship as one of America’s “finest living artists,” and in April of 2015, he was named as the recipient of the PEN New England Award for Poetry for his latest collection, The Lost Child: Ozark Poems.

 

CLICK HERE FOR STORY PRESERVATION INITIATIVE
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH CONTEST OFFICIAL RULES

 

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Make Way for Sy!

AUDIO UP! on this fabulous recording.   It’s impossible to not love and be inspired by Sy!  

Photo by Paula Gordon

Photo by Paula Gordon.  Used with permission.

To research books, films and articles, Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana.

She has been deftly undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and dolphins in the Amazon. She has searched the Altai Mountains of Mongolia’s Gobi for snow leopards, hiked into the trackless cloud forest of Papua New Guinea to radiocollar tree kangaroos, and learned to SCUBA dive in order to commune with octopuses.

smontgomery_soulofanoctopusSy’s 20 books for both adults and children have garnered many honors. The Soul of an Octopus was a 2015 Finalist for the National Book Awards. The Good Good Pig, her memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood, is an international bestseller. She is the winner of the 2009 New England Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award, the 2010 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Henry Bergh Award for Nonfiction (given by the ASPCA for Humane Education) and dozens of other honors. Her work with the man-eating tigers, the subject of her book Spell Of The Tiger, was made into in a National Geographic television documentary she scripted and narrated. Also for National Geographic TV she developed and scripted Mother Bear Man, about her friend, Ben Kilham, who raises and releases orphaned bear cubs, which won a Chris award.

Sy writes for adults and children, for print and broadcast, in America and overseas in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at what she considers a critical turning point in human history.

“We are on the cusp of either destroying this sweet, green Earth—or revolutionizing the way we understand the rest of animate creation,” she says. “It’s an important time to be writing about the connections we share with our fellow creatures. It’s a great time to be alive.”

She speaks frequently at schools and museums, libraries and universities.

She is a 1979 graduate of Syracuse University, a triple major with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in French Language and Literature and in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Keene State College in 2004, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Franklin Pierce University and also from Southern New Hampshire University in 2011.

Copy taken from Sy’s website: http://symontgomery.com

 

 

Find Out Why the SPI Learning Lab is Grabbing the Attention of Educators

 

 

Visit the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab by going to:  www.storypreservation.org.  Click Learning Lab.  Click Login and register for a 10-day trial.

Entry into the Learning Lab is a way to engage students through story and involve them in project-based lessons that pique curiosity and enrich the learning experience.

While SPI primary source stories affect us emotionally and intellectually, research shows that they also cause our brain to react biochemically, as we naturally seek a coherent narrative structure in the stories we hear and tell.

With the Learning Lab, teachers reach students on both an emotional and biochemical level, increasing the potential for rich, multidisciplinary learning experiences.

The Learning Lab is appropriate for grades K-12.

With Story Preservation audio as the engagement piece, student’s ‘attention spotlight’ is turned on and focused. Project-based lesson plans, often multi-disciplinary and designed for student-led inquiry, deepen the learning.

The projects found in the Learning Lab come from numerous sources. Projects designed and tested by Learning Lab teachers are uploaded to the site – all written in Understanding by Design format. Story Preservation also culls lesson plans from trusted third-party sources, with direct links to their sites. The Smithsonian, The Getty, PBS LearningMedia, the Center for Ecoliteracy, the Library of Congress, and many more can be accessed with just one click.

Info graphics, photographs, transcriptions, book recommendations, and related links of interest round out each Learning Lab page.

Cristina Dolan ⎥ Promoting Creativity, Diversity, and Literacy in Computer Science

AUDIO UP!  To listen, click links below.

Cristina Dolan will add her personal narrative to our collection this fall.  Hers is the first in our technology series – and we’re off to a great start!!  In fact, a perfect tech-start for Story Preservation Initiative’s Learning Lab where:

Primary Source Material + Project-Based Lesson Plans = BIG (fun) Learning

The copy that follows is taken from the TedX Stuyvesant website.  To listen to Cristina’s TedX Talk, go to:Cristina Dolan TedX Talk

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In the early days of the Internet, MIT Media Lab alumna Cristina Dolan co-founded OneMain.com, which grew to be the tenth largest ISP after a successful IPO. In only five months, she conceived and built the OneMain cornerstone, Geographic Communities, into a profitable business. At its launch, the company’s IPO became the largest Internet public offering at its time, surpassing Amazon’s and eBay’s respective IPOs. Cristina has also held executive roles at Wordstream, IBM, and Oracle, among other organizations. 

As an engineer and self-described “solutionist”, Cristina appreciates the value of an engineering and computer science education. In October 2013, she launched Dream it. Code it. Win it., a non-profit organization to promote such instruction and celebrate the power of applied problem-solving. Finalists have launched more than six companies and the competition has attracted a diverse group of students from over forty countries.

Stories Matter

The Science Behind SPI’s Learning Lab

willis-neuroscience-behind-stress-learning-ts-460x345We find ourselves at the intersection of common sense and science.  SPI engages students through story and involves them in projects that are relevant to their lives.

From Edutopia: The realities of standardized tests and increasingly structured, if not synchronized, curriculum continue to build classroom stress levels. Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain’s learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments. The neuroscientific research about learning has revealed the negative impact of stress and anxiety and the qualitative improvement of the brain circuitry involved in memory and executive function that accompanies positive motivation and engagement.

The Proven Effects of Positive Motivation

Thankfully, this information has led to the development of brain-compatible strategies to help students through the bleak terrain created by some of the current trends imposed by the Common Core State Standards and similar mandates. With brain-based teaching strategies that reduce classroom anxiety and increase student connection to their lessons, educators can help students learn more effectively.

In the past two decades, neuroimaging and brain-mapping research have provided objective support to the student-centered educational model. This brain research demonstrates that superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are relevant to students’ lives, interests, and experiences. Lessons can be stimulating and challenging without being intimidating, and the increasing curriculum requirements can be achieved without stress, anxiety, boredom, and alienation as the pervasive emotions of the school day.

Stories Matter

Story Preservation will be presenting at …

UPCOMING

January 12, 2016

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We’ve been invited to present at the New Hampshire Association of School Principals’ Winter Conference, January 12, 2016.

 

 

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October 9, 2015

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We’ve been invited to present at the NH National Education Association Instructional Conference this October.  With upwards of 500++ educators expected to attend, it offers Story another great opportunity to introduce even more teachers to Story Preservation’s Learning Lab … where …

SPI Primary Source Audio + Project-Based Lesson Plans = BIG (fun) Learning

(Just ask one of the Learning Lab kids!)

Here’s a quote from a 7th grader in an English Literacy class who we introduced to a Story recording of birdsong expert Don Kroodsma:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 2.00.32 PMI think personally that this class is the greatest. I think this class is a wonderful idea and I don’t want to stop doing this. This has made me less bored during Intervention and Extension while learning things that inspire me to want to be a naturalist. I love this group and I don’t want it to end. I want to keep doing this and see how the bird sanctuary will turn out.

Here’s a link to Don’s recording: Don Kroodsma / The Singing Life of Birds

 

 

August 6, 2015

New Hampshire Department of Education, Statewide Educators’ Summit, August 2015

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SPI’s Learning Lab

Susan Swartz

A page from the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab, a project for K-12 New Hampshire public school teachers.

We work to make this teaching resource as rich visually as it is in content.

Primary source audio / transcriptions / images / project-based lesson plans / links of interest / suggested reading material …

Go to: http://www.storypreservation.org     It’s a resource developed specifically for teachers and a model for a nationwide initiative coming in 2016.