Category Archives: Uncategorized

Change Of Cultural Attitudes

Long Way Off

Culture shapes the way we see the world. It therefore has the capacity to bring about the change of attitudes needed to ensure peace and sustainable development which, we know, form the only possible way forward for life on planet Earth. Today, that goal is still a long way off. A global crisis faces humanity at the dawn of the 21st century, marked by increasing poverty in our asymmetrical world, environmental degradation and short-sightedness in policy-making.

Cultural Values

Our cultural values, which often include particular religious beliefs, shape our way of living and acting in the world.

Explore The Values

Module 11 on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability explores the importance of indigenous values and spirituality in providing guidance for sustainable living. Such principles and values encourage a spirit of harmony between people, their natural environments and their spiritual identities.

Beliefs Vary

The principles for living sustainably that flow from these and other cultural and religious beliefs vary between groups and countries. They have also changed over time as circumstances demand. Despite this diversity, many principles for living sustainably are shared, not only among indigenous peoples, but also between different religious traditions.

Guidance Provided

This module explores the role of culture and religion in providing guidance on ways of living sustainably. It also provides activities which analyse the place of these themes in the school curriculum.


To develop an understanding of the relationship between culture, religion and sustainable living;
To explore the principles for sustainable living encouraged in a chosen religion and in a case study from Nepal; to analyse the relevance and applicability of principles of sustainable living in the Nepal case study; and to encourage reflection on the contribution of religious education in Education for Sustainable Development.


Defining religion and culture
Values and principles
A case study: Annapurna, Nepal
Culture and development

World Culture Report

Culture is a crucial key to solving this crisis.
Source: Preface, World Culture Report, UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 1999.

For more information download the following web page::

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Observe Preface To Report

World Culture – UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 1999




Focus On Civics

Enhance Civic Education

By incorporating logic, history, and critical thinking with a national standard, Dreyfuss hopes to inspire a new way of teaching and preparing America’s youth. Learn more about his bold national initiative to enhance civic education in today’s classrooms. – Commonwealth Club of California.

Winner Of Best Actor Oscar

Richard Dreyfuss is one of the youngest actors to win the coveted Best Actor Oscar, when he snared it for his performance in The Goodbye Girl.

An Accomplished Stage Actor

Dreyfuss has been in movie classics such as Mike Nichol’s The Graduate and Postcards From the Edge, George Lucas’s American Graffiti, Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me, Barry Levinson’s Tin Men, Barbara Steisand’s Nuts, Stakeout, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Lost in Yonkers, and Mr. Holland’s Opus, which earned Dreyfuss a second Academy Award nomination. Dreyfuss is also an accomplished stage actor.

Overview Of Lessons

In this lesson, students will investigate the risks that journalists take to report on organized crime and corrupt government leaders. They will first discuss the role and value of a free press and some of the principles that define the work of reporters. Student groups will then role-play the work of a newspaper editorial board that must decide whether or not to publish a controversial story that could put the paper and its staff at risk.

Video Clips From Documentary Film 

The video clips used in this lesson (in Spanish with English subtitles) are from the film Reportero, a documentary that follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media.

Library Of DVDs You Can Borrow

POV offers a lending library of DVDs that you can borrow anytime during the school year–FOR FREE! Get started by joining our Community Network. To purchase the institutional version go to

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”                                                                                                                           

Prairie Dogs Focus On Civics Education





Making Hope Happen

Leading Authority

Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D.,a Gallup Senior Scientist, is the world’s leading authority on the psychology of hope and author of “Making Hope Happen”, published by Atria Books in March. The following information “Searching for the Most Hopeful Teacher in America” was posted on their web page on:  08/22/2013 10:29 pm. The book published by Atria Books may be purchased:

Results Of Gallup Student Poll

Hopeful students are more likely to go to school, engage in learning, and make good grades. And we now know where some of these high-hope students hang out. Gallup has identified 192 U.S. schools with a high-hope student body, based on Gallup Student Poll results from more than 1,700 schools.

Student Hope Measured

All of these schools participated in the 2012 Gallup Student Poll measuring student hope, engagement, and wellbeing. Schools where students’ average hope score was 4.53 or higher out of a possible 5 are being honored as a Gallup High-Hope School.

Find Most Hopeful Teacher

Gallup and Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., reached out to the principals of the 192 high-hope schools to find the most hopeful teacher in America. Principals at each of the Gallup High-Hope Schools were asked to nominate the one full-time, effective classroom teacher who was best at creating a contagion of hope in the school. Many principals told us that their nominee was easy to identify, as they were experts at getting students excited about the future and teaching them the ways to make their big goals a reality. One principal said it took a “split second” to pick the most hopeful teacher in the school.

Spread Hope To Students

Each nominee then submitted a personal story about how they spread hope to students. Based on their personal statement and on their principal’s nominating letter attesting to teacher quality and the educator’s knack for motivating students, we identified four finalists for the Most Hopeful Teacher Award:

Four Finalists

•Danny Chang, Robert Frost Middle School, Montgomery County Public Schools
•Melissa Frans, Peter Kiewit Middle School, Millard Public Schools
•Sapna Iyer, SIATech High School at San Diego Job Corps Center
•Mary Hawkins-Jones, Westover Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools

Four Finalists Interviewed

Each of the four finalists were interviewed to discover how they made students more hopeful. Each of the finalists talked about sharing their own hope with students. Three strategies emerged that these hopeful teachers shared in common:

Three Strategies Emerged

1. Caring about students and investing in their big future goals.
2. Aming teaching at their students’ goals for the future to increase     relevance of instruction.
3. Helping students overcome obstacles and teaching them how to solve problems on their own.

Communicates With Expectations

Chang’s principal, Joey Jones, said, “He teaches with his heart as well as his head.” Jones added, “[Chang] communicates high expectations, he provides frequent and explicit feedback, and plans for a variety of activities that generate multiple paths to learning.” Chang’s approach to inspiring students is shared by many other high-hope teachers. Chang elaborated, “Hope is contagious and it begins in oneself. I have hope in my students and when they see that in me, I believe they begin to have hope in themselves.”

Contacts with Single Student

At Kiewit Middle School, Frans tries to connect with every single student every day. To motivate students toward a future that matters to them, she tries to “find something each of them do well.” By getting students to do more of what they do best, they have more hope for their futures.

School Specializes

Iyer sees herself as a teacher, coach, and parent of her students at a school that specializes in educating those who did not find success at other institutions. She works hard to increase the relevance of what she teaches in her English classes. “I target more things to students’ educational and career goals,” she said. “English is a tool that can help us teach anything.” With that strategy, she helps students develop expository writing and oral communication skills that can be used in the classroom, on job interviews, and in the workplace.

Helps Set Goals

At Westover Elementary, Hawkins-Jones helps all of her 5th-grade students set goals with her and Patricia Kelly, the school’s principal. She encourages them to chase a goal they are excited about, list strategies, and consider obstacles in their way. Hawkins-Jones marvels at students who are so committed to their goals that they are willing to give up recess to work on them.

Titled Earned

These four teachers are masters of content and pedagogy, but they also possess the talent to make learning relevant to students and their futures. Each finalist is effective by any and all measures. But, only one earned the title of “Most Hopeful Teacher in America.” That is Mary Hawkins-Jones, a Montgomery County, Maryland 5th grade teacher.

Shares The Story

Hawkins-Jones combines teacher talent, caring, and homespun wisdom to connect students to a promising future. She shares the story of a student she described as a turtle in her shell because “she was always hiding.” The student told Hawkins-Jones that her career goal was to become a housekeeper. Hawkins-Jones told the student that she could be of service to people in other ways, telling her, “Oh no, you can dream higher than this.” Inspired, the student went on to be a teacher.

Other Goals Considered

Earlier this year, the former student contacted Hawkins-Jones to say thank you for encouraging her to consider other goals. “She told me she was nominated for teacher of the year in her district. And she won.” Hawkins-Jones said, “You can have a big impact on students by giving them a little hope.”

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Watch Most Hopeful Teacher Award


Constitutional Rights Foundation

Our Mission

“Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) seeks to instill in our nation’s youth a deeper understanding of citizenship through material expressed in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights and to educate young people to become active and responsible participants in our society. ” CRF is dedicated to assuring our country’s future by investing in our youth today. Additional information may be found on their web page at: 

Civic Participation

CRF is a non-profit, non-partisan, community-based organization dedicated to educating America’s young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society. Under the guidance of a Board of Directors chosen from the worlds of law, business, government, education, the media, and the community, CRF develops, produces, and distributes programs and materials to teachers, students, and public-minded citizens all across the nation.

Publications Developed

CRF staff includes teachers and educators, lawyers, community organizers and fundraisers, designers, writers, and editors. They provide technical assistance and training to teachers, coordinate civic participation projects in schools and communities, organize student conferences and competitions, and develop publications in the following areas:

Law And Government Programs

Law and Government programs and materials focus on how groups and individuals interact with the issues, institutions, people and processes that shape our laws and government.

Civic Participation Programs

Civic Participation programs and materials bring to life the rights and responsibilities of active citizenship by challenging young people to explore their community and plan and implement projects that address community needs.

Constitutional Rights Foundation

“Get to know more about Constitutional Rights Foundation by looking over our Annual Report. Contact our staff. Explore our Programs section to learn how CRF translates its visions into reality. Turn to the Publications page to survey our catalog offering materials in Government, U.S. and World History, Business, and Civic Participation. Tour our Support section to learn how we keep our vital work moving ahead, or check out the CRF Calendar.”

How to Reach CRF

Do you have any questions about CRF Programs or Publications? Do you want to reach a particular CRF staff member? You may also download a copy of CRF’s brochure at the following web page:‎,  To learn more about about CRF’s Expanding Horizons Internships, how you can sponsor an intern, or how to apply, you may contact: Nancy Sanchez at (213) 316-2109.

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Are Responsible Participants In Our Society

 File:Prairie dog animals.jpg









Online Learning Policy

Online Learning Policy Brief Released

ARLINGTON, VA – Coming on the heels of a disappointing
legislative session for school choice, Americans for
Prosperity Foundation released a policy brief on online
learning today explaining virtual schools’ exciting
new frontier of educational freedom. The recent January
2013 POLICY PAPER No. 1301 – “A Nation Still at
Risk: The Continuing Crisis of American Education and
Its State Solution”, by Casey Given is available here.

A Click Away For Thousands Of Students

“Thanks to the Internet, a quality education is a click
away for thousands of students who were previously
unsatisfied with their brick-and-mortar public school,”
AFP Foundation policy analyst Given explains in the

Virtual Schools Aren’t Bound 

Since virtual schools aren’t bound by enrollment caps
and geographic location like brick-and-mortar schools,
Given argues that they have unprecedented potential
to extend educational choice to every student with an
Internet connection. The policy brief then explains
the history of online learning, its various forms, and
its contemporary challenges.

Some States Refuse Expansion

“Several states stubbornly refuse to expand educational
freedom online. In fact, many conservative educational
reformers are even scaling back their state’s existing
online programs, often in the name of preserving ‘local
control’ for district school boards,” according to

Better Techniques Needed

From New Jersey’s withdrawal of approval for the first
two virtual schools to open up in their state to
Pennsylvania’s targeted cuts to online learning, the
report suggests that better techniques need to be
implemented to evaluate and approve virtual schools.

Focus On Virtual Schools

“Instead of one-size-fits-all evaluations, states
should more effectively evaluate virtual schools’
performance by focusing on progress rather than
benchmarks. States should evaluate whether a student’s
knowledge has improved rather than if their knowledge
is sufficient to pass a state standardized test.”

School Choice Often Overlooked

The policy brief serves well as a primer on a subject
of school choice that is often overlooked by education                                       reformers. A full copy of the policy brief is available here.

Dispel Myths Of School Choice

“Dispelling the Myths of School Choice” AFP
Foundation-Wisconsin and the John K. MacIver Institute
Air “Did it Right” Commercial: “Stop Punishing Parents
Who Want the Best For Their Children”

If you like this post, you may Chip in $5 to AFP Foundation
or you can read more at the following website:

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Observe Online Learning Policy











Education For K-12 Students

Prerequisite To Success

In today’s global economy, a high-quality education is no
longer just a pathway to opportunity—it is a prerequisite
to success. Because economic progress and educational
achievement are inextricably linked, educating every
American student to graduate from high school prepared
for college and for a career is a national imperative.

President’s Goal

The President has articulated a goal for America to once
again lead the world in college completion by the year
2020, and all of President Obama’s education efforts aim
toward this overarching objective.

Create An Economy

To create an economy built to last, we need to provide
every child with a complete and competitive education that
will enable them to succeed in a global economy based on
knowledge and innovation. To provide a high-quality
education to all American children, President Obama has
advanced reforms around four key objectives:

Higher Standards

Higher standards and better assessments that will prepare
students to succeed in college and the workplace.

Ambitious Efforts

Ambitious efforts to recruit, prepare, develop, and advance
effective teachers and principals, especially in the
classrooms where they are most needed.

Smarter Data Systems

Smarter data systems to measure student growth and success,
and help educators improve instruction.

New Attention

New attention and a national effort to turn around our
lowest-achieving schools.

Designed  Initiatives

Since taking office, the Obama Administration has designed
and implemented several initiatives to strengthen public
education for students in every community nationwide:

Race to the Top

Race to the Top marks a historic moment in American
education. This initiative offers bold incentives to states
willing to spur systemic reform to improve teaching and
learning in America’s schools. Race to the Top has ushered
in significant change in our education system, particularly
in raising standards and aligning policies and structures
to the goal of college and career readiness. Race to the
Top has helped drive states nationwide to pursue higher
standards, improve teacher effectiveness, use data
effectively in the classroom, and adopt new strategies
to help struggling schools.

No Child Left Behind

As states move forward with education reforms, some
provisions of No Child Left Behind — the most current
version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,
which is five years overdue for reauthorization — stand
in the way of their progress. Although NCLB started a
national conversation about student achievement, unintended
consequences of NCLB have reinforced the wrong behaviors
in attempting to strengthen public education. NCLB has
created incentives for states to lower their standards;
emphasized punishing failure over rewarding success;
focused on absolute scores, rather than recognizing growth
and progress; and prescribed a pass-fail, one-size-fits-all
series of interventions for schools that miss their goals.

Sent Congress A Blueprint

In March of 2010, the Obama Administration sent Congress a
Blueprint for Reform of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, addressing the issues created by No Child
Left Behind while pursuing high standards and closing the
achievement gap. But because Congress has not acted to
reauthorize ESEA, the Administration moved forward in
providing states flexibility within the law – as authorized
by provisions in the law itself – to pursue comprehensive
plans to improve educational outcomes for all students,
close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of teaching.
To date, 41 states, CORE (California Office to Reform
Education) Districts, and the District of Columbia have
received ESEA flexibility.

Redesigning America’s High Schools

President Obama’s High School Redesign initiative will
encourage America’s school districts and their partners
to use existing federal, state and local resources to
transform the high school experience for America’s youth
through a whole school redesign effort. This effort will
challenge high schools and their partners to rethink
teaching and learning and put in place learning models
that are rigorous, relevant, and better focused on
real-world experiences. These reforms will incorporate
personalized learning and career and college exploration
and ensure that all students graduate with college-level
coursework or college credit, as well as with career-related
experiences or competencies.

Keeping Teachers In The Classroom

President Obama believes that our children cannot win the
future if teachers are not where they belong—in our
classrooms, teaching our nation’s children. America’s
education system has always been one of our greatest
sources of strength and global economic competitiveness,
as well as an engine of progress in science, technology
and the arts. Our nation cannot expect to train our
children for the high-skilled jobs of today, or for the
opportunities of the future, without investments in a
world-class education system. And America cannot build a
world-class education system without teachers in our

Cuts in Education Budgets

But cuts to education budgets nationwide put education jobs
at risk. These cuts force states and districts into
difficult decisions, including laying off teachers and
other school personnel, overcrowding classrooms, reducing
preschool and kindergarten programs, or even shortening the
school week and year.

President Invested In Education

That’s why the President has invested in education,
providing funding to keep hundreds of thousands of teachers
on the job over the past three years and creating a proposal
to prevent further layoffs from taking place:

Stabilization Funds Deployed

In 2009, the President effectively deployed stabilization
funds for state education budgets through the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which enabled states and
schools districts to keep approximately 300,000 educators
on the job in the face of budget cuts caused by the economic
recession. In 2010, the President signed the Education
Jobs Bill into law that provided states $10 billion in
emergency funding to keep approximately 130,000 educators
in the classroom.

For more information on high-quality education download the following   website: 

Woody Woodchuck
“Word of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Prepare For K-12 Education





Grandma And Grandpa


For Grandma & Grandpa

One of Del Siegle’s ideas, a presenter at a Montana AGATE
04/15/2013 conference was to have kids create eBooks which
can be sent (via email) to their Grandma and Grandpa. Now
you’ve got a “real audience” that will motivate the kids
to do their best work.

Different Styles

Websites, eBooks & apps come in different styles that work
for various ages: the young ones, some let them color
pictures, while slightly older ones can write the words to
narrate books that already have pictures.

Different Formats And Apps

Some are formatted to allow students to insert their own
photos or digital art or text and the oldest kids may prefer
free-form ebooks to unleash their creativity. Del’s website
includes his presentations, which lists many different apps

Books In Target Language

Foreign language teachers: your students can create
children’s books in their target language. Where can you
find an audience? Is there an international school in your
area where the young ones have to learn a foreign language?

More Information

For more information just “click” on the following link
listed below, then “conference handouts”, then “eBooks”.

Woody Woodchuck
“Word of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

     Prairie Dog Watches eBooks Creations 

For Grandma And Grandpa

grandmaSingle woodchuck looking out from hole

Gifted Children

Supporting The Needs Of High-Potential Learners

An estimated 3,000,000 gifted children sit in classrooms
across the U.S. today. Because learning styles and levels
vary widely, the needs of “smart kids” are far too often
overlooked in the logical quest to meet minimum standards.

Maximum Standard

But that begs the question: What is a maximum standard
and how can we shift the focus in the U.S.? For over
50 years, NAGC has worked to increase public awareness
about these key questions and to affect positive change.

Help Prepare For Gifted Students

The 8,000+ members of NAGC work on behalf of these
3,000,000 students who represent a good portion of the
oft-heralded “pipeline of talent.” Luis J. Rodriguez, an
award-winning author and Chicano activist once said
“It is not enough to prepare our children for the world;
we also must prepare the world for our children.”We owe
it to ourselves and to future generations to help prepare
the world of education for gifted students.

Invested Resources

Thus, NAGC invests all of its resources to train teachers,
encourage parents and educate administrators and
policymakers on how to develop and support gifted children
and what’s at stake if high-potential learners are not
challenged and encouraged.

Recent MT AGATE Conference

Recently, in The 2014 MT AGATE conference, teachers from
all over the state of Montana traveled to Billings to hear
Keynote speakers Bertie Kingore and Brian Housand teach
about best practices in Gifted Education at the Billings
Crown Plaza Hotel April 3 and 4, 2014.

Breakout Sessions

Teachers chose from over thirty different breakout sessions about topics such as technology, twice exceptional students, differentiation, the workshop model, problem solving and so much more! Parents of gifted students were invited to take part in many sessions as well as a panel discussion titled “An Evening with the Experts.”

Scholarship Awards Ceremony

The SAT Challenge Scholarship Awards Ceremony brought the event to a close as students from Montana were recognized for their participation in the 2014 SAT challenge and AGATE summer scholarship awards. We hope to see you next year for our 35th annual spring conference in Helena, April 9-10, 2015!

Contact us at:
National Association for Gifted Children
1331 H Street, NW, Suite 1001
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone: (202) 785-4268
web page:


Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Observe Different Breakout Sessions


Choice Dog

Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization. We help animals by advocating for better laws to protect animals; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; investigating cases of animal cruelty; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics. 

National Law Enforcement Council

To step up its fight against all forms of illegal animal cruelty,
The HSUS has formed its first National Law Enforcement Council,
comprised of current and former law enforcement officers and
prosecutors from across the country. The council will assist
The HSUS in strengthening and better enforcing animal
protection laws.

Chosen For Leadership

Members of the national council were chosen for their
leadership in protecting animals from neglect, violence,
and other crimes.With a particular emphasis on animal
cruelty, fighting, and poaching laws, the council brings
together the best in the law enforcement field to help
combat animal crimes nationwide.

Member Activities

Member activities may include supporting state and federal
legislation that strengthens animal protection laws, promoting
animal protection training opportunities for local law
enforcement, and raising awareness of The HSUS’s animal
crimes rewards, tip lines, and other resources.

Join Forces

Ann Chynoweth, Senior Director of the Animal Cruelty and
Fighting Campaign for The HSUS, said, “We are honored to
join forces with our National Law Enforcement Council to
combat animal cruelty, fighting, and poaching crimes. By
fostering relationships across local, state, and federal
levels of law enforcement and prosecution, we can make
meaningful improvements to policies and actions that
protect animals across the country.”

For additional information download the following webpage:

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

                         Prairie Dogs Are Protected                                                                    


ConnectED Initiative

New Initiative 

Recently, President Obama unveiled a bold, new initiative called ConnectED to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband  and high-speed wireless within 5 years.

Internet Connectivity

The President also directed the federal government to  make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages.

Living In A Digital Age

“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” President Obama said. “So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband internet within five years, and equip them with the tools  to make the most of it.”

Skills They Need

Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning experiences driven by new technology. But today, millions of students lack high-speed broadband access and fewer than 20 percent of educators say their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs. ConnectED will bring high-speed Internet within their reach, with a particular benefit for rural communities that have lagged behind in connectivity.

Private Sector

In addition to connecting America’s students, ConnectED harnesses the ingenuity of the American private sector get new technologies into students’ hands and support digital learning content.

Support Educators

ConnectED also better invests existing federal funds to ensure that every educator in America receives support  and training in using education technology tools to improve student learning.

Increase Broadband

The ambitious new vision for digital, connected learning builds on work the Administration has done over the past four years to increase broadband access across the country.

Woody Woodchuck
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”

Prairie Dogs Access The Internet



For more details on the ConnectED initiative, click on: