Monday, January 31, 2011

Human Planet for Educators?

Human Planet is an awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping landmark series that marvels at mankind's incredible relationship with nature in the world today.

Uniquely in the animal kingdom, humans have managed to adapt and thrive in every environment on Earth. Each episode takes you to the extremes of our planet: the arctic, mountains, oceans, jungles, grasslands, deserts, rivers and even the urban jungle. Here you will meet people who survive by building complex, exciting and often mutually beneficial relationships with their animal neighbours and the hostile elements of the natural world.

Human Planet crews have filmed in around 80 locations, bringing you many stories that have never been told on television before. The team has trekked with HD cameras and state of the art gear to film from the air, from the ground and underwater. 

Education: Human Planet Explorer could be an interesting tool for History, Geography and Civic Education teachers using in the classroom to motivate their students to the study of natural history, the man's relationship with the natural environment. 

Target: Elementary and Secondary school


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    Credits: BBC Human Planet Explorer

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Joanna Newsom, whimsically poetic!

Joanna Newsom/ Casa da Musica
Foto: Tribo da Luz (PT)

On Monday night, January 24th 2011 at Casa da Musica, Joanna Newsom played all of her new album Have one on Me, surrounded by five good musicians who replicated those arrangements with a folkier sound: accordion guitar, banjo and bouzouki instead of violins, violas, cellos and woodwinds.

Joanna Newsom, singer, songwriter and harpist is one of indie music’s leading lights, at the moment.  She defies easy categorisation...

She started her performance with “The Book of Right-On,” in which she built a powerfully percussive, syncopated vamp all by herself. 

Joanna Newsom/ Casa da Musica
Foto Paulo Pimenta (PT)

There’s something to watching her play the harp! She is an amazing player on this beautiful instrument. Her voice often discribed as childlike. Her voice ranging from a silky smooth tone to a cry of anguish remember me the wonderful songwriter Kate Bush.

She brought the medieval sound of Europe and some folk legends that she sings and plays poetically.

The audience were convinced that this californian young harp virtuoso happens to be one of the world's greatest young singer-songwriters. We deeply applauded her talent! And her musicians!

She played 'On a Good Day' and 'Baby Birch' , as an encore. This was a show in which an encore was needed as relief of her talent and sympathy.

Here Joanna Newsom playing live at Jools Holland show

"Since Ms. Newsom released her debut album, “The Milk-Eyed Mender,” in 2004, her music has been labeled indie-rock, singer-songwriter ballads and freak-folk. None of those categories is an exact fit for songs that are simultaneously private whimsies and grand parables, delicate and steely, childlike and sage."


Here's a really interesting teaching resource focussing on instrumental education. 

Music students wanting to witness outstanding music teaching in action.

(in a pleasing sunday afternoon)

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Friday, January 28, 2011

OECD 50th Anniversary Video Competition

As part of OECD’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, a video competition for young people has been launched.

To celebrate the OECD's 50th Anniversary, young people worldwide are invited to create a short video describing their vision of Progress.

Progress is everyone, together | Hew Sandison, 18, Australia *

*Updated April 2011

If you are, or you know someone, aged between 18 and 25 and like making short videos, tell OECD what you think “Progress is...”. 

Read all the the Competition terms & conditions here

About the video:
  • No longer than three minutes;
  • Made in English or French (OECD’s two official languages);

The competion is open since December 1st 2010 and closing date for submissions is midnight (Paris, France time) on 1 March 2011.

You can fill out the Registration form here

Upload your video on YouTube and register online before MIDNIGHT (Paris time) on 1 March 2011. Any videos and/or registration forms received after this time will not be considered.

A Special Jury (to be announced in February) will compile a shortlist of 20 videos, judged on a basis of creativity, substance, production value and overall impact. 

The 20 shortlisted videos will be announced and showcased on the OECD website and the OECD YouTube site from 21 March 2011.

The public will be invited to vote from 22 March to 14 April, 2011, via YouTube, the top three videos from the shortlist.

The winners will be announced on Friday 15 April 2011

Three lucky winners will be selected and invited to Paris in May, all-expenses-paid, for a special screening of the videos at the OECD Forum.

The video author (or nominated representative, if a team creation) of each winning video will be invited to Paris to attend the OECD 50th Anniversary Forum in May 2011. 

Travel costs to and from Paris, hotel accommodation and a living allowance will be provided for the duration of the Forum.

For more information, contact

Join OECD on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.


High schools of Arts, students, free-lance movie makers, creative people.

Don't miss this opportunity to share your creativity and your ideas about progress.


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OECD 50th Anniversary Video Competition bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Credits: OECD 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Importance of Reading in School : Judith Kerr, books & resources

Judith Kerr
credits: Tolga Akmen/AFP
Andrew Crowley
via The Telegraph

Writer and illustrator of the much-loved English children's picture books The Tiger Who Came to Tea  Judith Kerr discusses her drawing life, the genesis of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog stories, the anniversary of her childhood memoir, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - and her new book, a "jolly" take on widowhood.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea 
Judith Kerr (writer & illustrator)

Mog the Forgetful Cat
Judith Kerr (writer & illustrator)

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith will be appearing for an interview at The New End Theatre in Hampstead, on 26 January 2011. The interview will begin at 6.00pm and will be followed by a book signing at 7:00pm. 

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Judith Kerr, author & illustrator


Anna is not sure who Hitler is, but she sees his face on posters all over Berlin. Then one morning, Anna and her brother awake to find her father gone! Her mother explains that their father has had to leave and soon they will secretly join him. Anna just doesn't understand. Why do their parents keep insisting that Germany is no longer safe for Jews like them? Because of Hitler, Anna must leave everything behind. 

All profits from tickets sales will go to the Holocaust Educational Trust to help mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea
 Judith Kerr 
credits: Kerr-Kneale Productions


If you teach near Hampstead, don't miss the opportunity to go there with your students. Let the students talk with the writer who they certainly know well from her books they are reading at school.

Students are very curious about autobiographical books and they love to hear from the writers themselves the true story of their life and books.

To motivate your students, display the video with Judith Kerr reading some pages of When Hitler stole the Pink Rabbitt based on her childhood, and the favorite toy she left in Germany. Why not to talk about her work as author and illustrator.

Judith Kerr [1923-2019]
credits: © AFP/File | Tolga Akmen

Note: The beloved children's books author, Judith Kerr passed away on the 23 May 2019, aged 95.

"Over a 50-year career she published more than 30 further books, immortalizing a succession of family cats through the naughty but lovable Mog, and bringing to life her family’s flight across Europe as the Nazis came to power in the novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit."

So, inform your new students and let them to express about the author, her books and life.

Ilse Losa [1903-2006]
Portuguese/German author

  • Go further: 
If you want to go further with your students, after the talk live with Judith Kerr, or the preview of the video, (if you don't teach near Hampstead), ask your students, after watching the video in the classroom, to compare Judith Kerr to the Portuguese children's book novelist Ilse Losa, an interesting German-Portuguese writer who has written a book about her personal life as a refugee of the Holocaust.

Ilse Losa and books

Ilse Losa : some biographical notes:

Ilse Lieblich Losa was born in Bauer, near Hanover, Germany March 20th 1913. She left her country with her parents in 1934. They were refugees and they came to Portugal. Later, she became a Portuguese citizen.

O Mundo em que Vivi
Ilse Losa
Editors: Afrontamento

Ilse Losa is well known by Portuguese students from her children's books. She died in 2006 in Portugal.

Losa wrote O Mundo em que Vivi, an autobiographical book similar to Judith Kerr's book When Hitler stole Pink Rabitt

You can access here to some excerpts from her book (Portuguese language).

Holocaust's children
credits: UNESCO

My thoughts: 

Two books based on the gripping real-life stories of two writers, those poignant back lists staple gets a brand new look for a new generation of readers just in time to Holocaust Remembrance Month.

  • Reading Level:  students aged 9-15 
  • Elementary education:

Younger students (Elementary school) can watch the video below, telling the story The Tiger who came to tea, and teachers will introduce in a sensitive way Judith Kerr's life and her books remembering the International Holocaust Rembrance Day on 27th January.

The beloved children's book writer and illustrator Judith Kerr has died aged 95. In July last year she talked about five-decade career, in which she always worked in the same room, producing all her books from the same table.

But let them watch the video below:

Some useful links: Teachers

The students with teacher's help can learn History of Europe during World War 2 on the website of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

There are important resources for teachers as well, to include into school curriculum. Teachers must organize a previously guide to visit the website.

Teachers can propose older students to complete their research, visiting the Rembrance and Beyond United Nations website.

"Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Press Conference SG/2120, 14 December 2006

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Pauli, Michelle; Fernando, Shehani, Judith Kerr 'I was enchanted by the strangeness of cats', The Guardian, 20 January 2011

Holocaust Remembrance Day UN