Saturday, December 21, 2019

So Til' the Season : Santa Tracker, books & films ! Bright Christmas !

Days til' Christmas

Let Seuss’ famous green creature help you count down the days to Christmas! A great addition to holiday décor, this easy-to-hang sign features the Grinch’s furry hand holding an ornament with chalkboard space to write how many days left till December 25th

Kiddos and adults will delight in this new seasonal tradition, taking time each night to gather around and change the number until it’s finally time! 

It's Christmas season. Remember All I Want For Christmas! Schools are closed for holiday. Students are enjoying Christmas holiday with family and friends.

Here some cute digital resources that will cheer kids around the world now that they are enjoying the holiday season:

credits: Getty Images

Millions of children go to sleep on Christmas Eve, excitedly awaiting the delivery of their presents from Santa Claus.

The most wonderful time of year is nearly here, with less than two days to go until Christmas Day. During the festive season, millions of children count down the days of December and go to sleep on Christmas Eve, excitedly awaiting the delivery of their Christmas gifts from the beloved Santa Claus. 

From the history behind NORAD’s holiday role to finding out what time you can expect an appearance down your chimney, here is everything you need to know about Santa’s busiest night of the year.

Throughout the year, the US and Canadian organisation NORAD, monitors aerospace in event of nuclear attack, but when Christmas Eve comes around they monitor the skies for Santa’s sleigh. 

Every year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories across the globe who are keen to follow Santa on his journey
On December 24, 1,500 volunteers respond to emails and receive more than 140,000 calls regarding Santa’s exact whereabouts. 

The festive website was launched on December 1, with a holiday countdown, games and activities, a code lab, a Santa selfie, holiday traditions and so much more, all available in a range of languages.

There is so much fun! Both are so creative! However there is some learning too. Traditions, geography, local music, games, coding, languages (it will depend of the language kids decide to interact). 
Christmas books:
Of course, you have the classical books as Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens The Story of The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann, A Noite de Natal by Sophia Mello Breyner.
This year, here some children's books in different languages:

English language:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 
Dr. Seuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children's story by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author. It follows the Grinch, a grumpy, solitary creature who attempts to put an end to Christmas by stealing Christmas-themed items from the homes of the nearby town Whoville on Christmas Eve. Miraculously, the Grinch realizes that Christmas may not all be about money and presents.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 
Dr. Seuss

The story was published as a book by Random House in 1957. The book criticizes the commercialization of Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 
Chuck Jones, 1966

The book has been adapted as a 1966 animated TV film starring Boris Karloff, a 2000 live-action feature film starring Jim Carey, and a 2018 American 3D computer-animated Christmas comedy Dr Seuss's The Grinch, by Yarrow Cheney and narrated by Pharrell Williams

“Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot ... but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. 
No holiday season is complete without the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville, in this heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit on even the smallest and coldest of hearts. 

We Met in December
Rosie Curtis 

Two people. One house. A year that changes everything.  
Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

French language:

La lettre de mon grand-père
Michael Morpugo
illustration: Jim Field

"Ma chère petite Mia,
Je t'écris cette lettre pour te parler de notre belle planète.
Sais-tu à quel point il est important d'en prendre soin?"

Dans une lettre qu'il offre un Noël à Mia, sa petite-fille, ce grand-père l'invite à s'émerveiller devant la beauté et la diversité de la nature. Devenue grande, c'est au tour de Mia de lire cette lettre à ses enfants.

Comme chaque année à Noël, il y a la bûche, les chants, les cadeaux et la lettre de grand-père. «Toute la famille en connaît des passages par cœur.» Car cette histoire parle d’une vie: celle du monde entier. Le vieux monsieur se souvient de ses jours heureux passés dans son jardin, à contempler un ver de terre, une grive ou un merle. 

À travers ses mots, c’est le bonheur d’une existence au milieu de la nature qui se dessine. Une ode à la nature.

Le Garçon qui partit dans le nord avec son Père à la recherche du Père Noël
Kim Leine
illustration: Peter Bay Alexandersen

Dans un village du Groenland, au pays du vent et des montagnes gelées, Noël approchait. Mais le papa d'Andreas n'aimait pas Noël et refusait de croire au Père Noël. Alors le garçon et son père attelèrent leurs douze chiens et filèrent à travers la nuit, sur la glace. Au bout de l'expédition, de l'autre côté du fjord, la cabane de chasse les attendait, et aussi, sûrement, la visite du Père Noël...

Portuguese language:

Os Três Reis do Oriente
Sophia de Mello B. Andresen
illustration: Fátima Afonso

Neste conto, Gaspar, Melchior e Baltasar deixam para trás o ouro, a segurança da ciência, o apoio dos poderosos e as mentiras dos mais fortes, para seguir uma estrela que se ergue a Oriente.

No silêncio da noite, esta luz revela a alegria de uma boa nova.

O Lobo que não gostava do Natal
Orianne Lallemand
ilustration: Éléonore Thuillier
Portugal 2019

Nesta colectânea estão cinco histórias enternecedoras e divertidas do Lobo mais conhecido das crianças. Nestas páginas, cabem muitas cores, viagens, sentimentos e até uma festa de anos! 
Um livro para incentivar o gosto pela leitura, partilhar bons momentos em família, aprender a exprimir emoções e sonhar. 


Frozen II
Chris Buck,2019

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa's powers in order to save their kingdom.

Tom Hooper, 2019

A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.

Based on T.S. Eliot poetry collection Old Possum's Books of Practical CatsThese lovable cat poems were written by T. S. Eliot for his godchildren and continue to delight children and grown-ups. T.S.Elliot 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Old Possum's Book Practical Cats
T.S. Eliot
illustration: Nicolas Bentley, 2015

The collection inspired the musical Cats!, and features Macavity, Mr Mistofelees and Growltiger!

Star Wars  Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker 
J.J. Abrams, 2019

And the end of the great sequel Star WarsStar Wars  Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker. The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

The epic space-fiction film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga".

A year after the events of The Last Jedi, the remnants of the Resistance face the First Order once again, while reckoning with the past and their own inner turmoil. Meanwhile, the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its climax, bringing the Skywalker saga to a definitive end.

Princesse Lea & Sith
Star Wars  Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker 
J.J. Abrams, 2019

As we ended the trimester, moving through winter solstice toward the returning light, may the Holiday Spirit of the educational community help ease December’s chill but so bright! The sun continues to shine in my country. 

credits: Elyx

Have yourself a Very Merry Christmas Season, brightly colored with love, peace and light.

Wishing everyone a Bright Holiday Season! And a special hug to all the children in the world.

I'm off to continue celebrating Christmas at home with my family.


Copyright © 2019G-Souto'sBlog,®

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So Til' the Season ! Tracker, books & films ! Bright Chrismas ! bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Science : The Geminids shower ? Let's talk about, Annie Jump Cannon & much more !

2012 Geminid Meteor Shower over the Canary Islands 
© StarryEarth / Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 50.0 mm, ISO 3200 – composite
via American Meteor Society

The Geminid Meteor Shower is one of the best (if not the best) meteor shower of the year. Geminid Meteors are bright with a (seasonally festive) greenish hue that leave long lasting dust trails in the sky. 

Active now! Year in and year out the Geminids are currently the most dependable meteor shower. Unfortunately, they are active in December when temperatures are often cold and skies cloudy in the northern hemisphere.

Last year Google celebrated the Geminids meteor shower with a slideshow Doodle on 13 December.

Don't forget to talk about it in the classroom. It's lovely! Young students will enjoy it and will understand better the meteor shower.

Some information:

The Geminid meteor shower is nearly 200 years old, according to known records - the first recorded observation was in 1833 from a riverboat on the Mississippi River - and is still going strong. In fact, it's growing stronger. That's because Jupiter's gravity has tugged the stream of particles from the shower's source, the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, closer to Earth over the centuries. 

 Image credit: Sky & Telescope diagram

The Geminids can be annually observed between December 4 and December 17, with its peak activity being around December 14. The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini from where the meteors seem to emerge from in the sky.

But 2021 isn't expected to be a spectacular year for the Geminids, as the shower's peak on Dec. 13-14 arrives just a few days before the full moon. 

Even after the peak, bright meteors may be visible for the next few nights. The best time to watch for the Geminids is about 2 a.m. in your local time zone

This year it started 7 December. However there will be a nearly full moon in the sky as the Geminids peak on the night of December 13/14

December's full moon is known as the Cold Moon, though it has many other nicknames by different cultures:  Oak Moon, Moon before Yule, Long Night Moon, Uduvapa Poya, the Karthikai Deepam Moon and the Chang'e Moon.

credits: American Meteor Society

The Moon will appear full for about three days centered on this time, from Tuesday 12 December evening through Friday morning.

Unfortunately this means that the fainter meteors will be obscured by the bright moonlight and that total counts will be reduced drastically.

Though the Geminid shower is a quite lively producing frequent bright meteors, which should outshine the copious moonlight.

Then is this display worth viewing this year? Certainly! So it may be chilly out, but if you and your students step outside over the next week, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most active meteor showers of the year! 

Instead of seeing 60 or more Geminids per hour one may still be able to count roughly 20 per hour. Is 20 per hour worth viewing on a cold December night? Yes!

credits: Dinah Ruth Angot


On 13/14 December, the spectacular Geminids meteor shower will be back with its spectacular show. 

The winter, cold temperatures contribute in making this shower neglected by the public, while it offer bright, very enjoyable meteors. 

But most of us are excited about the Geminids shower. Science teachers and students. They will join sky watchers at an observatory in the town or simply outside.

This time teachers and students are just ending school time before Christmas season. But they will have the time - forget the tests - to watch the sky and sciences curriculum will be enhanced with the awesome event in the sky.

Do you want a better science lesson ? Two nights on live science. But we have more! Annie Jump Cannon, do you know her name ? A pioneer woman in Astronomy. Wow!

  • Annie Jump Cannon: A pioneer in Astronomy

Annie Jump Cannon, 1922

American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon spent her life studying the night sky. On 11 December 2014, the homepage in the U.S. was gazing at the stars Cannon loved so much for her 151st birthday. A pioneer in Astronomy, Cannon developed the Harvard Classification Scheme with Edward C. Pickering, which organized and categorized stars based on their temperatures.

Annie Jump Cannon, American astronomer
Google Doodles

  • Google Doodle:

Google honored with a Doodle on 11 December 2014, the American astronomer Annie Jump CannonThe Doodle was gazing at the stars Cannon loved so much for her 151st birthday. 

A pioneer in Astronomy, Cannon developed the Harvard Classification Scheme with Edward C. Pickering, which organized and categorized stars based on their temperatures.

Annie Jump Cannon was a pioneering astronomer responsible for the classification of hundreds of thousands of stars.

AAVSO members in 1916, meeting at Harvard College Observatory. The two women in the photograph are Ida E. Woods (front row) and Annie Jump Cannon (behind Woods)

She was born on 11 December 1863, in Dover, Delaware. Annie Jump Cannon studied Physics and Astronomy at Wellesley College and went on to work at Harvard Observatory. 

The Harvard Computers group
Image Credit: The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Cannon began her career as one of several dozen female "computers" – then defined as people who did calculations – hired by Edward Charles Pickering, director of the Harvard College Observatory, to analyze photographic plates of stars — considered unspecialized and tedious work. They were largely unrecognized in their time, but are becoming better-known today for their fundamental contributions to Astronomy. 

Annie Jump Cannon

A trailblazer for women in science, Cannon discovered hundreds of variable stars and devised a unique system of classification that became the universal standard, in which she listed hundreds of thousands of stars. 

Cannon died in Massachusetts in 1941.

credits: Harvard College Observatory, 1890

Cannon's appointment was finally made official in 1938. She won multiple awards, including the Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences. Cannon retired in 1940 and continued doing research until she died the following year.

Cannon's spectral classification system is still used today – with a variant. The modern Morgan-Keenan spectral classification system still uses the OBAFGKM sequence, but subdivides each star into a luminosity class to more precisely define its type.


It would be interesting to include this women scientist into your lesson to motivate girls to science.

As a motivation, ask about Annie Jump Cannon. Do students know who she was? Include the Google Doodle about her 151st anniversary into your lesson.

During the Geminids shower sky watching, teachers, students can do some good shots, or videos with iPhones, smartphones or tablets to discuss the theme the next lesson before or after Christmas. That will depends where you are living and teaching.

Using the smartphones, students will need a cable release chord. Luckily they can actually use their iPhone headphones' cable volume button to activate the shutter. And they also need an app designed to take long exposure photos.

Pick the Apollo 17 mission:

Apollo 17 prime crew
credits NASA

By the way on 11 December 1972, Apollo 17 land on the moon. Apollo 17 became the last mission to land humans on the moon. The first mission was Apollo 11 51 years ago.

Commander Gene Cernan was the last person to set foot on the lunar surface as he followed the lunar module pilot, Harrison Schmitt, back into the spacecraft on the last day. Ronald Evans, the command module pilot, never got the chance to walk on the moon like his crewmates did, because he had to hang out by himself in lunar orbit.

You see! How many subjects can you as a teacher enhance your sciences lesson! Students will be so excited to learn about.

Time to back to the Geminids meteor shower...

© David Trood /GettyImages

How and when to view?

To best see the Geminids you need to view as close to December 14th as possible. 
Like all meteors showers, there are many more faint meteors than bright ones. Eyes that had just stared at the moon or just came outside from indoors will not be able to see these fainter meteors. Say your students to give their eyes time at adjust to the darkness. 
There will be periods when little activity is seen and then other periods when meteors are falling constantly. 
These periods often last as long as 15 minutes so it is advisable to watch for an hour or more so that students witness several peaks and valleys and get a real feel of the meteor activity. 
Invite them to go at the observatory in town for a comfortable night of meteor watching. They will be with some interested sky watchers and astronomers from the observatory who will guide during the sky watching.
They can face in any direction as Geminid meteors can be seen in any part of the sky. 

credits: Bronberg Weather Station 
Pretoria, South Africa

No matter what part of the sky they appear, they will all trace back to the radiant near the bright star known as Castor.
Hey ! Don't forget ! The peak of the Geminid meteor shower will be the night of December 13-14. Unfortunately this means that the fainter meteors will be obscured by the bright moonlight and that total counts will be reduced drastically.But don't give up to watch the sky! The full-moon can obtrude too greatly on the great celestial light show. 
Grab those binoculars, dust off that telescope, and join astronomers under the beautiful dark Geminids skies at the observatory at your town!
  • NASA To Livestream Annual
Every December we have a chance to see one of our favorite meteor showers – the Geminids. The shower is currently active until Dec. 17 and will peak on the night of Dec. 13 into the morning of Dec. 14, making those hours the best time for viewing the meteor shower. 
Invite your students to follow here

Hoping you will have great lessons including all these resources!


updated 13.12.2021
Copyright © 2019G-Souto'sBlog,®

Useful Links

NASA Science : 2019 Full Moons Calendar
American Meteor Society

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Schools : The Geminids shower ? Let's talk about, Annie Jump Cannon & something more ! by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.