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My Wonderful World
September 2010 Newsletter
¡Hola! This month, we offer a range of resources to celebrate Hispanic Heritage in style. Whether you prefer salsa or merengue, mariachi or reggaeton, you'll find something to share with your students or your family. Tantalize your taste buds with a story about Latin American cuisine in New Orleans, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Help a Spanish class in need of voice recorders. Or simply browse through a multitude of multimedia galleries. It's your fiesta!

—Sarah Jane Caban, My Wonderful World Editor
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!
Hispanic Heritage is observed September 15–October 15. Bring the rich culture of America's fastest growing population to students through art, architecture, history, literature, and—of course—geography.

The Smithsonian offers a wealth of teaching resources and a virtual gallery covering topics from cowboys (or vaqueros) to textiles to music to baseball.
  • The National Park Service provides information on visiting historic sites in some of the nation's mostly densely populated Latino areas, including Texas, California, and New York.
  • features a list of exhibitions and online resources from the National Gallery, National Archives, and the Library of Congress.
  • Verizon Thinkfinity's Today in History article provides a brief history of Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as links to National Geographic Education lessons about geotourism in Latin America.
Mis Hermanos by Jesse Trevino, 1976
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Thinkfinity Back-to-School Portal
National Geographic Education is proud to be a member of the Thinkfinity Consortium of educational partners. has just released a new back to school mini-site for educators packed with resources for all of those key components that help set the tone for a successful school year.
Donors Choose Celebrates Ten-Year Anniversary
Donors Choose is an innovative online charity connecting educational supporters with classrooms in need. Please change sentence in first paragraph: As of September 17, 2010, Donor's Choose had raised $58,381,386 and reached 3,574,117 students.

In honor of the ten-year anniversary of Donors Choose, we encourage readers to support one of three projects we have selected for timeliness, geographic relevance, and high need.

Magical Carpet Ride Through Literacy Land
Do you recall the magical feeling of sitting and listening to a great story in kindergarten? Mrs. G of Charlotte, North Carolina, has selected an English/Spanish carpet with classroom tools, numbers, and words displayed in both languages for her predominantly Hispanic students. Now, she just needs your help to make her dream a reality!

Hablamos (We’re Speaking!)
Mrs. P’s students need voice recorders to track their progress as they learn to speak Spanish, empowering them to better communicate with friends in St. Louis’ growing Latino population, and to become “Citizens of the World.” Support this project in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Help Infuse Classroom Culture and Excitement!

Most of Ms. K’s students have never traveled beyond their own Louisiana parish (county). Help these children explore world geography, cultures, and animals through interactive puzzles and learning aids.
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Study Hurricanes on Katrina's Five Year Anniversary
With so much attention focused on the Gulf Coast this past summer as a result of the oil spill, it’s difficult to imagine that Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the same region a full five years ago. Help students understand storm dynamics and the scope of Katrina's limpact this fall, which marks the peak of the annual Atlantic hurricane season.

  • A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) micro-site devoted to Katrina features satellite imagery, aerial photography, maps, forecasts, and more. A Hurricane Awareness Week micro-site provides a general overview of hurricane fundamentals and history, storm simulations, and safety tips.
  • A National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored project called Teaching with Katrina: The physiography, climate, storm and impact, provides educators with key topics and tips for using onlineresources.
  • Communities are still struggling to recover from Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. A new National Geographic Education article called Multicultural Stew examines how a wave of Latino immigrants are helping rebuild New Orleans with their hands—and their stomachs—five years after the storm.
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Register today for the Geography Awareness Week Blog-a-thon!
CALLING ALL GEOGRAPHERS, cartographers, general geo-nerds and activists; techies, teachers, politicians, moms, dads, students…and anyone who's ever had an interesting thought about geography. We want to hear from YOU this Geography Awareness Week! While this year's theme focuses on freshwater, we'll let you decide which specific geographic topic to write about:
  • Offer an opinion on a current event or policy issue.
  • Share a lesson plan or field trip idea.
  • Post a favorite photo.
  • Write a poem or design a work of art.
  • Show how geography connects to popular culture or everyday life. Whatever!
Visit the My Wonderful World Blog for more information on how to participate, and email Sarah Jane ( to reserve a spot.

Get those blogging juices flowing!
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Hot This Month
Great Migrations Education Initiative
National Geographic Channel is proud to present Great Migrations, a seven-part global programming event that takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species. To support the series, National Geographic has developed an online curriculum, and will host a virtual assembly with one of the film's cinematographers in October. Go to to sign up for the virtual assembly and get the educational materials.
P & G Future Friendly Find Your Footprint Contest
Come up with an idea for how your school could save water, reduce waste, or save energy and enter for a chance to win a grand prize of five Promethean technology-enabled learning environments, plus $1,000 of National Geographic products and 30 subscriptions to National Geographic Kids. Learn more about your environmental footprint and how you can make a difference at the Future Friendly Find Your Footprint Contest website.
Learn About Lemurs
The death of a black-and-white ruffed lemur named Gidro at a wildlife park in New Zealand was one of miraculously few casualties—animal or human—resulting from last week's earthquake near Christchurch. Lemurs are a species of primate found only on the isolated African island nation of Madagascar. Explore the geography of Madagascar through an interactive map showing some of the island's most threatened areas in this new feature from National Geographic magazine.
Secrets of Ancient Egypt
Shed new light on ancient civilizations in your social studies classes this fall with resources from National Geographic magazine. An Egypt Archives hub features links to a number of National Geographic articles and interactives online, including a graphic showing how DNA markers were passed down from King Tut's great-grandparents. For live-action learning, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs is now open for visitors at museums in NYC and Denver.
Learning English is Within Reach!
National Geographic School Publishing announces National Geographic Reach, the next generation of language, vocabulary, reading, writing, and content for English Language Learners. This program actively engages and immerses students in a connected, expanding, and dynamic language environment. Download the program brochure to learn more.
Geography Awareness Week
Participate in the 4-H National Youth Science Day on October 6. This year’s experiment is called 4-H20.Young people will discover how increased amounts of carbon dioxide can affect aquatic plants and animals.
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