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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 20, Number 1, September 2007

Yours for the asking

Food force

Food Force is an educational video game about the problem of global hunger and the importance of humanitarian aid work. Presented by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in 2005, it has enjoyed international success and is now available in 10 languages, including French.

The game is divided into six minigames or "missions," each representing a step in the process of delivering and using food aid. The missions range from flying a helicopter to assembling nutritious emergency rations on a budget, to using food aid in order to rebuild a community in the long term. It’s a game to be used in the computer lab where everyone can have a go—and preferably with headphones.

Food Force is a so-called serious game—a video game with a purpose that goes beyond entertainment. However, it’s still fun, action-packed, and varied as its international popularity testifies.

Food Force is a free Internet download from the web site www.food-force.com. It’s available both for Mac and PC, but it’s a big file (about 200MB), so only attempt download with a non-dial-up connection. If you cannot download, send an e-mail to silke.buhr@wfp.org; please bear in mind that WFP is a humanitarian aid organization and can only send out limited complimentary copies. Bulk orders (minimum 50 CD Roms) can be purchased at www.fighthunger.org/en/store/14.

The web site also features a teachers’ section with lesson plans on hunger, the so-called "Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger" partnership. The colourful teaching materials all about hunger can be downloaded as PDF files for different learning levels.

Learning resources for sustainable communities

Visit www.resources4rethinking.ca and discover tools for active, relevant, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

This web site is a new online database where educators and the general public can search for the highest quality, peer-reviewed, curriculum-aligned teaching resources on issues related to the development of an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable society.

In the past 10 years alone, non-profit organizations, government agencies and departments, business leaders, and teachers’ associations have created thousands of resources to help teachers integrate sustainability education into their classrooms.

The web site allows teachers to search by sustainability issue or keyword, subject and grade, or language (English/French).

Send us your favourite resources for review and possible posting on the web site.

For more information, contact Natalie Gibb, ngibb@lsf-lst.ca or call toll-free 1-877-250-8202.

Disponible en français | www.resources4rethinking.ca/fr/home.

Reading adventure series

The Joe Rock and Friends reading adventures series is a collection of interactive books created by a team of Okanagan teachers. Aimed at emerging readers, ages three to nine, this supplementary literacy resource currently has nine titles, each available in English, French, or Spanish. An "Our Choice 2007" selection from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, the series includes outstanding 3D graphics, original music, and unique technology features.

Readers can select one of three reading levels for each story and choose to read silently or to have a page or the whole story read to them by professional readers. The read-to-me mode highlights words as they are read; a mouse-over of any word pronounces it. Language learners can also choose instant translation mode to toggle between any two languages and click on any word for a pop-up translation.

Combined with a video projector, the stories can also be used as a digital "big book" for modeled reading. A bonus DVD is included with each CD. Each set retails for $24.99. Activity books and print books are also available.

The team is also using their distinctive technology capabilities to assist First Nations groups in the preservation of indigenous languages. Incorporating original native artwork, traditional stories are being re-created as interactive books. Language learners can toggle between languages or mouse over any word to hear it repeated. The graphic look of these CD-ROMs has been designed to enhance original story illustrations for a seamless integration of culture and technology. To date, projects have been completed in Dogrib and a related dialect.

The "Joe Rock" team will be at Word on the Street, Sunday, September 30, 2007, in Vancouver. A 20% discount will be available at Word on the Street for all "Joe Rock" purchases made by BCTF members. Visit the web site to read the reviews: www.joerockstories.com.

Contact Christine Petkau, BoggleNoggin Media, 250-404-4272.

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

This fall, the VHEC is announcing a new exhibit, school program, and teachers’ guide that link the Holocaust to contemporary social justice issues and BC’s social studies curriculum.

Nuremberg: Justice in the Aftermath of the Holocaust explores the history and present-day implications of the Nuremberg trials, at which prominent Nazi leaders were tried for their roles in the murder of millions of people during the Holocaust. The exhibit investigates the role of the Holocaust in shaping contemporary concepts of genocide and international justice, from its precedent-setting impact on International Tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to its effect on human-rights law today.

Visiting schools will participate in Judgement on Nuremberg: A Student Mock Trial of Julius Streicher, a program developed by the VHEC for senior secondary students. The Nuremberg exhibit will serve as a backdrop to invoke the courtroom atmosphere of the Nuremberg tribunals. This will set the stage for the student mock trial of Julius Streicher, the editor and owner of Der Stürmer, a virulently anti-Semitic Nazi newspaper. Students will use primary source documents, speeches, and photographs to consider whether Streicher, who through his writings and speeches incited others to persecute Jews, would be found guilty today. A comprehensive teachers’ guide for the mock trail will be available for download from www.vhec.org.

Sponsored by The Law Foundation of BC. Program dates: October 15, 2007 through to Spring 2008. For info and school bookings contact 604-264-0499, info@vhec.org, or visit www.vhec.org.

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