tv programs, Jan 28 – Feb 2

Get your VCRs ready. Here is just another small sampling of upcoming programs that may be of interest. All descriptions are lifted (mostly) from the original programs’ websites.

National Geographic Channel

 Friday, 2/1 at 10 PM/ Is it Real? Ghosts: A security camera captures an image of something floating over a junkyard. Disembodied voices are caught on tape. Wisps of ectoplasm and strange orbs of light show up in photographs. Countless people claim to have seen ghosts, but are they just suffering from an over-active imagination? Follow scientists who examine the most haunted places in the world, and consider the most compelling evidence for ghostly visitations with paranormal detectives. .

Discovery Channel/ Assignment Discovery

airs M-F at 5 AM and covers a variety of subjects. Here’s a sample of what they offer.

Tuesday 1/29/ Cold Case: Adverbs: Join four “pentastic” animated heroes in learning about adverbs, spelling errors, and capitalization.

Wednesday 1/30/ Panic in Peru: Pronouns: Join four “pentastic” animated heroes in learning about pronouns, adjectives, and verbs.

Thursday 1/31/ The Posse in Australia: Punctuation: Join four “pentastic” animated heroes in learning about punctuation, root words, and nouns.

Friday 2/1/ Pressure and Stress : Recounts the many forms of stress teenagers face and discusses the decisions they make each day that affect their overall health.

Discovery Channel

Saturday 2/2, 2008, at 6 PM/ Behind the Great Wall: From the terror of the Mongol raids in 1550 during the Ming dynasty, inspired by the genius of China’s greatest military leader Qi Jiguang, the two-hour film traces the story of the greatest engineering feat of the age. (2 hours)

The History Channel

Monday 1/28 at 8PM/ Cities of the Underworld: New York: The underworld of New York City is a living, breathing complex of engineering, history and secrets that could only exist in America’s largest city. From a classified World War II site where death awaited unfortunate trespassers to the original rivers and aqueducts that led to this great city’s ascent, New York City may just have more stories below ground than it does above. Join host Eric Geller as he braves this massive urban labyrinth where the past, present and future collide.

Tuesday 1/29 at 11PM/ Modern Marvels: Nature’s Engineers: Towering skyscrapers buzzing with life, intricate tunnels connecting entire communities, mighty dams that tame the wildest rivers–this is construction animal style! Take a walk on the wild side as we investigate common creatures seemingly designed to alter their habitat and remake the world. Our ability to learn and capacity for abstract thought may separate us from beavers, honeybees, birds, termites, and spiders, but these engineers of nature remind us that we’re merely the latest in a long line.

Wednesday 1/30 at 7PM/ Modern Marvels: Bedroom Tech: We spend one-third of our lives in the bedroom. Explore the technologies that help to ensure we wake up on the right side of the bed. Check out ancient Chinese fire clocks, today’s flying alarm clock, big city napping pods, snore stoppers and sunrise simulators. We’ll explore sleeping disorders and delve into the creepy world of those blood-sucking midnight snackers, the bed bugs!

Friday 2/31 at 8PM/ Modern Marvels: Batteries: Mixtures of metals and caustic chemicals that make our tech, tools and toys surge with energy. Visit the world’s most powerful battery in Fairbanks, Alaska – 13,760 hulking cells humming with 5,000 volts (Don’t touch it!) ready to help the city survive power outages. Then it’s off to Energizer’s mammoth North Carolina production facility to see how machines churn out one million D-cells every day. We’ll show you the ingredients that manufacturers pour into it. And we don’t forget nanobatteries–those microscopic marvels that may some day power nanorobots. information

I asked teachers to forward any websites that they maintain for class use and was informed that many of our great staff here at Haverhill High School use a site called School To find our school, all you have to do is type in our zip code (01830) and a list of all the teachers in our area who use the site pops up. I found more than 20 teachers there who regularly post assignments, news and other information pertinent to their classes. Check out the SchoolNotes site to see how teachers are using their web presence to help their clasroom instruction. You will also find a link to the SchoolNotes site on the “Major Links” on the left side. Explore!

© 2008 henry toromoreno

a gift from Friends of the HPL


YOUR generous gift has provided some needed and useful resources for our AP programs at HHS. I also want to thank all the teachers who contributed their suggestions via e-mail and in conversation to my request for AP materials. As usual, our desires are far greater than our financial means. I knew I would not be able to buy everything that was requested, so I tried to be as judicious as I could by spreading out the supplies. My desire was to get as many practice books as I could for the students to have in the classroom and to take home. Below you’ll find the list of materials that I have ordered:



Soon as the materials are in, I’ll let you all know. Thanks again to everyone.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

finds from the internet

“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.”
Horace Walpole, English author, 18th century

I saw the quote above in some magazine I was reading and decided to google it. (Funny that Google is used as a verb now, meaning, “to search on the Internet”). I ended up discovering that it was Horace Walpole who said it. I also discovered another little gem attributed to him: “The curse of modern times is, that almost everything does create controversy.” This, from a person living in the 1700’s; imagine what he would have to say about the current state of affairs. For me, this is one of the great things about the Internet though, that it allows you to take your curiosity to places that you did not know even existed. Of course, that is also true of a good book, but a book is a self-contained and finite system of information. For me there is still no substitute for the written book. And yet, I also find myself mindfully wandering around what the Internet has to offer. Here are a just a few other serendipitous finds I’d like to pass along.

Myth busters: Myth or fact? Mythbusters is an interesting show on the Discovery Channel that challenges urban legends by applying the scientific method to the claims. The program does a good job of debunking old myths, while recreating “lab”-like conditions to explore why the claims just don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. One of the links on the Mythbusters site allows you to test your own knowledge of these urban myths.Myth or Fact? Mythbusters Quizzes.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension: Just as Edwin Abbott used the medium of the novel in Flatland to tell a story about math, this black and white video uses interesting visuals for explaining (albeit superficially, and not scientifically accepted) some very complex ideas contained in modern string theory. Enjoy. Imagining the 10th Dimension. 

Virtual Earth/ Live Maps: Before Google started eating up the Internet world, this little company called Microsoft used to aspire to doing great things online. I think they are still around, and one of their projects is called Virtual Earth. It is akin to Google Earth in that you can see road maps, satellite pictures and 3D hybrid maps. This link takes you to the VE blog which outlines cool ways that people have integrated the info from VE to practical and educational uses. One of my favorite slideshow tours is “What the world eats”. It is an interactive trip related to an eponymous Time magazine article.Virtual Earth Spaces.

P.S.During the next couple of weeks, as you prepare for the new semester, please do not forget to think of scheduling a class orientation, especially if your class has not made a visit to the library this year. Also consider visiting the teacher resource page for streaming videos, lesson plan ideas, printable worksheets, and a number of other finds that might surprise you.

For everyone working on RESEARCH, please remember that the first three links on the left-hand side bar are critical for academic work. You will need a public library card to log into these databases, but there you will find things not available anywhere else on the web – not even through Google (at least not yet).

© 2008 henry toromoreno

Remember MLK

I was born a few years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Still, his life and legacy changed everything about the world, and therefore, he impacted my life. I do remember being very young the first time I heard his “I have a dream” speech — I was only about five or six. It was the first time I heard music in someone’s voice who wasn’t singing. Later, when I was able to understand the content of the speech, it was one of the first times that I was emotionally moved by language. Throughout my life, there has always been a part of my mind (and heart) that has held onto the ideals expressed by MLK on that August day. The notion of a country built on the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice appealed to me when I was a believer in big things. And even today, when I should know better, I continue to believe that there is a “promised land” … and though I may not get there, perhaps my children will be pioneers in that still uncharted territoty.

Here are some links that provide text, audio and video of the late Martin Luther King:

© 2008 henry toromoreno

The King Center in Atlanta       Stanford University        MLK Online        American Rhetoric

tv programs, Jan 3 -11

Get your VCRs ready. Here is just a small sampling of upcoming programs that may be of interest. All descriptions are lifted (mostly) from the original programs’ websites.

National Geographic Channel

Tuesday 1/ 8 at 9 PM & 12 AM/ How It Was: Shooting of Ronald Reagan: TV had a front row seat in 1981, when John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan. Watch as NGC takes a fresh look at both the eyewitness accounts and the remarkable video of the assassination attempt, taken by three different network cameramen.

Wednesday 1/9 at 9 PM & 11 PM/ Explorer: Science of Evil: We think we know evil when we see it, but do we really understand what makes someone evil? Travel into the trenches (a max security prison, a war torn country, and a brain research facility) to try to understand what causes evil. Includes discussion of Prof. Philip Zimbardo’s infamous Stanford Prison Experiment which shed new light on the seemingly universal potential for cruelty.

Thursday 1/10 at 1 PM/ Naked Science: Telepathy: Can people read your mind? Fact or fiction? Naked Science examines tales of telepathy. There are many unusual claims of people knowing what they shouldn’t be able to know even when they are on opposite sides of the planet. But is this just coincidence?

Discovery Channel Assignment Discovery

 airs M-F at 5 AM and covers a variety of subjects. Here’s a sample of what they offer.

Thursday 1/3/ The Diversity of Plants: Pt. 1: Go beyond the basics with this detailed look at the plant kingdom. Begins by showing students the basic taxonomic classifications of plants.

Friday 1/4/ The Diversity of Plants: Pt. 2: Go beyond the basics with this detailed look at the plant kingdom. Expands on the taxonomic classifications of plants.

Monday 1/7/ Mathematics: Finding Solutions: From representative pictures to organized lists to whole number models, introduce young students to basic strategies for solving problems.

Tuesday 1/8/ Mathematics: Numbers and Measuring: From the concepts of adding and subtracting to strategies for estimation, introduce young students to the basic procedures of computation.

Wednesday 1/9/ Mathematics: Shapes and Patterns: From geometric shapes to spatial language to creating patterns, introduce young students to the basic properties and concepts of geometry.

Thursday 1/10/ Mathematics: Problem Solving and Reasoning: By reviewing the many ways we use numbers in our daily lives, introduce young students to basic concepts about the general nature and uses of mathematics.

Friday 1/11/ Mathematics: Multiples and Types of Numbers: From prime and composite numbers to fractions and decimals to number models, introduce elementary students to more advanced properties and concepts of numbers.

Discovery Channel

Monday, January 7, 2008, at 8 PM/ The Mystery of the Human Hobbit: It was the most striking scientific discovery of last year. An entirely new species of mini-human found on an island in Indonesia. Is the hobbit a new species that transforms our view of evolution, or is it simply a very small, modern human being?

Wednesday 1/9 at 1 pm/ Conspiracy Test: The Oklahoma City Bombing: After the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI launched an exhaustive investigation which led to the conviction of Timothy McVeigh. Conspiracy theorists dispute the FBI’s account, citing evidence that multiple bombs and multiple terrorists were involved.

The History Channel

Monday 1/7 at 7PM/ Modern Marvels: Weapons of Mass Destruction: From nuclear bombs to anthrax spores, we reveal who possesses these nightmare weapons and explore the danger posed by terrorists with deadly technologies. Weapons of mass destruction have made the world a dangerous place but we will find out how technology can assist us as we strive for lasting solutions.

Tuesday 1/8 at 10AM & 4PM/ Modern Marvels: ’80’s Tech:Brick” cell phones, Pac-Man, Rubik’s Cube, Sony Walkman, and the first music CDs. All these new gadgets were born in the 80s. Join us as we investigate the transition from Industrial to Information Age–a digital decade dedicated to ergonomics and entertainment. The microchip ushered in an era that revolutionized the way we work, play, and communicate.

Tuesday 1/8 at 8PM/ The Universe: Alien Planets: Astronomers have now discovered over two hundred alien worlds, beyond our solar system, that were unknown just a decade ago. Among these weird worlds, Earth actually seems like the oddball with the right conditions for life.

Wednesday 1/9 at 7AM/ Modern Marvels: Power Plants: From Edison and Tesla to Fermi and Einstein, the world’s greatest minds have enabled us to acquire our light, heat, and power with a simple flip of the switch. Join us for an electrifying hour as we review the foundation for all of this — power plants.

© 2008 henry toromoreno