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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Favorite Sites
collected by Paul and Vicki
Acclaimed as America's premier postclassical string quartet, ETHEL boldly infuses contemporary concert music with fierce intensity, questioning the boundaries between performer and audience, tradition and technology. Formed in 1998, New York's ebullient ETHEL is comprised of Juilliard-trained performers Cornelius Dufallo (violin), Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello) and Mary Rowell (violin).

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate
Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was born in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Mr. Tate is dedicated to the development of American Indian classical composition, and a recent review by The Washington Post states that "Tate's connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent in this piece…rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism." This review was a response to a recent performance of Iholba (The Vision), for Solo Flute, Orchestra and Chorus, which was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Thunderbird Records
Thunderbird Records is dedicated to capturing and preserving the music of contemporary American Indians for distribution across the world. All Thunderbird releases include music by Indian composers or performances by Indian musicians. We strive for the highest artistic integrity as well as exceptional sonic quality in order to provide an outstanding listening experience.

Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts and Humanities
The study of the arts and humanities is necessary to the success of the Chickasaw Nation. The disciplines highlight the culture by expressing the beauty, strength, intelligence and spirit of the people and enhance the rich legacy of who Chickasaws were, who they are and who they will be.

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Best of 2009
As I spent time planning for 2010, I also took time to look back over the fifty-one subjects I reviewed in 2009. I chose these five sites as representative of the best of the best. Keep in mind, unlike the Oscars, these are not sites that were new in 2009, just culled from my archive of educational website reviews done during the year. Happy New Year to you and yours!
Environmental Literacy Council
The Environmental Literacy Council website is a huge library of K-12 lessons, articles and news about environmental studies, including subjects such as global climate change, biodiversity, energy, and land use. Topics can be accessed via the subject menu on the left-hand side, from the site map, or via the site search. Each article concludes with an outstanding collection of Recommended Resources, making this site a terrific first stop for further research and one of my picks for middle-school and high-school students writing papers or doing science fair projects.
Mrs. P
"Mrs. P is concerned because fewer and fewer kids are reading these days. Also, according to recent reports Mrs. P has seen, it is becoming harder and harder for many parents to find the time to read to their children." Storyteller Mrs. P (played by actress Kathy Kinney) is my video pick of the year, with her classic children's stories, read along options, engaging personal anecdotes, animated games and clever presentation. If you have a high speed connection, you can turn on more even more animated fun by clicking on Start Here, and selecting options such as "Bookcase titles say funny things." Interactive Games
Woo hoo! is one of yearly picks because of the unique themes that make their games super fun. For example, in Pizza Pizazz you are presented with a problem, such as 8 x 9, a pizza, and a restaurant full of tables waiting for their order. To earn a point, you need to deliver your pizza to table number 72. Other fun concepts include Math Models ("Mix and match clothes to come up with your favorite outfit. The more math problems you get right, the more clothes you have to choose from.") and Color Creations ("Unlock the colors to paint the pictures by answering the problems correctly.")
American Folklore
Hey there folks! Welcome to American Folklore. This folklore site contains retellings of American folktales, Native American myths and legends, tall tales, weather folklore and ghost stories from each and every one of the 50 United States. You can read about all sorts of famous characters like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Daniel Boone, and many more. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair, and stay awhile.

Operation Migration: Whooping Crane Reintroduction
Operation Migration includes photos, field journals, lots of sound files, population counts, and a kids section. The site navigation, however, is not up to par, so use the site map to find your way around. "What is aircraft-led migration? This technique relies on the birds' natural instinct called imprinting. Imprinting means the just-hatched waterfowl chick immediately trusts the first object it sees and follows the object. As soon as the chicks hatch, they bond with their parents and become inseparable. The OM team acts as surrogate parents, helping the birds imprint on the aircraft and conditioning them to fly with it."

Air Pressure
Air pressure is the weight (or force) of the atmosphere at any particular point. Although you can't feel it or see it, air pressure plays an important part in weather, and can be demonstrated with some really fun experiments. Atmospheric Pressure Makes the Wind Blow
"What type of pressure is there around you right now? Is your area surrounded by a high or low pressure? Unlike temperature, moisture, and wind, you can't easily determine the pressure through your five senses. Because it is difficult to perceive pressure through our senses, it is tempting to assume that pressure is not very important. This assumption would be very incorrect. Pressure is extremely important, and has a dramatic effect on our weather." This illustrated geology lesson for elementary and middle-school students includes songs ("Why Does the Wind Blow") and an introduction to atmospheric pressure, density, wind patterns, and the Coriolis effect.
NASA: It's a Breeze: Atmospheric Pressure
In addition to the short lesson, this NASA Kids Earth site includes three air pressure experiments, a word search puzzle, five discussion questions ("What do you think causes wind?") and a couple of online experiments. One of these, called Take a Balloon Ride, demonstrates what happens to a hot air balloon as it rises from sea level to 10,000 meters. Can you guess what happens to the balloon when it is six miles above the earth? "As you move the mouse over the altitude scale to the left, you'll notice that the balloon changes shape and size."
NOAA: National Weather Service: Air Pressure
Today's lesson from the National Weather Service Online Weather School is all about air pressure, and this online classroom is my pick of the day because of the six do-it-yourself experiments or labs, called Learning Lessons. Heavy Air is the first, and it demonstrates that air has weight by balancing a yardstick with two balloons to each end. If one balloon was heavier than the other, what would happen to the yardstick? Would the heavier end move up or down? Atmospheric Pressure
"Gravity shapes and influences all atmospheric processes. It causes the density and pressure of air to decrease exponentially as one moves away from the surface of the Earth." This illustrated chapter on atmospheric pressure for high school and college students is from the online textbook "Fundamentals of Physical Geography" by Michael Pidwirny, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia. It is hyperlinked to a large glossary of terms (from abiotic to zooplankton), so clicking on any bolded word will take you to its definition. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to a study guide, bibliography, and related websites.

UWSP: The Physical Environment: Air Pressure
"Air is constantly moving to seek an equilibrium between areas of more air molecules (higher pressure) and those with less (lower pressure). You have probably experienced this by opening a container that has been vacuum packed." Professor of Geography Michael Ritter, from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, provides another excellent online textbook for high-school and college students. It is illustrated, includes a glossary, and links to external movies, podcasts and interactive activities. For the multimedia extras, follow the "Contents" link at the bottom of every page, and you'll find them listed by chapter.

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Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet and short-story author, known as a master of the macabre, but also credited with pioneering work in the detective genre and science fiction. Born in Boston, MA, Poe was orphaned at an early age. The cause of his death at age forty has never been determined, and is the subject of much speculation.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
"The Poe Museum provides a retreat into early 19th century Richmond where Edgar Allan Poe lived and worked. The museum features Poe's life and career by documenting his accomplishments with pictures, relics, and verse, and focusing on his many years in Richmond. "Although not all the exhibits are online, reasons for a virtual visit include a Poe biography, family tree, selected works, genealogical records from the Poe family bible (in Museum Treasures) and an interactive quiz (under Educational Resources.)
Knowing Poe
Created for middle and high school students, Knowing Poe is a multimedia educational portal for exploring the man, the writer and his works, and is my Poe pick of the week. In Poe the Person, you'll discover what Baltimore was like at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and learn more about Poe's mysterious death. In Poe the Writer, you'll learn about how authors use point of view to tell a story from a character's or narrator's perspective. The Poe Library includes a selection of Poe's personal letters, links to poems and short stories, and links to additional research sites.
Many Books: Edgar Allan Poe
There are many sites for downloading free classics, but I chose Many Books because of their clean interface, and the variety of their download formats. Specifically I was thrilled to see the native Kindle format, although nowadays PDFs are also Kindle compatible. This download site includes the five volumes of "Collected Words of Poe", "The Fall of the House of Usher," and a four volume "Masterpieces of Mystery" which is an anthology that includes Poe as well as A. Conan Doyle and Anton Chekhov.
Poe Revealed: Students
Created for Richmond, Virginia's 2009 celebration of Poe's bicentennial, this student section is still relevant today. It provides middle and high-school students with a Poe introduction, a look into his puzzling death ("Can you be the one to finally solve the mystery of Poe's death?"), and an interactive quiz. The teachers section also has a bundle of Poe goodies for students, including four PDFs about Poe's life: a timeline, a family tree, common Poe myths, and quotes about Poe from his literary contemporaries.
Although best known for his creepy, scary tales, "Edgar Allan Poe also wrote stories about adventure on the high seas, buried pirate treasure, and a famous balloon ride. Poe invented the detective story with tales like 'Murders in the Rue Morgue' and 'The Purloined Letter'. Sherlock Holmes and other fictional detectives would later be based on the characters that Poe created." Focusing on Poe's short stories and poems, offers story summaries, quotes, a glossary of vocabulary words, a Poe biography and timeline.

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Bird Feeding
Because the cold winter months are the hardest for wild birds, February and March have been named National Bird Feeding Months by the National Bird-Feeding Society. You can help your local bird population by providing supplemental food, water and shelter, and start a fun, educational hobby at the same time.
All About Birds: Feeding Birds
"Bird feeding has been an American tradition since at least the times of Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau. It provides us with wonderful opportunities for close viewing of birds. It can also be good for birds." All About Birds provides great advice on choosing a bird feeder, types of bird seed, and where to place your feeder. For science curriculum ideas, follow the Teach link listed under Get Involved on the main navigation menu. There you'll find science activities, resources for teachers, and the BirdSleuth curriculum for classroom and homeschoolers.
Audubon: Bird Feeding Basics
Although birdseed and suet from feeders provides dietary supplement to more than 100 North American bird species, bird feeders also increase dangers such as window collisions, predators and disease. Audubon offers tips on safely attracting and feeding birds, maintaining a feeder and guarding against squirrels. "A recent study found that colliding with a window is the most common cause of bird death associated with feeders. To avoid such collisions, position feeders at least three feet from the window."
Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Project Feeder Watch
Project Feeder Watch is a winter survey of backyard birds. From November through early April, participants periodically count birds at their backyard feeders. "FeederWatch data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance." And there is still time to sign up for the 2009/2010 season, which ends on April 9. For $15 you'll get a Research Kit with instructions, bird identification poster, bird feeding guide, and tally sheet.
National Bird-Feeding Society: Best Backyard Bird-Feeding Practices
"Here you will find the basic ingredients that when mixed together will create a recipe for a successful backyard bird feeding and habitat program." The ingredients are bird seed, bird feeders, bird safety, and bird habitat tips for housing nesting birds and sheltering birds from predators and harsh weather. Best click for birding beginners is the Top Ten Bird Feeding Tips, also available as a PDF download for easy printing and sharing.

Wild Birds Unlimited: Educational Resources
The Wild Birds Unlimited website has a huge educational section that includes information on bird feeding, bird species, bird behavior (such as bathing, courtship and migration), choosing binoculars, and creating a wildlife habitat in your backyard. A great click for beginners is Get Started with Bird Feeding, which includes a number of PDFs about custom seed blends, and seed recommendations for eastern and western states.

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Students And Teachers Against Racism announces their new website that offers insight into the Native American perspective to teachers and educators.
Changing Winds Advocacy Center
Through presentations, classroom sessions, curriculum, fund raising, charitable works, and multi-media efforts, we seek to raise public awareness of the stereotyping, discrimination, racism and other unique situations facing Native Americans.
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Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.
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