Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Happy 15th Anniversary, izzit.org!

By Dean Graziano

15 years is considered the crystal anniversary. Fitting, since izzit.org has always had a crystal-clear path of providing top-shelf, high-quality, no-cost video-based learning and a lot of extras to educators!

Our 15th anniversary has officially begun (July 1, 2006 – July 1, 2021). After a decade and a half of assisting educators, we are looking forward to the next 15 years as only getting better at izzit.org. As we celebrate our 15-year milestone, we extend a deep and sincere thank you to over 419,000 registered users (and growing daily) who have made it possible. We are also grateful to our team at izzit.org, who perform above and beyond and keep our products of utmost quality, accurate, and accessible to ANY educator at no cost!

What’s new for this milestone year? izzit.org has authored governor proclamations in several states (TX, NH, MA, RI, FL, GA, and awaiting others), declaring the month of October 2021 as Civics Awareness Month. We have several weekly activities planned as well as a myriad of lesson planning ideas and supplemental materials for a very impactful Civics Awareness Month! Stay tuned for more information about these impactful activities!

Also, we launched a pilot at Westwood High School, our Virtual International Field Trip (see photos), as part of our summer campaign, Summer Vacation Should NOT be a Vacation from Learning!

For many years, the research pointed out that most students do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Prior to COVID, the average summer loss/lag was two and a half months and is now expected to be over six months loss in math and reading achievement. In an effort to curb that loss, make learning fun, and provide an inter-disciplinary approach to learning, izzit.org created this summer program, which:

• Offers a unique way to supplement learning (in or out of the classroom!) with 15 specific izzit.org videos.

 • Promotes school-wide/community-wide involvement, which underscores an investment in student learning.

 • Provides greater flexibility over the summer and contributes to student learning. No vacation from learning!

 • Enables improved interdisciplinary skills, critical thinking, and positive student advantages.

• Offers more experience and competency with critical thinking skills.

Once a student completes the thought-provoking questions that go along with our materials, they receive a “stamp” from a "Customs Agent" (a sponsoring teacher/media specialist or parent) to indicate they have successfully visited the given country. T-shirts will be awarded to students who successfully complete 100% of the program. These students will also be entered into drawings for prizes too. Who says learning can't be fun?

We are very proud to announce that we will be unveiling our new website by the end of summer: Civics Fundamentals. While we are still izzit.org and maintain that website, this project is so big that we have created its own dedicated site where you can expect more informative content and civics-only programs and videos with ways to become civic competent. There is so much more in the planning phase and much more ready to be introduced for the 2021-2022 school year.

15 years has made us strong and resolute in our vision: To see each generation of students free to flourish through critical thinking, responsible actions, and self-reliance for the benefit of themselves, their families, and communities.

For details about the Virtual International Field Trip, contact Dean Graziano, J.D. V.P. of Education.


Friday, June 18, 2021

06/18/2021 The U.S. Bans Importing Dogs From 113 Countries After Rise In False Rabies Records - Someone Paid $28 Million to Ride into Space with Jeff Bezos

Today's Article: The U.S. Bans Importing Dogs From 113 Countries After Rise In False Rabies Records

From: NPR
Readability Score: 12.1

U.S. Government says dog importers are barking up the wrong tree as pet importation banned for a year

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Someone Paid $28 Million to Ride into Space with Jeff Bezos
Readability Score: 9.5

Thursday, June 17, 2021

06/17/2021 Food prices climb as trucking companies look for drivers - Sixteen Years Old, $1.7 Million in Revenue: Max Hits It Big as a Pandemic Reseller

Today's Article: Food prices climb as trucking companies look for drivers

From: Just the News
Readability Score: 11.0

We are all aware of rising prices, but people disagree about why this is happening. One reason for rising food prices is the cost of transport. Why is there a trucker shortage, and how does this lead to higher prices?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Sixteen Years Old, $1.7 Million in Revenue: Max Hits It Big as a Pandemic Reseller
Readability Score: 9.6

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

06/15/2021 France fines Google for abusing online advertising dominance - Climate may have sent drift of the North Pole toward Greenland

Today's Article: France fines Google for abusing online advertising dominance

From: The Guardian
Readability Score: 12.6

Who decides: Google, competition, or regulators?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Climate may have sent drift of the North Pole toward Greenland
Readability Score: 7.2

Monday, June 14, 2021

06/14/2021 Microsoft blocks Bing from showing image results for Tiananmen ‘tank man’ - World's Most Valuable Postage Stamp Falls Short Of Anticipated Auction Record

Today's Article: Microsoft blocks Bing from showing image results for Tiananmen ‘tank man’

From: Reuters
Readability Score: 14.1

Big tech censorship: intentional or accidental?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: World's Most Valuable Postage Stamp Falls Short Of Anticipated Auction Record
Readability Score: 9.5

Friday, June 11, 2021

06/11/2021 Companies you'd never expect are offering signing bonuses to new employees - Georgia city set to sanction mural for homegrown NFL quarterback Justin Fields

Today's Article: Companies you'd never expect are offering signing bonuses to new employees

From: CNN Business
Readability Score: 11.1

Companies forced to offer bonuses to combat government benefits and fear as job demands soar

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Georgia city set to sanction mural for homegrown NFL quarterback Justin Fields
Readability Score: 9.8


Thursday, June 10, 2021

06/10/2021 Mexico raids building project next to Teotihuacan pyramids - Cool! Well, Broiling… Spacecraft Snaps Intense Pics of Sun. “Campfires” Abound

Today's Article: Mexico raids building project next to Teotihuacan pyramids
From: Associated Press
Readability Score: 12.9

What happens when your land is viewed as an important historical site? The Mexican government recently seized property from farmers who were seeking to build an amusement park on land near some famous pyramids. Discuss eminent domain and property law with today's article; then follow up with one of izzit.org's many videos on property rights, like Markets Without Borders!

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Cool! Well, Broiling… Spacecraft Snaps Intense Pics of Sun. “Campfires” Abound
Readability Score: 9.6


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

06/09/2021 China needs to boost its population, so why not scrap birth caps entirely? The reason might be Xinjiang - What Japan’s Olympic Planners Never Bargained For

Today's Article: China needs to boost its population, so why not scrap birth caps entirely? The reason might be Xinjiang

From: CNN
Readability Score: 13.6

After decades of limiting family size to one child, and more recently to two, the Chinese government has created a demographic crisis, with elderly citizens becoming a very large portion of the population. Now the government has given permission for families to have a third child. What are their reasons? Why don't they just eliminate caps entirely? Learn more in today's article.

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: What Japan’s Olympic Planners Never Bargained For
Readability Score: 9.1

Monday, June 7, 2021

06/08/2021 Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open after row over media boycott - Stars made of antimatter could lurk in our galaxy

Today's Article: Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open after row over media boycott

From: Reuters
Readability Score: 10.8

Are mandatory interviews damaging pro athletes' mental health?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Stars made of antimatter could lurk in our galaxy
Readability Score: 8.2

Friday, June 4, 2021

06/04/2021 Texas Democrats Walk Out, Stop Republicans' Sweeping Voting Restrictions - Leaving Home: West Virginia population drop is largest in US

Today's Article: Texas Democrats Walk Out, Stop Republicans' Sweeping Voting Restrictions
From: NPR
Readability Score: 10.5

Democrats receive marching orders and leave en masse to prevent key vote in Texas

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Leaving Home: West Virginia population drop is largest in US
Readability Score: 8.6