November 2013 Issue

Short Takes

Student video contest goes national

The third annual Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest will reach many more students this year — and spread the good work of human rights defenders to an even broader audience. This year, NYSUT and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) are joining with the American Federation of Teachers to open the contest to student filmmakers across the nation.

Students are invited to create a three- to six-minute video examining a human rights issue or violation and profiling the defenders who are fighting to restore justice. The contest builds upon the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum.

This fall, the RFK Center and the AFT will host training sessions with filmmakers from the Tribeca Film Institute for educators interested in introducing the video contest in their classrooms. The contest is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Deadline for entries is Jan. 31. For details, visit

Common Core experts share tips for educators

Join experts online every Wednesday night (from 8-9 pm EST) until Nov. 20 as they provide their best tips, advice and strategies. In October, Share My Lesson, a teacher-to-teacher resource created by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect, launched its free Common Core Confident Webinar Series.

Guests have included Kenji Hakuta, who addressed helping English language learners; and Charlotte Danielson, who discussed the Framework for Teaching.

To register for the November webinars, visit

SmileMakers offers discounts, free shipping

SmileMakers, the official Seuss store of Read Across America, is offering NYSUT members 20 percent off on all orders (no minimum) plus free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Use promo code NYSUT when ordering. Visit or call 888-800-SMILE. Offer is good through Dec. 31.

Mini-grants are available for public school educators, public libraries

The Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program is accepting applications from public schools and public libraries for program or event mini-grants of up to $500. The program was created to support projects that foster creative expression, collaboration and interaction with a diverse community. The funding program provides an opportunity for educators to create special activities outside the standard curriculum and make time to encourage their students.

Past projects include murals, pen pal groups, quilts, theater productions, newspapers and other publications, intergenerational activities and programs that bring disparate communities together.

Regular public schools and public libraries are eligible to apply. Preschool head start programs also are eligible. Only one application from each library or school will be considered. Application deadline is March 15, 2014.

For more information, including complete program guidelines, a video tutorial for applicants and the application form, visit the Jack Keats Foundation website at

Members' creativity on display

Paintings, pottery, sculptures and jewelry are among dozens of entries by creative NYSUT members for the inaugural "Teachers as Artists — A Showcase of Creativity."

The exhibit is sponsored by NYSUT, the New York State Art Teachers Association and Capital Area Arts Supervisors. Artwork will be on display at NYSUT Headquarters through Nov. 13.