Together Counts Website
[Discovery Education (240) 662-2661 (partner)]

Together Counts is a nationwide program designed to inspire active and healthy living at home, in school, and in the community. In particular, its goal is to reduce childhood obesity by 2015. The principle behind the program is Energy Balance, i.e., balancing the calories we consume with the calories we burn.
Together Counts was started by The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, and brings together more than 195 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations.
        The website abounds with links to social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Current and archived blogs encourage interaction.
Together Counts states: We encourage families to eat meals around a table; we energize communities to get active together; we provide teachers and school nurses with the resources they need, through Energy Balance 101. To teach students the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle, there are downloadable lesson plans entitled, "Full Esteem Ahead" and "What is Energy Balance" for grades K-2 and 3-5.
        Finally, incentives are provided to schools in the form of grants and competitions. Check out the website to learn how two schools received a $30,000 grant and a new playground!
[Learning A-Z (866) 889-3729]

       Politicians and education pundits talk about the need for more students to become proficient in math and science (or STEM, if you prefer jargon).  But very few talk about what it takes to excel in those disciplines - the ability to read, and read well.  And that requires preschool and elementary teachers who really know how to impart reading skills.  This year's BESSIES winner in the category Teacher Tools - Reading Resource Website, can help them do just that. provides thousands of resources - from lesson plans to methodology to professional development, and more.  The principal menu lists phonics, vocabulary, fluency, poetry, alphabet, assessment, resources, and a teacher corner; but it's the printable (as well as projectable) library of leveled books that forms the backbone of the site.  With 27 levels and more than 40 books in each level, covers every student, from emerging readers to upper elementary.  And, unlike traditional publishers, adds new books and other content every four to six weeks.
       Whether you are a beginning teacher or a veteran struggling to keep reading instruction fresh and engaging, meets every classroom need.  Well done.


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