May 22
7 - 12
Historical Figure & Event

Fred Rogers, better known as "Mister Rogers," began developing his ideas for children's programming in the 1950s. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood began in 1967; a year later, PBS began broadcasting the show. The last original Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired in 2001, making it the longest-running PBS program at the time.

Ask students to think of movies, TV shows, and books they remember from their childhood. Encourage them to identify those from when they were very young. Ask students to choose an item from the list that they have not seen or read in a long time and to describe everything they remember-the plot, characters, and other elements as well as their associated feelings.

Next, ask students to revisit the item or to ask an adult about it. Students can respond by writing what they think about the text now that they are older: Do they still like it? What details did they remember? What did they NOT remember about it? Finally, ask students to explain whether they would share it with a child of their own or a younger sibling.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered in 1967.

This is the official PBS website for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It includes many activities designed to stimulate the imagination.

NPR maintains this collection of articles about and interviews with Fred Rogers. It includes a special broadcast of his 30th anniversary show.

The Fred Rogers Company provides this page devoted to Rogers. Featured on the site are a biography, images, and a timeline of Rogers' life.

This site features lyrics and samples of the songs from the Grammy-winning Songs from the Neighborhood, a compilation of songs written by Fred Rogers and performed by 12 popular vocalists.

The beloved TV host on love, peace, and why you're special.

July 01
1 - 6
Historical Figure & Event

On the morning of July 1, 1874, the first zoo in the United States, the Philadelphia Zoo, opened its doors to visitors who, for a quarter or less, could visit and view the 813 animals that lived there. Today, the Philadelphia Zoo has more than twice as many animals and four times as many visitors as it had during its first year of operation.

Much more has changed in the zoo than the number of animals and visitors. Visit the Philadelphia Zoo's History Overview to learn more about the first zoo in the United States. Then have your class compare features and aspects of the first zoo with a modern zoo, using the interactive Venn Diagram tool. Ask your students to think in particular about the differences in how animals are cared for and the habitats where they live.

Once your students have considered how zoos have changed over the past century, invite them to imagine the zoo of the future. How will animals be cared for? What will the zoo look like? Who will visit the zoo? What will be the primary mission of the zoo? In small groups, students can explore these questions and then design their own zoo of the future using drawings, posters, dioramas, or a similar display technique.

The first U.S. zoo opened in Philadelphia in 1874.

National Geographic Education’s encyclopedia entry on zoos includes information on zoo history, types of zoos, zoo specialization, and conservation efforts. Related terms are defined in a Vocabulary tab. The website includes related reading suggestions, illustrations, and links to related National Geographic Education resources.

This site highlights the traveling Robot Zoo exhibit. This online exhibit explains how the robots work and how they relate to the real animals that they are modeled after. Students can even pet the animals online!

If you don't have a zoo nearby, you can use this site to find pictures and information about animals and their habitats. This site also features Classroom Resources, such as free curriculum guides and information about outreach programs.

December 01
5 - 12
Historical Figure & Event

On her bus ride home from work on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks sat in the first row of the "colored section." The bus was crowded, and when asked to give up her seat for a white person, she refused and was arrested.

Parks died on October 24, 2005 at her home in Detroit.

Rosa Parks clearly broke the law when she refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person. As educators, we teach citizenship to students. Laws are made to benefit society and should be followed by all. In the case of Parks, your students will likely agree that the law was unjust and her actions were justified.

Ask your students to make believe that the year is 1955 and they just heard about the arrest of Parks. Invite them to write newspaper editorials explaining their points of view about the current segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama.

Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

Students can visit the Scholastic website to find interesting and easy-to-read information about Rosa Parks, including an interview with her.

 

Read an interview with Rosa Parks courtesy of the Academy of Achievement.

 

Tolerance.org offers educators a free curriculum kit for the classroom that revisits this familiar historical event. The kit includes a teaching guide, with classroom activities tied to the story of Rosa Parks.

 

September 21
K - 12
Holiday & School Celebration

The United Nations has declared September 21 as the International Day of Peace. In a message commemorating the Day in 1995, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali stated that "the world, once more, cries out for peace. And for the economic and social development that peace alone can assure... Let us keep our goal clear and simple... Let us work for peace."

For middle and high school students:

  • Have students brainstorm a list of conflicts that are happening around the world: Israel-Palestine, Iraq, etc.
  • Ask students to generate a list of reasons why people fight: religion, economics, etc.
  • Have students form groups and assign each group one reason from the list they generated above. In groups, students should discuss and be ready to present possible solutions that could address the causes. It is important to emphasize that students are not trying to solve a particular world crisis, but rather are trying to identify solutions that can work in general (education, tolerance, debt relief, etc.).
  • The groups could then create posters that promote their particular solution. See the lesson plan Designing Effective Poster Presentations for tips and ideas on making posters. For elementary-age students, follow the same process as above, but instead of looking at the world, ask students to focus on conflicts, reasons, and solutions in their school.
Today is the International Day of Peace.

This site contains a number of links to other websites dealing with ways to become active in promoting peace around the world and in the local communities.

This site, part of the United Nations Cyberschool Bus, contains five curricular units that focus on ecology, tolerance, critical thinking, social justice, and global citizenship.

Read about the outstanding people who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the official site for the award. The site includes biographies, lectures, and additional information for all the award winners as well as educational material.

February 04
K - 12
Historical Figure & Event

Rosa Parks (1913–2005) is best known for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a crowded bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement that ultimately led to the dismantling of Jim Crow segregation. Rosa Parks became an icon of the movement, celebrated for this single courageous act of civil disobedience, but she is often characterized by misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief, Parks was not a demure seamstress who chose not to stand because she was physically tired. Her calm demeanor hid a militant spirit forged over decades. Learn more about her and her life by exploring these primary sources.

Explore the sites and online exhibitions listed below. Ask students what they can learn from these primary sources about why Rosa Parks took her stand against segregation, and about the organizations and movements that participated in the struggle. They might compare that to what they learn from a textbook or other secondary source and then write a possible update for the secondary source.

It's important that students understand the difference between primary and secondary sources. Visit here for a solid definition and see some examples.

Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913.

Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words showcases rarely seen materials that offer an intimate view of Rosa Parks and documents her life and activism—creating a rich opportunity for viewers to discover new dimensions to their understanding of this seminal figure.

This gallery showcases a selection of items from the Rosa Parks Papers at the Library of Congress, a gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. This collection contains thousands of items that document the life, work, and legacy of this civil-rights legend.

In honor of the birthday of civil rights legend Rosa Parks, this blog highlights the many cards and letters students wrote for Ms. Parks over the years.

The Rosa Parks Collection, which is on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, spans from 1866-2006 and contains 7,500 items and 2,500 photographs.

March 17
1 - 12
Holiday & School Celebration

The Irish have observed St. Patrick's Day as a religious holiday since the island's conversion to Christianity in the early Middle Ages. The first St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City took place on March 17, 1762, giving the Irish soldiers serving in the English military the opportunity to reconnect to their roots. Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of varied backgrounds around the globe.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by reading Irish folk tales. It is the perfect opportunity to learn about Irish heritage. Have a selection of books available in class or bring students into the school media center to select an Irish folk tale. Tales are also available online from the Open Directory Project. Then have students read independently, in small groups, or as a class.

After reading the story, have your students use the ReadWriteThink Story Cube tool to create a graphic organizer. Older students can use the ReadWriteThink Literary Elements Map to map story elements. Have students print out their graphic organizers and share them with the class. After finishing this activity, treat your students to some Irish soda bread while they listen to Irish folk music.

Extend the activity by having students read additional Irish tales and compare them to other traditional folk tales with which they are familiar. What characteristics are unique to the Irish tales? Brainstorm common characters, settings, or themes found in the Irish tales. Students can then write their own tales in the Irish style.

Today is St. Patrick's Day.

Part of America's Story from America's Library, this site invites elementary students to read about the history of St. Patrick's Day from primary sources. Students can explore Irish folk songs and view historical photographs.

This History Channel website explores the culture and background of St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The site's interactive map offers information on different parts of Ireland and beautiful photographs.

Resources offered on this official website of the Irish government include an extensive photograph collection of well-known locations in Ireland as well as information on culture, sports, the land, the people, and the economy.

This National Geographic News article focuses on some of the St. Patrick's Day traditions that are not actually Irish.

May 11
6 - 12
Historical Figure & Event

Prominent political and social activist was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on June 29, 1893 or September 12, 1891.  After being educated at the University of Vermont and Harvard University and serving in the US military in World War 1, Albizu Campos became interested in the Puerto Rican independence movement, serving as the president of the Nationalist Party from 1930 until his death in 1965.

Among his accomplishments are improved labor conditions in Puerto Rico (Albizu Campos led strikes against the Puerto Rico Railway and Light and Power Company and the US sugar industry) and bringing attention to the problematic colonial relationship between the US and Puerto Rico.  His theory of non-collaboration with colonial structures (such as boycotting elections and military service) made him a controversial figure in the US.  He was jailed twice and was under FBI surveillance for much of his life.

Called “El Maestro” or “The Teacher” for his powerful speaking ability, Albizu Campos is the namesake of several schools in Puerto Rico, Harlem, and Chicago.

Using background information on Pedro Albizu Campos as an example, invite students to investigate the complicated histories of figures from throughout the world associated with nationalist movement.  These movements, often related to histories of colonization, assert the interests of one's own nation as separate from the interests of other nations or the larger interests of all nations.  Prominent nationalist figures include

  • Pedro Albizu Campos (Puerto Rico)

  • Simón Bolívar (South America)

  • Miguel Hidalgo (Mexico)

  • Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam)

  • Nelson Mandela (South Africa)

  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (India)

  • Michael Collins (Ireland)

Let students or groups of students choose a figure from this list, or another nationalist figure of their choice.  Students can conduct research through print and Internet sources and share their findings with their peers using the Bio-Cube student interactive.

Pedro Albizu Campos leads the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

This biography provides additional information about the life and accomplishments of Pedro Albizu Campos.

 

This entry from Stanford University provides background information on nationalism, including links to other resources.

April 10
6 - 12
Historical Figure & Event

Often considered to be the first true copyright law, the Statute of Anne drastically changed how copyright worked in Great Britain by naming the author, rather than the publisher, as the holder of the copyright. Later, this law had great influence on emerging U.S. copyright laws. In fact, the first U.S. copyright law began with "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning" —words taken directly from the Statute of Anne.

Create a students' copyright guide as a handy reference for classroom work or the library.

  • First, form small groups to conduct web research on copyright issues. Assign groups topics, such as the types of copyright protected works, fair use, court cases, public domain works, and so on. Students can use the interactive Notetaker to help them organize their research findings.
  • After students have finished their research, have each group compile their information into a page for the class booklet, by visiting the Printing Press tool and selecting the "flyer" option.

  • Collect each group's work and create a booklet. Be sure to create a table of contents and index for the guide, as well as a cover page. Keep a copy of the guide in the library and near photocopying machines.

  • You might also want to reproduce the guide and distribute a copy to each student.
The Statute of Anne, an influential copyright law, went into effect in 1710.

This site offers teachers information on copyright issues, including a list of links to online copyright references.

 

This website provides resources for children, as well as parents and teachers. Included are copyright basics, a quiz, and more.

 

This series on copyright law and the fair use exceptions is aimed at teachers and covers things such as applying the law to new technologies and district liability.

 

This student interactive, from CyberBee, answers many questions students may have about intellectual property rights and fair use.

 

April 30
3 - 8
Holiday & School Celebration

Developed under the leadership of author Pat Mora, El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros focuses on providing children with books in many languages and making reading an integral part of their lives. El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros is supported by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, an ALA affiliate that provides library and information services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking community.

Celebrate El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros by having students write and share their own multilingual stories:

  • Read a book with parallel stories with the class, such as La Llorona: The Weeping Woman or The Day It Snowed Tortillas / El Dia Que Nevaron Tortillas, both by Joe Hayes. With students, examine the way that the books tell the story in two different languages.

  • Arrange students in mixed multicultural groups and explain that together the groups will compose an illustrated, bilingual, or multilingual children's storybook to share with younger students.

  • Return to the parallel stories read by the class to model how students will compose their own stories.

  • Spend time exploring and creating the different parts that make up a professional book: title pages, acknowledgements, and dedications.

  • Use the Book Cover Guide to discuss covers and dust jackets. Have students design these additional parts of the book.

  • Students can use the Book Cover Creator to make the polished covers.

  • Once the books are assembled, students can deliver them to their intended readers for a celebration of Día!
Celebrate El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day)!

The official ALA site for El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros includes a state-by-state list of Día events, library programming ideas, a Día  fact sheet, and downloadable Día brochures.

 

Pat Mora, founder of El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros, provides background and celebration suggestions on her personal website.

 

This Día-sponsored website features bilingual story time resources, a Spanish story time plan for preschoolers, and online resources for librarians working with Latino children. The site also includes guidelines and information on the Estela and Reforma Award, established to promote El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros.

 

This is the webpage for current winners of the American Library Association's Pura Belpré© Award, which is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

 

ReadWriteThink.org offers a collection of tips and activities translated in Spanish to support literacy learning at home.

November 08
5 - 12
Author & Text

Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, was born on this date in 1847. Dracula, originally published in 1897, has become the basis for many films, TV shows, and other novels over the more than 100 years since its publication.

In this novel, Bram Stoker depicted many of the superstitions about vampires that were prevalent in his era. Today, we have superstitions about many things besides vampires. Brainstorm with students the superstitions they know. Begin by offering some that will be familiar to many students, such as bad luck symbols (e.g., black cats, breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder) or good luck symbols (e.g., finding a penny, four-leaf clovers) and ask students to discuss how these superstitions might have had a basis in reality (for instance, it is good sense NOT to walk under a ladder, for safety's sake). Break students up into small groups and have them research one of the superstitions to determine its country of origin and its original meaning or purpose. Then, students can use the interactive Mystery Cube to write a mystery story featuring their superstition. More tips are available on how to use the Mystery Cube.

In 1847, Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula was born.

This site provides information on Bram Stoker and brief essays on his sources and influences. The site also includes resources on vampires, Vlad the Impaler, and Van Helsing.

This page provides biographical information on Stoker, links to other sources on the author, and a collection of e-texts of his writings.

This page, from author S.E. Schlosser's American Folklore site, features a collection of folk tales focused on the supernatural. The stories are part of a large collection of folk tales from throughout the United States.

This site lists versions of Dracula from the original in 1897 through editions printed in the 1990s. Thumbnail images of the cover of each edition show how the depiction of Dracula has changed.