Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

September 27, 2017

by Laurie Wallmark
illustrated by Katy Wu

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Grace was a curious girl, exploring how clocks work by taking them apart and putting them back together again.  That curiosity and tensity continued into college where she took courses in physics and math while other women were taking courses called “Husbands and Wives” and “Motherhood.”  She continued to persevere until she convinced the Navy to enlist her even though she didn’t meet the age and weight requirements at the time.  Good thing they did, too!  Grace went on to write computer code that no one else had done, and fix problems that no one could seem to solve.

BUG! This term is known in the computer science world for a mistake in the program’s code.  In this book, the author shows how Grace Hopper and her colleagues actually found a bug inside their computer which cause a switch to malfunction.  Even since then, computer glitches have been called bugs!

At one point in the book Grace needs to pass Latin (she had a failing grade) in order to go to college.  Briefly, this book shows the hard work she does in order to accomplish something she didn’t like to get to her dream of going to college.

Check out this PDF for some discussion questions and extension activities to do with this book.

*Timeline activity in the PDF link above.

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A Piece of Home

September 26, 2017

by Jeri Watts
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

From the book jacket: Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia.  He struggles to adjust to his new home, where none of his classmates look like him and he can’t understand anything the teacher says — even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly to him.  Little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English and make friends.  One day, when he is invited to a friend’s house for the first time, he sees a flower he recognizes from his grandmother’s garden in Korea: mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him it’s called in America.  He brings a shoot to his grandmother, who plants the “piece of home” in their new garden.

This picture book is a perfect read aloud for any teacher who has an ELL student in his/her classroom.  The words and pictures describe the struggles the students (Hee Jun and his sister Se Ra) have at school while adjusting to America.

It opens the readers’ eyes to the fact that just because someone doesn’t know English does not mean that they were not well respected in their home country.   In this book, grandmother, is a well-respected teacher, regarded as a “wise and wonderful teacher” and she stands proud with her “shoulders erect.” But when she is in America she knows no English, has no job, and “she does not hold her shoulders erect and her eyes don’t gleam — not at all.” The illustrations perfectly depict these stark differences in emotions.

Use this book in a compare/contrast lesson with Eve Bunting’s One Green Apple.

Other ideas:

–learn vocabulary through context clues and illustrations

–metacognition–How does your thinking change as the book progresses?

 


Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee!

September 26, 2017

by Andrea J Loney
Illustrated by Keith Mallett

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This picture book biography tells the life of James VanDerZee, a young boy who saved up his money to buy his first camera and who used his hard work and gentle spirit to grow a photography business in Harlem.

This book is great to show entrepreneurial spirit, grit, and perseverance.  It also explores the theme of following your dream.


How to Survive as a Firefly

September 11, 2017

How to Survive as a Firefly
by Kristen Foote
Illustrated by Erica Salcedo

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Did you know that fireflies only live as adults for 5-30 days?

Drill Sergeant Firefly is tasked with teaching the firefly larvae all they need to know to survive their life cycle.  And he must accomplish this task quickly, before he dies.

Told in a comical dialogue, readers learn about metamorphosis, the firefly life cycle, bioluminescence, and everything you could possibly want to know about fireflies!

Looking for a way to spice up your how tos?

Looking for a possible project using coding, incorporating life cycles?

Looking for a mentor text that shows a comical voice?

Just looking for a good read?

This is the book for you!

 

Online Resources:

http://beckycastlethebarefootteacher.blogspot.com/2017/08/free-how-to-survive-as-firefly-life.html

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/How-to-Survive-as-a-Firefly-Response-Journal-3321295

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/How-to-Survive-as-a-Firefly-Book-Companion-Activities-3367275

 


The Girl Who Ran

September 11, 2017

The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston  Marathon
by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee
Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

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Do you want a book about NEVER GIVING UP?  This is for you!  Bobbi Gibb is a girl in the 1960s.  All she wants to do is run.  But others try to stop her, her father even says “Girls don’t run!”  That doesn’t stop Bobbi.  For her first race, she disguises herself as a boy, wearing boy tennis shoes and covering her hair with a hooded sweatshirt.  Midway through the race, she had been spotted and the men running the race replied “We won’t let anyone throw you out; it’s a free road.”  So Bobbi took off her sweatshirt and finished the race!

An inspiring biography of one person who wanted to change the world, who wanted to follow her heart.

Use this at the beginning of the school year as you build community and discuss hopes and dreams!  Bobbi Gibb will definitely inspire your students to never give up and to follow their dreams!