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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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.


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!


Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure

April 6, 2016

Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole

by Sally Isaacs, illustrated by Iva Sasheva

Use this when teaching:

  • Biographies
  • Women’s History Month (March)
  • Compare/Contrast — Compare the adventures of Helen Thayer from this book to Betty Skelton in the book Daredevil
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Inspiration for creating Hopes and Dreams.
    • Helen Thayer had a specific goal in mind: she wanted to trek to the magnetic North Pole.  Nothing was going to get in her way.  She trained; she studied; she prepared.  She worked toward her Hope and Dream of becoming the first woman to travel alone to the magnetic North Pole.
  • Problem Solving
    • Many things did not go as planned for Helen Thayer on her trek to the magnetic north pole.  She had to think on her feet to solve many problems only using the supplies she packed along with her.
  • Theme: Perseverance

Polar Dream Classroom Guide

 


A Boy and A Jaguar

March 14, 2016

A Boy and a Jaguar
by Alan Rabinowitz

Book blurb from the catalog: Presents a picture book featuring the true story of Alan Rabinowitz, who loved the animals at the zoo and hated that they were kept in cages. Wanting to speak out, Alan found he couldn’t keep himself from stuttering, except when talking to animals–a fact he used to his advantage in championing animal rights.

This book would be great to help teach:

  • Empathy (understanding Alan’s stuttering)
  • Building Classroom Community (how do we treat others who are different than ourselves)
  • Biographies (and even a unit on writing autobiographies — picking out a watermelon seed moment instead of one’s entire life)
  • Setting goals (Alan says that if he ever gets “his voice” he will speak for the animals, who cannot speak for themselves.  This is a lofty goal for a stutterer, but once he does get his voice he follows through with his promise.)
  • Research famous people who stutter
    http://www.flreads.org/Book_Award/extensions/BoyAndJaguar.htm

This book has a website!
http://hmhbooks.com/boyandajaguar/

 


Waiting

March 3, 2016

Waiting

by Kevin Henkes

Awards: Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor

Book Blurb from the catalog: An owl, puppy, bear, bunny, and pig wait for marvelous things to happen.

 

Lesson Ideas:

Using illustrations to infer what happens.

Making predictions: What is the rabbit waiting for?

Writing prompt: What are you waiting for?
This book would be a great mentor text to get students writing about their hopes and dreams at the beginning of the year.  What are they waiting for this school year?

A definite must-read for an author study of Kevin Henkes
http://www.kevinhenkes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Waiting-Kevin-Henkes-Author-Study-2015.pdf

 


Don’t Throw it to Mo

March 3, 2016

Don’t Throw it to Mo

by David Adler

***Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award 2016*** (Best book for young people)

Book blurb from the catalog: Even though Mo Jackson loves football, he is kind of clumsy, and no one will throw the ball to him. Mo will have to find a way to help his team in spite of no one throwing the ball to him.

Teaching growth mindset to your students?  Mo is a great example of a boy who simply doesn’t give up.  Mo is the smallest player on his football team.  Coach Steve uses him as a decoy for most of the plays.  But, Mo doesn’t complain; he just runs down the field and no one throws him the ball.  That is, until the final play of the game!  Spoiler alert—Mo wins the game with an amazing catch!

Use this book when teaching goal setting, growth mindset, analyzing character traits (there are some bully players in this book as well), and when setting up a classroom community of diverse learners.