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!


We Are Growing AND The Cookie Fiasco

November 16, 2016

We Are Growing by Laurie Keller
The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

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These books are for you Mo Willems fans!  Mo Willems is not adding any more books to his 25 Elephant and Piggie books, but he is working in collaboration with other authors to make similar funny books.  These new books are in the “Elephant and Piggie Like Reading” series.  Each book starts with a brief intro from Elephant and Piggie and then goes into the hilarious tale written by the author.  They still feature dialogue completely in speech bubbles, but each book does offer more than one character.  They are written with the same humor that will get kids laughing.

We Are Growing is a great book to teach comparative (adding -er) and superlative (adding -est) adjectives. (i.e. tall – taller – tallest).  Each blade of grass has a special trait claiming “I am tall! I am the tallest!”  “I am curly! I am the curliest!”  But the last piece of grass cannot figure out what makes him special, what makes him unique.  Well along comes a loud buzzing noise…you know what this is!  And suddenly everyone is back to being the same, but the last blade of grass does determine what his special trait is.

The Cookie Fiasco: How do you share three cookies with four friends?  GREAT FRACTIONS LESSON introduced in such a funny way.  Hippo has a nervous tick of snapping things when he is feeling overwhelmed.  Eventually Hippo has snapped the cookies into enough parts for everyone to share equally.  So funny, and such a great intro to any fractions unit!

Use these books to teach:

  • Adjectives
  • Character Traits
  • Being Unique
  • FRACTIONS!
  • Sharing

We Are Growing might be a good choice when setting goals for the school year — but that may be a bit of a stretch.


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

 


I Wish You More

April 6, 2016

I Wish You More

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

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This is a great encouragement book if you notice your students are struggling with too much on their plates.  In simple text, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld wish their readers more happiness than sadness, more good times than bad.

Sample from the text:
I wish you more ups than downs.
I wish you more hugs than ughs.
I wish you more Woo-Hoo! than WHOA!

Reading this blurb from Tom Lichtenheld’s blog just made me love him more than I already did!
“When Amy and I work together, it’s impossible (and pointless) to distinguish Artist from Writer. We both come up with words and we both come up with visuals, so a book gets the full benefit of whatever talent we can collectively muster up. This is why our book covers never use designations such as “written by” or “illustrated by.””

For this reason, this book might be a good book to use to discuss collaboration and working together. Share Lichtenheld’s blog post on NerdyBookClub’s blog (linked here)

I Wish You More Activity Kit

Amy Krouse Rosenthal Author Website

Tom Lichtenheld Website


My Teacher Is a Monster

March 16, 2016

My Teacher is a Monster
written and illustrated by Peter Brown

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Book blurb from the catalog: Bobby is convinced that his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is a monster, until he runs into her at the park one day and realizes she has another side to her as well.

Lesson ideas directly from PeterBrownStudios.com
http://www.peterbrownstudio.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/TeacherMonster_kit.pdf

Add this book to your Peter Brown Author/Illustrator study.  Add Peter Brown to your author/illustrator studies that you do if he isn’t already one of your featured authors/illustrators!

Lesson Germs from Judy Freeman:

  • What would you like your teacher to know about you so he/she understands you better
  • Make your own paper airplanes, test the aerodynamics (incorporate into a science unit)
  • End of Year project: Write My Favorite Teacher was _______________ because _____________.  Fold the note into a paper airplane.  Have students throw their paper airplanes at their favorite teachers.  Make sure the outside of the airplane clearly states to OPEN BEFORE THROWING AWAY.  Teachers will then be filled with joy from the note as opposed to being angry from having a paper airplane thrown at them.