Archive for the ‘SIRS Discoverer’ Category
This month, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is celebrated in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The festival began in 1972 and is celebrated during the first weeks of October. Here are some fun facts about the festival.
* When the event began in 1972, there were just 13 balloons featured in the festival. Now there are over 500 hot air balloons in the festival!
* The event is held for 9 days.
* People from over 20 different countries participate in the event.
* In recent years, over 80,000 people have attended the event.
* Besides the wonderful hot air balloons at the festival, visitors can also enjoy music, food, and other educational activities.
* If you plan in advance, you can book a ride on a hot air balloon during the festival!
Teachers, direct your students to SIRS Discoverer to learn more about this festival and about hot air balloons. Here are some resources to get you started:
The Spanish language is an integral part of the American experience.
According to the 2011 Pew Research Center’s American Community Survey, Spanish is the main language spoken in more than 37 million homes. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, Hispanic Americans comprised 17% of the country’s population–53 million people.
How do the more than 16,000 public libraries across the United States serve this culturally rich community?
There are numerous ways that public libraries can find the fiscal support, cultural materials, and language expertise necessary to successfully serve their diverse Spanish-language-speaking communities. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated each year in the U.S. from September 15 through October 15, let’s take a look at some.
The American Library Association offers a comprehensive overview to librarians and media specialists who seek to initiate services to Spanish-language-speaking populations or to build upon their existing resources. Visit Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users for an overview of collection development and selection; cultural programming and outreach; the value of personnel training and development; and the significance of collection placement.
The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA) was established in 1986 with the purpose of providing educational, charitable, and programming outreach to Hispanic American librarians and to libraries wanting to serve the Spanish-speaking population.
The REFORMA site provides extensive online resources for libraries, including a Spanish-English dictionary, Spanish-language brochures and flyers, and storytime materials. The organization offers awards and recognition to libraries and holds events and conferences on Spanish-language literature and in support of outreach to Spanish-language communities.
Spanish in Our Libraries (SOL), although no longer being published, is now an archive of valuable information. This electronic newsletter helped to connect librarians and media specialists serving their libraries’ Spanish-speaking communities.
Public Libraries Using Spanish (PLUS) is a growing searchable database that provides libraries with documents necessary for any library to serve its Spanish-language communities. Find printable card applications, signs, programming information, and more, written in Spanish with English translations. The site’s owner is accessible by email and asks for users to share their comments, experiences, and document submissions.
WebJunction is an online learning community for librarians. The organization offers knowledge and support in many areas of librarianship: leadership and communication, staff training, library services, technology, and programming.
One facet of WebJunction is its Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) Program. Case studies, webinars, and materials (such as an action plan template and checklists) assist libraries in creating, maintaining, and growing Spanish language collections, services and programming, and outreach. Text to the site’s Spanish Language Outreach Workshop Curriculum–including a PowerPoint presentation and a resource packet–offers in-depth instruction and support to librarians and media specialists.
These sites are only some of the resources available to public libraries serving, or looking to serve, their Spanish language communities–communities that are integral to the advancement of our nation and its libraries.
SIRS Knowledge Source and SIRS Discoverer commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month each year by spotlighting the history of and the news, events, and issues affecting this vibrant and diverse population. Find articles, timelines, photos, and more.
We are in the midst of Hispanic American Heritage Month! There is so much to know about the Hispanic presence in the United States and its impact on the country’s development and its continued growth. Populations of Hispanic descent have thrived here since 1565, when Spanish explorers founded the Florida city of St. Augustine. That’s 42 years before English explorers arrived in Jamestown. America has always been Hispanic!
While it’s important to delve into the history of the Hispanic American community and meet prominent Hispanic Americans, it is also valuable to learn about from where Hispanic Americans have descended. For example, did you know that the beautiful South American country of Bolivia, ruled by the Inca Empire for centuries, was colonized by Spain in the 1500s? And that the mountainous Central American country of Honduras was once part of the Mayan civilization? Perhaps you can challenge your students to pick a country, research its history and cultures, and present their findings.
Or, direct their research with questions so that they can research for answers! Maybe you want to try a history question like “What Central American country was home to the Olmec civilization thousands of years ago? What other ancient civilizations lived in this country and what impact did they have?” Or a cultural question like “What is a quinceanera? It originates from the Spanish word quince, which means what?”
This information and much more is available on SIRS Discoverer. During the month of October our Spotlight of the Month highlights Hispanic American Heritage Month. Not only can your students learn about the histories and cultures of Hispanic countries, but they can meet Hispanic American authors, poets, politicians, musicians, civil-rights activists, and more. There’s so much to learn about the United States and the amazing people who compose its beautiful diversity.
Middle school students have no lack of opinions regarding clothes, music, movies and their friends. The chatter of the school hallways brims with their opinions. But do they know how to craft an argument? Do they know how to state a claim and cite evidence? The distinction between persuasive opinion and an evidence-based argument is essential for their future.
After all, culture offers a steady stream of opinions and claims. Social media, advertisements, political campaigns and even their peers give students messages 24/7 on what they should look like, act like and live like in order to achieve the best life. To make effective decisions in college and career, students must learn how to be critical thinkers.
Many types of assignments support these skills. Whether you are teaching students to use critical thinking skills in a class discussion, pro/con debate or an argument paper, try topics that are already important to students to spark their interest like Cell Phones in School, Cyberbullying or Homework.
Then provide them a critical thinking toolkit so they can unpack the issue and analyze it from all sides. Include in the toolkit an overview of the topic, key terms, and definitions, an essential question, examples of viewpoints, a compelling image for visual literacy, and questions for analyses.
You can find all the above in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer’s pro/con feature. Pro/Con Leading Issues is specifically created for research and English Language Arts (ELA) writing requirements with topic-related materials to guide the student. See any of the 55 age-appropriate topics.
What topics spark your students’ interest that we could add to our Pro/Con feature? Let us know in comments or tweet at #ProQuest.
We celebrate the U.S. Constitution each year during the week of September 17, in honor of its signing on September 17, 1787. The Constitution’s significance on U.S. government and laws is momentous and central to our rights and responsibilities as citizens.
Do today’s young students understand the importance of the U.S. Constitution? Do they know where and when it was written? Can they name a few of its creators and signers? Can they name and define any of the constitutional amendments? Would they understand how the Constitution and its amendments impact our daily lives?
In honor of Constitution Week, SIRS Discoverer’s September Spotlight of the Month highlights the product’s constitutional content and provides students an easy way to research the Constitution and its amendments. Perhaps you and your students could celebrate Constitution Week with a fun research assignment. There are several amendments out of the 27 that seem to be cited most often. How about asking your students to choose one and learn more about it?
The 1st amendment establishes our right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. What does this mean for us? We can worship as we choose, we can express new and different ideas with no repercussions, and news outlets can report on what is happening in our country and our world. Question: Before the Revolutionary War, did colonial America have freedom of the press?
The 2nd amendment, which protects the right to own guns and use them for self-defense, may be the most debated of all of the constitutional amendments. Question: Where did the concept of “the right to bear arms” originate?
Following the Civil War, the 14th amendment was ratified. It legally protects the citizenship rights all Americans, regardless of race, and details those who are entitled to U.S. citizenship. Question: What “codes” did some Southern states create in response to the 14th amendment?
The 15th amendment guarantees people of all races the right to vote. It was the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, which were adopted after the Civil War. Question: What state first ratified the 15th amendment?
The 19th amendment gives women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, helped to draft the amendment. Question: What two women pioneered the women’s suffrage movement by organizing a meeting in Seneca Falls?
Visit SIRS Discoverer during the month of September. Your students will definitely learn some facts about the Constitution. Who knows, you may learn something, too!
The United States Constitution is considered to be “the supreme law of the land.” And it has been for more than two centuries. No small feat for a document uniting the ideas of nationhood, independence, defense, general welfare, and all sorts of liberties.
This document certainly was not created alone.
Many people contributed to the development, shaping, and writing of the U.S. Constitution. Those who had the most significant impact on its outcome are considered to be the U.S. Founding Fathers (remember that this was the 18th century–women, such as Abigail Adams, influenced the Constitution, but through their husbands…a blog post for another day).
With all of the hullabaloo around the upcoming presidential election, and with all of the recent discussions on and controversies around gun rights and women’s rights and immigrants’ rights and LGBTQ rights and criminal rights and voting rights…, let’s take a listen to what some of our Founding Fathers have said about the U.S. Constitution.
“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”–George Washington (1732-1799)
George Washington is considered by many to be the “father of the country.” He was, after all, the nation’s first President. He served that office from 1789 to 1797. Prior to that, he was a general in the Revolutionary War and is considered to have played a pivotal role in leading the American Army to victory.
Our first president was known as a man of few and select words, as embodied by the above quote. He thoughtfully deemed the U.S. Constitution a “guide” to be followed, not the zenith or the ultimate truth.
“Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”–Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States (1801-1809), was a terrible speaker but a terrific writer. He wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, and his input was invaluable to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
Jefferson was a lawyer, diplomat, naturalist, architect, educator, statesman, musician, inventor, scientist, geographer…he was fluent in many languages…he supported women’s rights, free public education, and a free library system. All in all, a brilliant and cultured man. He knew government had to be kept in check, and that the general population was essential to maintaining this stability: “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government–lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”–Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
Patrick Henry was never president, but he certainly made a name for himself as an orator, lawyer, and politician. He served as first and sixth governor of Virginia, and was instrumental in opposing the Stamp Act of 1765. In fact, he may be most famous for saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
This guy liked freedom.
Henry’s political priorities always aligned with affirming the general population’s rights and well-being. He was consistently against the idea of a strong central government. He initially opposed the idea of a U.S. Constitution, fearing it would jeopardize individual freedoms and state sovereignty. He only became an ardent supporter of the Constitution once the Bill of Rights was added.
Henry wanted the U.S. Constitution to serve as an “instrument” for the people, providing them with the means necessary to maintain their freedoms and hold their government accountable.
“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”–James Madison (1751-1836)
James Madison, fourth president of the United States (1809-1817), is considered to be the “father of the Constitution.” He had helped write Virginia’s State Constitution, the model for the U.S. Constitution. Both are grounded in his belief that the United States’ potential would be “derived from the superior power of the people.”
Madison predicted a national crisis if no Constitution was drafted. His advocacy for creating a U.S. Constitution paved the way for the Constitutional Congress.
He understood the importance of understanding and interpreting the context in which the document was written. As the context of the living documents changes, should the Constitution?
“It is every American’s right and obligation to read and interpret the Constitution for himself.”–Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Benjamin Franklin’s words could not be more timely.
Franklin–statesman, writer, scientist, philosopher, inventor, political theorist, printer–understood that true freedom in this nation began with freedom to choose for oneself.
Franklin’s highest political office was Minister to France. But as the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, he had participated in significant events in American history, such as the signing of the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War, and the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
As a participant in the signing of the Constitution, Franklin shared an observation that all hoped would be a symbol for the new country. Upon seeing the sun sitting atop George Washington’s chair at the closing of the Constitutional Convention, Franklin said: “I have the happiness to know it is a rising sun and not a setting sun.”
What are your students’ thoughts about the U.S. Constitution? Find resources in SKS and SIRS Discoverer and join us throughout the month of September as we celebrate National Constitution Month.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established on August 1, 1916, so this year marks the 100th anniversary of the park! The park is located on Hawaii’s Big Island and includes the two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
To celebrate the centennial, here are some facts about the park:
- The park was called Hawaii National Park from 1916 to 1961, then its name changed to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
- Kilauea Volcano has erupted over 60 times since the 1750s. It has been continuously erupting since Jan. 1983.
- In Aug. 2016, lava from Kilauea dropped into the ocean creating new land. Since 1983, about 500 acres of new land has been added by lava to the island.
- Mauna Loa Volcano has erupted over 30 times since the 1840s. Its last eruption was in 1984.
- The top of Mauna Loa Volcano reaches 13,677 feet above sea level. Kilauea Volcano is 4,091 feet above sea level.
- The park has about 333,000 acres of land. About half of those acres are forests.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was the 11th park established in the United States.
- The park receives over 2.5 million visitors each year!
Teachers, for more about this national park, direct your students to SIRS Discoverer. Here are some searches to get you started:
What makes the Olympics so beloved?
Perhaps it is because we, the spectators, are satiated with incredible competition and mind-blowing athleticism.
Perhaps it is because we enjoy witnessing the thrill of victory…and yes, even the agony of defeat.
Perhaps it is because we want to feel as if we are a part of something magnificent, something bigger than ourselves, something shared with most of the world.
Perhaps it is because we are inspired by the edited Olympic coverage of athletes’ personal lives…our heartstrings are pulled and our own dreams come into focus–if only for a moment.
But I think there is something more that keeps us watching, keeps us coming back, keeps us gratified. Something absolutely grand.
Joy. Harmony. Peace. LOVE.
Open hearts abound during the Olympic Games. Like when…
…Michael Phelps hugged his teammate Caeleb Dressel, the young swimmer who was overcome with emotion after their team won the gold in the Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.
…gymnast Louis Smith of Great Britain sincerely congratulated gymnast Alexander Naddour of the United States for winning the bronze medal in pommel horse.
…Jen Kish, the team captain of Canada’s women’s rugby team, found her father in the stands after the team’s bronze-medal win.
…gymnast Laurie Hernandez of the United States held up her team-winning gold medal to her father…and he ecstatically and emotionally fist-pumped back to her.
…Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz celebrated with her coach, Alfonsito Aldanete, after her second lift of the competition. She won the silver medal.
…gymnasts Diego Hypolito and Arthur Mariano of Brazil tearfully and exuberantly rejoiced after winning silver and bronze for their floor routines, respectively.
…Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa set the world record in the men’s 400m–and we watched his 74-year-old great-grandmother (who is his coach) celebrating in the stands. And then larger-than-life runner Usain Bolt congratulated him.
These astonishingly genuine moments are, simply put, human moments. They transcend the thrill of victory…these moments are sincere human connections, which is what makes them so gratifying to witness.
They are why I watch the Olympics.
How about you? What keeps bringing you back to the Olympic Games?
SKS and SIRS Discoverer honor the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Spotlights of the Month, featuring articles and Web sites on Olympic history, athletes, and moments. Join us in celebrating this international event.
23 full-text book titles licensed from esteemed K12 publishers such as Rourke Publishing and DK Eyewitness have been added to SIRS Discoverer’s Nonfiction Book collection of 500+ titles:
The benefits of Nonfiction Books are clear:
- Economical—Adds 500 titles to any book collection at no extra cost
- Readable—Browse variety of reading levels via grade level browse
- Discoverable—Books are searchable as reference content in any keyword search
- Portable–PDFs may be viewed on desktop, on overhead, or downloaded to any mobile device
- STEM—Science, technology, and math content are abundant. Of the new titles, 18 are related to math
- Robust–Twelve categories include high-interest topics such as animals, biographies, and history that can be used for a variety of assignments
Learn about Nonfiction books in this quick video tutorial:
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is the first Olympics held in South America.
Let’s take a look at some other Olympic firsts….
1900 Women first competed at the Olympic Games in Paris.
1900 Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera was the first black athlete to compete in the Olympics. He competed for France.
1908 John Taylor, as part of the U.S. relay team in athletics, was the first African-American athlete to win a gold medal.
1912 The Olympics, for the first time, included competitors from all five continents.
1936 The Berlin Olympics were the first games to be televised.
1972 Waldi the dachshund was the first Olympic mascot, appearing at the Munich Olympics.
1984 Professional athletes were first allowed to compete in the Olympics.
2004 The Olympic torch traveled to all five continents for the first time for the Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The Olympics provides several teachable moments for you and your students. This month the SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month focuses on the Olympics. Here you can find articles and images that examine the history of the Olympics as well as editorially selected content for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
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