Flower

Posts Tagged ‘Grade Level : Elementary School’

SIRS Discoverer: Celebrate the Constitution

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?

By Constitutional Convention [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Constitutional Convention [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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!

Our Founding Fathers Said That?

Constitutional Convention (Granger Collecton, NY/courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy of SIRS Discoverer)

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.

First U.S. President George Washington (Gilbert Stuart/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“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.

Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson (Rembrandt Peale/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“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.

Fourth U.S. President James Madison (John Vanderlyn/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“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.

Loving the LOVE at the Olympics!

Brazilian Flag and Olympic Logo

Brazilian Flag and Olympic Logo (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain])

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.

Spotlight on the Summer Olympics

summerolympics

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.

Notable Canadians

Learning about other countries and exploring their histories and cultures are integral parts of any K12 research. During the month of July, SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month features articles and Web sites on the country of Canada. Our Spotlight of the Month presents information on Canada’s provinces and way of life, but it also highlights Canadian people who have influenced our world.

Authors

Several authors used Canadian themes and landscapes into their works. Lucy Maud Montgomery created the popular Anne of Green Gables books. Farley Mowat, best known for his books People of the Deer and Never Cry Wolf, often wrote about the Canadian North. Although her works are primarily aimed at adults, Margaret Atwood makes Canada–primarily Toronto–the setting for many of her books.

Artists and Entertainers

Emily Carr (1939) Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends
By Emily Carr (Malahat Review (archive)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Emily Carr painted Canadian landscapes and was often inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Canadian comedians Michael J. Fox, Mike Meyers, and Jim Carrey all started their careers in Canada. They have achieved fame and success all over the world

Scientists

Dr. Birute Galdikas

Birute Mary Galdikas
By Simon Fraser University – University Communications (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfupamr/5577180639/) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Birute Mary Galdikas is a famed primatologist and founder of Orangutan Foundation International.

Canadian scientists Irene Ayako Uchido and Ralph Steinman made great advancements in the field of biology.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space.

Historical Figures

Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain
By Book author: François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, 1787-1874; (Boston: Dana Estes & Charles E. Lauriat (Imp.), 19th C.), 190. Etching signed: E. Ronjat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

French explorer Samuel de Champlain  founded Quebec and Lake Champlain is his namesake.

Laura Secord was a woman who warned Canadian troops about an attack during the War of 1812.

Direct your K12 students and young library patrons to ProQuest SIRS Discoverer and explore all that is Canadian! We are pretty sure that you’ll learn something new about this beautiful and diverse country.

CultureGrams: U.S. State Symbols

New York State Symbols

CultureGrams States Edition: New York Report via ProQuest CultureGrams

Do want to impress your friends with the breadth of your cultural and geographic knowledge of the United States? Do you want to provide your students with a learning opportunity that is sure to engage their interest? One way to do that is to learn about the state symbols for your state. Or even better, become familiar with symbols for other states as well. You can find this content in the CultureGrams States Edition, under Fun Facts & Contacts in the left navigation bar. Once you’re there, you’ll find the state bird (and its associated bird call), the state tree, the state flower, and other state symbols for every state. Plus, you will find a list of other interesting state symbols. You may even find some more unusual symbols such as a state cookie, a state musical instrument, a state dance, a state insect, and even a state firearm. Who doesn’t want to know these fun facts?

For a classroom activity, you could assign students to dig a little deeper, assigning them to do further research on these symbols. They could find out more information about the symbols themselves, or discover why the symbols were chosen to represent their state. Furthermore, you could divide your students into small groups and ask each group to give a brief presentation on a symbol or make a poster to hang up in the classroom.

Whatever approach you choose, students are bound to be curious about the plants, animals, rocks, foods, fossils, and songs that represent their state.

Librarian, Author, Centenarian

Beverly Cleary in 1971

Beverly Cleary in 1971
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Beverly Cleary turns 100 years old on April 12. As a kid growing up in the 1970s one of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary. I checked out every one of her books from the library, setting me on the road to a lifetime of reading. What captivated so many young readers is her humor in everyday situations. Her characters are imperfect just like real kids. They behave like real families and her two most well-known characters, sisters Ramona and Beezus Quimby treat each other like actual siblings do.

Beverly Cleary started her career as a librarian in Washington. At 33 she decided to become a writer when she didn’t see the books she wanted on the shelves. She wrote series and historical fiction. She also touched on topics that are serious to children, such as divorced parents and bullies at school. She also won numerous awards including the American Library Association’s 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 1984.

Schools and libraries have been named in her honor and many will celebrate this amazing milestone for an author who has delighted generations of readers.

Celebrate the 100th birthday of Beverly Cleary with your students. Here are some resources to get you started.

In addition, SIRS Discoverer has content to learn more about Beverly Cleary.

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

April Training Webinars Posted

Libraries see surge in e-book demandNow’s a great time to catch up on the important elements of your ProQuest K-12 resources. We’ve posted our April webinars and would like to invite you to join us. Share this information also with some of your key faculty who you know would benefit from greater familiarity with your excellent ProQuest library research and learning tools. Our new public webinar page also expands your view of ProQuest possibilities. Not only may you access training for your K-12 focused resources, but you may also learn more about ProQuest’s full array of research and learning tools. Many of these have potential application in advanced secondary learning environments.

Sign up now for a class of your choice. If you don’t see the resource you’re looking for, contact us and we would be happy to schedule a private webinar with you!

Women’s History Month on ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

March is Women’s History Month. Take this opportunity to research the countless women who have contributed to history. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation stating that “during Women’s History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today.” Women’s History Month corresponds with International Women’s Day and women all over the world have contributed to women’s history.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai
 By DFID – UK Department for International Development (Malala Yousafzai: Education for girls) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ProQuest SIRS Discoverer has endless content on women who have contributed to science, government, and human rights:

  • Anne Frank kept a diary about her life hiding from the Nazis and became world famous after her early death.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England and became the first female doctor in America.
  • Frances Perkins was the first woman to hold a U.S. Cabinet office. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed her as Secretary of Labor in 1932.
  • Grace Hopper was an admiral in the U.S. Navy and computer scientist–she pioneered “user-friendly” computer software and she also coined the computer term “bug.”
  • Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Guides which eventually became the Girl Scouts.
  • Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban–she became a worldwide advocate for the education of girls.
  • Marie Curie performed groundbreaking work in physics and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor is a retired judge and the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Join SIRS Discoverer’s March Spotlight of the Month in honoring Women’s History Month. Learn about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, meet African-American women who have changed history, read about early female politicians, follow women’s increasing role in the military, and celebrate women’s scientific achievements. Perhaps you will become inspired to thank a woman who has made a positive impact in your life!

Have a Heart! Sunday is Valentine’s Day!

DiscovererValentinesDay

Here’s something simple:  Go to ProQuest SIRS Discoverer and Keyword Search “Valentine’s Day” OR Valentine* — or just run a simple Subject Search for “Valentine’s Day.”  You’ll instantly come up with 60+ newspaper articles, 110+ magazine articles, 30+ reference articles, 100+ images, and over 10 focused websites, all full of focused information about this fun loving holiday.  You can learn Valentine’s trivia and folklore, get Valentine quizzes, learn how Valentine cards are made, trace the history of Valentine’s Day, learn how to craft interesting and creative Valentine’s Day gifts, find short stories about Valentines, and learn about different kinds of treats you might make on Valentine’s Day.  All of this, plus great tools like citations for writing projects, Lexiles to help guide students to materials they can more easily understand, text-to-speech to listen and take notes, or maybe original article PDF documents to see the publisher’s layouts —  all in just a few simple searches.  ProQuest SIRS Discoverer is a great place for kids from elementary through middle school to learn about all kinds of events, people, holidays, or hot topics and issues!

You can learn more about ProQuest SIRS Discoverer, or any of our other exceptional ProQuest resources, by contacting the ProQuest Training and Consulting Team to arrange a privately scheduled webinar. You can also join us for one of our monthly public webinars on many of our exceptional ProQuest K-12 resources. We’ll answer your questions for you, and provide guidance on how these resources can best fit your needs. See you soon!