Posts Tagged ‘Spotlight of the Month’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
Peace, love, and condemnation
We generally consider the 1960s in the United States as an era of peace and love. But the homosexual communities during this decade were commonly condemned by mainstream society.
Homosexuality was still classified as a “mental disorder” by the American Psychiatric Association. Police raids were conducted in establishments known to be “gay-friendly.” Homosexual acts were illegal, and many people were arrested for engaging in them. Some were fined; others were sentenced to long prison terms–even lifetime sentences. There were not many places where a gay man or woman could be open about their sexuality. Countless lesbians and gays lived “in the closet,” an existence in which they could not express their true selves.
The year was 1969
During the 1960s, New York City was home to the largest gay population in the country. The city was also considered to be one of the most aggressive against this alternative culture.
As the night of June 27 turned to June 28, in the year 1969, the New York City police conducted what they thought would be a routine raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Previous raids always resulted in arrests and not much opposition from the bar’s patrons.
Not on this night.
On this 1969 summer night, the gay liberation movement was born.
Out of the melee, pride emerges
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, gay patrons, regularly harassed by the New York City police, took a stand. Word of the demonstration spread and many joined the riot at the Stonewall Inn. Protests broke out throughout the city. They continued for days, despite police attempts to control the crowds. Shouts of “gay power” and singing of “We Shall Overcome” rang through the streets.
The Stonewall riots inspired local and national dialogue about gay civil rights. Very soon after the riots, a gay advocacy group in NYC was formed and a newspaper was launched. In commemoration of the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades were held in Greenwich Village, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Two years after the riots, nearly every major U.S. city had established a gay-rights organization. And in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.
Nearly five decades later…
Forty-seven years after the Stonewall riots, the gay liberation movement has evolved to encompass the civil rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. Incredible strides have been made in the LGBT movement:
In 2000, Vermont became the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions between same-sex couples; four years later, Massachusetts was the first to legalize gay marriage. A June 2015 Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage in all states, a huge victory for the LGBT movement.
What constituted a hate crime in the United States was expanded in 2009 to include crimes motivated by the victim’s gender, sexual orientation or identity or disability.
In 2011, the Obama administration addressed the United Nations and announced that LGBT rights are “one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time” and that the country would support international efforts promoting LGBT rights.
Transgender rights became a mainstream issue after the turn of the century and quickly picked up momentum. By 2013, two major federal rulings advanced equal opportunity employment for transgender people. The year 2013 also heralded further progress in the struggle for transgender rights: California enacted the first U.S. law protecting transgender students, and the American Psychiatric Association eliminated its diagnosis “gender identity disorder.”
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, otherwise known as LGBT Pride Month. It was established in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. It is a time of celebration, commemoration, and remembrance: a celebration of living freely, openly, and honestly; a commemoration of all that the LGBT community has contributed and what the LGBT rights movement has accomplished; and a remembrance of members of the LGBT community who lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
Join SKS and its June Spotlight of the Month in honoring LGBT Pride Month. Learn about the history of the gay rights movement and follow its path as it is forged in the United States and many countries around the world.
“The Stonewall riot may have been the start of a civil rights movement, but it was not the beginning of our history.” ― Tom Cardamone, author, and activist
Educational interpretations and implementations of STEM–an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–are as varied as the fields of study themselves. Only one thing is clear: the general consensus of educators and educational professionals is that STEM education can provide enormous benefits for students.
How could it not? In 2009, the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) report showed that U.S. high-school students were ranked 18th in math scores and 13th in science scores. Thirty-four nations participated, so these results were troubling. So troubling, in fact, that–in seeming response to the PISA rankings–the White House issued numerous reports on the significance of STEM education and allocated funding toward STEM initiatives and programs. In 2010, President Obama set a goal of increasing teachers’ and students’ proficiency in STEM fields of study.
So the question became…how? There are, of course, no easy answers. Possible solutions continue to be pondered, discussed, argued, and carried out in classrooms. Some things have worked, others haven’t. Thus is the evolution of education.
We at ProQuest applaud the efforts toward comprehensive STEM education and celebrate the national attention it has engendered. One goal of STEM education is to instill a sense of curiosity and exploration in students. This goal is one shared by ProQuest and its K-12 products.
Join us this summer in celebration of STEM education and its practice and growth in the United States. STEM disciplines are prominently featured on SIRS Discoverer–our product for young researchers–in its Science topic tree and in Science Fair Explorer. SIRS Issues Researcher offers a number of STEM-related topics in its Leading Issues database, such as Alternative Energy Sources, Biomedical Technology, Genetic Engineering, Nuclear Energy, Ozone Depletion, Space Exploration and Travel, and Technology. Click on any of these topics for up-to-date articles and information. And in the SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month for June, Summer Science Projects, we encourage students to see the science, technology, engineering, and math that surrounds them through hands-on activities. Everyone can be a scientist! STEM is all around us…the night sky, a frog’s call, a blooming flower, a car’s engine, an Internet transmission, a deep breath…STEM at work.
If we can impress upon one student the joy of seeing science, technology, engineering, and math all around, we have done our jobs.
Solving the world’s problems. That’s a very challenging task. There are so many variables and so many points of view. So many different interests to consider. But with critical examination of all the angles, and new ideas, nothing’s impossible! SIRS Issues Researcher has been helping guide the way through the world’s toughest issues for a very long time. Each year it gets better. Today it covers approximately 330 separate and sometimes related, but always sharply debated, issues. Coming soon, it will provide an all-new, exciting, and intuitive environment for elucidating young problem solvers in schools everywhere. We’ll keep you posted on that.
Learn more about SIRS Issues Researcher today, or many of our other exceptional ProQuest resources, by joining one of our monthly public webinars. If you don’t see the class you’re interested in, contact us , and we’ll be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss the resources you’re interested in learning!
If we were to discuss poetry vs prose in terms of contemporary popularity, prose would win. Take a walk through a library or bookstore and you’ll usually find a small section of books of poetry peeking through the sprawling aisles full of books of prose.
But what if we looked at poetry a little bit differently?
Poetry isn’t simply words in a book. Poetry is words spoken aloud, poetry is words spray-painted on a wall, poetry is words in a greeting card, poetry is a posting on Facebook, poetry is words vocalized in a song.
When we perceive poetry in this light, we begin to understand just how popular poetry is.
Reading poetry aloud, or hearing someone speak poetry, assists in understanding the work’s deeper meaning. It allows the reader and listener to hear all the sounds, rhythms, patterns, and intonations in the poem. These things are just as important as the meaning of the poem itself.
Consider how poetry spoken aloud impacted cultures throughout history.
In ancient Rome, poetry was the literary vehicle of choice. Some poets’ works were written and read, but mostly, ancient Roman poetry was spoken aloud in private or public gatherings. This is the way poetry reached the masses. It was how poetry assimilated itself into Roman culture. The likes of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid were the superstars of their day!
Ancient Chinese poets of the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Han (206 BC – 220 AD) dynasties are still revered as the greatest Chinese poets. During their time, their poems were performed for royalty and beautifully scribed on scrolls that were housed in the emperors’ palaces. How did the common people discover these masterpieces of literature? The spoken word, passed to and through communities, memorized and loved.
During the Renaissance, the plays of William Shakespeare drew enormous crowds at the famed Globe Theatre. His works resonated with the elite and with the common folk. Are his plays considered to be poems? No, they are not—but his dramatic oeuvre is replete with poetic devices. Let us call his plays “poetical.”
Poetical…much like the lyrics of songs we listen to every day.
Listen to a favorite song and consider the figurative and sound poetic devices found in the lyrics. What do you hear? Imagery, alliteration, metaphors, similes, personification, repetition, assonance, consonance, meter, rhyme? How do these devices impact the meaning or message of the song? How do these devices, along with the meaning of the lyrics, make you feel? Are the lyrics written as verse, as lines of poetry? What meaning do the lines hold separately; what meaning do they convey together?
This is a great activity to engage reluctant students of poetry. Poetry on a page offers quite a different experience than poetry spoken aloud, shared, heard. Listening to songs in a classroom setting—or hearing the lyrics aloud in spoken word—can transform students’ perspectives on this time-honored literary form.
In June of last year, the Obama administration announced that, in the year 2020, a woman will grace the front of the $10 bill. The redesign and unveiling will be in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States.
The question is…who will it be?
There are two requirements: the woman must be deceased, and she must exemplify the theme of “Democracy.”
There are many women who have deeply impacted this country and its history, and who fill the two above criteria. Selecting one woman to fill this extraordinarily symbolic role will be challenging. Which historic achievement will be highlighted, and which female innovator will be featured?
The Treasury Department has asked for help in the selection process. It launched a website, https://www.thenew10.treasury.gov/, that provides details of “the new 10” and has created a public discussion via the use of social media and #TheNew10 hashtag.
So let’s discuss. It is Women’s History Month, after all.
Perhaps, because the new $10 bill will be revealed on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, a woman who was integral to women’s suffrage will be chosen. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were both prominent leaders of the movement, cofounding the National Woman Suffrage Organization and working tirelessly for a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. They contributed to the writing of The History of Woman Suffrage and were both passionate abolitionists. Anthony, however, has already appeared on U.S. currency: her portrait was featured on the $1 coin from 1979 to 1981.
Sacajawea already appears on the dollar coin (which is no longer in general circulation), but she deserves consideration. A Shoshone Native American, Sacajawea served as the interpreter for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their 8,000-mile journey into the American West and to the Pacific Ocean. She was integral to their travels, and thus to the information and research that the explorers shared with the world.
The era of slavery is a dark one in American history but gave rise to extraordinarily strong and brave African American men and women who helped transform this country. Harriet Tubman, known as “the Moses of her people,” escaped slavery and was determined to help others do the same. She travelled the Underground Railroad many times after her escape, leading more than 300 slaves to freedom. Sojourner Truth also escaped slavery. She became a strident abolitionist and was the first female African American orator to protest slavery. Her speeches inspired people throughout the Northern and Midwestern states.
What about First Ladies? Some have affected noble and lasting changes, both politically and socially. Two come to mind: Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Adams was the nation’s second First Lady, wife of President John Adams. She never held political office, but took an active role in politics and national matters (including the Revolutionary War), was an early supporter of women’s rights, and had great influence on her husband. Her letters to him are full of her insightful observations. More than a century later, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt exerted tremendous political and cultural influence in her position as First Lady. She was an extremely vocal advocate for social causes, spreading her message by holding press conferences, hosting a radio show, and writing a daily newspaper column. Known as an activist for the rights of women, African Americans, and immigrants, she influenced her husband to embrace the civil rights agenda. Her humanitarian career continued after she left the White House: she served as a U.N. delegate for seven years and headed the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century gave rise to many female activists. One, in particular, changed the national conversation about civil rights by taking a stand and sitting on a bus. Rosa Parks made a transformative decision on December 1, 1955. She violated Alabama’s bus segregation laws and refused to give her seat to a white man and was arrested. Considered the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, her act of courage inspired the Montgomery bus boycott and roused activists to nonviolent action across the country.
What about Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut in space? Or Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator who successfully completed a transatlantic flight? Or Margaret Sanger, who crusaded for women’s reproductive rights? Or Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross?
So whose face will grace the new 10? Do you have an opinion? If so, make your voice heard–whether it be to the Treasury Department, in the classroom, in the lunchroom, or around the dinner table. Each inspirational woman mentioned above, and all who will be considered for this tribute of currency portraiture, had strong voices and opinions that changed the world.
Learn more about these women, and find out details of the new 10, on SIRS Knowledge Source and SIRS Discoverer. While you’re there, check out the March SKS Spotlight of the Month on Women’s History Month.