WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

| By Traci Cothran |

How wonderful is it that following the release of the movie “Hidden Figures,” the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson are now known by millions?  Their collective story is an impressive and important one, yet it’s a part of our history that’s been concealed for decades.

What other significant contributions by women are also shielded from view?  It’s a joy to uncover these gems, and allow them to inspire other women and girls today.  To me, that’s what Women’s History Month is all about—shining a light on the often overlooked contributions made by women throughout history.

Here are just a few, randomly chosen women from today and yesterday whose work and lives are notable.  You’ll find them all in Biography In Context, among other Gale resources.  As you read about them, you’re bound to discover other interesting women, too!

Maria Tallchief – (1925-2013) Tallchief was the first American-born woman to achieve prima ballerina status at a major dance company; she was also a member of the Osage Nation.  She’s featured this month in Research In Context.

Zora Neale Hurston – (1891-1960) A writer and major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston is a favorite of mine, for both her wonderful writing and her ability to live an unconventional life for women of her era.

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One Shining Moment in Space and Time

| By Debra Kirby |

While a history major in college, one of my classes was a one-on-one tutorial on the history of science.  During one session my patient professor was able to explain Einstein’s special relativity theory so that I was truly able to understand it—for one bright shining moment. I could almost feel my brain working! It was beautiful! Sorry to say, I was never again able to recapture that moment in quite the same way, despite later taking a “Physics for Poets” class and going through quite the hero worship phase, which included reading every book on Einstein I was able to purchase or borrow. I even hung a poster of him in my bedroom. Because my history focus was on World War II, I found Einstein biographies especially fascinating, since much of his life was intertwined with and influenced by that war.  In honor of Einstein’s birthday today, March 14, I recently visited Gale’s Science In Context to reacquaint myself with the great physicist. Here are just a few of the interesting facts I found:

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50-Year-Old Flashbulb Memory

By Debra Kirby

Flashbulb memory is a term first coined in 1977 by psychologists to describe the vivid, detailed and lasting memories triggered by experiencing or hearing news of traumatic events. Most people have a list of “flashbulb memories” that, depending on their age and location, might include the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; the JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and MLK assassinations; the Challenger explosion; and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People often say they can remember in sharp detail where they were, what they were doing, and sometimes even what they were wearing when news of the event broke.

One of the events on my flashbulb list occurred on January 27, 1967 when astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward Higgins White and Roger Chaffee perished in the launch pad fire at Cape Canaveral.

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Hidden No Longer

By Debra Kirby

Sometimes it takes a critically acclaimed movie to shine a light on extraordinary achievements. This has proved to be especially true when the subjects of those achievements are women or members of minorities. The movie Hidden Figures, based on a book of the same name, has recently generated interest in three African American women who played important roles in the U.S. Apollo Space Program. As is often the case, once you start digging into the details around historic events or people, you discover many related interesting facts and stories. When your sources include Gale databases you can spend hours exploring and learning.

Here are some of the facts I found when I began my journey to learn more about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—the fascinating women whose stories are told in Hidden Figures.

  • Katherine Johnson began her career as a “human computer” at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), NASA’s predecessor. Before the age of electronic computers, NACA employed hundreds of women mathematicians as human computers. Men with similar qualifications were classified as professionals; women were sub-professionals. Black mathematicians were segregated in their own office and loaned out to various divisions as needed. (Read more about Johnson in Biography In Context.)

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Winter in Michigan—It Could Be Worse!

By Debra Kirby What do winter in Michigan, the Detroit Zoo, and the “greatest survival story of all time” have in common?  Answer: The Shackleton Endurance Exhibit that runs through the end of the year at the Detroit Zoo, one of my favorite local hang outs—with or without kids in tow. I visited the exhibit … Read more…

Science Videos Added to Research and Science In Context

Recently, Gale partnered with Visual Learning Systems, an educational science publisher whose mission is to provide high quality, visual-based content that instructs, challenges, and inspires young learners. Nearly 900 high-quality educational videos on concepts essential to STEM learning have been added to Gale’s Research In Context and Science In Context. Approximately 750 videos, including videos on topics frequently studied in … Read more…

Gene Wilder, Roald Dahl, and the Chocolate Factory

By Traci Cothran

Gene Wilder’s passing is hard to accept, as he’s forever etched in minds playing Willy Wonka, complete with top hat and bushy eyebrows.  Or perhaps you best remember him with his mustache and frizzy hair in “Young Frankenstein,” in cowboy boots as the Waco Kid in “Blazing Saddles,” or as the nervous Leo Bloom with his blue blanket in “The Producers.”  They’re all amazing performances, but since Wonka is my personal favorite, and Roald Dahl a beloved writer, I took a look through our Gale collections to find some Wonka-related things about which to reminisce – here are just a few of them:

Did you know there was a Smell-o-Vision showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at the Boston Children’s Museum in 2007, where fans “forcibly waft[ed] the smells of blueberry pie and banana tapi(ph) over the audience, as well as the scents of dirt, grass and sushi”?  WOW, OH WOW.

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Gale’s In Context: “A Comprehensive Instructional Reference” with Modern Tools

Searching for a “core, essential, and vitally important addition” to add to your library? In Context family of online resources are a “valuable addition for high school, college, or public libraries.” With current, authoritative, media-rich information, In Context, meets the needs of today’s students with an easily searchable, mobile-responsive design and integrated Google Apps for Education tools.

Check out some user reviews below!

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A Quick Quiz for Mind and Body Health

Posted on May 5, 2016

By Debra Kirby

There are only so many variations a fitness instructor can use to keep things fresh in an indoor cycling class (aka spinning class). This editorial manager by day, spinning instructor by very early morning, has found the perfect way to keep her students interested and alert — the daily quiz! Fortunately for me, through the wealth of information available in the Gale databases our team produces, I am never at a loss for material! Here are a few questions and answers I’ve used to keep my students on their toes in recent 6:00 am classes:

Q: What organization was the precursor to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)?

A: The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), established in 1942 (U.S. History In Context)

Q: What country is the native home to lemurs?

A: Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa (Science In Context)

Q: Who standardized level measurement in cooking?

A: Fannie Farmer (Biography In Context)

Q: What famous poet was known as the Belle of Amherst and what actress portrayed her in the play of the same title?

A: Emily Dickinson & Julie Harris (Artemis Literary Sources)

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Prosper (TX) High School Streamlines Research Lessons with Gale’s In Context and Google Drive

Re-posted December 9, 2015

Located north of Dallas, Prosper ISD is experiencing a population boom. Prosper’s sole high school, Prosper High School, is home to approximately 2200 students and 190 staff members.  Prior to the 2015-2016 school year, I was the only librarian on campus, which proved very challenging when trying to schedule and teach research lessons with multiple teachers at one time. I had to find more efficient ways to teach research skills while still providing in-depth and engaging lessons. That’s where Gale’s In Context and Google Drive comes in!

I was so excited to see the connection between In Context and Google Drive. I had taught myself, and my students, workarounds to save In Context articles to their Google Drive accounts. These workarounds involved a lot of clicks and a lot of practice, which took up a lot of time. While the end result was worth it, I no longer had the luxury of time when I was trying to teach in two (sometimes three!) different classrooms during the same class period.

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