The Great American Eclipse 2017

On August 21, 2017, North America will see its first total solar eclipse in a century. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. Even though the sun is much bigger than the moon, because the moon is so much closer to us, they appear about the same size in … Read more

Running Like a Girl

| By Debra Kirby |

Anyone remember when phrases like “You run like a girl!” were considered insults? Not anymore! I love when power is claimed by turning what is meant to be a negative into a positive. Two recent events are inspiring me right now:

  • My 9-year-old granddaughter has joined her school’s Girls on the Run program, which will culminate in a 5K Run (“Not a race, Nana” says Grace) in June.
  • Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon 50 years ago, ran it again this year – at the age of 70!

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Digging in to Earth Day

| By Debra Kirby |

On April 22, Earth Day will be observed by more than a billion people in nearly 200 countries, making it the world’s largest civic observance. The first Earth Day was held in 1970, a year I remember well. I had recently moved to a smaller high school where the student body was less diverse and more conservative. When I found out that my new school had no plans to mark the important occasion, I gathered a few like-minded friends and, with a sense of righteous indignation, we marched out to the parking lot to pick up trash! Not the most impactful way to celebrate the first ever Earth Day, but the effort apparently helped cement my reputation as a “rebel egg head,” as I learned years later when I was introduced as such to more than one former classmate’s spouse at our 20th high school reunion.

Many years later I can’t recall much about that day or even, now I think of it, the history behind Earth Day. But having access to Gale’s rich database content, I recently set out to educate myself. Here’s what I found:

  • The concept for Earth Day began with United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat, who in 1969 proposed a series of environmental teach-ins on college campuses across the nation. Hoping to satisfy a course requirement at Harvard by organizing a teach-in there, law student Denis Hayes flew to Washington, DC, to interview Nelson, who persuaded Hayes to drop out of Harvard and organize the nationwide series of events. (Science In Context)

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Wosets, Wockets and Waskets

The wild, wacky and wonderful world of Dr. Seuss has been the salvation of many an exhausted parent who, ready to call it a night, succumbs to their child’s plaintive cry for just one more bedtime story. The easy rhyming flow in Dr. Seuss stories always made it easy for me to read just a little longer.  There’s a Wocket in my Pocket was a favorite of both my daughters, who could recite word for word, page by page well before they were able to read – providing an opportunity for a little fun with unsuspecting relatives and friends who were amazed at how advanced my 3-year-old girls were.

I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to enjoy Dr. Seuss through my grandchildren and various mentoring programs through the years. The student I’m currently mentoring is a second grader who says Dr. Seuss is her favorite author, and Green Eggs and Ham her favorite book, though we recently both found Fox in Sox a little trying.

In honor of the National Education Association’s Read Across America, which kicks off on March 2, and is also Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I decided to learn a little more about the Pulitzer Prize winning author, whose real name was Theodor Geisel. There are many interesting and some surprising facts to be found in Gale databases. Here are a few:

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Using Gale for College and High School Instruction

By Lori Warren Another plus for using Gale databases for library and research instruction is the integration of Google and Microsoft Tools. The STEM school on our campus uses the Google tools and our college students and faculty use the Microsoft tools.  As our high school students move into college classes, they transition naturally to … Read more

National Bullying Prevention Month

By Debra Kirby

When my oldest daughter, now a middle school teacher, brought home her first essay, it was on the subject of bullying. She wrote it after reading Judy Blume’s Blubber for a school assignment. The essay, which I still have, provided a preview of what a kind, compassionate person and awesome teacher she would one day become. As the 10th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month approaches this October, I thought I’d do a little research on the subject, which was never the focus of national attention when I was a student. It’s only in relatively recent years that bullying has been commonly recognized as something other than a “natural part of growing up” or rite of passage.

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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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Student Challenge: Who Changed the Course of U.S. History without Uttering a Word?

Posted on December 4, 2015

Good question, isn’t it?  Where can students go to find the answer?

Biography In Context for starters, where you’ll find a feature this month on the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks. Her quiet defiance of sitting in a “whites-only” section of a bus on December 1, 1955, galvanized support for the Civil Rights Movement, sparking Freedom Rides, boycotts, and sit-ins. Transport students back in time to visit this tumultuous era in our nation’s history – students can read about Parks and her work, hear her speak in a video, and look at her statue that President Obama unveiled in the Capitol.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and Student Resources In Context covers that legal precedent as well as recent challenges to it. While on the topic, Women’s Suffrage hit the big screen recently, and the fascinating stories behind that movement can be found in US History In Context. Read Susan B. Anthony’s “Speech on the Right of Women’s Suffrage,” from 1873, when she was arrested for the having the audacity to vote!  Look at photos of suffrage parades, read the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, as well as other primary sources from Carrie Chapman Catt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others.

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Content Updates for Gale’s In Context (week ending 11/13/2015)

Posted on November 16, 2015

Take a look at the new resources now available in many of your favorite In Context products:

Biography In Context
New homepage spotlights were added in the past few weeks that include:

  • Country music star Carrie Underwood who recently co-hosted the 2015 Country Music Awards with fellow artist Brad Paisley.
  • Native American leader Geronimo, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.
  • Actress Jennifer Lawrence will be appearing in the final installment of the Hunger Games series, Hunger Games Mockingjay, Part 2 opening November 20.
  • New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau
  • Journalist and author Ta-Nahisi Coates who won a MacArthur Genius grant this year and whose book Between the World and Me was shortlisted for the 2015 National book Award in Nonfiction.

New portal pages and a homepage video were posted including:

  • Notorious pirates Edward Teach (“Blackbeard”) and William Kidd (“Captain Kidd”)
  • Feminist writer and activist Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelly who is the author of “Frankenstein”
  • Stephen Curry, player for the Golden State Warriors
  • “The Walking Dead” actor Steven Yeun
  • Video “Out There: Einstein’s Telescope”: A nod to the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

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