Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

February 4, 2019

The ocean in its vast beauty has a world of its own. Mountains and crevices invite creatures to reside, maneuver, and blend. Snorkelers gain a glimpse of the beauty hidden from the wavy surface. Stories and movies have the ocean as its setting. Robert Burleigh brilliant biography introduces you to the beginning of oceanography in his book, Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, illustrated by Raul Colon.

Science didn’t know much about the ocean floor. It was once thought to be unmoving. Marie Tharp changed that thinking – but not without opposition. Her ideas were different, challenged, and not accepted quickly. Marie loved maps. Her father drew maps of our American landscapes from state to state. She used this passion in her job.

View the book trailer here.

Marie spent twenty years gathering data brought back from deep ocean adventures, of which she was excluded from because she was a female. (I was surprised at this.)  Marie was determined and persisted. The data proved the possible theory of the continental drift. She turned her data into a picture – a map, a map featuring changes in the oceans floor. Although many still didn’t agree, eventually, Marie’s maps, the ocean floor picture, are the foundation for the knowledge people have today.

To see actual photos of Marie Tharp and an overview of her scientific life, view this 2 min. video clip.

Dr. Nicky Howe portrays herself as Marie Tharp in 2015 Reading Slam. What a fun way for kids to get to know the character and be introduced to the ocean world.

Savorings for reading and writing for Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:

  • Rich language
  • Biography
  • Persistence – not giving up, working against odds
  • Believing in herself
  • Asking Questions
  • Pursuing Dreams

A Holocaust Heroine

January 11, 2012

The Holocaust. Sorrow grips my heart when I think of the injustice placed upon the Jewish people. Freedom is priceless… for everyone.

Irena Sendler is one account of a brave heroine during the Holocaust. Her story had remained silent until 1989. During the Warsaw Ghetto, Irene helped smuggle 2500 Jewish children to safety. She secretly hide the children’s identity on a list she buried in a jar.  When captured by the Nazis, Irene was sentenced to death. By a bribe from someone outside, Irene was miraculously able to escape. After the war, Irena began to reunite children and surviving parents. Read her story in the book, Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto, by Susan Goldman Rubin.

Sharing Irene’s story and others of the Holocaust, we have an opportunity to teach our children respect for others, to stand against bullies, and preserve life.

To hear Irena speak about her encounter with the Ghetto, introduce your children to the video clip of her (3 min.) I suggest viewing the pictures prior to showing it to your children. Young children may not fulling understand.

How her story was shared.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Irena  Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto:

  • Biography with tension
  • Quotes
  • Snapshot
  • Important details – summarizing
  • Community building

PES new book

TV: How it was Invented

August 3, 2011

Kathleen Krull introduces her book with “Life Before Philo”, inviting the reader to imagine life in history. A contrast to today – no visual images except for the movie theater. Only the radio brought live entertainment into the home.

The Boy Who Invented TV: the Story of Philo Farnsworth shares how Philo was curious and intelligent. He asked questions of the repairman and read article in science magazines. Scientists were trying to create television and Philo’s mind lingered on the mystery.

Kathleen Krull shares how the idea was inspired at age 14 and Phil’s stages in creating the first TV image. This biography is a longer text, yet grabs the reader’s attention. The author’s note in the back shares how he won the patent but was not given credit for creating TV due to big business. They featured TV at the World’s Fair.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Boy Who Invented TV: the Story of Philo Farnsworth:

  • Importance of life-learning
  • Show Don’t Tell – Kathleen’s craft with words is awesome
  • Voice – “And there was not television. That’s right. NO TV.”
  • Varied sentences
  • M Dash – used several times for emphasis on the key idea
  • Author’s Note – excellent background information and gives the rest of the story

PES new book (2009)

Rosa Parks

February 4, 2009

What a remarkable woman Rosa Parks was.  Her name is famous with children as the lady who refused to move on the bus.  But, Rosa Parks was so much more.  She believed in respect of equal rights.

I have a book called I am Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins.  Rosa shared her thoughts that day she stayed in her seat.  She said, “Some people think I kept my seat because I’d had a hard day, but that is not true.  I was just tired of giving in.”  Rosa didn’t plan on the events of that day; she just wanted to be treated as an equal.

During Black History Month, I hope that you take the time to talk with your students about being kind, accepting, and respectful of each other.

I hope that children today will grow up without hate.  I hope they wil learn to respect one another, no matter what color they are.  Rosa Parks”

Savorings for reading and in writing for I am Rosa Parks:

  • First person narrative
  • Narrative scenes as supportive examples
  • Timeline
  • Character thinking