Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Schools : Barack Obama first book of children's literature

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Barak Obama
illustration: Loren Long

Barak Obama publicou um livro para adolescentes, antes de ser Presidente dos Estados Unidos. Foi a primeira vez que Obama se aventurou na literatura infantil e juvenil.

O livro foi inspirado nas duas filhas do Presidente - Malia Sasha - e presta homenagem a 13 figuras importantes da história dos Estados Unidos. 
De George Washington a Martin Luther King, passando por Albert Einstein ou Helen Keller, é deste modo que a história americana é dada a conhecer aos mais jovens.

O responsável pela publicação de livros infantis da editora Random House afirmou que a obra "celebra as características que unem todos os americanos, o potencial para realizar os sonhos e construir os próprios caminhos".

A ilustração é de Loren Long, que já todos conhecemos do livro infantil de Madonna, "As Maçãs do Sr. Peabody". 

Na capa do livro vê-se uma ilustração das duas filhas de Obama com o seu cachorro Bo (um labrador de raça portuguesa).

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Barak Obama
illustration: Loren Long

Meio milhão de exemplares ficou disponível em 16 Novembro 2010, nas livrarias norte-americanas. As receitas resultantes da venda do livro serão doadas para bolsas de estudo destinadas a filhos de soldados feridos ou que já morreram.

O livro foi escrito ainda antes de Barak Obama ter tomado posse como Presidente dos Estados Unidos, em 2009.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Barak Obama
illustration: Loren Long

Obama não é o primeiro na Casa Branca a escrever para crianças e adolescentes. Antes dele, Theodore Roosevelt  com Hero Tales from American History. Também as primeiras damas Hillary Clinton com "It Takes a Village" e Laura Bush com "Read All About It!" tinham já escrito livros infantis.

Não foi traduzido para português (Portugal), mas teria sido interessante uma versão em língua portuguesa. Estou certa que seria um sucesso nas livrarias e comprá-lo ajudaria uma nobre causa: apoiar os estudos de jovens.


Se ensina currículos de Língua Inglesa no ensino primário poderia ser uma excelente opção para introduzir um pouco da história dos Estados Unidos através de 13 americanos famosos.

Nível: Ensino Primário; Ensino Básico 2º ciclo.

Currículos: Inglês LE

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Barak Obama
illustration: Loren Long

Barack Obama's first work of children's literature is addressed to his daughters and focuses on 13 inspirational Americans. It was written before he became the President of United Satates. 

The book, illustrated by children's artist Loren Long, begins by asking "Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?" and goes on to offer repeated phrases of praise and encouragement to the sisters, while introducing them to the examples of 13 great Americans who shaped the nation.

Albert Einstein
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Barak Obama
illustration: Loren Long

Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League baseball player, Sitting Bull, the Sioux chief, Albert Einstein, the scientist and singer Billie Holiday are among the inspirational Americans numbered by Barack Obama in his lyrical new children's picture book.

He's donating his share of the profits to a scholarship program run by the Fisher House Foundation, which benefits the children of fallen and disabled service workers.

Obama is not the only US president to have written for children. Theodore Roosevelt wrote Hero Tales from American History for teenage readers six years before taking office, while Jimmy Carter wrote an improbably named children's book, The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer. During her stint as first lady, Hillary Clinton wrote Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets.


The story builds to a message of patriotic pride and inclusiveness, with the narrator asking:

 "Have I told you that America is made up of people of every kind?" 

If you teach American history at primary schools, the book can be a lovely introduction to the subject. The book invites the children to meet American heroes and recognise the unique gifts of each American citizen. 

Level : Primary Education.


Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

Note: Writen for the first time on this blog in 16 November 2010. But we are near of the International Children's Books Day next April 2. It can be a new book to read in the classroom.

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Referências / References:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Schools: 150th Anniversary Alice in Wonderland at the British Library

Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library
To celebrate 150 years of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the British Library (London) presents an exhibition marking the book’s 150th anniversary
The exhibition explores how Alice has captured our imaginations for so many years.
"Although the story has been adapted, appropriated, re-imagined and re-illustrated since its conception, we are still enchanted by Carroll’s original, much loved story, which continues to inspire new generations of writers and illustrators."
Alice in Wonderland has had a remarkable run. From Salvador Dali to Walt Disney and Tim Burton, not to mention the best world’s illustrators, every generation has reinterpreted and put its stamp on Lewis Carroll’s nursery-surrealist masterpiece.
Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library

It opens with a spiralling Op Art vortex pulling us into a trip “down the rabbit hole” of Carroll’s imagination and through the diverse visual phenomena it has engendered. 

screenshot: Alice in Wonderland/ ebook
credits: Apple

Alice in Wonderland video game
by Tim Burton

It contains an extraordinary array of Alice-inspired material, from the original manuscript to ebookcomputer games, designs by undergraduates at De Montfort University, via toys, tea caddies, Edwardian films and psychedelic posters.

The book’s genesis is as mythic, and the saga of the manuscript as surreal, as anything in the book itself. 

Alice in Wonderland
original manuscript copy of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, 1864

An Oxford mathematics lecturer, Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) dreamed up the story to entertain the daughters of the dean of Corpus Christi College – Alice, Lori and Edith Liddell – during a summer boat trip on the Thames. 

illustration: Mabel Lucie Attwell 
Alice and the White Rabbit before they fall down the rabbit hole

Attwell first published this edition of Alice in Wonderland at the beginning of her career in 1910. The characters are depicted from a child’s point of view and the adults look rather child-like themselves.
The graphic presentation, with fragments of classic illustrations blown up on illuminated panels, and signs in mismatched type-faces telling us “Don’t go this way, go that way” (echoing the “eat me, drink me” injunctions of the book), make the exhibition something of a “happening” in its own right.

Alice with the Red Queen from 
illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
by Charles Robinson (1907) 
credits: The British Library Board/ Charles Robinson
Alice in Wonderland is  a lovely book but not a simple one. Well, we all know the kindergarten adaptation by Walt Disney! And better than Disney, the marvellous Tim Burton's adaptation. 
Lewis Caroll's novels are more complex than that! Some children's books are not easy. The exhibition will help students to understand better this masterpiece of children's literature. So many illustrations, to admire and following the book on a new approach.

Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library
This exhibition celebrates the 150th book's anniversary. Teachers can't miss it!
You want to introduce the novel? You don't know how to motivate your students? 

And you are teaching in London or not far? 

  • Organise a school visit and go with your students to see Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript with hand-drawn illustrations, alongside stunning editions by Mervyn Peake, Ralph Steadman, Leonard Weisgard, Arthur Rackham, Salvador Dali and others.

Alice with the White Rabbit, illustration edition
 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Leonard Weisgard, 1949
credits: The Estate of Leonard Weisgard

  • Discover how Lewis Carroll’s story has been re-imagined, re-interpreted and re-illustrated over the last 150 years with newly commissioned articles, a selection of manuscripts, reviews and literature relating to Alice in Wonderland.

When you introduce a school visit (students love to go out of the school) at Museums, or Public Libraries, you revigorate your lessons. They're wonderful choices to include into the curriculum.

"A lesson at a Museum or a Public Library included into the curriculum will enhance the learning. Your students will enjoy the numerous interactive exhibitions, the daily hands-on activities and the monthly special events."


Alice in Wonderland
The British Library, London

Activities (before & after):

Well, there are a lot of funny and engaging activities about the novel that you can create yourself and prepare before and after the school visit to Alice in Wonderland exhibition.

Believe me! You will have a great group of motivated students who will learn about the narrative, characters, vocabulary, grammar.

You, a different 'attitude' by changing methods, a creative mind to facilitate different learning activities to your young students!

British Library : Articles

You still have the time. The exhibition Alice in Wonderland will be open until Sunday 17 April 2016.
Free entry!

"The exhibition’s real fascination lies in trying to pick apart what has made a book that should feel remote in time appear permanently relevant."


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Friday, March 25, 2016

Education : Talking about Daylight Saving Time

Portugal | Parque de Serralves | Porto
credits: Serralves

Spring is back! Last 20 March was the first day of Spring 2016. Also known as the vernal equinoxLast Sunday, the equinox marked the point in space and time when the sun moved across the celestial equator from south to north. 

Today March 25 is Good Friday. Two days from EasterEaster is the most important Christian religious holiday and widely regarded as the second most popular holiday in general after Christmas season.

Parque de Serralves, Easter activities
credits: Serralves

The students and teachers got Easter school break most countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Time is fresh no sunshine day. However kids and families will enjoy the traditional host of Easter egg hunts outdoor.

Oh! Yes, there is Daylight Saving Time (DST) next Sunday, Easter day! It gives families the opportunity to enjoy an extra hour outdoors on Easter day.

Next 27th March time changes in Europe clocks. The nights are becoming lighter, leading up to Easter Sunday - March 27th at 1am (GMT) to be precise, when the clocks spring forward again and we can look forward to the warmth of summer, (if we're lucky). 

Daylight saving time (DST) or summer time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour so that in the evening daylight is experienced an hour longer, andnormal sunrise times are sacrificed.

Typically, regions with summer time adjust clocks forward one hour close to the start of Spring and adjust them backward in the Autumn to standard time.

Benjamin Franklin
credits: Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis,1785
The implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been fraught with controversy since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, regions and countries routinely change their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.

Thus Daylight save first introduced in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist (or insect expert). George Vernon Hudson, came up with the idea to the Wellington Philosophical Society outlining a daylight saving scheme which was trialled successfully in the country in 1927.
William Willett independently came up with the idea of DST in 1907. He waskeen to prevent people from wasting vital hours of light during summer mornings.

During 1916, Germany and its allies in World War 1 were the first countries to adopt daylight savings time to ensure consistent railroad times and limit coal usage.

Interestingly, not all countries will participate in the daylight savings 2016 time changes. EU countries which synchronise their DST include Portugal, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria as well as most other European countries, including Norway and Switzerland.
A few European countries don't use DST at all: Russia, Iceland, Georgia, Armenia and Belarus.
In Europe, Summer time begins at 1:00 am. Universal Time (GMT). It begins the last Sunday in March.  
Most of the United States began Daylight Saving Time at 2am on March 13th, the second Sunday in March. See how different countries in the world.
Easter break

For the moment, schools are closed this year on Daylight Saving Time. So students will be used too when they return to school.

Teachers know that DST can be disruptive for some teenagers and school children everywhere. Students feel tired in the morning courses during the first week.

A discussion based on research shows that in the morning, young people need more time to sleep in for their health.

The rationale behind changing the times on the clock makes little (or more likely, no) sense to them. But let us explain the process using the video below:

Last year, I presented another video providing an animated explanation for moving our clocks forward and backward in the spring and fall.

  • Videos
You can use the videos on my post to provide a good explanation of the rationale for Daylight Saving Time. Students will understand better the reasons of DST. And can discuss pros and cons.

Kids are always very curious about why 'things' happen! Here a good way to let them learn about Day Light Saving, Spring Equinox and some traditions of different civilizations.

Other Resources: 
  • Links:
Earth & Sky : Vernal Equinox 2016

Daylight Saving around the world 2016

Six Reasons Not to Like Daylight Savings Time

Twenty Clocks in Culture

Well, some people don't like daylight saving time. I do love Spring DST because I really hate Autumn DST. 

“General consensus is that really most of those things that were used as arguments for having daylight saving time in the past are really not applicable nowadays,” (...) "Every year, the question is: 'Why are we continuing with this, particularly when in some cases, it is more of a nuisance than benefit?' "

Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

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Education : Talking about Daylight Saving Time bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.