"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Slice of Life: A Surprising Discovery

The first graders have been learning about our biography neighborhood - where it is, how to identify the books, and how they are organized. Just as important, I hope they will understand that biographies are not just about famous people or celebrities. I encourage the students to use this definition when they think about biographies in our library. 
It's March, so I've been using this opportunity to book talk and read books about women. Yesterday, the students explored the biographies in the PebbleGo encyclopedia. I gave the students a quick access and navigation refresher and then told them the only parameter was the first biography they read had to be about a woman. 

I walked around the library taking a quick tally of the subjects of the biographies.  Not surprisingly, Jane Goodall topped the list with 19 readers, Wilma Rudolph came in a close second with 14 readers, after these  two women, the remainder of students read biographies on a wide range of women: Helen Keller, Michelle Obama, Rachel Carson, Pocahontas, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Mother Theresa, Sacajawea, Mae Jemison, and Sally Ride. 

At one point I looked down and couldn't believe what I saw. 
“Mary Kay Ash.” PebbleGo. www.pebblego.com. March 25, 2014.

I did not know who Mary Kay Ash was until I read the article. Of course, if someone had said only Mary Kay, it would have rung a bell, but I never knew her last name and my mindset was not thinking about her.  I went back to see how the student had found this article.  It was under this heading:
Interesting that the two women with biographies under the "Inventors and Business Leaders" section both established women's cosmetics/beauty companies. I hope that there will be more biographies about women business leaders in the future.

This part of the lesson went as expected. I was surprised by what happened next - many students stayed within the parameters and continued reading biographies about women even though they had free reign. This small, but important choice made me happy.  I'd like to think that the more women are viewed as people who make a difference the better chance we have of making a difference.

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