Teacher's Calendar of Events
August, 2011


National Children's Vision and Learning Month
August 1    World War I Began
August 26  U.S. Women Gain the Right to Vote
August 28  MLK Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech"

National Children's Vision and Learning Month. "Twenty-five percent of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning." Source: American Public Health Association. For more information, go here.

National Inventor's Month.
Go here for timelines, facts, and biographies.


Gail Gibbons. Birthday. Born August 1, 1944, Gibbons is a prolific non-fiction children's book author. The Washington Post writes: "Gail Gibbons has taught more preschoolers and early readers about the world than any other children’s writer-illustrator." We especially recommend her nonfiction books appropriate for grades K-3 published by Holiday House. Be sure to visit her Web site.

Herman Melville. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 1, 1819: Died: Sept. 28, 1891. Best known for Moby-Dick (1851), Melville wrote novels, short stories, and poems. He was part of the group of writers known as the American Romantics. For more information, go here. The following are lesson plans for Melville's work:

West Chester University: "Bartleby the Scrivener," A Brief Guided Reading. Grades: 9-12.
West Chester University: "Bartleby the Scrivener," A Cultural Context. Grades: 9-12.
The New York Times Learning Network: Modernizing "Bartleby the Scrivener."
Grades: 6-12.
Discovery Education: From Fact to Fiction: Moby-Dick. Grades: 9-12.
Discovery Education: Moby-Dick.
Grades: 9-12.

World War I Began. In June of 1914, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. The Austrians, believing that the Serbians were instrumental in the assassination, declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. On August 1, Germany and Russia declared war against each other. Eventually, 32 nations participated in the conflict.

The image to the left is a military propaganda poster of the time. Go here to see more propaganda posters.

The following are recommended books, Web sites, and lesson plans about the war:

Recommended Books
Casey over There by Staton Rabin and Greg Shed. Grades: K-3.
Waiting for the Evening Star by Rosemary Wells. Grades: K-3.
A Multicultural Portrait of World War I by Michael V. Uschan. Grades: 6 and up.

Web Sites
Animated Map of the War Be sure to visit this site.
BBC News: The Great War, 80 Years On
Library of Congress: American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1929 Election
Library of Congress: World War I and Postwar Society.
National World War I Museum. Check out the teacher section.
PBS: The Great War
Smithsonian National Museum of American History: World War I
World War I: Trenches on the Web

Lesson Plans
PBS: The Great War: Lesson Plans
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum: Lesson Plans
Daily Life Online: The Power of Propaganda in World War I. Grades: 6-12.
EDSITEment: Poetry of the War: From Darkness to Light. Grades: 9-12.
SCORE: Paris Peace Conference: Writing a Treaty to End World War I. Grades: 9-12.
EDSITEment: United States Entry into World War I: A Documentary Chronology. Grades: 9-12.
Learn NC: Letters Back Home: A Soldier's Perspective on World War I. Grades: 11-12.


First United States Census. Taken on this day in 1790, the census estimated the population to be 3,900,000. For more information, visit the U.S. Census Bureau. For census information about individual states at the time, go here.

National Friendship Day. Celebrated annually on the first Sunday in August. For a lesson plan appropriate for grades K-2, visit Learning to Give. A classic book for grades K-3 is Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel.

The following books with a friendship theme are especially recommended:

Afternoon of the Elves
by Janet Taylor Lisle. Grades: 4-6.
All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins. Grades: 4-6.
Friends of the Heart by Kate Banks. Grades: 4-6.
Gold Dust by Chris Lynch. Grades: 4-6. Recommended especially for boys.
Who Do You Think You Are? Stories of Friends and Enemies. Anthology. Grades: 9 and up.
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty. Grades: 9 and up. Concerns pen pals.


Anne Frank Captured. On this day in 1944, the German Gestapo discovered and captured Anne Frank and her family who were in hiding in a secret annex in an Amsterdam warehouse. For more information, visit the Official Anne Frank House. The Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945 Teacher Workbook may be found here. You may also want to visit the Anne Frank Center.


Neil Armstrong. Birthday. Born August 5, 1930, Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. Interesting fact: Only 12 people have ever set foot on the moon. Recommended books: One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown for grades K-3, and Neil Armstrong: One Giant Leap for Mankind by Tara Dixon Engel and Mike Jackson for grades 4-6. For a biography, visit Windows to the Universe.


Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. On this day in 1945, in an attempt to end World War II in the Pacific, the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped a five-ton atomic bomb on the city, vaporizing much of the city and killing approximately 75,000 people. Seventy thousand more people were wounded. For more information, visit the Avalon Project and Be sure to visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum which offers lesson plans on the decision to drop the bomb. The following are links to lesson plans on the dropping of the bomb:

Daily Life Online: The Decision to Drop the Bomb. Grades: 8 and up.
Educator's Reference Desk: Harry Truman on Trial, a Unit Plan. Grade: 11.
EDSITEment: Victory in the Pacific, 1943-1945. Grades: 9-12.
The Getty: Debating the Bomb. Grades: 9-12.

First Sandwich Created. On this day in 1762, John Mantagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, supposedly ordered his servants to bring him some cold meat between two slices of bread. He was gambling at cards and could easily hold the sandwich in one hand, thus allowing him to continue playing.

Alexander Fleming. Anniversary of Birth. Born: Aug. 6, 1881; Died: March 11, 1955. Fleming, a Scottish physician and bacteriologist, discovered penicillin in 1928. Further development and use of the drug saved countless lives as people with previously untreatable bacterial diseases were cured. For more information about antibiotics, visit MedLine Plus. Recommended book: Did Fleming Rescue Churchill? A Research Puzzle by James Cross Giblin. For more information about Fleming, visit the Nobel Foundation.


Betsy Byars. Birthday. Born August 7, 1928, Byars is a children's book author. Her book, Summer of the Swans, won the Newbery Medal in 1971. Two books we especially recommend are: Little Horse for grades 1-3 and Keeper of the Doves for grades 4-5. The Alan Review offers an analysis of her work. Visit her Web site. The following are links to study guides and activities for her books:

Carol Hurst: Review and Activities: Keeper of the Doves. Grades: 3-6.
Glencoe: Study Guide: Summer of the Swans. Grades: 4-6.
Class Zone: Novel Guide: Trouble River. Grades: 6-7.


U.S. President Richard M. Nixon Resigns. On this day in 1974, Nixon announced his resignation. His decision to resign came after a loss of Congressional support due to his involvement in the Watergate Scandal. For a transcript of his resignation speech, go here. For more information about the scandal, visit The Watergate Story at The Washington Post.


Atomic Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
On this day in 1944, a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. For more information, visit the Avalon Project and

The image to the left is the mushroom cloud appearing over Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped. Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Patricia McKissack. Birthday. Born August 9, 1944, McKissack is an American children's book author. Recommended books: Abby Takes a Stand for grades 1-3, and A Friendship for Today for grades 4-6.  Go here for a brief biography.

Seymour Simon. Birthday. Born August 9, 1931, Simon is a prolific children's book author. Be sure to visit his blog.


Herbert Hoover. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 10, 1874; Died: October 20, 1964. Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States (1929-1933). For a brief biography, go here.

Missouri Admitted to the Union. On this day in 1821, Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 24th state. For more information, go here.

Smithsonian Institution Created. On August 10, 1846, U.S. President James K. Polk signed the Smithsonian Institution Act into law. For more information, visit the Smithsonian.


Joanna Cole. Birthday. Born August 11, 1944, Cole is the author of The Magic School Bus book series. Visit the official Web site for more information.

Alex Haley. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 11, 1921; Died: February 13, 1992. Haley was the author of the classics, The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots. Go here for a biography.


Mary Ann Hoberman. Birthday. Born August 12, 1930, Hoberman is an award-winning poet and children's book author. Recommended books: A Fine, Fat Pig and Other Animal Poems and the You Read to Me, and I'll Read to You series. Be sure to visit her Web site.

Walter Dean Myers. Birthday. Born August 12, 1937, Myers is a children's book author. Read an author profile (including an interview) at


Berlin Wall Erected. On this day in 1961, communist East Germany built the wall to stop the flow of refugees fleeing to the west. The wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War until it was opened on November 9, 1989 by the East Germans. To hear U.S. President John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in 1963, go here.

Annie Oakley. Anniversary of Birth
. Born Phoebe Anne Mozee on August 13, 1860; Died November 3, 1926. A legendary markswoman, Oakley toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for 17 years. For more information, go here.


WWII: Japan Surrenders. On this day in 1945, the Japanese officially announced an unconditional surrender to the Allies. For more information, go here.


Panama Canal Opens. On this day in 1914, the man-made canal opened for traffic. For more information, go here.

Transcontinental Railway Completed. The final link in the railway was made August 15, 1870, at Strasburg, Colorado. (The Golden Spike ceremony, which took place on May 10, 1869, in Provo, Utah, celebrated the competition; however, the "final link" did not occur until August 15, 1870 in Colorado.)


Myra Cohn Livingston. Birthday. Born: August 17, 1926; Died: 1996. Livingston was a poet and children's book author. For a biography, go here.

Davy Crockett. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 17, 1786; Died: March 6, 1836, at the Battle of the Alamo. Crockett was a frontiersman, explorer, state legislator, and congressman. For a biography, go here. A lesson plan for grades 3-5 that combines tall tales and Davy Crockett may be found at EDSITEment.

Klondike Gold Rush Begins. On August 17, 1896, prospectors found gold in the Yukon Territory in Canada, setting the stage for a "gold rush" in which tens of thousands of prospectors traveled to the area in an attempt to make their fortunes.

Fulton Steamboat Sails. Built under the direction of Robert Fulton, the Clermont began its first successful trip up the Hudson River on this day in 1807, steaming from New York City to Albany. For more information, go here. Visit also PBS Who Made America?


19th Amendment to U.S. Constitution Ratified. On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote was ratified. The amendment reads: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex . . .." For more information, visit One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview. Visit the National Archives for more information about the amendment. See also the National Archives Teaching with Documents: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment.

The following are links to books and lesson plans:

Recommended Books
Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Stone. Grades: K-3
Mama Went to Jail for the Vote by Kathleen Karr. Grades: K-3.
Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote: 1840-1920 by Ann Rossi. Grades: 4-6.
The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach. Fiction. Grades: 4-6.
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote by Ann Bausum. Grades: 4-6
A Look at the Nineteenth Amendment by Helen Bozonelis. Grades: 8 and up. ,
The Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Right to Vote by Judy Monroe. Grades: 8 and up.

Lesson Plans
EDSITEment: Women's Suffrage: Why the West First. Grades: 6-8.
EDSITEment: Voting Rights for Women: Pro- and Anti-Suffrage.
Grades: 6-8.
Daily Life Online: Women's Changing Roles and the 19th Amendment.
Grades: 8+
The National Archives: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment. Grades: 6-12.
Learning Page: Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less. Grades: 9-12.

Paula Danzinger. Anniversary of Birth. Born August 18, 1945; Died July 8, 2004. Danzinger was a children's book author perhaps best known for the classic, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit and the Amber Brown series. For more information, go here.


William J. Clinton. Birthday. Born: August 19, 1946. Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001). Go here for more information. You may also want to visit the Clinton Foundation and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

Vicki Cobb. Birthday. Born: August 19 (year unknown). Cobb is a prolific and popular non-fiction children's book author. Be sure to visit her Web site.

National Aviation Day. By Presidential Proclamation beginning in 1939. National Aviation Day celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Orville Wright. He was the first person to pilot a "powered, heavier-than-air" machine on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Of the flight, Wright said, "The course of the flight up and down was exceedingly erratic, partly due to the irregularity of the air, and partly to lack of experience in handling this machine."
For a biography of Wright, go here.


Benjamin Harrison. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 20, 1833; Died: March 13, 1901. Harrison served as the 23rd President of the United States (1889-1893). For a brief biography, go here.  


Hawaii Admitted to the Union. On this day in 1959, Hawaii was admitted to the Union as the 50th state. For more information, go here.

X.J. Kennedy. Birthday. Born: August 21, 1929. Kennedy is an acclaimed poet. Be sure to visit his Web site.


Will Hobbs. Birthday. Born: August 22, 1947. Hobbs is the author of children's and young adult books. Visit his official Web site.


Mount Vesuvius Erupts. On this day in 79 A.D., Vesuvius, an active volcano, erupted in southern Italy destroying Pompeii. For more information visit PBS Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius. For a virtual field trip to the ruins of Pompeii, visit EDSITEment. Appropriate for grades 9-12. The image to the left is a painting by Johann Christian Clausen Dahl (1788-1856) titled Vesuvius Erupting.


Lyndon B. Johnson. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 27, 1908; Died: January 22, 1973. Johnson served as the 36th President of the United States (1963-1969). For a brief biography, go here. Visit also the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.

Mother Teresa. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 27, 1910; Died: September 5, 1997. Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who started her own order, The "Missionaries of Charity," who cared for those whom no one else would. For a brief biography, go here.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Delivers "I Have a Dream" Speech
. On this day in 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the speech to more than 200,000 people while standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. For a transcript and audio of the speech, go visit American Rhetoric. The following are recommended books and links to lesson plans:

Recommended Books
Martin's Big Words: The life of Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. by Doreen Rappaport. Grades: K-3.
My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers... by Christine King Farris. Grades: K-3.
I Have a Dream by Karen Price Hossell. Grades: 4-6.

Lesson Plans
EDSITEment: Dr. King's Dream. Grades: K-2.
read-write-think: Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness. Grades: K-2.
read-write-think: How Big Are Martin's Big Words? Thinking Big about the Future. Grades: 3-5.
Learn NC: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" Speech.
Grade: 8.
The New York Times: Viewing King's Speech through a Global Lens. Grades: 6-12.
read-write-think: Exploring the Power of King's Words through Diamante Poetry. Grades: 9-12.

Brian Pinkney. Birthday. Born: August 28, 1961. Pinkney is a children's book author and illustrator. For more information, go here.

Allen Say. Birthday. Born: August 28, 1937. Say is a children's book author and illustrator. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1994 for Grandfather's Journey. For more information, go here. Listen to an NPR interview with Say about his book, Home of the Brave. You may also view a webcast from the Library of Congress. The following are links to activities and lesson plans for Grandfather's Journey:

Scholastic: Grandfather's Journey. Grades: 1-2.
Reading is Fundamental: Story Sampler. PDF file. Grades: K-3.

Lesson Plans
SCORE: Teacher Cyberguide. Grades: K-3.
Reading to Kids: Grandfather's Journey. Grade: 3.

29 Amistad Seized. The Amistad was a Spanish merchant ship. In 1839, a group of African slaves it had been carrying took over the ship. The Africans were later apprehended on the vessel near Long Island, New York. In 1841, a federal trial court found that the initial transport of the Africans across the Atlantic had been illegal and that they were not legally slaves but free. Shortly thereafter, the decision was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court on appeal. The Africans traveled home in 1842. For more information, go here.
30 Mary Shelley. Anniversary of Birth. Born: August 30, 1797; Died: February 1, 1851. Shelley was an English novelist best known for the classic, Frankenstein. To read the book online, go here.
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