Mental Retardation Awareness Month. Sponsored since 1979 by the charity, The Arc of the United States, the purpose of this observance is to increase understanding of the issues and needs of people with mental retardation.
Music in Our Schools Month. The National Association for Music Education has designated March as the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. For more information, activities, and resources, go here.
National Women's History Month. By Presidential Proclamation. For more information about the history of National Women's History Month, go here. This year's theme: "Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet. " For more information, resources, and activities, visit the National Women's History Project.
Articles of Confederation Ratified. Anniversary. The United States of America was formally formed on this day in 1781 when the Articles of Confederation were ratified by the final of the thirteen states —Maryland. The Articles remained our governing document until
March 4, 1789, when our present U.S. Constitution went into effect. The document comprises six sheets of parchment and is signed by the delegates of the thirteen states. For more information visit Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids.
Nebraska Admitted to Union. On this day in 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state. For more information, go here.
Peace Corps Founded. Anniversary. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps through executive order on March 1, 1961. For more information visit the Peace Corps Kids Web site.
Yellowstone National Park Established. Anniversary. Established on March 1, 1872 by an act of Congress. Yellowstone National Park is the first and oldest national park in the world. For more information, go here. An excellent book for grades 4-6 concerning the fires of Yellowstone in 1988 is Summer of Fire: Yellowstone 1988 by Patricia Lauber.
Dr. Seuss. Anniversary of his Birth. Born March 2, 1904; Died September 24, 1991. The following Web sites contain information, resources, and activities useful for planning: Seussville at Random House;
National Education Association's Read Across America.
Read Across America Day. Sponsored by the National Educators Association. Go here for more information.
Leo Dillon. Birthday. Born March 2, 1933. Dillon is an artist/illustrator. Along with his wife, Diane, Leo Dillon won the prestigious Caldecott Medal two years in a row: In
1976 for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears and in 1977 for Ashanti to Zulu. For a short biography, go here.
Patricia MacLachlan. Birthday. Born March 3, 1938. MacLachlan is a children's book author. She won the Newbery award in 1986 for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall. For a brief biography and to listen to an interview, go here.
Missouri Compromise. Anniversary. 1820-21. The Compromise was an agreement passed by Congress to end the controversy concerning the extension of slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 repealed the Missouri Compromise. The Dred Scott decision in 1857 declared it unconstitutional. For more information, go here.
National Anthem Day. On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act making "The Star-Spangled Banner" the official anthem of the United States. During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics (on September 14, 1814) after witnessing a massive British assault on Fort McHenry in Maryland and noticing that the American flag survived the attack.
United States Congress First Session Under the Constitution. Anniversary. Held in New York on March 4, 1789.
Abraham Lincoln Inaugurated. Anniversary. Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was inaugurated on this day in 1861. For a brief biography, go here. For a lesson plan on the inaugural appropriate for grades 3-5, go here.
Peggy Rathmann. Birthday. Born March 4, 1953. Rathmann is a children's book author, illustrator, and winner of the 1996 Caldecott Medal for Officer Buckle and Gloria. Visit the author's Web site.
Boston Massacre. Anniversary. On the night of March 5, 1770, a mob of men and boys gathered at Boston's customs house and began taunting and jeering a British sentry on duty there. Soon, more British soldiers arrived and fired shots into the crowd. Four individuals died immediately and one other died four days later. Six other individuals were wounded.
For more information, visit the Boston Massacre Historical Society Web site.
Winston Churchill Delivers "Iron Curtain" Speech. Anniversary. In a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." This is considered by many to be the beginning of the Cold War. Go here to read the entire speech.
Mem Fox. Birthday. Born March 5, 1946. Fox is a children's book author. Popular books include: Koala Lou and Possum Magic. Visit her Web site.
Fall of the Alamo. Anniversary. March 6, 1836. During the Texas Revolution, the town of San Antonio was taken by Texas rebels and lightly garrisoned. As Mexican General Santa Anna approached, approximately 145 of the rebels entered the Alamo mission. There they refused to surrender. Santa Anna's troops surrounded the mission. The Alamo fell to Mexican troops on March 6, after a 13-day siege and battle. Visit the official site of the Alamo.
Elizabeth Barret Browning. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 6, 1806; Died June 29, 1861. Browning was an English poet. For more information, go here.
Michelangelo. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 6, 1475; Died February 18, 1564.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian Renaissance artist. Creations include the statue, David, and fresco paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. For more information, go here.
Supreme Court Decides Dred Scott Case. Anniversary. In a landmark decision on March 6, 1857—by majority rule—the United States Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott remain a slave, even though he had previously lived in free territory. Additionally, the justices ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in the territories. For more information, visit PBS's Web page.
International Women's Day. Celebrated around the world. Organized in 1908, the United Nations began sponsoring the event in 1975. For more information, go here.
Amerigo Vespucci. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 9, 1451; Died February 22, 1512. Vespucci was an Italian merchant, explorer, and cartographer. North and South America are named after Vespucci.
Birth of the Telephone. Anniversary. On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, said the first words ever transmitted over a telephone. To his assistant who was in another room, Bell said, "Mr. Watson, come here; I want you." For more information, go here.
Frankenstein Published. Written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the book, published in 1818, is considered by many to be the world's first science fiction novel.
Ezra Jack Keats. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 11, 1916; Died May 6, 1983. Keats was an author and illustrator of more than 85 children's books. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1963 for The Snowy Day, a children's classic. For more information, activities, and resources, go here. Be sure to visit the Ezra Jack Keats Web site.
Virginia Hamilton. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 12, 1936; Died February 19, 2002. Hamilton was a children's book author. She won the 1975 Newbery Medal for M.C. Higgins, the Great. Popular books include: The People Could Fly and the House of Dies Drear.
Naomi Shihab Nye. Birthday. Born March 12, 1952. Nye is a poet and children's book author. Popular titles include: 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East and Habibi. For a brief biography, go here.
Diane Dillon. Birthday. Born March 13, 1933. Dillon, along with her husband, Leo, won the Caldecott Medal in 1976 for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears and again in 1977 for Ashanti to Zulu. For a short biography, go here.
National Wildlife Week. March 13-20.. "A celebration of wildlife and wild places since 1938, National Wildlife Week encourages kids and adults across the country to learn and experience nature—starting in their own community." For more information, activities, and inspiration, visit the National Wildlife Federation.
Uranus Discovered. Anniversary.Astronomer William Herschel discovered Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, on this day in 1781. Herschel is considered to be the founder of modern stellar astronomy. For more information, visit the William Herschel Society Web site.
Albert Einstein. Birthday. Born March 14, 1879; Died April 18, 1955. World's most renowned physicist. For a comprehensive list of links, go here.
Julius Caesar Murdered. The Ides of March. Anniversary. In 44 B.C., Caesar was stabbed in the back by his friend, Brutus. Go here for historical background.
The Scarlet Letter Published. The novel was written by Nathanial Hawthorne and is considered to be his magnum opus. For more information as well as lesson plans, visit the following sites:
Sid Fleischman. Birthday. Born March 16, 1920. Fleischman is a children's book author. He won the Newbery Medal in 1987 for The Whipping Boy. Be sure to visit the author's Web site.
St. Patrick's Day.
Commemoration. Born in the late 5th century in Wales, Patrick was taken prisoner at age 16 by Irish raiders and transported to Ireland. There he remained for six years in captivity until he escaped. Back in Britain, he joined the Catholic Church. After was eventually consecrated as the church's missionary to Ireland. In 432, he returned to Ireland. By his death on March 17, 460 or 461, nearly the entire country was Christian. For more information, visit the History Channel's Web site.
Lois Lowry. Birthday. Born March 20, 1937. Lowry is a children's book author and Newbery Medal winner for Number the Stars and The Giver. For a brief biography, visit the teenreads Web site.
Bill Martin, Jr. Anniversary of Birth. Born March 20, 1916; Died 2004. Martin was a children's book author. Best known for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Did You See? and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Go here to watch a video interview with the author.
National Agriculture Day. According to the Agriculture Council of America, this day is a "time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture." For more information visit the ACA Web site.
Spring Arrives. Spring officially arrives in the Northern Hemisphere.
Uncle Tom's Cabin Published. Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and published in 1852, the anti-slave novel had sold 300,000 copies within three months. The book had a major influence on how Americans viewed slavery. When President Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he is reported to have said, "So this is the little lady who made this big war."
Johann Sebastian Bach. Birthday. Born March 21, 1685; Died July 28, 1750. Bach is considered by many to be the world's greatest western composer.
David Wisniewski. Birthday. Born March 21, 1953; Died September 11, 2002. Wisniewski was a storyteller and illustrator. His book, Golem, was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1997. For a brief biography, go here.
Randolph Caldecott. Birthday. Born March 22, 1846; Died 1886. Caldecott was a children's book illustrator. The coveted Caldecott Medal is
awarded annually by the Association for Library Service "to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." For more information about Randolph Caldecott, go here. For more information about the Caldecott Medal, go here.
Liberty Day. March 23, 1775. Patrick Henry delivered on this day his famous speech in front of the second Virginia Convention wherein he declared, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Anniversary. On this day in 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist, a garment shop in New York City,
caught fire. Due to lack of fire escapes and available exit doors, 146 women—mostly young immigrants—died in the blaze or fell to their deaths from open windows on upper floors. It remains the worst factory fire in the history of New York City. For more information, go here.
Robert Frost. Birthday. Born March 26, 1874; Died January 29, 1963. Frost was a leading 20th-century American poet and four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. For more information, go here.
Sandra Day O'Connor. Birthday. Born March 26, 1930. O'Connor was the first female United States Supreme Court justice, serving from 1981-2006.
Barnum & Bailey Join Forces. Anniversary. On March 28, 1881,
Phineas Taylor Barnum
joined with James A. Bailey to create P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show On Earth®. Although Barnum and Bailey "went their separate ways" in 1885, they once again joined forces in 1888 and toured the United States as "Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth." For more information, activities, and resources, go here.
15th Amendment Adopted. Anniversary. The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was officially adopted on this day in 1870. It declares:
"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 race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Note: This applied only to males.
United States Purchases Alaska. Anniversary. On this day in 1867, the United States Secretary of State William H. Seward signed a treaty with Russia to purchase Alaska. The price: $7 million total, or approximately two cents an acre. Still, the purchase was characterized by some as "Seward's Folly." For more information, visit this Library of Congress Web page.
Vincent Van Gogh. Birthday. Born March 30, 1853; Died July 29, 1890. Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist artist. For more information, go here.
Eiffel Tower Dedicated. Anniversary. Built to commemorate the
centenary of the French Revolution, the iron tower was dedicated on this day in 1889 in Paris, France. For more information visit the Official Site of the Eiffel Tower.