Are you starting to notice the difference in the voices of the authors of the Nonfiction Minutes? Are you getting the idea that we are a passionate bunch of people with wide interests? Do you think you could recognize an author even if you didn't know who wrote a Minute?
How about bringing your favorite author to your school to answer questions about his or her MInutes? You can find out how through the Center of Interactive Learning and Collaboration. If you're a teacher it costs nothing to join and there are lots of other content providers listed whom you may find interesting. If you look at the drop-down list of providers, you'll see us under Authors on Call/iNK Think Tank. But here's the link for you to bring us to your school and talk to many classrooms in one visit through our fabulous Zoom Room. All you need is WiFi and a white board or projector and screen.
Our Nonfiction Minute authors wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
We will not be posting Minutes for the rest of the week, but will return on Saturday morning with a post for the week of November 27. If you want to find some Minutes you might have missed or are looking for some interesting family dinner conversation, try browsing through our archives. You can access them by topic or author from the list on the right, or by month by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the Topics and Authors list.
Also, you might want to take a look at the Transfer to Teaching pages (T2T). Karen Sterling, Media Specialist, creator of the Pennridge eLibrary and K-12 District Library Coordinator for the Pennridge School District has been having a ball creating T2T pages. She offers some really good and practical ideas about how to use the Nonfiction Minutes as teaching tools. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for bringing us into your classroom.
We're collaborating with the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration to produce a LIVE STREAMING EVENT:
Nonfiction author Carla Killough McClafferty has written books on a wide variety of topics and each one has a back story of how it came to be. Your students can join McClafferty as she shares with them the details only authors know. Hear about visiting the Radium Institute in Paris to research Marie Curie, how she came to know people who were rescued from the Nazi’s by an American Holocaust rescuer, how George Washington came to life for her while staying on the grounds of Mount Vernon, and how she interviewed the world’s experts on the topic of concussions. This live streaming event is a chance for students to learn stories not found on shelves.
Date: December 14, 2017, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST (adjust for your time zone). (Registration Deadline: 12/14/2017)
This is a live streaming event. A link will be sent to teachers as the event approaches. There is a chat function that you and your students will be able to use to ask questions.
To find out more and how to register go to: www.CILC.org
Giving Voice to Children in History
Would parents willingly send their twelve-year-old son to war? During the U.S. Civil War, that’s exactly what General Ulysses Grant and his wife, Julia, did. Of course they expected Frederick to stay safely behind Union lines—only Frederick wasn’t the type to miss any excitement, and he ended up paying a big price for that.
It wasn’t unusual for officers to have a family member with them, for they often faced separations that could last months or even years. Grant knew the campaign to silence Confederate cannons along the Vicksburg, Mississippi waterfront that were preventing Union ships from taking control of the Mississippi River was going to be a long one. He was a devoted family man and became depressed if away from his wife and four children for very long. Julia suggested their eldest son keep Grant company. Frederick, who wanted to make the military his career, was thrilled.
I learned about Frederick while researching my book Under Siege! Three Children at the Civil War Battle for Vicksburg. He joined a boy and girl who were inside Vicksburg as my eye-witnesses to Grant’s brutal forty-seven-day siege in 1863 of that little river town.
And what an eye-witness he was! As the general’s son, he had his own uniform and pony. He accompanied Grant during daily troop inspections and shared his tent at night. He knew he was supposed to stay in camp, but he was so eager to be part of the action, and several times he put himself in harm’s way. That ended when he foolishly rode into battle, only to be shot in the leg by a Confederate sniper. Frederick realized that if his leg were to be amputated—common treatment for a bullet wound--he’d never be a soldier. Even though his leg became painfully infected, doctors were able to save it. But in his weakened condition he became ill with typhoid fever, a common camp disease.
He was still recuperating in his father’s tent when Grant received word of Vicksburg’s surrender. Frederick limped outside to excitedly announce the Union’s victory to the troops.
Luckily, Frederick fully recovered. He returned to school and later served as his father’s private secretary while Grant was President of the United States. He also joined the army, rising to the rank of general: the siege of Vicksburg had taught him a hard lesson about what it took to be a military man.
Period photographs, engravings, and maps extend this dramatic story as award-winning author Andrea Warren re-creates one of the most important Civil War battles through the eyes of ordinary townspeople, officers and enlisted men from both sides, and, above all, three brave children who were there. One of those children was Frederick Grant. Click here for more information about the book and all of the awards it has won.
Andrea Warren is also a member of Authors on Call. Bring her into your classroom via interactive video conferencing. Here’s where you can learn more about her and her programs.
MLA 8 Citation
Warren, Andrea. "Young Frederick Grant Goes to War." Nonfiction Minute, iNK Think Tank, 16 Nov. 2017, www.nonfictionminute.org/ young-frederick-grant-goes-to-war.
Nonfiction is the new black
When Julius Caesar took control of the Roman government, he decided to reform the calendar. Because it was a lunar calendar—based on complete cycles of the moon—it had fluctuated widely for centuries. Some years had as few as 355 days while others nudged 380, often seemingly by whim. After lengthy consultations with the Egyptian astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar established a calendar that is virtually the same one we use today. The lengths of the months alternated between 30 and 31 days, except February which had 29. The new calendar came into effect on January 1, 45 BCE (Before the Common Era). A grateful Roman Senate immediately changed the name of the month of Quintilis—Julius Caesar’s birth month—to July in his honor. As is the case today, it had 31 days. Caesar had only one year to enjoy “his” month, as he was assassinated the following March.
His successor was his grand-nephew Octavian, who took the name of Augustus Caesar when he officially became the first Roman emperor. In 8 BCE the Senate decided that he also deserved a month. Because several noteworthy events during Augustus’s reign had occurred in Sextilis, the month following July, they chose it. Big problem. Sextillis had only 30 days. No way would the Senate allow Augustus to be “inferior” to his great-uncle in any way. So it took a day from February and tacked it on at the end of August. That created another problem. Three consecutive months—July, August, and September—were now 31 days long. The fix was simple: the Senate simply flipped the lengths of the remaining four months. September and November went from 31 days to 30, while October and December bulked up to 31.
The Senate wasn’t finished with its tinkering. Nearly 70 years later, it honored the notorious emperor Nero by changing Aprilis to Neronius. The new name never gained traction. Nero. who had murdered his brother, mother, and wife, committed suicide in 68 CE (Common Era). The Senate—undoubtedly relieved at his demise—hastily returned Neronius to its original name.
Here is Jim's biography of Julius Caesar, who became a very successful military commander who added more than 200,000 square miles to the territories under Rome’s control. But his triumphs created powerful enemies in Rome. Eventually he was assassinated in the Roman Senate.
MLA 8 CItation
Whiting, Jim. "July, August and Neronius." Nonfiction Minute, iNK Think Tank, 14 Nov. 2017, www.nonfictionminute.org/july-august-and-neronius.