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Kindergartners rode a bus for 45 minutes to have a special tree tour at the Hoover Presidential Library which included costumed volunteers, 20 trees decorated with a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme, activity time and holiday cartoons. A GREAT time was had by ALL!

A Little House Christmas

by on December 7, 2010


Little-House-in-the-Big-Woods-Tree

Christmas is here at the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum with a holiday exhibit entitled A Little House Christmas. This exhibit features twenty Christmas trees decorated with themes based on the traditions of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. 1,366 students are participating in special tours! This year the hour-long visit is hosted by volunteers from the Bethany Lutheran Church wearing pioneer garb. The visit includes tours through the trees, stories from Laura’s books and holiday cartoons.



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This fall Linn Grove Elementary 4th graders were notified that their annual school field trip to the Hoover Presidential Library had to be canceled. So…Docent Sue and Education Specialist Mary hopped into their cars and drove to Marion, Iowa to talk to the students.  We were impressed with their knowledge of President Hoover and the quality of their questions. The 1st question asked went something like this, “What was the Great Depression and why was Hoover  blamed for it?” WOW!!  Every student had prepared a great question! The 4th graders were polite and attentive and we were there on the day of the school’s Halloween Party!  Both Sue and I have taught for over thirty years and know how exciting school celebrations are, but these 4th graders went above and beyond to make us feel welcome.

Pennies for Peace

by on November 12, 2010


5,547-pennies!_web

5,447 pennies!

Where did they come from?

Congratulations Calamus-Wheatland Community School District for all of your hard work in collecting 5,447 pennies. TAG teacher Susan Kruse said that every student helped with the project by bringing in pennies to donate to Pennies for Peace a project that provides school supplies to countries in need. What a great feeling knowing that you are doing your part to bring peace to the world.

For more photos of the Hoover Presidential Library staff counting pennies go to the Photograph Gallery.



Mt.-Vernon-TAG-student-sharing-book-with-others_web

Article appeared in the Sun, October 28, 2010

Fourth grade students from Washington Elementary recently participated in a booktalk with author/illustrator Susan L.Roth. The booktalk was at Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch and was organized by Mary Evans of Mount Vernon.

Roth’s children’s book, Listen to the Wind, is based on the story by Greg Mortenson called Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time, about his efforts to build schools for the poor people of Pakistan.

Roth discussed creating her book and the people who influenced her.

“It was cool how she gave us so much information about people she has met in her life,” Annie said.

Roth also answered questions from the audience. Emma asked if Roth made other books to which Roth replied, “many, many books.”

Kale asked, “What is the favorite book you’ve written?” “The one on my desk right now,” Roth said.

Roth has started a project called “Let’s Hold Hands” in which students make self-portraits of themselves in the style of art she uses in her book. The students also write an encouraging note to a friend. The self-portraits will then either be used in some of her artwork, on the website, or sent around the world to other countries.

About twelve schools presented Roth with their self-portraits. Ryan was the representative from Mount Vernon that presented the classes’ self-portraits; Roth said she was going to “send them around the world.”

Next Roth demonstrated how she creates collages with paper in the style of her books. After the collage is framed, one of the schools will get the artwork, as determine by a lottery.

Roth also shared information about her newest book, on humanitarian Gordon Sato, which isn’t in stores yet.

Mount Vernon  students were impressed with the author/artist, Nicholas and Samantha both cited the collage demonstration as a highlight.

Caden said he, “liked the sneak peek of her new book.”

Jacob added, “My favorite part was meeting a famous author.”

Go to the Photograph Gallery to view photos taken by Mount Vernon.



Mt.-Vernon-TAG-student-sharing-book-with-others_web

Article appeared in the Sun, October 28, 2010

Fourth grade students from Washington Elementary recently participated in a booktalk with author/illustrator Susan L.Roth. The booktalk was at Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch and was organized by Mary Evans of Mount Vernon.

Roth’s children’s book, Listen to the Wind, is based on the story by Greg Mortenson called Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time, about his efforts to build schools for the poor people of Pakistan.

Roth discussed creating her book and the people who influenced her.

“It was cool how she gave us so much information about people she has met in her life,” Annie said.

Roth also answered questions from the audience. Emma asked if Roth made other books to which Roth replied, “many, many books.”

Kale asked, “What is the favorite book you’ve written?” “The one on my desk right now,” Roth said.

Roth has started a project called “Let’s Hold Hands” in which students make self-portraits of themselves in the style of art she uses in her book. The students also write an encouraging note to a friend. The self-portraits will then either be used in some of her artwork, on the website, or sent around the world to other countries.

About twelve schools presented Roth with their self-portraits. Ryan was the representative from Mount Vernon that presented the classes’ self-portraits; Roth said she was going to “send them around the world.”

Next Roth demonstrated how she creates collages with paper in the style of her books. After the collage is framed, one of the schools will get the artwork, as determine by a lottery.

Roth also shared information about her newest book, on humanitarian Gordon Sato, which isn’t in stores yet.

Mount Vernon  students were impressed with the author/artist, Nicholas and Samantha both cited the collage demonstration as a highlight.

Caden said he, “liked the sneak peek of her new book.”

Jacob added, “My favorite part was meeting a famous author.”

Go to the Photograph Gallery to view photos taken by Mount Vernon.

Hearing Greg Mortenson Speak

by on October 27, 2010


Julie-helping-students-talk-about-Pennies-for-Peace_web

I had the opportunity to hear Greg Mortenson speak at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, in March 2008.  My car filled with Three Cups of Tea fans had an extremely inspirational day.

Greg started out by greeting the crowd, “As-Salaam Alaaikum.” (peace be with you in Arabic) He promotes peace, which he feels brings hope.  He signed my book “The Real Enemy is Ignorance.”

Greg grew up in Africa with a slower pace of life and few modern things.  I feel this has helped him  relate to people and conditions in Pakistan.  Both he and his father had the goal of getting the local people involved, so they felt ownership and eventually could run the programs. Greg is now seeing the school projects being built and run by competent  Afghan and Pakistani people.

I look forward to meeting this kind, gentle man again.  He is truly my hero.

Julie Zahs

Julie Zahs at the Book Talk

by on October 27, 2010


Julie-Zahs'-display-of-artifacts_web

After completing my studies at Iowa State University in elementary education, I joined the Peace Corps. I then flew to the Marshall Islands where I taught 1st-8th grade students on the outer islands from l972-4.  My two years there got me totally “hooked” on traveling and learning about other cultures.  I returned to the U.S. and started teaching 7th grade social studies and language arts.  I carefully saved my money, then traveled/explored the world during my summers.  In l976, I found a summer class at Iowa State University taught by a geography professor from Pakistan who took students to Pakistan for 5 weeks.  I immediately jumped at this opportunity. We traveled all over Pakistan visiting universities, homes, libraries, mosques, forts, industries, cities, early cradles of civilization, and more. Seeing, smelling, tasting, and experiencing Pakistan was far better than reading about it in textbooks.

Traveling in Pakistan as a female was a whole new experience. To be culturally accepted, I needed to cover my arms, legs, and head. (Note, in the Peace Corps, in the Marshall Islands, I needed to wear long dresses/skirts to cover my thighs. That meant I swam in a long dress!) I made some outfits before I went to Pakistan, but planned on “shopping” there and wearing their clothes. I had a delightful time selecting clothing, as outfits were so elaborately hand embroidered. Different areas had their own unique “styles” in decoration. The curled toe shoes were a “must buy”. I wore a bandana type scarf, especially if I visited a mosque. When I returned to the states, I found that my students loved trying on the Pakistani clothing. The super wide baggy pants, where one size fits all, and the burqa veil have always amazed students!

BOOK TALK

by on October 27, 2010


Susan-creating_web

On October 20 & 21, 510 students and teachers came to the Hoover Presidential Library for a day of humanitarian efforts. Author/illustrator Susan L. Roth flew in from New York to talk about her book “Listen to the Wind: The Story of  Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea.” The book tells the story of Greg Mortenson’s first building project in Pakistan. Students came from 23 different school districts to hear  Susan speak and learn about Hoover’s and Mortenson’s humanitarian efforts: Hoover’s beginning in 1914 and extending throughout his life and Greg’s in present day Pakistan. It was a day full of humanitarian efforts. Stay tuned…I have lots more to tell!



Grace's-brick-house_web

Herbert Hoover said, “A family that owns its own home takes pride in it, maintains it better, gets more pleasure out of it, and has a more wholesome, healthful, and happier atmosphere in which to bring up children. . . . Above all, the love of home is one of the finest instincts and the greatest of inspirations of our people.”

Better-Homes-in-America-logo_web

Herbert Hoover served as president of The Better Homes in America, a nationwide campaign initiated in 1922 by the editor of The Delineator, a Butterick Publishing Company household magazine.  The campaign promoted home ownership, home maintenance and improvement, home decoration, improvement of house lots, yards, and neighborhoods, and the making of home gardens and home playgrounds.  It also provided knowledge of ways to make home life happier, through the development of home music, home play, home arts and crafts, and the home library.  It encouraged more general use of labor-saving equipment, time management practices, budgeting, and the development of home-life with reference to high standards of wholesomeness and achievement.  Through its National office and state and local committees, Better Homes of America was able to reach citizens in virtually any community, letting them know of the available sources of help, information and education.

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