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A Go Figure Debut for an Author and Teacher Who is New

Meet Gail Hennessey, a teacher and an author. She taught for 33 years and then retired in 2006. During her teaching career, she was named the National Council for Social Studies Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year as well as the New York State Council for the Social Studies Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. (1989)

With her masters in social studies education, she taught 6th grade world cultures for most of her career. In her classroom, she tried to incorporate the cultures the students studied. Students listened to music, learned some of the language, read literature, did art, sampled foods, etc. of the culture or time period they were studying.

Her room was filled with inspirational banners, photographs of the many countries she and her husband had visited as well as photos of her dogs, her 6th grade dance photo, and her 6th grade report card for the students to view. In addition to, she had flags of the world hanging from the classroom ceiling. Her room was quite “busy.” Gail felt that if a student wasn’t interested in what she had to say, there was bound to be something in the room to catch their interest (at least she hoped so).

Gail loved the interaction with kids and seeing their faces when they learned about topics for the first time. For Gail, the hardest part of teaching was when she just couldn’t seem to reach a student in seeing the importance of learning being the key to their future success and happiness. Still, she didn’t give up! Many times, years later, some of those same students said they were glad she kept on them to do their best. Every once in a while, a student will come to her house for a visit or contacts her via social media. It makes her day!

Gail loves to garden (see her among her flowers on the right) and to read (she recently joined a book club), In addition, she continues her writing. She has been writing for children’s publications for over 40 years, and has written regularly for Scholastic Publications and for Time for Kids Magazine. Her work has appeared in most children publications plus she has written 35 books for children. Her last two published books were by Red Chair Press (Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps, 2019, and Fashion Rules!, 2020). She continues to write regularly for Highlights for Children (last year she got an interview with Dr. Jill Biden - quite a thrill), Jack and Jill Magazine, and several Cricket Magazines.

Gail’s TPT store
 contains 339 resources with 36 of them offered for free. She declares that her resources help students to bloom. Many are social studies items which vary in grade level. Her featured free item is a Pi Day Interactive Notebook Activity

Use this Interactive Notebook Activity to share with students some fun facts about Pi. Not only is it great for Pi Day, but for any day you are looking for an interactive notebook activity to use with your students. It is appropriate for grades 4-8.

Her highlighted paid item is about Katherine Johnson. She was a physicist, space scientist and mathematician, who played a very important role with NASA’s early space missions. The movie Hidden Figures highlights the role of NASA's "computers" such as Katherine Johnson and their contributions. Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee Talk Show Series of Reader's Theater Scripts. There are comprehension questions, a Did You Know section, a teacher page with extensions/links and an answer key.  This is a great STEM biography for grades 5-8!

Gail has a website where you can find lots of free materials in geography, news, short reads, bell ringers and more.  She also has a blog which she calls Gail’s Glimmerings. She keeps it up-to-date and has a variety of many interesting postings. I really enjoyed reading about the one on William Shakespeare. Check it out as it will be worth your while.

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