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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Favorite Web Sites
collected by Paul and Vicki
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Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson (born August 25, 1918) is an African-American physicist and mathematician who worked on calculating trajectories for NASA. Her work was critical to the success of Project Mercury, the Apollo missions, and the Space Shuttle, but her story wasn’t well known until recently. Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award on November 24, 2015, and was the subject of the 2016 book and movie, “Hidden Figures”.
Biography: Katherine G. Johnson
"A bright child with a gift for numbers, she [Johnson] breezed through her classes and completed the eighth grade by age 10. Although her town didn't offer classes for African Americans after that point, her father, Joshua, drove the family 120 miles to Institute, West Virginia, where they lived while she attended high school." Click on Mathematician (in the Quick Facts sidebar) to learn about some of the other women computers of NASA.
History: Human Computers: The Women of NASA
"Comprising an elite team of mathematicians, engineers and scientists, these women were tasked with turning numbers into meaningful data at what would later become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Langley Research Center." Johnson is just one of seven female pioneers highlighted in this news article.
MAKERS: Women Behind the "Hidden Figures" Movie
MAKERS is a video "storytelling platform for the trailblazing women of today and tomorrow" from AOL. It features more than 4500 videos and interviews with 400 heroines. "In this MAKERS interview, Johnson talks about her early affinity for mathematics, a college professor who noticed her gift and pushed her to pursue advanced math courses and how she eventually became a NASA mathematician who calculated, among many other computations, the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space; John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth; and Apollo 11, the first human mission to the moon."
NASA History: Katherine Johnson
This NASA History mini-site is devoted to Katherine Johnson. It includes dozens of articles and videos, some for middle-school students, others specifically for teachers. Highlights include "The Girl who Loved to Count", and reporting on the myriad of honors that have been bestowed upon Johnson. Be sure to click "More Stories" to see all the resources. "When Johnson graduated from college, the United States was still segregated.... African-Americans were rarely able to have jobs in mathematics and science. It was also very unusual for women of any race to have degrees in mathematics."

NASA: From Hidden Figures to Modern Figures: Katherine Johnson Biography
This Johnson biography is part of the "From Hidden Figures to Modern Figures" exhibition by NASA. Be sure to explore it to learn more about other women at NASA. "Being handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia's graduate schools is something that many people would consider one of their life's most notable moments, but it's just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Katherine Johnson's long and remarkable life."

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Presidents' Day
Although the federal government still calls the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February Washington's Birthday, most people (and many states) call it Presidents' Day. Presidents' Day began as a holiday honoring George Washington and then both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and has evolved into a day commemorating all U.S. Presidents. Who were these men? How did they shape our country? To answer these questions, and many more, I recommend the following sites.
Ducksters: Biography United States Presidents
"The President of the United States is the top office in the country. These men have led the nation through wars, tough economic times, good times, natural disasters, and more. You can learn about each one in the biographies below." Ducksters also offers President Fun Facts, and an introduction to the Executive Branch.
Factmonster: Presidents' Day or Washington's Birthday
Fact Monster explains the difference between federal and state holidays, and tries to clear up the confusion between Presidents' Day and Washington's Birthday. There's also a paragraph about the Monday Holidays Act of 1968 that moved the celebration of Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. In the Related Links sidebar, you'll find links to lots of presidential stuff such as Presidential Factfile, Presidential Trivia, and Presidential Gallery.
Miller Center: American President
American President is a non-partisan resource on the history and function of the presidency published by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. You'll find great stuff for school reports in the bios, accessible by clicking on any of the presidents' photos. The First Year Project examines "the history and structure of presidential First Years" accessing "policy opportunities and threats" for our newest President.
Mr. Nussbaum: Presidents
Mr. Nussbaum's comprehensive collection of biographies, games, and interactive exhibits is my presidential pick of the day (even though he's not yet updated to include our 45th President.) Visit for "kid-friendly biographies of all of America's first ladies", Presidents on Currency, and the American Presidents Interactive (click on any president to learn more about him).

POTUS: Presidents of the United States
Each presidential profile is chock-full of fast facts which include a timeline of important events and links to related biographies and historical documents. Here are five points of interest about President Donald Trump: "At 70 years old, Trump was the oldest president upon his first election. Trump was the first billionaire president. Trump was the first president elected without any political or military background. Trump was the first president to have multiple divorces. Trump's First Lady, Melania, became the first First Lady to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization instead of by birth or descent."

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Valentine's Day Quotes
Whether you are looking for quotes to adorn a Valentine's Day card, or inspiration to put you in a Valentine's Day frame of mind, these sites are ready to serve. Happy Valentine's Day!

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." ~~ Charles M. Shulz. After perusing these V Day quotes, explore the popular topics listed in the lower left-hand corner. They include Love Quotes, Life Quotes and Friendship Quotes. Brainy Quote reminds us to share via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+. "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." ~~ Blaise Pascal.

CRAFT: 158 Clever Valentine Day Sayings
Blogger Jamie Dorobek describes her list of 158 clever Valentines Day sayings as "a comprehensive list, organized by item, of all the clever, cheesy Valentines day sayings I could hunt down and make up!" Her sayings are organized by Candy, Non Candy, School Supplies, Toys, Useful Items and Crafty Ideas. For example, with a gift of socks, "We're the perfect pair!" Or with an Almond Joy bar, include a note exclaiming, "It's a joy being your friend." Jamie, your post is great fun and pretty exciting!

Love Poems: Valentine Poems
"Celebrate St Valentines Day with Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley and Lord Byron love poems. What can be more romantic than a Valentine poem or message using the words of a great poet?" Although most are probably too sophisticated for elementary students, these classic love poems will make great Valentine's Day reading in high school English class or to spark a conversation around the dinner table at home. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate." ~~ William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18.
"Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved." ~~ Victor Hugo. It's the little extras at Thinkexist that all add up. For example, quote attributions can include a mini-bio of the author. Victor Hugo is a "French romantic Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, 1802-1885." And if you sign up for a free membership, you can store your favorite quotes in your own online Quotation Book.'s_day/

Quote Garden: Quotations for St. Valentine's Day
"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet." ~~ Plato. "Love is the greatest refreshment in life. " ~~ Pablo Picasso. This page of Valentine's Day quotes includes links to related topics such as Romantic, Being in Love, Kissing, Relationships and Best Friends. Explore them all, and be sure to visit for a random feel-good quote. You'll find the link at the top of the page on the right side. "It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter." ~~ Marlene Dietrich.

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Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000 - 2017 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.
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