Changing the World… one courageous act at a time

On November 14, 1960, Ruby Bridges first took the courageous walk to her new school. I wonder if that six-year-old girl had any idea of the historical importance of her actions that day?
Over the past fifty-two years, our country has continually changed and grown, but we still face issues of rights and problems with bullying. Much can still be learned from a brave girl’s actions and the legacy Ruby Bridges Hall continues to leave today. Your students can learn more about her life and involvements here and in the following books:

Through My Eyes: Ruby Bridges, by Ruby Bridges

The True Story Of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles

.   .   .

Last spring, some 4th graders at a local elementary school were inspired by Ruby Bridges’ life and decided to write letters to thank her for her courage. Read more about their story here and see some of their letters here, here, and here.

What would you say to Ruby if you wrote her a letter?


extension activities:

  • Create a timeline of Ruby’s life. Check out the following timelines for inspiration or to check the accuracy of your own: brief visual timeline and a detailed timeline.
  • Listen to an interview with Ruby Bridges Hall (PBS, 1997) and then view a print of Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting “The Problem We All Live With.” What details did the artist use to show fear of the new law? What details did the artist use to illustrate bravery? Draw/paint your own picture to illustrate how you stand up for what you believe.
  • Write a letter to someone who has inspired you.
  • Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement with the following texts:

A Taste of Colored Water, by Matt Faulkner

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport


additional resources:

Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was formally unveiled at her dedication ceremony 126 years ago today. Since then Lady Liberty has proudly stood as a symbol of hope and freedom.

The following are books I have enjoyed using to share this amazing monument and its historical significance with my students:

The Story of the Statue of Liberty, by Betsy Maestro


Lady Liberty: A Biography, by Doreen Rappaport


Coming to America: The Story of Immigration, by Betsy Maestro


Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty, by Linda Glaser


Many people were involved in making this visual representation of friendship and freedom a reality. From Edouard de Laboulaye (the “Father of the Statue of Liberty” who first proposed the idea of the monument) to others like Richard Morris Hunt (the pedestal designer) and Joseph Pulitzer (the newspaper publisher who helped raise the necessary funding), this was truly a group effort. You can read more about those involved with the project here.

Curious to know more? Check out these videos at and view this Smithsonian blog to see how the statue has been memorialized by the United States Postal Service over the years.

additional activities: