So excited! Check out my new book, 50 Things to Know About Being A Middle School Social Studies Teacher. It is a collection of my thoughts, philosophies and stories about being a middle school social studies teacher.
| || |
Boston Archaeology Dig
So I wanted to share a few links that will be helpful in teaching about the American Revolution.
Leventhal Map Center
Leventhal Map Weebly
Paul Revere House
South Meeting House
Old North Church
Old State House
I am super excited today. I left my comfy home, my husband and two boys and set of on what is becoming an annual NEH Landmark Workshop Adventure. In the past I have journeyed to Fort Ticonderoga, Springfield Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri to be immersed in regional history. This year's journey has kept me closer to home ( but no less exciting ). I am in Deerfield, MA, about 90 minutes west of my home in Lowell.
I arrived around 4:00 pm, checked - in and then settled into my living quarters before the program began. It has been raining on and off all day, so wouldn't you know it ... the second I get out of the car with my suit case it starts pouring again. Instead of doing the smart thing and get back in my car, I make a mad dash to the dorm. Soaked I put my stuff away and head to the Teacher's Center.
We (the teachers) sat in small groups getting to know one another. For some of us it is the first NEH experience, others are Veterans at attending these week long events. After a few minutes, our esteemed program directors began to orient us on our week ahead. Soon there after we piled into cars and vans and headed to the summit of Mt. Sugarloaf for our first activity. Thankfully we drove to the summit and there was a covered pavilion area (yes it started raining again.)
When we first got to the top of Sugarloaf it was eerily enveloped in fog. We really could not see what I was assuming was a phenomenal view. Dinner of pizza and salad was provided for us. We ate and enjoyed each others company under the pavilion, cuz we certainly could not enjoy the view. Then, something spectacular happened, the fog slowly started to lift and the setting sun started to peek out behind the clouds. The view was stunning!
We had a discussion about the land use of the Native Americans, the English Settlers and why the land has some of the most fertile soil of the region. After returning to the dorms, I ventured down to the local watering hole with some of the other teachers. All in all I would say that day one was a success.
July 11, 2016
Today was a jam packed filled day, in a good way. We were kept busy and engaged all day. We began with a lecture from the lead scholar, Kevin Sweeney.
After that we broke out into small groups and rotated through a series of interactive sessions. One of my favorites was going to the Indian House Children's Museum. There the museum educators led us through three different activities. Our first stop was in the kitchen where we were asked to complete two tasks. One was churning butter and the other was making Switchel. With the Switchel, the only guidance that was given was we had to make a palatable drink using these ingredients(ginger, vinegar, water and molasses). We had no idea how much of each ingredient was needed. It was trial and error. I was skeptical, but we surprisingly enjoyed a somewhat palatable refreshing drink. Who knew? I later Goggled it and found the recipe. You can find it here. The homemade butter was served at dinner.
The next activity involved looking at and discussing 18th century period clothing for men women and children. It seems to be that the phrase "Time to cut the apron strings" , comes from the children's clothing. They were literally tied to their mother's apron strings until they were about five years old.
Lastly, we went to another room in the Indian House Children's Museum and actually learned about Indians! We had a chance to look at and discuss Native American artifacts.
Next a walking tour, a museum visit to see "The Door". It is the Plymouth Rock of Western Massachusetts, a relic left over from the Deerfield Raid in 1704. There are gouges in the door from when the Native Americans were breaking into the house. Learn about it here. We also had a lecture on the material culture of Colonial America. Lastly, we had the opportunity to discuss and work collaboratively on our projects.
Image Source: http://1704.deerfield.history.museum/popups/artifacts.do?shortName=door
July 12, 2016
Despite the slow start today (at no one's fault, it was due to the fact the speaker was having car issues) it was a pretty good day. Our speaker, Margaret Bruchac did a fantastic job discussing the Native American point of view. It was interesting to learn about. We got a chance to look at and discuss some primary sources that sold the land to the English.
,Image Source: http://1704.deerfield.history.museum/popups/artifacts.do?shortName=ahimunquatdeed
My group had a great discussion about this document. There was another walking tour, this time with Margaret, and a chance to hear some first person narratives of the people of Deerfield - all of which were fascinating. At one point during the day another scholar and I had a bit of free time and wandered down to the old cemetery. There we found Margaret giving the last tour of our NEH group. Since we didn't get a chance to go there with her earlier, we tagged along. It ended up with us walking through a meadow and having to climb over a fence to get back to the street. Sorry there is no photographic evidence of this, you will have to take my word.
July 13, 2016
Today was a road trip day. My kind of day! We began in the morning walking around some historical Native American Indian sites. The first site is now a neighborhood but we had some interesting discussions about the history of the land as we walked around. We then went to another area. This one was a wooded area. We walked around an Ancient Indian burial site. A local Indian performed a blessing at the burial site. I was going to take pictures, but I felt like it would be intrusive. Basically he said a prayer and scattered tobacco to the four cardinal directions. Then he had his wife do something similar for balance. We hiked through this area and occasionally stopped to have a discussion.
Next we boarded the bus and headed to Fort Number 4. This was a civilian fort. Small but interesting to see.
Thursday night, our last night we had a lot of fun. We were brought to the tavern to learn about well, taverns. There was punch, lots and lots of rum punch. We got a chance to hang out, play colonial games like Nine Pin (tabletop bowling), checkers and oh yes... Dancing and Music. Not just any music, colonial musicians playing fancy colonial dancing music. Um did I mention there was dancing. Sorry no pictures, I was too busy dancing!
Needless to say this was a very fun night and late night.
July 15, 2016
Ah the week has come to a close. Today was about wrapping up the week and getting ready to go home. I have to say I am glad I was able to attend the program! Once again I want to give the National Endowment for the Humanities a great shout out for making these fabulous programs available to teachers. Thanks!
For those of you who are interested for next year... http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs
It all began a few weeks ago at my common planning meeting with the seventh grades Social Studies department. We decided that we would design and make Roman shields with the seventh graders. We began to plan the project. Thanks to my niece who works at Sam's club, I got pallet sized pieces of cardboard donated and a trip to Michael's for some painting supplies, we were ready to begin. I cut the cardboard in half and made some samples for the teachers.
A few days later I got this brilliant idea to go to the party store and get Roman Soldier helmets for the teachers. I roamed around the store for a few minutes and I found an aisle with some leftover Halloween costumes. There were swords and shields and the like in the aisle. I hunted and searched through the merchandise to find what I was looking for, but to no avail. I went to find an employee and see if there were any Roman helmets somewhere else in the store. I cannot believe what he told me. He said," You are a week late. A women came in last week and bought all the Roman Helmets I had left for a school project." Honest, you can't make this stuff up. So I settled for plan b, Spartan Helmets. After all Greece and Rome have a similar culture. Plus the Spartan helmets are far more intimidating.
Ready for the Hijinks?
After lunch, I had an inkling for some impish behavior. I told the kids of my nefarious plan, wink wink, and they were game. I donned my Spartan helmet, had the kids make crumpled up paper ammo and lined them up in the phalanx. Now trying to keep a class of giggling seventh graders quiet for a surprise attack on another Social Studies class is no easy task. We marched down the hall in Phalanx formation, ammo in hand past the office, past the cafeteria during 8th grade lunch to the class. My principal, who is somewhat of an imp himself, followed us with a camera to capture the attack. Unfortunately, our attack did not happen. My colleague and his class were awol. After a few grumbles and groans of disappointment we decided to go upstairs and attack the other Social Studies class.
Still in Phalanx formation, minus my camera wielding principal, we somewhat stealthily, but very much giggly ascended the staircase and made our way down yet another hallway. This time our attack was somewhat successful, somewhat pitiful but very much impish and fun. This time our target class was outside in the hallway getting ready to paint their shields. Because they were in the hall, it was not quite a sneak attack, however when we got close enough the crumpled paper ammo was lobbing through the air. Paper balls where everywhere. Kids were laughing and a great time was had by all.
Oh yeah, I know there will be retaliation.
Recently in 8th grade we played a couple of video games in class. First we went old school and played Oregon Trail. I found a streaming version online here. I thought I was going to hear complaint after complaint about how terrible the graphics were, but instead I was pleasantly surprised at their reactions. I can't believe how much the kiddos really enjoyed it, snakebites and all! They asked to play it again the next day. The other game we played recently was called Flight to Freedom and can be found here. In Flight to Freedom the students had to help Lucy escape slavery. Cyber learning at its best!
Seventh graders recently debated about the Elgin Marbles and whether or not they should be returned to Greece. If you don't know what the Elgin Marbles are: The Parthenon was a temple built in Ancient Greece to honor the Goddess Athena. The Marbles in question are sculptures that adorned the temple. Fast forward to the early 1800s when Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Lord Elgin, the British Ambassador to Turkey, removed the marbles and brought them to England where to this day they are on display at the British Museum. The problem is Lord Elgin, may or may not have had permission to remove said marbles hence the debate, "Should the Elgin Marbles be Returned to Greece?" Both seventh grade classes had heated discussions and have written well structured arguments with evidence to support their side of the debate.
I still can't get over that the year is almost done. I have so much still to teach, so much to do. Ack! That's ok. I will manage, I always do. I work well under pressure. I am just looking forward to making the most of the time I have left with my 8th graders, before I ship them off to High School.
I am an empty-nester with two boys, a husband and a passion for writing, creating and teaching. I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies in Massachusetts. I am a self proclaimed history geek and proud of it! In my spare time ( Spare time, ha ha that's a joke! ) I enjoy photography, reading and hanging out with my family.