Here is a short and sweet post. I have been working with CZYK Publishing on a travel book, as well as a few others. The first one, Greater Than a Tourist-Massachusetts USA : 50 Travel Tips from a Local is now available on amazon.com. Please check it out, especially if you are planning to come to Massachusetts for vacation.
With everything that is going on right now, peaceful protests over George Floyd's death and acts of violence against the community so vile and disgusting, I wanted to throw my 2 cents in. Except that I am not going to talk about what is going on now. I want to talk about some of my mother's experiences as a new immigrant to the United States.
First let me tell you a little about my Mother. She grew up in a small rural hamlet in Eastern New Brunswick Canada. There were two types of families. Those who spoke French and those who spoke English. And of course everyone was white. There was no electricity. Mom often described it as growing up on Little House on the Prairie, partly because that was one of my favorite shows when I was younger. Partly because that was the way it was. School was one room and ended with eighth grade. After that there was a grade nine correspondence course if you wanted. The other option was to go to work. You may be wondering where I am going with this. I promise it will all come together.
By the time my mother immigrated it was in the early 1950s. She came to the US and joined the Women's Army Corps as path to US Citizenship. She was stationed in Washington, D.C. She met a great group of ladies in the WAC and became close friends with them. One day she was walking in D.C. and a man was walking towards her. He got off the sidewalk and waited for her to pass before continuing on his journey back on the sidewalk in the other direction. This action stunned my mother having never seen anything like that happen before. When she returned back to base they explained to her that he was not allowed to be on the sidewalk with her, so he did what he did so he would not break the law. My mother was confused.
Days and weeks blended together as life on the base continued. One night someone was having a gathering off base, I suspect it was in Virginia though I don't know for sure. Mom was excited for the event. She asked her friend why she wasn't ready for the get together. Mom was told that she (her friend) was not allowed to go. Mom's response,"If your not going, I'm not going either." Petit and demure in stature, but mighty and powerful in words and actions.
My mom knew that Black Lives Matter back in the 50s her actions prove that. Now our job is to keep that message going. Educate our children. Lead by example. Change and Evolve.
It's Monday. I think. We have been Quaranteaching since March 16 and will do so until the end of this school year on June 15. School in the fall may or may not be different. I don't know yet. What I do know is I miss my students. All 95 of them. The good, the clowns, the noncompliant. All of them.
Rather than dwell on negatives, I want to focus on the positives because there are too many negatives. Too many.
First, I have been doing my part to help where and when I can. One thing that my husband and I have been able to do is help bring lunches to students and families in need. We are able to do this because our boys are grown. We don't have to deal with the homeschooling and working remotely. That frees us up to be able to offer assistance. We routinely head to school to grab lunches and bring them to families or pass out lunches to those families who can drive to school to pick up lunch. Twice a month, in addition to the school food, families are able to grab nonperishable food from the Food Pantry that brings a truck full of groceries. Thank you to the people who can make that happen. The people who donate, organize, deliver and volunteer---Thank you for making a difference in the lives of those who need it.
A few weeks ago, I ordered postcards to send to my students. They arrived last week. I spent a few days writing a personal message to all 95 students and mailed them. I am glad that I did this. What I had hoped would happen is working. Students that I have not heard from or seen any work from are emailing to thank me. They are telling me receiving a "letter" as they have been saying ,"has helped." Helped with what I am not exactly sure. Maybe it made them smile. Maybe they had a bright moment in a dark time. Maybe it reminded them that we the teachers wish we were back in school too. Maybe someone, they learned that someone cared and that was enough.
One thing I have learned through all of this is while we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.
One teaching strategy that I like to do with my students is reading and analyzing historical journals to understand the time period we are learning about. These journals provide insight into the everyday life of people living through extraordinary times. I use a primary source graphic organizer to help my students identify the important aspects of life and contextualize what was going on.
Right now, this very moment we are at a crossroads in history as we face this pandemic known as Covid-19. Schools all across the nation are closed and we as teachers are forced to teach remotely with distance learning, This is a unique opportunity for us and our students to journal about this experience thus creating a historical record that we and they can someday share with our children and grandchildren.
Social distancing is a new experience for me. The last time I remember missing an extended time of school was during the Blizzard of 78. I was a 9 year old kid who was excited to sled and build forts in my backyard. School was closed as were most businesses. I remember having to walk to the store for groceries with my mother and sister because we were not allowed to drive. But that was different. That was not a global pandemic, rather a regional experience that would improve with the warm weather. We were scared, but it was different. We knew that a few warm days would change the conditions and life would go on as usual. This time it is different. This time there is uncertainty. Maybe it is because I am an adult know and more aware of what is going on. Maybe because this is a global experience. Maybe it is because the government is asking us to practice Social Distancing. Whatever the reason, we are witnesses to history. It is our duty to record our thoughts and feelings so that future generations can understand what we faced as a global community.
This assignment is not meant to cause anxiety in our precious students, rather it is meant to create a historical record from a student's perspective. Students can explore different platforms to create their journal from traditional pen and paper, blogging and creating videos and photographs with their phones. In the long run this exercise might be cathartic and help students to process and understand their feelings.
Here is a link to Middle Web. It has some great ideas about having students journal their experiences.
This summer, I decided I wanted to stay close to home, so I applied to be the Teacher Ranger Teacher for Lowell National Historical Park. What is a Teacher Ranger Teacher you say? How do I get that awesome gig you say?
The Teacher Ranger Teacher program is a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers. It is a combination of an online class through the University of Colorado Denver and working directly with the National Park. Learn more about TRT programs here.
This summer I have been collaborating with the Lowell National Historic Park to develop lessons on voting rights and the 19th Amendment. The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution is fast approaching. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. Throughout United States history different groups of people have been denied the right to vote. Overtime these disenfranchised groups have fought long and hard to improve their working conditions, living conditions and eventually gain the right to vote.
Lowell, Massachusetts has long been a place where a disenfranchised population of women began advocating for better working conditions for themselves in the mills. These mill girls protested, petitioned the government and provided testimony all without the right to vote.
The small farming village of East Chelmsford transformed into a mill town in the early 1820s. Francis Cabot Lowell and his associates of the Boston Manufacturing Company brought the textile industry to the area.
The town grew and became the City of Lowell, named after Francis Cabot Lowell.
New England textile mills processed raw cotton shipped from the South. (Levinson,2007) Here in the mills young girls joined the workforce and began cleaning, carding and spinning cotton before weaving it into cloth. The hours were long and the conditions were dangerous. It wasn’t long before the girls began to look at ways to improve their working conditions. By the 1830s the mill girls began to challenge the mill Management. These women and girls went on strike to show their opposition to a reduction in wages. (Dublin, 1979) As Employers sought to expand production and reduce labor costs, workers began to resist. (Dublin, 1979) By January of 1845, Lowell Mill girls established the Lowell Female Labor Reform. (Levinson, 2007)
The Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) petitioned the state Legislature for a 10 hour work day.
We, the undersigned peaceable, industrious, hardworking men and women of Lowell...toiling from thirteen to fourteen hours per day, confined in unhealthy apartments, exposed to the poisonous contagion of air, vegetable, animal, and mineral properties, debarred from proper Physical exercise, time for Mental discipline, and Mastication cruelly limited; and thereby hastening us on through pain, disease, and privation, down to a premature grave...seek a redress of those evils.
For several years petitions poured into the Legislature. In 1874 the state of Massachusetts enacted the 10 hour day law. ( Park Handbook,1992)
Harriet Hanson Robinson, a Lowell Mill Girl, was a prominent figure in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Robinson was a member of the National Woman's Suffrage Association of Massachusetts. She also wrote a book about the Suffrage Movement.
The mill girls were able to participate democratically to try and improve their lives. All of this without the right to vote. Out of this movement for better working conditions other reforms grew including abolition, temperance and suffrage for women. To understand the need for civic action to accomplish goals such as suffrage, students
should understand the historical context of disenfranchised groups making change.
Lowell NHP already offers a wide range of materials on Lowell, the Mill Girls and their struggles. These are available online and easily accessible for teachers. The idea is to expand on their repertoire of
lessons with curriculum that looks at other groups of disenfranchised people and the struggles they faced to improve the quality of their lives and to gain the right to vote. This includes looking at lowering the voting age in local municipal elections with a focus on Massachusetts.
The online course at University of Colorado Denver supports the work at the National Park. It is a 3 credit course that provides experience in Place Based Learning. The course is a blend of readings, discussions, reflections and a project determined by the Park. Teachers work at their own pace to complete the coursework.
Place Based Learning is a teaching approach that uses places as a basis for learning. Places can be historical, cultural or physical. This type of learning includes but is not limited to experiential learning, museum visits, hands-on exploration, civic engagement and service learning. Place Based Learning can happen in urban settings, rural districts and anywhere in between.
In the end, my son asked me today if I would consider doing this again. My response, "Absolutely!"
Dublin, Thomas. Lowell: the Story of an Industrial City: a Guide to Lowell National Historical Park and Lowell Heritage State Park, Lowell, Massachusetts. Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1992.
Dublin, Thomas. Women at Work: the Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860. Columbia University Press, 1979.
Levinson, Jeff. Mill Girls of Lowell. History Compass, 2007.
Myers, Jennifer. “Casting Ballots at 17? They Vote Yes.” Lowell Sun, 15 Nov. 2010.
Robinson, Harriet Jane Hanson, and Carroll D. Wright. Loom and Spindle: or, Life among the Early Mill Girls: with a Sketch of "The Lowell Offering" and Some of Its Contributors. Press Pacifica, 1976.
Robinson, Harriet Jane Hanson. Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: a General, Political, Legal and Legislative History from 1774, to 1881. Roberts, 1883.
United States, Congress, “US Constitution.” US Constitution, 6 Mar. 2011. usconstitution.net/const.html.
The History and Social Standards in Massachusetts are changing. Eighth Grade will be changing to Civics. In order to provide my students with resources, I have created a donorschoose.com page to request a class set of books and a few black line teaching books to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Please consider donating or sharing the information with someone who is able to help. Thanks!
Click to set custom HTML
Sometime in the late fall or early winter, I begin to contemplate what Summer Teacher Institute I want to apply to. I usually apply to two or three with the hopes of being accepted into one. The past few summers I have been fortunate to attend many wonderful programs for teachers. This year was no exception. I was overjoyed to learn that I was chosen to attend the White House Historical Association's Summer Institute for Teachers. #WHHTI18
This year the White House Historical Association brought together about 60 teachers from around the country to learn about the History of the White House over the course of 2 weeks. I attended week one where I met an array of amazing and talented teachers. We were housed at George Washington University and met each day in the Decatur House. Each day was a nice blend of knowledgeable speakers, tours and practical activities that we could take back to our own classes. The facilitators of the Summer Institute, Joanna and Whitney, were awesome!
On Monday we:
Had a brief overview of White House History
Toured the Decatur House and the White House Neighborhood
Learned about the Digital Library and White House Experience App (Wanna tour the White House, but won't be going to DC anytime soon? There's an app for that!)
Had a guest speaker from Amazon Web Services
Played a Kahoot
and finally a Happy Hour inside the Decatur House.
On Tuesday we:
Listened to a Historian on Lincoln's White House
Curated an "museum exhibit" on Lincoln- this will be a great lesson in class
Learned about National History Day
Played a Kahoot
Traveled to Lincoln's cottage ( NO, not his log cabin!)
On Wednesday we:
Went to the Diplomacy Center at the US Department of State where we toured the Diplomatic Reception rooms and participated in a simulation that can be used with or students.
Listened to a historian from the Diplomacy Center
Participated in an activity that can be applied in our own classes
Had a guest speaker from Dreamwakers
Played a Kahoot
On Thursday we:
Visited the White House Visitor Center
Toured the White House (I almost did not get in...more on that later!)
Listened to a Historian discuss White House Renovations
Created an activity relating to the app from earlier in the week
Participated in a mini lesson on workers in the White House
Played a Kahoot
Finally on Friday we:
Toured the National Portrait Gallery
Participated in an activity on First Ladies
Had a panel discussion with Chief of Staff for Laura Bush
Reflected on the week
Played a Kahoot
The week was so interesting it flew by. Now a week later, I have had some time to decompress and absorb the information in a way that I will be able to make meaningful for the 8th graders I will be seeing in a few weeks. I am excited about the friendships I made, the information I gained and the skills I acquired and will bring to my students.
In the evenings, I got to see the sights around DC with the incredible group of teachers. We even saw Hamilton at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. So exciting!!!!!!! I took a segway tour, found Mary Surratt's house ( it is now a Wok and Roll- a Chinese Restaurant in the heart of Chinatown), saw a Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick Gallery and saw the Marine Corps Band just to name a few.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! About the White House tour and me almost not getting in. When you enter the White House you need to pass through 4 security checkpoints before you enter the house. I got stopped at the first checkpoint because my birthdate did not match what was on the guest list. I was escorted to an area that was cordoned off by a Secret Service Agent. There I waited for about 15 minutes while my information was vetted. I watched teacher after teacher head to the next checkpoint. I was not the only one though. There were about 15 or so people ahead of me and one other teacher from my group. Thankfully Joanna, one of the facilitators, waited for us as the others moved on with Whitney. After the Secret Service was sure I was not a threat to national security, I was given my id and a card that said I was checked at the first checkpoint. I had to give that card at the second checkpoint with my id to another Secret Service Agent who immediately called the first checkpoint to verify that I was indeed who I said I was. The third checkpoint consisted of sniffing dogs and the fourth was a metal detector and x-ray (much like airport security). While I was waiting for my phone to come through the x-ray the person behind me set off the metal detector. The Secret Service Agent gave me a gentle shove to get out of the way quickly. As my son put it to me later, he was doing his job making sure there was no danger or threat. Finally, I was able to catch up with the rest of the group to tour the White House!
Check out the story the local news did on the White House History Teacher Institute!
So...I seem to have been neglecting my blog this school year. I have no excuses. It is what it is, but I am here now writing about an activity I did in my seventh grade Social Studies Class today.
We began a new unit on Ancient Greece today. Early on in my teaching career I would have started the lesson with a KWL. I would have created a lovely KWL on chart paper and posted it in class. During the class I would have asked the students to raise their hand if they "knew" anything about Ancient Greece. I would have looked at their blank stares and wonder why no one was raising their hand. (Insert cricket sound here.) After a few years, with a little more experience I would have added a partner talk into the mix to try and generate a discussion. ( Insert cricket sound again.) I would then have started to prompt the children or model my thinking to start the chart.
About ten years ago, when I left teaching elementary school and returned to middle school, I was given a book by Janet Allen from the school's instructional specialist. In the book, More Tools for Teaching Literacy Content by Janet Allen I discovered the Content Pass. I have been using it ever since.
What I do is I break the kids up into small groups and provide each group with a text set and a graphic organizer. The text set could include any or all of the following: Textbook chapter - clearly marked, internet site, article or non fiction texts. I encourage the children to use the text features ( index, table of contents, headings etc.) to help them find important information such as the geography and religion, or something that is interesting to them. They are given 4-5 minutes to peruse the text and complete the chart by finding 3-5 facts and coming up with 2-3 questions. After 4-5 minutes the students pass the text to the person on the right and start the process over.
Once this is done, no more crickets when you ask what you do you know about ... Instead, you get a room full of engaged students who can't wait to answer, a great discussion and a filled out KWL chart if you so desire.
Snow days are a mixed blessing. I am grateful for a day off, but in June I will be cursing the day off. That's it. That's all I have to say for now.
The year 2016 is quickly coming to an end. As the new calendar year plus the second half of the school year approaches, I want to take time and reflect on my practice.
I resolve to:
1. Stay Organized
2. Add Movement Into Lessons
. Contact Parents More
5. Improve Classroom Management
Here's to a happy healthy 2017 and a great second half of the school year!
This school year I have been working with my homeroom to create a school wide mock presidential election. We have spent weeks learning about and setting up the Mock Election at school. Today our results are in.
There were 569 eligible votes.
Clinton - Kaine 372 votes
Trump - Pence 147
Stein- Baraka ( Not to be confused with Obama :) ) 26
Johnson- Weld 20
And our own Julia Ann 1
Our next steps will be to compare the outcome of the national election with the results of our school election.
This year is off to a great start, knock on wood. So far I adore my students, all 102 of them. They have been well, a good group of kids. Notice I said so far! I am currently working with a student teacher for the first time. I also have a pre-practicum student one day a week. Yesterday, I got an email from another teacher in training who stumbled upon this blog ( Whoo Hooo!). The signs are all telling me to share my knowledge, so I thought I would take this time to offer some sage advice for new teachers, veteran teachers and teachers in training. Yeah I snickered as I typed that last sentence too. It is more like some must have websites for the Social Studies Teacher. Ryan, Kyle and Jacob this is for you.
What it is
This is a website that allows you to simplify text that is difficult to read. It has many features that allow you to create modified text for students. Teachers can create many different types of activities including cloze readings, vocabulary lists with or without definitions and quizzes.
Why I Like it
This website is great for taking difficult to read primary source documents and making them student friendly. I also like it because I can use it to differentiate text and scaffold lessons for the Special Education and English Language Learners.
What it is
This is a repository of articles on different topics. The articles are not limited to just Social Studies. There are articles in Science and Literature as well.
Why I Like it
Despite the fact that when I first learned of this website I thought it was pronounced newsela and not News E-L-A, I really enjoy using it. I can find articles that cover many topics from US History and World history to current events. The articles also come in a variety of levels, so I can print the same article at different reading levels allowing me to differentiate in the classroom.
3. CNN Student News
What it is
This is a daily broadcast of the news designed for middle and high school students. The news is about ten minutes long and anchor Carl Azuz is engaging and can be very punny with some of his stories.
Why I Like it
This is a quick and easy way to expose students to current events. It has sparked some interesting discussions in class.
What it is
This is a website that allows you to create a game show like atmosphere in your classroom. You create a little healthy competition in class as students vie to answer questions first. This does require that each student or a group of students has a tablet, phone or computer to participate. You won't believe how much students will beg to play again.
Why I Like it
I like this website as a way to review information in class. This takes some prep ahead of time to create a multiple choice question. After the students have completed the kahoot, I can download the information on how each student answered and use it to inform my instruction.
On another note Polleverywhere.com is a similar type of interactive website and just as fun. Here you can create open ended questions as well as multiple choice. Students' answers are projected on the board. The only thing missing is the game like atmosphere.
What it is
This is an online bulletin board that allows you to "pin" ideas and save them. Pinners can create a variety of different boards to save ideas and concepts that they would like to use at a later date.
Why I Like it
This is a great way to stay on top of teaching practices. Teachers share lessons, organizational tips, ideas, strategies and a variety of activities on their boards. I use it as a starting point for new lessons. I can take the ideas and use them as is or modify the idea to meet my needs for my classroom.
I would love to hear from you. What are your must have websites for your class.
These last few weeks have certainly been very chaotic. Between readying my room for the new year, squeezing the last bit of summer activity in and trolling pinterest for last minute back to school ideas I have been very busy. Oh yeah, somewhere in there is bringing my youngest to college too.
I am very excited that the school year is off and running to a good start. I have new team members this year that I am looking forward to working with. I am also fortunate to have a student teacher working with me until December. So far my classes have been great, knock on wood.
In the midst of all of this craziness, I decided to modify my behavior management plan. I modeled it after something I found online here. Though not exactly the same, I was certainly inspired by this post.
Here are the main points:
So far the seventh and eighth graders are excited about this. It has been much easier to manage then what I was working with last year, knock on wood again.
Guess what?!! I got to be an archaeologist for the day! I volunteered to help out for a day (#dignorth #wanttogoback #notimebeforeschool) at an archaeological dig in Boston. The site is at the Washington Garden right next to the Old North Church.
How did this happen? you may be wondering. Well, I met Joe Bagley, Boston City Archaeologist, a few weeks back when I was taking the workshop through the Leventhal Map Center. Joe brought the group on a walking archaeological tour of Boston. During his tour he mentioned the upcoming dig at Old North Church. He went on to say that if anyone was interested in volunteering to contact him. My History Geek Radar perked up when I heard that. That night I began bombarding Joe with emails and eventually texts that I wanted to volunteer. I finally got a response after several days. Archaeology in Boston keeps Joe very busy, so it took a while for him to get through all of his emails.
So I picked a day that would work with my schedule and hoped on the train from Lowell and headed to North Station. Ironically, I was reading The Girl on the Train when I took the train to Boston, but that is another story for another time. Once I arrived in Boston, I made may way over to the dig site and introduced myself to Joe and some of the other volunteers.
Joe went over some important information about the dig site. In the 1830s three tenement buildings were built on that spot. A survey was done in June when two trenches were dug. During that time, Joe and his volunteers unearthed what they thought were cisterns. Our task was to begin preparing the site for the dig. That meant removing shrubbery, hauling away benches and stone pavers- chop, lift, haul, repeat- who needs crossfit when you have an archaeological dig? Later in the day some small excavating began. I worked with a student profiling the land. Well really I held a measuring stick while she profiled the trench. I also tried to identify the color of dirt using a book called Munsell Soil Color Chart, not as easy as it sounds. Others were digging down to a certain level. A few small shards were found that day- some really cool things.
Throughout the day some Lookie Loos came and peeked in to see what was going on. They were encouraged to come in and take a closer look. I spoke to a few people about what was going on. I did defer to someone more knowledgeable than me when I couldn't answer questions. I asked one little girl what she thought we were looking for. Her response, "Dinosaurs!".
All in all it was an interesting day. I wish I could have more time at the dig. If you would like to learn more you can visit the Boston Archaeology website, follow them on facebook and on twitter.
Boston Archaeology Dig
This week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend professional development sponsored by Boston Public Library and the Leventhal Map Center. The focus of this PD was Mapping the American Revolution. We spent the week walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, touring historical sites like Old North Church ( I got to go up into the steeple... part of the way at least! One if by land...) meeting with scholars and working with historical maps. I have to say it was a great week! I learned a lot and met some really great teachers. I even had the chance to eat lunch in the Green Dragon, a tavern that was the secret meeting house of such notables like John Hancock, Paul Revere and the like! How cool is that???!!!
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
July 10, 2016
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.
Image Source: http://enchantedwarrior.blogspot.com/2010/04/cutting-apron-strings.html
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.
July 14, 2016
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 has been a long 9 days of state testing that culminated today. Finally,but not without a little Seventh Grade Hijinks fun after the testing headed! Curious? Read on!
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.
During the nine days of testing, I saw my seventh graders every day. They worked very hard cutting, painting and designing their shields. We put the finishing touches on today.
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.
Wow, I just blinked and we are already half way through May. How the heck did that happen? Wasn't it just last week that we were on winter break?? Well, maybe not last week. I can't believe how much I have neglected writing this blog. With that being said, I thought I would do a quick update on some of the goings on in my classroom.
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 just read this and thought it was worth sharing.
I'm trying to raise money for video equipment for my 8th graders so they can make Student Documentaries. Currently my project is on DonorsChoose.org. For the next 4 days, DonorsChoose will match ANY donation made to my class. If you have the time and the funds, we would really appreciate a donation. Even $1 will help (because really it will be $2 when DonorsChoose matches it). Please do not feel obligated to donate.
IMPORTANT: If you decide to donate within the next seven days, enter the code [EMPOWER]. DonorsChoose will only match dollar for dollar if the code [EMPOWER] is entered.
Link to my project: http://www.donorschoose.org/project/creating-student-films-in-the-history-cl/1856868/?rf=link-siteshare-2016-01-teacher-teacher_357591&challengeid=113683
Thanks so much for even considering a donation.
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.