Saturday, March 31, 2007
Their introductory email to me stated they don’t have a political ax to grind and they promise they are a generation ahead of other aggregators that just reprint posts and tell you which ones get clicked on the most.
BlogNetNews will use state blogfeeds to create new content and information that will help to organize it.
For example, the Georgia page at BlogNetNews will provide the top news according to what Georgians are linking to the most.
They provide a state specific blog search engine that you can place on your site. I’ve already done so over at Georgia On My Mind, but I need to play with the color a bit. You can find the code to add the search engine to your site.
They provide a quick guide to the hottest blog comment sections in various state blogospheres.
They provide an index of the days most active state specific news and politics and a guide to the most linked to posts by other state specific bloggers.
I already see this as a terrific tool and it will only get better as more of us link to it and provide the content.
I’m pleased this has come along because I see it helping the Georgia Carnival to grow as well as other state carnivals.
Directions for getting your site listed on your state specific page and what they need from you to begin receiving your feed is all detailed very easily for you over at the site.
BlogNetNews receives this teacher’s gold star of the day!
So go on over....check things out... and introduce yourself HERE.
Friday, March 30, 2007
There is a little bit of something for everyone in this edition…there’s a little history, literature, and self-examination concerning what being Southern means to some.
Throw in a famous Atlantan, the beauty that is Georgia, and dealing with cancer along with the future of education, small town photos, and big city politics, and you end up with a well rounded carnival that won’t take you all weekend to read.
The next Georgia Carnival will be returning to Georgia On My Mind on April 13th. Posts can be submitted to email@example.com
Thanks for linking to the carnival and for mentioning it at your site to let more people know about it. :)
The Education Carnival can be found over at The Education Wonks and the History Carnival Aggregator is a new site that provides information regarding all of the various history carnivals.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Yes, if it’s March, then it’s time to seek and gather triangles while ye may.
The other day students entered the room to find several wooden triangles strewn about on the desktops as well as pictures of triangles taped to the board and one on the computer that projects up to the wall mounted television.
“Hey, Elementaryhistoryteacher, are we gonna do math?” asked one of my fiesty, loud, outspoken boys.
Another young man responded, “Nah, remember Elementaryhistoryteacher told us at the beginning of the year she don’t do math.”
A tall girl that I can always depend on to “remind” everyone about what they should be doing said, “I bet we’re going to do some art. Elementaryhistoryteacher, are we going to draw triangles?”
Little Girl Who Always Does Things Her Own Way immediately rushed over to the crayon drawer (this is the end of March….the 25 individual crayon boxes were torn up or disappeared by Thanksgiving….actually I’m blessed that I still have any crayons at all). She pulled the drawer out and placed it on the front table while Roll-On-the-Floor-Boy raced Falls-Asleep-All-the-Time-Girl to the closet screaming, “I’ve got the paper!”
I remained sitting behind my desk determined to ignore the proceedings as long as I possibly could simply wondering how far they would go.
Two of my Smarty Pants Go-Getters approached me and stood before my Den of Solitude very reverently. I finally looked up.
“Um, Um, Um, are we…are we gonna do something with pyramids?” asked Smarty-Pants One.
Smarty Pants Two said, “Oh, if we are going to start something on Egypt I have some models of the Great Pyramids. Can I bring them in?”
That got some others started……
“Did you know that they buried people in those pyramids?”
“It’s hot in Egypt.”
“Duh….it the desert.”
"Fieldtrip...Can we go?"
“Isn’t that where Joseph was?”
“That’s a good movie, I saw it.”
“Hey! Hey! Hey, this glass pyramid here…..is this a greenhouse? My grandmother has one of those. She won’t let us play baseball anywhere near it. I don’t know why. There just a bunch of plants in there.”
“Ewww, the greenhouse effect. Miss Science taught us all about that.”
I sighed….got up and walked to the front of the room and perched on my stool as this banter went on and on and on and on and on and on…….
Actually is was only about eight minutes, but when you are dealing with chattering loverlies eight minutes can seem like eons of time.
I sat and then I sat some more. Finally they noticed me sitting and calmly the drawing paper was put away, the crayon box restored to its nest and all hind-ends met up with plastic seats.
I made an inquiry with one word, “Paper?” Instantly (well, almost) everyone had a piece of notebook paper. I asked students to work with their study partner and look at the pictures of the triangles I placed on the board and on the television. I asked them to pick up a three-dimensional triangle from the table top and really examine it and think about the structure of a triangle. After a few minutes I asked, “What makes a triangle a triangle? Talk it over with your partner and make a list.”
After a few minutes I said, “When some of you were talking earlier many of you mentioned Egypt. Look at your list and discuss with your partner why you think the Egyptians used pyramids the way they did.”
Another few minutes went by and I went back to my stool. The kids have learned this is my silent signal that we are ready to begin, or I require their attention. I announced that I wanted the whole group to share about what they had been discussing with their partner. They all had discussed the general attributes of a triangle…..three sides, pointy ends, flat sides, etc. A few said some triangles are three-dimensional and others are flat images. Some volunteered the Egyptians used the triangle because it was an interesting shape and got the attention of people out in the desert. Some students mentioned it might have been the easiest structure for the Egyptians to make based on the environment and the natural resources available. One duo thought that the use of the triangle indicated the people were reaching up to Heaven, and the triangle is the best shape to reach upward.
“Let’s talk about the simple construction of a triangle,” I said as I walked over to stand next to a triangle I had drawn on the board. I indicated one side of the triangle with my hand and asked, “Do you see how I could say that this side of the triangle is pressing on the other two?” Some heads nodded yes, but others weren’t with me yet. I picked up a paper strip triangle I had made by fastening the side strips together with brads so that the sides moved this way and that. I held up the paper strips and students saw a perfect triangle. I said, “Now watch what happens when I apply a little pressure on one side against the other two.” Instantly the paper triangle collapsed. “Now, this shape is made from flimsy paper. Think for a moment about our stone pyramid you see in the picture on the television. “Do you understand now how all sides and edges push against the other two? Pick up the three-dimensional triangle you have in front of you and discuss it.”
In a few minutes I sat on my stool and things quietened down. I asked, “So, what did you decide?” Students figured out that perhaps the Egyptians used the triangle because it can be a very strong figure. When students brought up the fact that pyramids are larger at the bottom than the top I asked, “Where do you think all the weight is?” The top, of course, was the reply I received. I advised that since less weight is on the top and since the top presses down it has less weight and all three sides can support each other.
“Ok,” I said. “Let’s look at the edges of a triangle. Discuss with your partner about the weight along the edges of a triangle. Pick up the models and feel them, look at them.” Students decided that there would have to to be equal weight or equal power along the edges of a triangle or it could collapse.
“Sometimes we use a triangle diagram or graphic organizer to explain things we want to create an image for. What are some reasons why we do this? Think about what we have already discussed. What kinds of things would we want to illustrate by using a triangle graphic organizer?”
Students advised triangle diagrams would work when there were three parts to whatever was being illustrated. Other students advised that the connection between the three things being illustrated would have to be strongly linked, and they decided that the items would need to be things that could be equal or as one student remarked, “Each thing can’t have more power than the other or the triangle won’t be a triangle anymore.”
“Yeah,” someone else remarked. “You’ll just have a mess.”
I gave a big “Hmmmmmm, close your eyes everyone and imagine a collapsed triangle…a collapsed pyramid. Look over the big mess. Now, open your eyes and discuss how the big mess is like the results of the Articles of Confederation. How are the two alike?
Students remembered that the Articles allowed for unequal power between the Federal government and the states. The states had more power.
One young lady said, “Well, I know why it didn’t work and why the triangle collapsed.”
“Why?” I asked.
She got up and walked to the front of the room and put her hands around one of the flat triangles I had drawn on the board. The Articles of Confederation just had the Federal government and the states. That’s two not three. It was an incomplete triangle. No wonder it failed.”
Heads nodded around the room in agreement. Another student said, “Yeah, we need three things to make the government work.”
From this point I asked students to draw a triangle on their paper and began sharing the three branches of the United States government with them and launched into a discussion of how the process of checks and balances work. I drew a circle at each of the three points and labeled one point executive, another legislative, and the third judicial. The checks and balances between each branch was written along the sides of the triangle.
Later the crayons were pulled back out as students color coded their diagrams.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Visit the Thursday 13 site HERE and meet up with other participants.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Here in the great state of Georgia we are becoming mired down in the thick yellow haze of pollen. It’s everywhere….even with doors and window shut a thin yellow coating can be seen on every surface even after dusting. I hear we aren’t going to to get any rain for at least a week. Any other time that would wonderful news, however, we depend on the rain to wash some of the pollen out of the air and it simply isn’t happening. My students and I are stumbling around high on Advil Cold and Sinus, Claritin, Benedryl, and Sudafed. Thank goodness we aren’t taking “that test” this week because students are falling asleep left and right because of all the meds.
The pollen index which I don’t really understand is set to where anything over 100 means folks with breathing problems need to take care….they might want to stay inside. Today’s reading was over 5,000….that’s how bad it is. I’m escaping to the beach next week to get away from it.
I’ve been having a bit of fun this week over at Georgia On My Mind with Texas history. Yes, I know….it’s supposed to be blog about Georgia. Some Lone Star folks including Ed Darrell at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub are attempting to get a Texas Carnival up and going, and well….some words were exchanged and I couldn’t help myself….I had to go and show off about what I know regarding Texas history. Go on over and see my last three posts to find out about a “BLOG CARNIVAL SLUG FEST.”
The Georgia Carnival will be ready for your reading enjoyment this Friday, March 30th and will be hosted by Melanie at Blog For Democracy. If you aren’t a Georgia blogger, but you know one please send them my way.
If you are a Georgia blogger what are you waiting for? You can submit your post to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also use the handy submission form.
Friday, March 23, 2007
My young historians will soon be leaving our studies of American government behind, and now the settlement of the West looms before us….Now don’t be confused. I’m not speaking of the sweeping vistas of Monument Valley as seen in John Wayne westerns-----I’m referring to our "first" west that I wrote about back in June titled
It's Important to Know Your Frontier.
Yes, Daniel Boone is a larger-than-life figure. There are as many myths and incorrect stories about his exploits as there are true ones. I could go on and on and on but here are five interesting facts about Boone that aren’t commonly known.
1. Daniel Boone was born into a family of Quakers---his father had come to the colonies from England in 1713 and settled in Pennsylvania. Later the Boone family left the Quakers and relocated to the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina. It seems that Mr. Boone’s children kept marrying outside their faith and sometimes a child would be on the way before the actual marriage ceremony.
2. As some of us older types remember in the Daniel Boone series on television he was married to Rebecca and did have a daughter named Jemima, but what many historians now agree on is Jemima was actually fathered by Daniel’s brother Ned. Boone knew this but brought Jemima up as his own along with the many other children he and Rebecca had together. It seems that the relationship started between Rebecca and the brother after Boone was thought to be dead on one of his lengthy trips in the wilderness.
3. Boone was captured by Native American groups several times. Once when he was captured by the Shawnees he was made to run the gauntlet and having survived he was adopted into the tribe to replace a fallen warrior. He was given the name sheltowee, or Big Turtle because he carried a large pack and moved very slow. Boone stayed with the Shawnees for such a long time before escaping that his family went back to North Carolina thinking he was dead. His fellow frontiersmen hesitated to trust him after his “sojourn” with the Indians and for his troubles Boone had to undergo a failed courtmartial proceeding.
4. Boone wasn’t just a hunter, trapper, guide, and adventurer. He saw military action in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and many other Indian conflicts such as Dunmore’s War. In his lifetime he was a tavern owner, surveyor, land speculator, legislator, horse trader, and slave owner.
5. Boone spent his final years living in Missouri. He moved there in 1799 when it was still part of Spanish Louisiana. There he was appointed as “judge and jury” as well as military leader of the Femme Osage district.
Boone is known to have said, “I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.”
Yep, he was brave, he was fearless and as tough as a might oak tree!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
My students have been learning about the formation of the government and thankfully they seem interested. You know they are interested when they don’t want class to stop for lunch. So, in keeping with my current classroom theme here are 13 facts about the Constitutional Convention.
1. The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pensylania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where Georgia Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.
2. Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17th, but it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.
3. The U.S. Constitutuion was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.
4. Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights.
5. Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates dissented. Two of America’s “founding father’s” didn’t sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
6. Established on November 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution.
7. Of the written national constitutions [in the world], the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
8. At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
9. The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
10. More than 11, 000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty-three have gone to the states to be ratified and only twenty-seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.
11. Rhode Island was the only state [from the original 13] that refused to send delegates. Dominated by men wedded to paper currency, low taxes, and popular government, Rhode Island’s leaders refused to participate in what they saw as a conspiracy to overthrow the established government.
12. Patrick Henry of “give me liberty or give me death” fame also refused to go. The great orator said, “I smell a rat!” He firmly believed that state governments could protect personal liberties best.
13. George Washington reluctantly attended the Convention. He was suffering from rheumatism, despondent over the loss of a brother, absorbed in the management of Mount Vernon, and doubted the convention would accomplish very much or that many men of stature would attend. He delayed accepting the convention for many months, yet He was the one who was elected president of the convention. As such Washington did not particpate in any of the debate during the months the convention met.
Would you like some information on the men who were delegates from your state? If you live in one of the 13 original states you can find your delegates here.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
I’m tired, Dear Daughter isn’t feeling well, and I’m lost in “preparation for the state mandated test” that will be upon us shortly. I hate this time of year. You are simply made to feel like you are a terrible teacher if you don’t haul out “those” little booklets that the salespeople hawk at education conferences that administrator’s attend with the promise of higher test scores.
It just may be me thinking this but somebody somewhere sure is making a hell of a lot money on No Child Left Behind…..the kiddies and I are so glad we can help.
I’m also lost in a sea of things I want to share here and there, but the things I want to share far outweight my time to sit and post.
One thing I have wanted to share with you is an addition to the blogroll for those history types…..Southern Pasts is a wonderful site that I have enjoyed stopping by during my short and frenzied drive-by blogging of late. Comb your hair and get all “purty” and go
a-visitin’. It’s worth the time….just wish he was from Georgia.
One of the things I picked up while I visited Southern Pasts the other day is a reference to Lost Magazine and their website. I heard about this interesting idea for a magazine way back when on public radio. The editor was being interviewed and it sounded like a really interesting concept for a magazine.
Don’t you just hate it when you find something interesting and forget to write it down or your busy doing something else and then you completely forget about until something else jogs your memory? I lost my original thought about Lost and Southern Pasts helped me find it. I was so happy to have “found” Lost Magazine again.
So while I’m going to try to find my way out of this tired “test ready” fog I’m in go check out Lost Magazine.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
The original author is Karl Fisch from The Fisch Bowl fame. I finally became aware of it a few days ago when I was exploring Scott’s site over at Dangerously Irrelevant.
Thanks Karl for a wonderful lesson and thank-you Scott for pointing this slow-poke towards the fast-lane.
Thanks for visiting. See my most recent posts HERE
Mrs. Math Teacher on my team just completed our Pi Day celebration on the fourteenth, however, I was must impressed with Belleza’s little celebration to ease testing frustration and anxiety. Check out Marshmallow Day. I love her new look over there and the “look” of her pictures.
Mike over at Education in Texas was a little miffed that his site is censored in China. Seems he located a site that can tell if your blog receives “favored blog” status on the other side of the Earth. It’s kind of fun to enter your url to see if your site makes the cut. Check out the link at Mike’s post Can the Chinese Read You?
Carnivals abound……..the Education Wonks is holding the education carnival, Sharon of Early Modern Web is hosting the history carnival and Bill at Provocative Church is hosting the Georgia Carnival.
"Some Parents Drive Me Crazy!" so says Californiateacherguy while Mrs. Bluebird exclaims, "They just don't care!". All I have to say is, “Can I have an AMEN?!”
Open Culture looks like an interesting site……especially if you want to learn more about podcasts and wikkis, etc.
Not too long ago Graycie over at Today's Homework gave me a huge compliment with a Thinking Blogger Award. Thanks Graycie! I posted about the thinking blogger meme here, and had been remiss about getting my Thinking Blogger award up on the sidebar after I transferred to the new blogger. Today, I finally got that little job off my “to-do” list….only four more pages of “to-dos” to go.
Finally, here are two new sites I’ve added to the blogrolls:
The School of Blog
Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Check out all of these wonderful sites and have a wonderful St. Paddy's Day!
Friday, March 16, 2007
It can be found over at Provocative Church.
Check out the pop up comments that make this carnival unique.
Be on your best behavior now and head on over to the church to see the news and views of a few Georgians.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The same four aunts who had entertained me as a small child when I ‘d visit their home we all lovingly called “The Homeplace” were now all entertaining me once again, but in a different way. Once a year they all four went into the city of Atlanta to shop, and they had invited me to go with them.
How well I remember not being able to get enough sleep the night before and spending my money a jillion times----just hoping I’d have enough for all the ‘treasures’ I hoped to find. After a big breakfast, we’d all stand down on the main road waiting for the big “Smokey Mountain Trailways” bus we all rode so much since we didn’t have a car. My heart was beating a mile a minute as we saw Mr. Honney, the bus driver, coming around the curve and down to where we were waiting. Finally, he stopped, and we filed onto the bus one at a time, each of us giving Mr Honney a “Good Morning!” and a “How ya’ doing?” since he seemed like family to us.
We went on back to our seats that were covered in a velvet-like material all in red. I made sure I got by the window so I could see the old four-lane highway rolling by us as we went south towards Atlanta. The traffic was nothing like it is today some seventy years later.
The aunts hurried me outside and we crossed first one street and then another before getting on the right side where there was a cement walkway all the way down in front of all these different shops. The blouse shop was a favorite, and so were a couple of shoe stores including Butlers and Bakers. It was at Bakers that I chose a pair of brown loafers with a space under the tongue up front where you put a shiney copper penney for decoration as my first purchase of the day. From there we continued walking happily down the street.
Before we left Woolworths we always looked around for a bargain and I would always give the post card rack a turn or two. I’d stop at one of a pretty Atlanta mansion with different flowers out front, and choose one for Mama. Since Daddy was a big fan of the Atlanta Crackers, I would get him a card with a baseball player on the front.
Walking back up the street we shopped some more and revisited a shop where I had picked out a baby blue sweater set earlier, and here Aunt Claudine finally found her treasure. She bought a pretty solid green slip-over with a floral sweater to match. Later my mom said I had made a wise choice with my sweater purchase and I wore it many times. Aunt Claudine wore hers as well.
We were all so tired out when we finally got back to the bus station and boarded the big old bus. We’d be very quiet all the way back up the old four-lane that led us out of Atlanta, through Canton, and to the outskirts of town. We all usually went to sleep just about the whole way home.
All those shopping trips with my aunts were so much fun, and gave me a lifetime filled with precious memories with them treating me like the little sister back then, and they still do, but I tell them I am catching up and in a hurry since I am now 70.
My cup does runneth over.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
August 21, 1992 7 years old $38.87 (the amount Mom spent for his birthday)
Found a cute puppy dog card. Blank inside. Front had three cute puppies on it and inside I wrote “You are so special to me and I love you so much.” I put a $5 bill inside card…mailed it before his birthday, so he would get it before the 21st.
Her notes when on to say:
Hadn’t got K. (Dear Sister’s daughter) nothing in real long time, so I found her a little denim draw-string purse. It was light blue with a row of eyelet trim around the bottom, and four satin flower buds ( 2 orchid/2 pink).
In an entry for July 11, 1993, Dear Husband’s birthday Mother included this bit of information that I should have in a baby book for Dear Daughter, but don’t……
R. is growing. She can flip over from her stomach to her back. She coos and smiles and was so good.
And not to leave out my son Mother added:
M. got in the pool and showed me how well he swims----I’m so thankful he can.
Yes, sad times are detailed as well:
Such a sad and mixed up time!
I was sick. Sooooooo sick. Mentally as well as physically.
Monday, March 12, 2007
The following piece of writing was written by my sister at the time our mother passed way. This piece was read at Mother’s funeral by my pastor. Dear Sister sent it to me in advance before the funeral. After I read it for the first time I explained to Dear Sister that I rarely award a student with a high A in writing because writing is never finished. A piece of writing can always be corrected…altered…revised in some way. It can always be improved. However, Dear Sister captured the essence of who our Mother was so intently that I told her I would give it my highest accolade…a well deserved “MOST EXCELLENT” and a numerical one hundred. Here are Dear Sister’s words….
If Mother was anything, she was CARING. She CARED about everything, and most things too much. She cared about family and friends, and stray animals, and strangers in need, and people in the news.
She never forgot to send you a card, or telephone to let people know she remembered their special occaision. If you were sick or experiencing a hospital stay you could count on a card from Geri. She was forever finding things in magazines or the paper that she thought you might need or find interesting. She took care in cutting it out, writing a note on it and mailing it to us.
She loved to cook. She loved to write. She would sit at the kitchen table for hours on end and write letters and stories. Mother had written down every memory growing up around Mt. Carmel and Canton. She had penpals and loved to swap information on their different lifestyles and countries. She had friends…real friends. They took each other to lunch on their birthday. Mother’s favorite place was the Picadilly at Greenbriar Mall. A stuffed green pepper and a piece of pie and she was happy.
She was an organizational icon. As far back as I can remember, she provided you with something you needed to know. Family and friends anniversaries, births and deaths, graduations, when someone called her and when she returned the call (and what time), whether it rained or the sun was shining on a particular day…..everything went on Mother’s calendars and in her spiral notebooks. And just for a point of reference----today if we needed to know what our family had for dinner on Wednesday, June 4, 1968---just check the calendar. It’ll be there…and you’ll find it because she saved each and every calendar and notebook. [Elementaryhistoryteacher] and I have snapshots of our life history detailed in these calendars and notebooks.
Was Mother a packrat? She said no, she was a gatherer of treasures. Every kindness, every gesture, every gift and momento was saved. And true to her organizational icon standard, you know it was tagged with who the sender was, the occaision, AND the date. Laundry markers were purchased regularly at our house growing up.
Mother wasn’t a rich person. She wasn’t a materialistic person, but she was one of the wealthiest women I knew. She was wealthy in the sense that she had all she required to live a wonderful life. She thought herself so blessed to have the family and friends she had.
What she never really realized is how blessed we were to have her touch our lives.
You can read about my thoughts on family bibles and all about Mother's Bible here.
Tomorrow I’m going to share with you a few pages from one of those spiral notebooks, and on Wednesday, Mother’s actual birthday, I will be presenting one of HER stories here for you to enjoy.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
That sounds strange, doesn’t it? The name of the famous painting should be correctly termed Washington Crossing the Delaware. I misnamed it on purpose to bring another president to the forefront because President James Monroe is also depicted in this famous painting.
Do you see him? The boat is rather crowded, isn’t it? You might notice several different figures of interest. Can you pick out the man of Scottish descent? What about the African Prince Whipple? Can you find the two frontiersmen? The two farmers? What about the man who looks very feminine? No, this isn’t going to be a replay of The Davinci Code…..but, you’ve got to admit the man with the red shirt does look feminine, or at least many art scholars seem to think so.
Continue on over to American Presidents where I have posted the remainder of the story.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Once students had their three-columned organizer in front of them it was only a matter of treating each column as a paragraph. Students began crafting their own sentences from the information we had collected together in the brainstorming session. Once student got down to the business of writing it was at times very quiet as minds were at work and at other times the noise was deafening as students talked to each other and to me about their papers. Yes, I won’t lie…..there were a few who constantly had to be redirected and once I took a seat among the kids I had to move a couple closer to me to keep them on task, but overall they did a fantastic job.
Here are three examples of my students’ work. Notice that each essay begins with a question that they had to craft for themselves. The main idea sentence was given to them in the framework as well as the remainder of the introduction paragraph. The first sentence of each detail paragraph was also given to them to keep the students within the parameters of a five paragraph essay. Parts of the ending were also provided. Some may think I gave away too much in my framework for students, however, it needs to be remembered that this was their first opportunity to write a paper like this, and many had never written anything longer than 10 sentences before. The framework gave them something to hold onto in order to get their ideas on paper about the details. The details….the causes and how each student interpreted them was my main goal in this process. Anything else was simpy gravy.
The first essay I want to share with you is from a student who was born in Ghana. It was interesting to see his interpretation of events:
How did our country come to be? The United States began because of the American Revolution. The causes of the American Revolution are the French and Indian War, taxes, and the colonies were ready to govern themselves.
The first cause of the war was the French and Indian War. Colonists were crowded, and they wanted to move to the Ohio River Valley. The Proclamation of 1763 said they couldn’t.
The second cause of the war was taxes. Parliament made the colonist pay the Stamp tax, a tax on any printed item. The Sugar Act included many items that were taxed. The Intolerable Act was passed after the Boston Tea Party as punishment for the people of Boston. The colonist said, “No taxation without representation!”
The third cause of the war was colonists were ready to govern themselves. The colonists had been there foro a very long time and they thought they could make their own law and didn’t need a king.
The American Revolution happened for many different reasons. They three main causes were the French and Indian War, taxes, and the colonists were ready to govern themselves. I’m glad the American Revolution happened because I don’t want to be a British man.
The second essay is from one of my top students. His essay was our school submission for fourth grade in a writing competition that will go on to the county level and state level. This is the third year one of my students has submitted work in this contest.
Do you know about the American Revolution? Our country began because of the American Revolution. The causes of the war were the French and Indian War, taxes, and the colonies were ready to govern themselves
The first cause of the war was the French and Indian War. It was a war fought over the Ohio River Valley. It was a battle between the French and British. Many Indians were allies of the French. The British won, however, the colonists were mad because they didn’t get to live in the Ohio River Valley.
The second cause of the war was the taxes Parliament made the colonists pay. The names of the taxes were the Sugar tax, Stamp tax, Townshend taxes, and then the Intolerable Acts were passed. A group of people named the Sons of Liberty did not like this. Finally, war broke out between the colonists and the British. The first battle was called Lexington and Concord. The colonists won this battle.
The third cause of the war was colonists were ready to govern themselves. Britain had been controlling the colonies for a long time. They were ready for independence. They fought many battles for this and the colonist finally got independence.
The American Revolution happened for many different reasons. The main causes were the French and Indian War, taxes, and the colonies were ready for to govern themselves. I’m glad the American Revolution happened because if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t be alive.
The final essay is from a young man who is extremely intelligent, but has many problems at home. He likes to pout and many days ends up rolling around on my floor. I generally ignore the behavior and eventually he gets back into his seat and begins the assignment. I’m careful to only give him attention when he is doing what he needs to. There were times during the process of completing these essays that I didn’t think I would get a final product from this young man. When the assistant principal asked me to display a few of our essays in the front hall of the school I made sure this young man’s essay was one of them.
Do you know about the American Revolution? Our country started because of the American Revolution. The causes of the war were the French and Indian War, taxes, and, the colonies were ready to govern themselves.
It started from the French and Indian War when colonists were crowded and wanted to move to the Ohio River Valley. The French were already there. The British won. The colonists could not live in the Ohio River Valley. Then taxes were passed to pay for the war and colonists were not happy.
The colonists had to pay taxes like the Sugar and Stamp Act. The colonists did not like the taxes. They formed a group called the Sons of Liberty. Next, the Boston Massacre happened and five people died. The Boston Massacre happened when colonists threw stuff at the British soldiers and the British fired. The Boston Tea Party happened when colonists threw tea into the sea.
Many people who study history know about independence. Many colonists had their own government and didn’t need Parliament. James Otis made a famous statement when he said, “No taxation without representation.”
The American Revolution happened for many different reasons. The three main reasons were the French and Indian War, taxes, and the colonists were ready to govern themselves. I’m glad the American Revolution happened because the colonists got their way.
His last line cracks me up because part of his problem is he always wants his way.
This kind of work from students is not easy. It takes several days of deliberate intent on my part and mostly on the students. They got tired, they got bored working with the piece of writing over and over, but I kept telling that they all needed to persist. They would have a great feeling of accomplishment when they had completed the entire assignment, and they did. A few weeks later when I asked my language arts students to complete a persuasive essay regarding why someone would want to read The BFG by Roald Dahl, a read aloud that had been completed, I reminded them about th process of the American Revolution essay and told students to write in the same manner. This time I didn’t given a framework other than an opening sentence. They saw their original persistance paid off because many said to me, “Gee, this is pretty easy!”
Friday, March 09, 2007
Have you ever had anyone delete you from their blogroll or shut down your feed? I’ve had my first disconnect (that I know about) and it got me to wondering why. I found this article titled Why Don't You Like Me? Top Reasons Why People Unsubscribe to Your Feed. Interesting….
So, why can some kids remember better than others? Miss Brooks at Teaching for Understanding is writing about Remodeling and Constructing Memories. Good stuff!
Can there really be a relevant staff development out there? Yes, and yes, and yes! The Science Goddess over at What It’s Like On The Inside has posted an excellent education carnival. Check out the 109th Education Carnival----The Staff Development Edition.
I received a troubling email a few days ago from my friend Dennis Fermoyle. Do you know Dennis? Have you dropped by From the Trenches of Public Ed. and let your opinion be known lately? Dennis has had some interesting and sometimes heated conversations going on, and he does a wonderful job of faciliating (like any good classroom teacher would do) and simply throws topics out for his participants to discuss and occaisionally slug it out….only in a verbal sense, however. Dennis wrote me a note about one of his participants who we both have had interesting conversations with many times about public education. His name is Steven, and and he is facing a far greater challenge than the problems and solutions with education today. Please read Dennis' column regarding our friend Steven, and if you do that praying kind of thing please throw some good words Steven’s way.
Finally, the Tour Marm over at The Educational Tour Marm has me in a quandry. Does anyone out there know the person associated with her Wordless Wednesday? She did give me a hint…..the person is American. Help!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Cornwallis has surrendered at Yorktown. The Treaty of Paris has been signed. Now that the colonies are independent what will happen next. Write three to four sentences regarding what you think will happen next.
Here are 13 of my student’s responses. I use these to see where their head is at and to gauge prior knowledge that they might have about the Constitution. This information helps me to know where to start with the government unit. However, please understand this is not the only way I collect data for prior knowledge.
G said: The Americans will celebrate their victory, and the American colonists will take more land. The Americans will bring new inventions, create a better army, and name the country the United States of America.
No name (There’s always one in the group): They will have a hard time with the government. They will have to fight for land. They will have a hard time with the loyalist because they are still loyal to the king.
J: There will be a war about the slaves. The colonies will start fighting with the Indians again. There might be a third Continental Congress. (Actually I referred to this response today in our lesson about the Articles of Confederation since students always want to know who was leading our government since George Washington didn’t immediately become president. The student who wrote this learned there wasn’t a “third” continental congress.)
D: The Americans needed their own government and president, so they choose George Washington. They are happy they are free from Britain. They can now dwell in a free country. ( I kid you not she really did use the word “dwell”)
T: The people of Yorktown are happy. They are no more wars between them. Cornwallis is sad. He’s mad that the treaty is signed.
A: They will think about slavery. They might have another battle to decide what happens. I think that the Americans win because there is no slavery today. (A good logical deduction….he knows something had to happen to stop it….he’s just not sure what)
M: The US formed a country and the colonies finally got the Ohio River Valley. The colonist started to have many, many slaves. There was not so many battles fought after the Treaty of Paris was signed. The Indians left the United States.
A: The colonists were very happy and tired because it had been a long war.
A: Now, I think the colonists are going to get confused. They won’t know how to elect people for president. They would not know to govern themselves. (She’s right but she’s discussing THIS century not the time period we are studying, wouldn’t you agree?)
B: I think he [Cornwallis] got hanged. He breaks free and kills people. (Of course, I never discussed Cornwallis except in relation to Yorktown. Apparently this young man watches too many crime dramas or perhaps even the news)
T: Cornwallis had to give his sword to George Washington, and surrender his troops. Then Americans got independence and land.
J: The US is finally a country. They picked George Washington as president. They still had problems with slavery. It would take a long time for slaves to have their freedom.
K: Cornwallis migh have to go to Court. C. might be banished. C. might be killed. (This is someone who didn’t like having to write the name “Cornwallis” over and over and she’s all about people getting punished)
Overall, I’m ok with their responses. I wish more students had told me about government….that the colonies turned states needed some form of government, but it didn’t happen.
So, this means I’ll begin the unit with a discussion on why we need government and its purpose. I was very happy, however, to see so many students mention slavery. Though we began a thread on this topic many months ago when we discussed African kings and the Portuguese and have mentioned slavery at the appropriate times since it is not something I have drummed into their heads. It’s nice to know that student’s “slavery thread” has not become frayed, and I can continue to use it as we discuss the horror of the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Missouri Compromise, and many other concepts as we get near the end of the year.
I am happy to have the "big bear" of the American Revolution conquered. I will post examples of students' essays on the causes of the American Revolution in the next few days.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
“Here we go again….”
I don’t remember very many strategies being taught in my education school when I was a a candiate for my student teaching. I remember lots of information on Dewey, Piaget, the history of education in American (I lapped that up, of course), and unit after unit I had to plan. When I look back at those units I don’t see any variation for learning difficulties, learning styles, or any variance of strategy other than sit, get, and regurgitate. I would hope anyone who has read my posts regarding how I teach my classes understands that I do engage my students with relative content and meaningful learning experiences. This wasn’t always the case. Most of what I know today I’ve picked up in bits and pieces from those dreaded seminars, door-stop binders I’ve lugged home, and basically self-study.
Do you get my meaning here? Check.
I would like it to be known here, however, that the Learning Focused model is like any other model out there. There are good things and there are things that should cause concern as well.
If teachers know principals are looking for particular strategies then those are the ones certain teachers will use with no deviation.
In the book A Place Called School by Goodlad it was noted that in elementary schools only three or four different teaching strategies were ever employed. Middle school students rarely saw more than two different strategies, and by the time they reached high school only one strategy was used….the ever popular lecture.
Think for a minute. Can you identify at least five students in your class or classes that the current design of school is not working for them? I can. I know you can, too. These aren’t just the kids who disrupt and disturb our learning environments every day. These should be our bubble kids as well. What I mean by that is the kids that seem to hover right at the magic score on “that” test, but they never seem to break through the bubble. It’s obvious our past efforts with these children have not worked. What will?
While I strongly feel that there are extremely dangerous children in our schools mainly because I’ve witnessed them many of our unmotivated and uncooperative students simply aren’t being served to meet their needs. I guess you can think of it as the Leave It to Beaver or Family Affair generation meeting up with Wife Swap, Jerry Springer and Jack Ass. Children from my day are eons apart from children of today. Children today have more choices due to technology and a parenting style that isn’t June and Ward Cleaver. Mr. Sabastion would be aghast.
The world of work has changed as well, and we need to make sure students are ready to enter the workforce. Over a twenty year period the Hudson Institute did a study where they analyzed the tasks involved in various entry-level jobs accoring to Blooms Taxonomy. During the same twenty year period they asked high school teachers to provide assignments that they routinely gave their students. At the beginning of the study 20% of entry-level jobs required skills at the higher end of Blooms. By the end of the study in the 1990s over 65% of the entry-level skills required higher-order thinking skills. However, the high school assignments only increased 8% over that twenty year period regarding the use of higher order thinking skills.
It’s clear to me that we need to teach better than we were taught. We need stategies that will engage all learners not just a few. As educators we may not agree with the state our world is in today, but our job is to prepare our students to meet that world and be successful in it. A strong look at teaching strategies may be the answer
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Gee, I take a few days off from visiting other folks and miss a birthday. Go on over and tell Strausser at A Teacher's Perspective happy belated birthday.
Dennis Fermoyle has been Discussing Education with Non-Teachers. Go on over and get an eyeful of what 53 comments looks like. I’ve never had that many. I weighed in twice over there. Go put in your two cents worth.
To go along with the previous post kdrosa has been posting about Teacher Autonomy. I agree with some of his thoughts over there, but teacher autonomy? What’s that?
Carol of The Median Sib fame had a nice conversation with a group of students regarding the Revolutionary War, and of course that led to a discussion about breakfast food.
See how the connection was made here.
I enjoy stumping a few people with my Wordless Wednesday images, however, The Tour Marm has stumped me not once, but twice. Check out her Wordless Wednesday and her
Figure It Out Friday. Perhaps YOU know the answers? These should be regular stops for you anyway….
Any great history teacher knows that current events turn into history within days, weeks, and months. They collect magazine articles, newspaper clippings, etc. never knowing what might be useful in the classroom. Dan over at A History Teacher understands perfectly. He’s already collecting a great Time article concerning the religion of Islam. Maybe you need to snag it as well for your files.
Write a history Book and Get Out of Jail? Well, that’s what M over at World History Blog is telling us. Go see!
Well, that’s all the strolling I could get done tonight. I hope everyone has a great week. I visited my classroom this afternoon to complete some paperwork (yes, I know it was Sunday), and noticed we have right at 12 weeks of school left. Wow! Time is flying!
In this week’s Wordless Wednesday I hinted that the painting in question involved a famous artist colony, the city of Rome, and government service. The title of the featured piece is Side Porch, Griswold House, 1910 and the artist is Ellen Axson Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson.
The first Mrs. Wilson was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1860, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Most of her life was spent in Rome, Georgia’s own version of the city of seven hills. President Wilson also grew up in Georgia, and was also the child of a minister. Your can see his childhood home here.
Mrs. Wilson studied art at the Art Students’ League in New York. The New Georgia Encyclopedia advises she created crayon portraits from photographs and sold them. She often put her art pursuits on hold to run her household, attend to her three daughters, and to be available for her husband as he progressed through academic ranks to finally become president of Princeton in 1902.
He also posted information about Mrs. Wilson’s funeral held in Rome, Georgia. Check out his post to see real pictures of the funeral procession down the main street in Rome.
Friday, March 02, 2007
We had a a fairly easy day of it today, however. We celebrated the birthday of Dr. Suess ( a major requirement in any elementary school) today by declaring it a RAD day. RAD means “Read All Day”. Our fourth graders read in every class period except for exploratory. While I could have spent the day grading papers and completing the plethora of forms that pile up on my desk I elected for my students to witness me doing some research.
Student after student asked me, “Hey, Elementaryhistoryteacher….what ‘cha doin’?”
I responded, “Doin’ research.”
“I’m looking for things I can write about on my website.”
Various students would respond, “Cool…” or some other similar utterance before sliding away to share with their friends. I’d hear whispers and titters, but soon like a box of dominos standing up on their ends and getting knocked over a wave of research hysteria swept the room. I looked up to find most of the room reading and taking down notes on subjects that ranged from the heart to India.
This same scene replayed each and every class period. Sometimes all they need is a model.
It has been a sad day in my wonderful state of Georgia and our version of LA (lower Alabama). Yesterday afternoon we heard the sad news about the tornado hitting the highschool in Enterprise, Alabama. What teacher in tornado prone areas doesn’t fear getting hit during tornado season?
Parts of Georgia were hit as well later on in the day and my heart is heavy for everyone’s losses.
If the tornados weren't enough Atlantans were awakened this morning to the horrific scene of a college team bus having overturned close to downtown Atlanta. A parent’s worse nightmare…..a teacher’s worst nightmare.
What will tomorrow bring? I don’t think I want to know.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I've tried to arrange posts by category, however, categories are not listed in any particular order.
The Atlantic Review site states it recommends commentaries, analyses and reports on the United States and transatlantic relations and is edited by three German Fulbright Alumni: Jörg Wolf (Berlin), Sonja Bonin (Shanghai) and Jörg Geier (Hamburg). They advise they founded this private, independent, project with Scott Brunstetter (Washington DC) in July 2003 out of a concern for the deterioration of the US-German relationship. We have sent this digest to a German and an international Fulbright mailing list twice a month ever since.
Jörg Wolf gives us a taste of the site with these offerings----
When German Universities Were the Models for American Universities,
Only in Germany--The Captain of Koepenick's Historic Coup, and Black History Month in Germany. This final entry leads us into the next category…
Black History Month
Penney over at the Disability Studies, Temple U. wanted us to know they noted the birthday of Barbara Jordan on February 21 with February 21: Barbara Jordon (1936-1996). I remember hearing her on television as child. Wow, what a voice and she was such a great speaker.
Tim Abbott over at Walking the Berkshires gives us the lighter side of the American Revolution with "The Misplaced Bones of William Dawes": With Apologies to Longfellow. He also provides an excellent account of his own ancestor a member of the “300 minuteman”, whose company got a late start toward Concord, but was in the thick of the fight at Bunker Hill” in the post
Too Late for Lexington But Not for Bunker Hill: Nathaniel Abbott and the Andover Minutemen. Tim advised I should choose between the two, but they were both on one of my favorite subjects….who can choose? Enjoy!
I offer my own post Nathanael Greene: Adopted Southern Son. One of the things I love about history is how it can take you down a road of twists and turns of relations, links, and cross-links. Nathanel Greene’s relationship with the state of Georgia is proof of that.
The Tour Marm from The Educational Tour Marm offers a portrait of Charles Willson Peale: Renaissance Man. Hmmmm…..mastodon bones, an avid collector of other bits of natural history, clockmaking, and over 60 completed portraits of Georgia Washington? Truly this is one interesting man!
Religion has been in the news a little in the past few days with tales about the tomb of Jesus and of course, Ash Wednesday. So, what do you think about a giant “sinner” helmet complete with arrows and flashing lights? Jarod of Jarod's Forge offers The History of Ash Wednesday: Totally Goth Since 960.
Alan of Frog in a Well and its sister site, 井底之蛙 gives us When Is a Farmer Not a Farmer? When He's Chinese: Then He's a Peasant. It’s a good bit of historiography.
At his interesting site, Barista David Tiley gives us a very thorough look at
The Plunder of Taklamakan. The largest sand-only desert in Central Asia has had quite a history. Many thanks to Sharon for pointing us down this portion of the Silk Road.
Scholarship and Pedagogy
Sharon over at Early Modern Web also submitted In Defense of Timelines by Jeremy Boggs of ClioWeb fame. I agree with Jeremy that it’s time for us to think seriously about the role of timelines for scholarship and pedagogy.
Sharon also submitted an excellent overview of doctoral programs by Ralph Luker of Cliopatria titled Wherein I Name a Dozen or More Doctoral Programs in History that Ought to be Shut Down. Make sure you check out the comments and weigh-in yourself.
Sonja Cole of Bookwink explains teachers looking to incorporate historical fiction into their lessons may find this video booktalk useful. This is a wonderful resource for upper elementary and middle school teachers as well as parents of students in grades 3 through 8.
When Time Periods Collide
Powerpoint presentations have become a mainstay of the education and business worlds. Mark Rayner of The Skwib, shows us what would happen if Gutenberg had had a few Powerpoint slides to present his case instead of a page from a book in The Lost Powerpoint Slides (Gutenberg Edition). Simply put it is historical humor in bullet point form.
Alun Salt of HNN's Rise and Dissent is asking, “Can you prove anything with statistics?” Can a binomial distribution provide an intelligible way of finding statistical significance? The subject matter is The Orientation of Roman Camps. I’m wondering…did the Romans know about statistics?
Weighing in on Wikipedia
The information age has provide more than a wealth of flora and fauna for every topic under the Sun, however, Jon Swift at Jon Swift is reminding all of us we need to check our source and teach our children and students to continually check their sources. In his post titled Conservapedia he advises, “Finally, there is an alternative to Wikipedia, which doesn't have any controversial ideas at all: Conservapedia. Conservapedia is based on good Christian values, unlike Wikipedia, which I gather from the name, is based on Wiccan.”
Nonpartisan over at Progressive Historians submits a post by Eugene asking Whither-Or Whether-Wikipedia? This is an excellent post on Wikipedia’s place in the world of historical academia and deserves a close read by history bloggers of all stripes.
The Victorian Age
The Victorians had so many strict social and moral codes. I doubt I would have made it in their world. Through Kristan Tetens and her blog The Victorian Peeper we learn that some of their customs weren’t so strict and a Group Revives Victorian Custom of Post-Mortem Portraiture to Help Grieving Parents.
Laurie Bluedorn over at Trivium Pursuit has put together a wonderful post called Home-Spun Artists: Historical Sketches--Beatrix Potter. There are many wonderful tid-bits about Potter’s life to ponder over.
The Past Is Prologue
Tying in today’s events to past events and looking at those little twists and turns that can change history this way and that are some of the reasons history lovers stay stay involved in the discipline. Nonpartisan from Progressive Historians states David Kaiser of History Unfolding is one of his favorite history bloggers, and provides one of Kaiser’s best titled How We Might Have Stopped Communism where he takes a modern problem and applies past events with a smidgen of “what if”.
Hugh Graham is interested in the deep origins for the history in the news…the long forgotten backstory that becomes our causes and effects of today. Hugh provides the backstory for The Lebanon Crisis at his site History In The News.
Ahistoricality advises, "Mr. Jones and I have our differences, but when he gets one right……" Ahistoricality nominates Grant Jones of The Dougout fame and his post Slings, Stones, and Hand-Cuffs regarding fourth generation warfare.
Well, that glass of tea is probably empty by now. I appreciate you stopping by and spending some time. The next edition of the History Carnival will be posted March 15th. You can submit your best historical blog writing here for the 50th History Carnival.