Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend Reading Assignment

The Georgia Carnival is up at Georgia On My Mind. Georgians are blogging about all sorts of things----the Barbie Bandits, Mitt Romney, Michael Vick, Hillary Clinton, and that pesky question about slavery versus state's rights.

Oh, and don’t forget the post about feeding pot scrubbers to cows and, every educator needs to read the post about the backpack network.

Also, don’t forget about the Education Carnival where you can meet and greet various educators across the blogosphere.

Saturday Update: Wondering what to eat over the holiday weekend? Head on over to the Teacher Potluck presented at Ms. Whatsit to see what educators in the blogosphere are cooking up.

…and you thought you would have a boring weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

13 Things About the New Hindu Temple in Lilburn, Georgia

What in the world is that?

That’s the question I remember asking when my mother and I passed the construction of the Hindu Temple in Clayton County, Georgia. I was home from college and didn’t know about the construction. Suddenly it felt like I was in a foreign country. I found the building so intriguing.

My wordless image this week was of course is an image of the new Hindu Temple in Lilburn, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. The massive structure is being dedicated this weekend. Teachergirl correctly identified my image.

1. The dedication is set to coincide with the 100th year anniversary of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottarn Swarninarayan Sanstha sect of Hindusim. The sect was established in 1907 by guru Shastriji Maharaj.

2. The opening of the temple has drawn thousands of people to the Atlanta area for the festivities which included a parade of elaborate floats and cultural dancers.

3. The swami arrived via private plane that touched down at the Peachtree Dekalb Airport and arrived at the temple in a Rolls Royce covered with flowers. He was met by the mayor of Lilburn, Jack Bolton, who presented the swami with the key to the city. The swami in turn gave a blessing for the city.

4. Officials for the sect state the temple will be a location for devotees to meet for religious and social gatherings.

5. The temple is 30,535 square feet of carved marble, and has been compared to a wedding cake and evokes thoughts of the Taj Mahal in India. There is no metalwork or concrete in the entire structure.

6. The temple is one of the larges Hindu Temples in the United States including the ones in Houston and in Chicago. It is also larger than another temple in the Atlanta suburbs that makes its home in Riverdale, Georgia.

7. The structure cost 19 million dollars and is the result of 1.3 million hours of volunteer consutruction. Many volunteers in the U.S. and in India put their personal lives on hold in order to volunteer to help with the construction.

8. The temple was constructed in sections of carved marble and took over two years to piece together.

9. The marble came from Italy and one source stated it was the same type of Marble Michelangelo used in much of his work. The sandstone used in the temple is from Turkey. Both the marble and sandstone made their way to Rajaskthan in western India where artisans carved the intricate designs and patterns. Some pieces are the size of Volkswagen beetles while others are as small as tiny flowers.

10. Each piece was numbered and put together much like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Hindu scripture provides the necessary lengths, widths, and heights of temples. Yogesh Patel, the designer of the temple, states it should last for 1,000 years.

11. Temple members will not know how to act once they begin their worship in the new temple. They had been meeting in a skating rink. The new temple will conduct prayer five times a day rather than twice, and it should draw worshippers throughout the southeast.

12. Naturally the temple dwarfs anything in the area including the homes within the Dickens Trail neighborhood which backs up to the temple property. Folks are being very accepting even though there has been much commotion in the neighborhood within the last few days or so. Dedication rituals include constant chanting and praying that has been broadcast over loud speakers which could be annoying. They have been chanting non-stop from early morning until dark three weekends in a row. Neighbors, however, are grateful for what is NOT on the property such as another strip mall, gas station, stripclub, or yet another Walmart. Also during the building process many of the members of the congregation have reached out to the surrounding neighbors including a delivery of candy at Christmas.

13. Public tours will begin September 1st, and I hope to be able to visit this massive structure. I’ll have to remember a few rules, however, so I don’t commit a faux paux. No hats, shorts, or tank tops can be worn in the temple. There is no smoking or drinking…not that I do that anyway. Cellphones should be placed on vibrate. There is no photography inside the mandir and shoes must be removed before entering the building.

It would seem that tours do have to be arranged through BAPS officials. Additional information can be obtained through the BAPS website.

Are you thirteening yet? Join here.

This thirteen was reblogged almost entirely from local newspapers and news reports. The photos are courtesy of 11 Alive News.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wordless 37

I'm thinking of going here next month. Where am I going?

Teacher Potluck

I’ve missed the last couple of Teacher Potlucks, a new carnival hosted by Ms. Whatsit, so I didn’t want to miss again. Here is a great summer recipe for a fantastic pasta salad. It’s great with grilled chicken.

Asparagus Pasta with Toasted Pecans

1 (16 oz) Penne pasta
1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus
2 T. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 T. minced garlic
1 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
3 T. chopped fresh basil
¾ c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 T. butter
1 c. pecan halves, toasted and divided

Reserve some Parmesan cheese and pecans for garnish.

Prepare pasta according to package directions; Rinse and drain.

Snap off ends of asparagus and cut into 2 inch pieces. I usually cut them diagonally.

Saute asparagus in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat for approximately four minutes.

Stir in red bell pepper and garlic; cook stirring occasionlly for two additional minutes.

Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Readuce heat and simmer for two minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender.

***Do not drain off chicken broth. It will be absorbed.

Stir in salt and pepper. Toss together pasta, asparagus mixture, basil, Parmesan cheese, and 1/3 c. of pecans.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Testing Concerns Begin in August

Although the all important test will not be administered until April my colleagues and I are already concerned. Can nine year old students or any students for that matter really retain all of the needed information for the next nine months? Apparently politicos and educrats believe they can, and it is up to me to make sure students do.

It’s not easy.

Of course, if it’s nearing the end of August then EHT’s students are taking a look at Native Americans in North America prior to the 1500s. The Georgia Standard students are required to master (SS4H1) reads as follows: (a.) Locate where the American Indians settled with emphasis on the Artic (Inuit), Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee), and Southwestern (Seminole) regions and (b.) Describe how American Indians used their environment to obtain food, clothing, and shelter.

What this means is students have to know how six different regions are alike and different as well as how the climate, physical features, and resources assisted natives in meeting their basic needs. It is very easy for students to become confused over which area is which and which tribes belong to which region.

I can choose many different ways to assess students, however the state uses a multiple-choice format the questions are somewhat limited. Luckily the state provides a website of banked questions for students to use in practicing for the test. These questions are also great indicators for educators so they know how the questions will be presented for students.

Additionally I assess students in many different ways. I give them opportunities to work on a project that involves one Native American region; I present the information in chart form, web form, outline notes, and bullet lists. Each student creates a matrix chart where they fill-in the information once the content is presented. They must use their own notes to do this. We also use images…many images. You can’t know what the Plains looked like if you haven’t been there. Many of my students have never been taken more than five miles from their homes. Students need visuals.

The image I used for last week’s Wordless post is presented here. Last week’s participants were great photo analyzers. Some commented that the photo might be Polynesia…I can see why….and a couple noticed the difference between the modern clothing some were wearing and the regalia the folks in the foreground were sporting. Jenny was the first one to mention Washington State, Jumpback mentioned the Great Northwest, and finally Alasandra brought up cedar bark clothing. Great job…gold stars all around.

The image shows members of the Kwakiutl tribe dressed in clothing made from cedar bark. Why did they wear cedar bark clothing? Well, it was what their environment provided----many, many cedar trees. I use that particular image in my power point presentation I show students as I introduce the Northwest region while students are taking notes. The notes are included in the presentation and the images help clarify what we are discussing. I like the image of the Kwakiutl because my standard mentions that tribe in particular plus the many trees are shown, a body of water is shown, and cedar bark clothing is shown. A grand slam if you ask me.
After we complete the unit on Native American regions I will periodically spiral back to review with students. One way I do this is through images. Such as this one:
I’ll pop it up on the television screen and ask, “On your paper I want you to jot down everything you can tell me about who lived in this environment before 1500 and how the environment helped them meet their basic needs.” I say go and give students a few minutes. When I call time I might ask students to share their jottings with their the other students they sit with. Where they right in identifying the region? Did they remember everything they could? Did a fellow student have something on their list that they didn’t? I allow students to change their answers and add to them if necessary before moving on to the next image.

As a class opener I might write two lists up on the board describing a particular region and as students come in the room I ask them to read through the lists and try to visualize what the region would look like. After everyone is in place and has had a chance to read through the lists I pop an image on the screen that matches one of the lists. “Which list describes the image?” I ask. I might pass out small slips of paper and ask students to provide the answer on the slip. Then I take them up and assess if students are remembering the content or not. I wouldn’t grade something like this, but I am mining for data. Data that will tell me which direction I need to go in and with which students.

For example, if a large number of kids continually get these mini-assessments wrong then they need remediation in the content area. I might give them extra time with little books that discuss the region, a Kids Discover magazine on particular regions, or I might send them to the classroom computers to review the power point presentations I used with each lesson…some one-on-one doesn’t hurt either.

We play games where student teams must identify regions based on image and/or a list of descriptors. We draw maps and label the regions to the point they should be able to do it in their sleep. I want them to get to the point they see the information in their mind’s eye.

It’s not easy, but it is a “must do.”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Teaching State History: Point/Counterpoint

Well, I’ve been walking around all weekend with with my head in my hands mainly due to my head swelling in response to a wonderful set of comments sent my way by Florida School Boss:

History Is Elementary is the best curriculum blog I have ever visited. If the teacher is as good in the classroom as she is in putting together her blog, she is an excellent teacher. She teaches Georgia and US History to upper elementary kids. Her blog has amazing articles, many with pictures, that provide great content background in US History as well as Georgia-specific history.

I appreciate your comments very, very much FSB. Can I use you as a reference some day?

However, my head was also plagued with a headache due to the remainder of FSB’s post which responded to my question, Is State History Important?, a post I wrote in July. FSB said:

One of my concerns about spending much time on Florida history, or any state history, is that the focus tends to get widened, usually due to lobbying by various interests in the state. So do kids really need to know the history of tourism in Florida? Are Mickey and Shamu really historical figures? What about the mandated survey of agriculture that happens in every state history course, no matter where in the country you happen to live? Gimme a break.

FSB...thanks for buttering me up before heaving a knife in my chest. :)

The loud windy noise you head on Friday around 4 p.m. coming from the western region of Georgia was me letting go with a heavy, heavy sigh after I read FSB's take on the teaching of state history.

Matthew Tabor instantly weighed in with his response, In Defense of Teaching State and Local History, while my response has been delayed due to that swollen and throbbing head I spoke of above, and the fact that I have tried to refrain from blogging on the weekend, so my family can see a different mommie… without a laptap attached to her fingers constantly.

The time gave me pause to think about the points I had made earlier, FSB’s points, and Matthew Tabor’s point of view as well. Educators should always begin examining a curriculum concern by heading straight to his or her standards (teaching objectives), and I’ve done that today, but before addressing standards I’m starting with FSB’s comments first.

It seems that one of FSB’s concerns about a year of state history, generally taught in eighth grade in many states, is he grew up in Indiana where he became an “expert” in Indiana history yet ended up spending his career in Florida. I have no clue to FSB’s academic area of expertise, however, unless he majored in Indiana history in college I don’t believe he could be considered an expert due to one year’s participation in an eighth grade history course. FSB, if I understand your logic with this point, you feel that since we don’t know the future plans of our young students a course of state history is irrelevant. People grow up and move making state history irrelevant. Is this correct?

I’m glad that curriculum experts across the country don’t follow that way of thinking. If they did I would have never been taught any Geometry. I can state emphatically I have never had to solve a geometric proof in any of the three careers I’ve had since my teen years. Throw out the reading of Poe, Melville, and Whitman because students who might grow up to be policemen really have no use for early American literature. Perhaps we should delete teaching students Linnaean Taxonomy because very few ever have to know the species, genus, family, etc. of every animal they encounter.

FSB mentioned several items covered in Indiana state history….the French trading history along Indiana’s river towns, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, the automotive industry in Indiana, Cole Porter, Indiana high school basketball, corn, soybeans… that seem to be relevant only if you plan to make Indiana your home.

Let’s see….my fourth graders learn about river exploration and trade by the French during our explorers unit, and while we discuss the Spanish settlement along Georgia’s barrier islands and DeSoto’s jaunt through Georgia they receive another view again in eighth grade. Good old “Mad Anthony” Wayne makes an appearance in my classroom simply because he’s a great item of interest during a look a the American Revolution, and if I taught Social Studies in Indiana you bet I would add in Indiana’s automotive industry when discussing assembly lines and Henry Ford since I discuss Georgia’s own automotive industry when we get to the 1920s. Some details aren’t so unique to a particular state when you get right down to it.

Matthew Tabor’s response to the question of relevancy regarding unique details for a particular state zeroed in on an important point regarding state history:

Understanding New York State history as a student in its public schools prepared me for precisely the irrelevance that you seem to deride. I’m not a young schoolboy anymore, but throughout my adult life – during college and beyond – when I encounter unfamiliar history, I have a very easy time grasping it quickly because I can perform comparative analysis. Though I have never spent any time in Indiana, I suspect that I could have profitable, enjoyable conversations with its residents – or, in your case, a former resident.

I believe this should be the whole point for having a history course at the eighth grade level that takes into account state history details filtered through an American History framework. Eighth grade students are ready to take on American History with a different perspective…that of the state. I believe it is relevant to teach students unique details concerning their state because as they move into more sophistocated courses for Economics, Political Science, Geography, World and American History they do have something to compare and contrast with. For example, why should my Georgia students even care about the War for Texas Independence? Sure, it explains to them how Texas eventually wound up as part of the U.S. and their map finally begins to look a little more like the map they see today, but as some students say to me….so what? Little ears perk up when I tell them that Texas Independence was won with the help of several Georgians who volunteered to help Texas, and a young Georgia girl is credited with giving the state their Lone Star flag.

FSB seems concerned with spending “much time” on state history, but I don’t consider an entire year devoted to details of state history to be “much”. A quick look at Georgia’s Social Studies Standards which go into effect this year indicates the following: Grade K mainly examine symbols of America and holidays, first graders learn about American heroes, third graders begin an early look at Georgia history by learning about prominent figures in Georgia history and take a gander at the Creek and Cherokee tribes in relation to how those tribes obtain their food, shelter, and clothing from the regional resources. Fourth and Fifth grades follow a full blown course of study in American History with the Civil War being the dividing line between the two grade levels. Sixth and Seventh grade Social Studies examines regions of the world by discussing the history, economics, geography, and political systems in each region.

Early elementary curriculum focuses on basic skills and basic content in order to give students a foundation to link to the much broader course of study in the fourth and fifth grades. The World History curriculum of sixth and seventh grades also serve as a foundation for content that will become even broader in high school while the eighth grade combined state and American History course addes a new perspective while reviewing basic content before high school American History.

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post any educator knows to always go to the standards when a curriculum question arises and so I did. Here are the standards for eighth grade Social Studies standards in Georgia as well as eighth grade Florida standards Notice that both courses follow an outline of American History. The standards that deal with Florida specifically are somewhat broad while Georgia’s standards are more specific noting people, places, battles etc. that the instructor should make mention of regarding state history.

So I believe it all comes down to the words “relative details” that FSB and I might disagree on. He states it isn’t important that Florida students know who Brevard, Duval, or Broward are, however, Flagler and Oscelola might hold relevance. I can see his point, however, I'm not sure why Duval wouldn't be mentioned when discussing how Florida became a territory and when looking at Native American relations with the influx of settlers under Duval's guidance. I also believe Broward deserves a mention when discussing U.S. and Cuban relations during their efforts in gaining independence from Spain since Broward and his ship The Three Friends played a role.

Certain key people are important. I believe Georgia students should know Oglethorpe by name since he is given credit as organizing the Georgia colony, however, it is no longer important for students to name every governor of the state or other various details that can now be retrieved as needed from various information sources including the Internet.

Social Studies has moved beyond name the explorer who, what year, and locate on a map type of assessments. We want students to be able to think critically about what they are learning and to connect their learning to details they haved learned in the past whether they are life long residents of a particular state or not.

I’ll admit if I was teaching state history I would prefer Georgia standards over Florida’s since they are specific as to the Georgia content that should be infused. It makes the guessing game regarding what is relevant according to state test makers much easier especially for the unfortunate teacher who moves in from another state and must take a self-directed crash course regarding state history.

It would also seem that after reading this article and after going directly to the standards my headache regarding FSB’s post has subsided. Eighth grade teachers in Florida are receiving assistance with relevant details to add in regarding Florida state history, and I would bet they receive some sort of assistance from the Florida State Education Department regarding state history details that should part of a basic framework for Florida state history….at least I hope so.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Problem: History Students Who Are Not Proficient in English

Every year I have more and more students who appear at my door throughout the year who cannot speak a word of English or students who have problems reading English. Though they are placed with our ESOL teacher for assistance with learning English it is still up to me to find someway for my new charges to understand American History.

It’s not easy.

I could have just added this new resource to the blogrolls and let you find it on your own, but I think it’s worth a mention.

Larry Ferlazzo has put together an excellent resource for teachers in the areas of English language learning in the disciplines of Social Studies and Language Arts.

He has thousands of links specifically accessible to English Language Learners and to younger native speakers.

Check out his Geography and U.S. History page that has links to textbook audio among many other things. I’m most excited about that! It’s a fantastic resource for your classroom, and it really doesn’t matter if you don’t use the Worldview or American Story textbook. Just think of the possibilities!

Make sure you check out Larry’s World History page and his samples of student work as well. He’s used many of the hundreds of tools at his site for students to create social studies projects, some of which you can see.

…and please, don’t forget his great blog as well.

I’m linked, are you?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

13 Things About the National Powwow

The National Powwow was recently held in Washington D.C. at the Verizon Center arena from August 10th through August 12th. The images from this fantastic yearly event are rich with the culture I try to teach my students. The facts and images I share here are mainly from the National Museum of the American Indian and from an online article at the USINFO website.

1. The word “powwow” comes from a Narragansett word pauwau, which referred to curing ceremonies in times long past. Once the English language reached North America the word came to be known as an Indian gathering or as a verb meaning “to confer in council”. In Indian Country, it came to mean a “secular event featuring a group singing and social dancing by men, women, and children.”

2. During the powwow, Native people pay homage to past, present, and future generations of Native Americans from all tribes through music, dance, giveaways, namings, and other ceremonies. In the past a single community would have their own celebrations and would not include other tribes. The National Powwow includes many tribes and creates a physical and spiritual circle where they are all free to share traditions, languages, songs, dances, foods, jokes, and blessings.

3. The most important thing to remember about the National Powwow is it symbolizes cultural survival and perseverance to celebrate and maintain Native identity into the 21st century.

4. The earliest powwow that was intertribal was the Ponca Powwow, which began in 1879 in Indian Territory, according to Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa), the NMAI National Powwow cultural advisor. “Indian Territory was truly intertribal,” Zotigh says. “Sixty-seven tribes were removed from their original homelands and placed in what was to become the state of Oklahoma. At the Ponca Powwow, many tribal members traveled more than 100 miles to participate in the intertribal singing and dancing.”

5. Many of the activities performed at the National Powwow have their origins at the ceremonial war dances of the Great Plains. The basis of the Powwow is taken from ceremonies performed by the Osage, Ponca, Kaw, Omaha, and Pawnee tribes. Many of the head staff positions in the powwow arena stem from ceremonial offices held by warriors. A powwow’s head singer, emcee, arena director, and head man dancer, for instance, are direct descendants of official positions in the Inlonshka and other ceremonies.

6. Several formal and religious observances take place during the Grand Entry that marks the beginning of the afternoon and evening sessions. You can see a list of Powwow events here. The Flag Song is the Native equivalent to the National Anthem, and is dedicated to the men and women who have served in the armed forces.

7. Attendees should never refer to “costumes” when speaking of Native dress. This is derogatory to many and implies garishness. It is acceptable to use the words “regalia” or “outfits”. A dancers outfit should never be touched without permission, though they are tempting. Many items---eagle feathers, dance sheilds, and clothing---hold personal, historic, and religious significance, and are cared for in a sacred manner.

8. Photography is allowed during a Powwow, but you should always ask for permission before simply snapping away. However, certain events prohibit photography, audio, and video recording such as prayers, Honor Songs, and Memorial Songs. If you attend a Powwow the emcee will always announce those parts of the program. What happens if an eagle feather is dropped in the area? A Pick-up Dance will be performed, in which one or more veterans are selected to pick up the fallen feather. An Eagle Bone Whistle Song and a special prayer are offered. No pictures would be taken during this time.

9. The front seats are always reserved for dancers and elders. Blankets and shawls are usually placed over them to reserve them. Never walk through the area.

10. Always move around the perimeter. Do not crowd the drum. Please allow sufficient space for drum judges, singers, and family members. Powwow organizers never allow any smoking, drinking, or drugs on the premises.

11. Rituals and dances associated with warrior honor societies are still performed, however today they honor American Indians soldiers serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as legendary warriors from the past. As in all other American Indian dances, performers must pay close attention to the drums because they are required to conclude the dance exactly on the last beat.

12. Many of the dances performed at the Powwow are faithful to early dances, but many have been modernized. The Green Dance was performed across America’s Great Plains during the late 1800s before declining in popularity. Recently it has become more popular. It is performed by male dancers with yarn fringes that represent prarie grass and is thought to be part of a complex healing ceremony.

13. So, why do members of the participating tribes go to so much trouble. In this article two tribal members said, “I want to show people that there’s more to us than what they have seen in the movies,” said Wylie Bearstail (Hidatsa/Arikara), a grass dancer. Rylan Baker (Hidatsa/Cree), who specializes in the Men’s Fancy Dance, agreed: “I hope that [spectators] will get a different perspective on Native Americans. We’re not savages; we’re just like anyone else.”

Visit other Thursday Thirteens here.

Dixie Roots: Another View of Theodore Roosevelt

Last week’s Wordless image involved one of the several Lincoln funeral processions that took place as Lincoln’s body was taken from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. Now you may be thinking I use this image when my students study the Civil War or Reconstruction, but I don’t.

I wait and use the image to introduce Theodore Roosevelt because it actually works better content wise for me to do so. Take a look at the picture by clicking on the word “wordless” above. The large three-story building on the left is actually the home of Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, owner of a very profitable plate-glass company, the owner of various properties around New York and in 1865 when this picture was taken he was the patriarch of the Oyster Bay faction of the Roosevelt family in America.

Notice the windows on the side. Look closely at the second floor window.

Can you make out the two small figures at the window?

During the procession so many people wanted to pay their respects and get a view of Lincoln’s coffin that people were willing to pay as much as one hundred dollars to secure a good view. The two observers in Mr. Roosevelt’s window, however, did not have to pay for the priviledge because they were his grandchildren---Theodore, age 7 and Elliot, age 5. Elliot was Theodore’s younger brother and would one day be the father of Eleanor, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My young students get excited about this. They like the fact that a young man who will one day be president is witnessing the funeral procession of another, as well as a future father-in-law of another president. Students begin our study of Theodore Roosevelt with interest levels at full tilt.

Theodore Roosevelt is a rather long name for my young students to write as they take notes so we decide early on to abbreviate his name to TR and that’s how I will refer to him throughout this piece. If I had to come up with a shortlist of presidents I would most like to have lunch with TR would be at the top of the list. His story is such a facinating one that it is easy to understand why so many people have tacked his life through biography, however, be warned…..a biography of TR can weigh as much as a five pound bag of sugar.

A Time Magazine article explains TR best:

They don't hold White House lunches the way they used to at the beginning of the century. On Jan. 1, 1907, for example, the guest list was as follows: a Nobel prizewinner, a physical culturalist, a naval historian, a biographer, an essayist, a paleontologist, a taxidermist, an ornithologist, a field naturalist, a conservationist, a big-game hunter, an editor, a critic, a ranchman, an orator, a country squire, a civil service reformer, a socialite, a patron of the arts, a colonel of the cavalry, a former Governor of New York, the ranking expert on big-game mammals in North America and the President of the U.S.

All these men were named Theodore Roosevelt.

The quote aptly describes TR, but it leaves out one important factor about his life that I find extremely fascinating. TR had very deep Southern roots of the best kind in my opinion…the Georgia kind. Now that little tidbit of information always perks my young students a bit and they become very interested in their “homeboy”.

It’s at this point that I bring up my main question for students to focus on. What do you think would happen if your father felt very strongly about something and your mother felt just as strongly in an opposite manner? Since divorce is a common factor with the majority of my students you can imagine where the conversation turns, but through the process we determine that we all have been in that type of situation. I remind students that in war we have also seen situations where families are divided. During the American Revolution many of the citizens of Savannah, Georgia split along generational lines with regard to remaining loyal or joining up with the Liberty Boys. It was very common during the revolution for many families to split with some families having members fight on both sides. Every year a few students recall our earlier discussion regarding Benjamin Franklin and his son William. They opposed each other in their thoughts concerning liberty.

I consider it a great moment when I teach something in history that at first glance can be very remote to my students, yet by simply bringing up a seemingly insignificant detail I end up creating a firm connection to our own back door. Within Roosevelt’s parentage is that insignificant set of details that connects a heavily entrenched Northern family with an even more heavily entrenched Southern family.

While TR hailed from a an old Northern American family of Dutch ancestory that believed in the abolitionist cause and were rabid Lincoln Republicans, the young children in TR’s home were heavily influenced by the romanticism of plantation Georgia by the Southern women who lived under his roof in New York.

Theodore Roosevelt’s mother was Martha or Mittie Bulloch and she hailed from Roswell, Georgia where she lived with her father, Major James Stephens Bulloch and his wife, Martha Stewart Elliott Bulloch. I’ve written about the Bulloch family and their importantance in early Georgia over at Georgia On My Mind. The post is part one of three part series.

Part two can be found over at American Presidents Blog. Part three will be published next week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wordless 36

If it’s August then Georgia fourth graders are probably studying Native American regions.

This is an image I use with students.

Can you identify the region, the tribe, and what they are wearing?

Thanks to all the visitors from last week. I have not posted my explanation yet, but will shortly.

Visit other Wordless images here.

...And Now Baby Boy Is Twenty-Two!

My, my, how time does fly! This time, twenty-two years ago, I was one miserable mom-to-be with swollen belly, swollen legs, and swollen feet.

It was worth it!

Dear Son was off to college yesterday for another round of academic stimulation, so we are planning to celebrate his big day this weekend.

We spoke early this morning. Before his dad and I could call him, he was calling us to find out if he had a 8 o’clock class or not. Seems in the hulla-balloo of him packing and leaving his class schedule was left behind. Yes, Mom and Dad are still needed.:)

This picture was taken in July at a family wedding. Dear Daughter is on the right, Dear Son is in the middle, and Dear Niece is on the left.

A much younger version of Dear Son was published along with my birthday wishes from last year.

Happy Birthday, Matthew! We are very proud of you, and love you very much!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Georgia Carnival 16

The Georgia Carnival is up.

This edition has posts covering all sorts of topics….teachable moments with Copperheads, evolution, Jose Padilla, Hillary and how she can improve her image, Gulfstream aircraft, the You Tube Presidential Debate, and handling anger.

There’s also a book review, a painting, a travel log, and restaurant reviews
Come on over to Georgia On My Mind and see the rest...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is It Friday Yet?

It's been one of those weeks.......hectic and hot.

The Military History Carnival has invaded American Presidents Blog while this week’s Education Carnival is in session over at Education Matters.

Go and enjoy while I sit here and rest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

13 Times Theodore Roosevelt Called Upon U.S. Forces

It's not just more recent times that the U.S. has been involved in military actions overseas. Theodore Roosevelt really did carry a big stick....

1. 1901-Columbia (State of Panama) - November 20 to December 4 - U.S. forces protected American property on the Isthmus and kept transit lines open during serious revolutionary disturbances.

2. 1902-Columbia - April 16 to 23 - U.S. forces protected American lives and property at Bocas del Toro during a civil war.

3. 1902-Columbia (State of Panama) - September 17 through November 18 - The United States placed armed guards on all trains crossing the Isthmus to keep the railroad line open, and stationed ships on both sides of Panama to prevent the landing of Colombian troops.

4. 1903-Honduras - March 23 through 30 or 31 - U.S. forces protected the American consulate and the steamship wharf at Puerto Cortez during a period of revolutionary activity.

5. 1903-Dominican Republic - March 30 through April 21 - A detachment of marines was landed to protect American interests in the city of Santo Domingo during a revolutionary outbreak.

6. 1903-Syria - September 7 through 12. U.S. forces protected the American consulate in Beirut when a local Moslem uprising was feared.

7. 1903-04 Abyssina- Twenty-five marines were sent to Abyssinia to protect the U.S. Consul General while he negotiated a treaty.

8. 1903-14 Panama - U.S. forces sought to protect American interests and lives during and following the revolution for independence from Colombia over construction of the Isthmian Canal. With brief intermissions, United States Marines were stationed on the Isthmus from November 4, 1903, to January 21 1914 to guard American interests.

9. 1904-Dominican Republic - January 2 through February 11 - American and British naval forces established an area in which no fighting would be allowed and protected American interests in Puerto Plata and Sosua and Santo Domingo City during revolutionary fighting.

10. 1904-Tangier, Morocco - "We want either Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead." A squadron demonstrated to force release of a kidnapped American. Marine guard was landed to protect the consul general.

11. 1904-Panama - November 17 through 24 - U.S. forces protected American lives and property at Ancon at the time of a threatened insurrection.

12. 1904-05-Korea - January 5, 1904, through November 11, 1905 - A Marine guard was sent to protect the American legation in Seoul during the Russo-Japanese War.

13. 1906-09-Cuba - September 1906 through January 23, 1909 - U.S. forces sought to restore order, protect foreigners, and establish a stable government after serious revolutionary activity.
and one more just to round out the list….

14. 1907-Honduras- March 18 through June 8 - To protect American interests during a war between Honduras and Nicaragua, troops were stationed in Trujillo, Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, San Pedro Laguna and Choloma.
Join in on Thursday Thirteen fun HERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wordless 35

This is an interesting picture for more than one reason.

It was taken in April, 1865 in New York. Yes, it’s the funeral procession for President Lincoln.

My explanation post will not mention Lincoln or anyone in his cabinet. I won’t mention the assassination or Reconstruction.

What is it about this particular picture that I could focus on?

No explantation from last week, but here's my offering.

Join and participate with others at the Wordless Wednesday site.

UPDATE: The explanation post for this image can be found HERE.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Name Calling

As I get older I find that I can’t remember names like I used to. Seating charts and assignned seats help, but when you make the August transformation from the serenity of your home cave to the rowdiness and confusion of the first few days of school it’s difficult to get a fix on five different groups of kids.

No matter how how I try I always end up saying things like,
“Hey, you….Hey kid……you there in the yellow shirt…” or “Yo, blonde girl…”, or my personal favorite name calling fiasco…

“Jim, will you answer number 3?”


“Jim, what about three?

“Yo! Jim?”

“Earth to Jim…”

I finally walk over to Jim. Jim looks up. “Jim, now that we have your attention, can you answer number three for us?”

“Sure, Mrs. EHT, but my name’s not Jim.”

I barely get out the word “Oh”as I slink back over to my stool amidst titters and downright guffaws.

How cold and cruel can they be? Somebody had to know his name wasn’t Jim. I know I have a Jim around here somewhere.....Why didn't he speak up? Is it May yet?

Well, my fine young charges had drawn a line in the …..carpet…..and I couldn’t let them continue to get the best of me.

While we finished going over our lesson questions I just pointed to students as I called on them and mentally hatched out my plot. I vowed to never forget a name as long as the school year lasted, or until I die, whichever should occur first.

We had a few minutes of time left before the end of class so I dove into my closet and pulled out my box of old, used file folders and the brand, spanking new boxes of Crayolas I had unpacked during pre-planning. I really hated to pull those Crayons out because I knew in mere seconds I would never see the boxes again, and the poor stubby sticks of color would wind up in the huge bin of forlorn and broken crayon pieces in the back of the room.

It was my mental health or the integrity of my Crayolas. My mental health won....

The kids, of course, erupted into choruses of “Hey, EHT, what cha’ doin’?” Some of the more antsey ones were already up on their knees trying to get a better view. Then the guessing began.

“I bet we’re gonna draw.”

“What are we gonna color?”

“Can we do it the way we want?”

“Are these going in the hall?”

“Do we have to draw?”

I grabbed a pair of scissors and began to cut each side of the file folders into neatly trimmed rectangles while they continued to throw out guesses. Finally, I sat on my stool…mainly to see if they remembered one of the quiet signals I had gone over earlier. Within seconds they were quiet, and I picked up a rectangle and began to tell them what we were going to do.

Yep…..we made deskplates, and here are the results….

I tell students they can keep them in the pocket of their folders, and at the end of every nine weeks those students that still have their nameplates will receive an ice cream on me from the cafeteria. Many still have them at the end of the year. They think they are smart because they manage to get four free ice creams out of me, but I like to think I’m the smart one because I don’t have to say, “Hey….Hey you…..!”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Did Lincoln Make a Deal With God?

This picture appears in many textbooks, tradebooks, and it also is presented online at the website Old Pictures, a repository of images from days gone by. This pictures was brought to my attention by Ed Darrell from Millard Fillmore's Bathtub sometime after I mentioned in a post I had added Old Pictures to my resource blogroll.

Here's a link to the picture as it is presented at the website.Go take a look at it and read the caption provided there.

One of the things educators often worry about is heavily biased websites that we might send students to for research purposes. Students should be shown biased websites and should be given tools to utilize in order to determine the slant or agenda a particular site might have when researching the Internet at school or independently at home. While the caption at Old Pictures is basically accurate it also leaves out important information.

I would utilize Old Pictures and the picture in particular when constructing a content laden lesson, which is a nice way to refer to the much derided but necessary teacher lecture, as well as a part of an independent project such as a webquest.

True, anytime religion is mentioned, teachers, especially in the public school arena, need to evaluate the religion component for its relevance. So, the question in this instance should be is the mention of Lincoln’s deal with God relevant to students’s understanding the content?

Head on over to American Presidents Blog to read the rest of my answer.

See What 51 Years Will Do: 1956-2007

I received this in an e-mail. I thought it was interesting. Tell me what you think is wrong/right...what should be added/left out.

Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.

1956 - Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack's rifle, goes to his car and gets his to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1956 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.

2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1956 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal. Sits still in class.

2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his father's car and his Dad gives him a whipping.

1956 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 - Billy's Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy's sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school.

1956 - Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1956 : Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 : Pedro's cause is taken up by state . Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can't speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed

1956 - Ants die.

2007 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary, hugs him to comfort him.

1956 - In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison.

Is something wrong here????

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

13 New Education Blogs I've Added to the Blogroll

With the school starting I thought it was time to add to the eduction blogroll, and I thought I would share my new additions since parents should really tune in to teacher blogs to get an idea concerning what is really going on in education.

Here are 14 (I just couldn’t stop at 13) education blogs to visit, and I have plenty more in the sidebar under “history” and “education.”

I could've given a description for each one, but part of the fun is to click through and enjoy exploring these new places on your own.

1. A Swiftly Tilting Planet

2. A Teacher's Education

3. A Tense Teacher

4. Aimless Miss

5. So You Want to Teach?

6. Jose Vilson

7. Dr. Homeslice

8. Parentalcation

9. School of Blog

10. Casting Out Nines

11. Just a Substitute Teacher Blog

12. Educator on the Edge

13. Mrs. B-G's English Blog

14. The Doc Is In

Do you "thirteen" on Thursdays? If not you can join up or link to others who do HERE.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wordless 34

500 years of women in art......

Isn't this just wonderful? A few people have worked very hard identifying every single image from this presentation....see it here.

The creator has a website here.

Participate in Wordless here.

Here is my explanation for last week’s image.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Carnivals Abound For the Weekend

The Georgia Carnival is up over at Georgia On My Mind. It’s going well and keeps getting a little larger each time. Come on over and see what the folks in the Peach State are up to.

Ms. Whatsit states where there are teachers there is food….and she’s right. In fact she has begun the Teacher Potluck Carnival. If you want some great recipes click on through.

Check here for the latest links to the Education and History Carnivals.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Forgotten Soldiers of the Great War

The Heritage of the Great War has a section which is dedicated to color images taken during World War I. The picture I posted this week for my Wordless image (click over and look at it) is of North African soldiers, mainly Algerians, cooking their meal during the Great War. The location is Oise, France in 1917.

It doesn’t look like France, does it?

I like to show this image to students because it teachers them images can be deceiving sometimes. What we think we know may not always be relevant, and we must always be willing to accept alternatives to our way of thinking. For example, most of us would not have dated the picture during the Great War (1914-1918) because we assume that the time period is too early for color photography. Most of us assume this because the images we have seen during this time period are black and white. The webpage I’ve linked to goes into an explanation regarding the color images. Here’s a sample:

The first experiments with color photography were carried out in 1904 near Lyon in France, where father Lumière owned a photographic factory. In 1907 the Lumière brothers patented the autochrome process they had invented.

The picture of the Algerians [in my Wordless image] was made with such an autochrome plate. Microscopic grains of potato starch were dyed red, green, and blue-violet, then mixed evenly and coated onto a sheet of glass. A black-and-white emulsion was then flowed over this layer.

During exposure, the grains of potato starch on each plate acted as millions of tiny filters. The light-sensitive emulsion was then reversal processed into a positive transparency.

When viewed, light passes through the emulsion and is filtered to the proper color by the starch grains. The resulting mosaic of glowing dots on glass gives autochromes the look of pointillist paintings.Autochromes were the first true color pictures, and the only industrial color photography process until 1935.

The web page points you to some specific pages where other autochrome images can be found. If you visit make sure you have some time to look around. This site is rather large. It contains many images and great articles. If you plan to use it with students I suggest you consider their age and maturity. Many images are rather graphic. I have used images from this site for my fourth and fifth grade studnets, however, they don’t have free access to it. I generally bookmark what I want them to see or present it in another format.

Now I’d like to turn away from the aspect of the early uses of color photography to examine the use of African troops during World War I. Many of the Algerian solders were known as the Terrible Turcos. It is said they fought so fiercely their French General had a difficult time holding them back when facing a larger enemy force. Many of the Germans were afraid of them. Algerians weren’t the only Africans involved in World War I. Troops from Senegal (seen in the image above) were also used by the French, and the British utilized South Africans. Over 500,000 African troops were used mainly by the French and British to bolster their armies. China, Japan, India, Egypt, and Canada also participated in providing laborers. Very few saw actual combat. Their strength was used mainly for manual labor such as building bridges and unloading ships.

So why would Africans be so willing to help France and Britain during the war? Usually nations assist nations because of ongoing treaties and alliances. In fact, a web of alliances is the main reason we refer to the Great War as a “world” war. However, France and Britain received assistance from some of the nations of Africa not because of desired alliances but because of imperialism which many of the world’s superpowers had been engaging in for quite sometime. France held Algeria and Senegal as colonies and Britain was involved with South Africa. It was only natural to the mother countries to utilize the full resources their colonies afforded them.
One of the saddest and mostly forgotten stories regarding the assistance of African soldiers has to do with a troop ship known as the SS Mendi.

On February 21, 1917 the steamship Mendi was carrying over 600 South Africans who were crossing the English Channel on their way to France through heavy fog. These particular men would not be bearing arms, but would be working as laborers. The SS Darro, a heavily loaded mailship broadsided the Mendi causing it to list sharply to starboard. Lifeboats could not be lowered from that side of the ship and the portside lifeboats were not sufficient to carry all of the men….many of the troops had never seen an ocean and many did not know how to swim. Some jumped from the deck sliding into extremely cold water. The fog made it difficult to see everyone. Many succumbed to the cold.

Another large number simply went down with the ship. Rev. Isaac Dyobha, a chaplain, attempted to calm and rally the men left on the deck. At Dyobha’s urging the men removed their boots and began dancing a death dance. Dyobha encouraged the men by saying:

"Be quiet and calm, my countrymen. What is happening now is what you came to do ... you are going to die, but that is what you came to do ... I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers ... Swazis, Pondos, Basotho ... so let us die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa ..."

Twenty-five minutes after the Darro had nearly cut the Mendi in two the sinking ship could no longer be seen. The death dancers were gone. The Darro offered no assistance to help with recovery; however another ship, the HMS Brisk, picked up scattered survivors. There was no official recognition from the British government to the families of the dead and missing. No member of the troops who were on the ship received a medal or ribbon. Based on a decision by the South African government only the white officers on board with the troops received any recognition.

An inquiry was held regarding the actions of the Darro and the captain of the ship was blamed for the accident. The ship was suspended for one year from use. Since that fateful day when so many men lost their lives divers hunted for the wreckage. It was finally located in very deep waters in 1945; however it was not officially identified as the Mendi until 1974. Once Apartheid ended in South Africa the history of the Mendi finally entered collective thought. Since then there have been many attempts to honor the dead and to place their memory into the history of World War I.

I like to teach this little known aspect of World War I because it gives a great global aspect to the problem of race relations far removed from the events of the American Civil War.
Those who want to learn more might want to see Let Us Die Like Brothers, a documentary produced by the History Channel and the Commonweath War Graves Commission.

Rounding Out the Week

One of the first blogs I placed on a links list was BibliOdyssey because the site is so unique and addicting.

The reason?

Damien English, in the latest edition of Edutopia magazine says it best in his article The Phantom of the Optical:

Somewhere in Sydney, a man quietly communes with his computer, pouring over visual “materia obscura” from every corner of the world and a wide spectrum of centuries. Through RSS feeds, bookmarked links, e-newsletter subscriptions, and search engines, he sifts through the web looking for art collections, exhibitions, archives of old engravings, and portfolios of contemporary graphic artists to share with the world.

This man isn't looking for any particular thing; rather, it seems he's looking for every beautiful, peculiar, or haunting piece of art that has ever graced the pages of a book. But what he's looking for exactly is not important -- what matters is that he's gathering up the gems and oddities he finds for a visually rich site called
BibliOdyssey, a splendid classroom-discussion tool and entrée into art and its history.

BibliOdyssey is a wonderful site and if you are not visiting it….you should.

The History Carnival is up over at Kevin Levin’s most excellent site Civil War Memory, and Dr. Homeslice has done a wonderful job with the Education Carnival at his site.

Which U.S. President do you think is the most obscure? A new poll feature over at American Presidents Blog wants YOUR input. Look for it in the sidebar.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to point readers towards Markeroni in order to introduce you to the gentle art of landmark snarfing. The site says:

Have you ever stopped to read a historical marker, or wanted to know more about an interesting old building?.....Beware! One snarf and you’re hooked.

The Markeroni site can be found here where you can get information on joining in….a great class activity for the year….and the Markeroni Blog can be found here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

13 Milestones in Geography

Perhaps it's been awhile since you studied geography. Here are 13 milestones in the field:

1. 2900 B.C.-The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is built. Perfectly square at the base and is aligned perfectly on North, South, East, and West lines.

2. 2300 B.C.-A map of the city of Lagash in Mesopotamia is carved in stone in the lap of a statue of a god… is the oldest known “city map”

3. 530 B.C.-The Pythagoreans teach the Earth is a sphere and not in the shape of a disk.

4. 240 B.C.-Eratosthenes calculates the circumference of the earth with near accuracy

5. 190-120 B.C.-Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer, is the first to use latitude and longitude.

6. 271 A.D.-Magnetic compass is used in China

7. 1000 A.D.-Vikings colonize Greenland and “discover” America, establish a colony in Newfoundland. Their stay is brief and has no lasting impact. The word discover has quotes around it because there are several theories concerning others who were first to discover, and let's not forget that the Native Americans who lived there already knew about it. :)

8. 1275 A.D.-Marco Polo arrives in China, enters the service of Kublai Kahn. Polo’s book appears in 1299.

9. 1375 A.D.-The Catalan Atlas is completed by Abraham Cresques and was commissioned by the King of France. It contained stories concerning the riches of Mali that told tales that gold “grew like carrots” and was brought up “by ants in the form of nuggets” and was mined by “naked men who lived in holes.”

10. 1405 A.D.-Chinese begin voyages in Indian Ocean under Admiral Cheng Ho who was later known as the Chinese Christopher Columbus for his wide ranging voyages.

11. 1492 A.D.-Columbus lands in the New World though he believes he has reached the Asian continent.

12. 1497-98 A.D.-Vasco da Gama becomes the first European to sail to India and back.

13. 1507 A.D.-the Walseemuller map names the New World after Amerigo Vespucci, not Columbus. There are other theories regarding how the continent received the name America besides the "Amerigo" story.

You can visit other 13s here.