Wednesday, February 27, 2008

13 Explanations for Something That Went Boom in the Night

I’d say that the last two weeks have been a little out of the ordinary. First we had an eclipse of the Moon…..we don’t have those every day. Then we had a satellite that hasn’t worked asince it was launched falling to Earth, and there was quite a commotion over where it was going to land, and of course, the threat of some poor community somewhere being doused with hydrazine fuel didn’t look promising at all.

Everything worked out though as I logged on to the Internet late last Wednesday evening and discovered world citizens could rest easy. The plan to blow up the satellite had come to fruition, and the errant school bus sized object was no more. Whew! That was a close one!

The next night was a normal enough night when sometime between 10:45 and 11 we heard and felt a tremendous sound that I have described as a boom, but it had a concussion…a shock wavy type signature with it. My husband and I spent a couple of minutes looking out the windows, listening out for sirens that we knew must be coming, and checking the skies for glows or smoke. Then I logged onto a link where I can hear calls being dispatched to law enforcement in my area.

It was pretty quiet at first and then I began to hear the dispatcher contacting deputies to check out loud noises in my area of the county as well as all the other areas of the county. The dispatcher finally said, “We are getting calls from all over the county and Carroll County (our neighbor to the west) is getting calls too.” I listened in for about 20 minutes and then gave up when I didn’t hear any explantions or reports given.

I love a good mystery and I’ve discovered several logical causes for the noise I and many, many others heard.

So, here are 13 possible causes regarding the big boom:

1. I logged onto a forum page or my area (you can see it here) and made an inquiry last Friday morning. Almost immediately I met up with a comedian who said the loud boom I head was thunder. Very logical, but I’m aware of what thunder sounds like, and what I heard wasn’t thunder. However, just to be scientific about the whole thing I emailed a local weather person at one of our Atlanta television stations and she advised there were no reports of thunder that night in the immediate Atlanta area. Guess we can forget that possible cause.

2. Another cause which came from the Topix forum was another comedian who decided that he/she must have been the one to cause the boom because their gastric region was highly distressed due to their dinner choice that evening. Seems like this excuse is also a loser because…..well, I don’t really have to tell you why, do I?

3. I also made inquiries with the Plantation Pipeline Company because some of their lines run directly out of Alabama into Georgia and go right through a portion of my neighborhood. They neither confirmed nor denied they experienced a problem that night. Later a very reliable source with the local fire department confirmed that if there had there been a problem with the pipeline it would have known to the fire department and they had no knowledge of it. So, I guess that explanation can be crossed off the list.

4. Now my weather person with the Atlanta affiliate did suggest that the sound could have come from a quarry that is located out my way. In fact, it’s right down the road. For years we have experienced the rumblings as they have set off dynamite charges, however, it’s always done during the morning and not late at night. Plus the sound wasn’t right, and as you will soon discover in my list I was by no means alone in my “sound experience.”

5. It could have been a meteor re-entering the atmosphere. I haven’t ruled this out, yet.

6. Could it have been the the Seneca Guns? I located this article dated February 8, 2008 from the Star News Online covering the area of southeastern North Carolina. It seems many citizens were reporting loud mysterious booms around 6:40 p.m. Several things have been ruled out such as military exercises, but apparently loud booms have been reported over the years in this area and in the New York and Connecticut areas as well. The sounds are blamed on the Seneca Guns. You knew I’d weave bits of history into this somehow, did you? The explantion is interesting, but I don't think it's my answer.

7. The newspaper article from number 6 mentioned material falling off the continental shelf. Hmmmm, I’m not discounting this possible solution, but I’m located a good distance from a spot where material would fall off the shelf, don’t you think? The locations in number 6 are near the coastline, so this could be a valid reason why that solution would work along North Carolina's coast.

8. The article also mentioned pockets of hot air which occur deep in the Earth, and don’t have a thing to do with number 2. Another disproved source, so far.

9. Earthquakes? This is logical, however, you’d think by now one of the local news outlets would be reporting it since it is extremely rare in the Atlanta area.

10. What about military jets breaking the sound barrier? I doubt this since I’ve heard a military jet break the sound barrier, and there is a cracking sound that I didn’t hear last Thursday night…plus there is usually a double boom.

11. This article (from almost a year ago…January, 2007) blames the weather……no, not the thunder thing again, but it quotes a meteorologist at the National Weather Service explaining that booms can occur when we have temperature inversions. These inversions are caused by rapidly dropping temperatures that trap sound waves close to the surface of Earth. This means, per the official, that the sound waves, when dispersed, are forced to move horizontally from their source, instead of upward and horizontally. I believe we have a winner for a possible solution regarding why so many people over such a large area heard the noise, but not the cause of the noise.

12, So, I asked my source with the local fire department if they or the sheriff’s department ever located a source for all the Douglas County 911 calls and was told no. There were no fires or explosions in the county during that time at all. However, many in the law enforcement and emergency fields did have a theory……..apparently they think debris re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere following the destruction of the errant satellite caused the noise. It is true that observers in the northwest got quite a show in the hours that followed the missile hit per this article. The article confirms that debris could continue to fall through the atmosphere over the coming days, and it quoted a Department of Defense statement that said, “Nearly all of the debris will burn up on reentry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days.” This article quotes Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating that none of the debris is larger than a football. I’m unaware if debris that size could create a noise as it re-enters the atmosphere. Feel free to comment if you know. However, Cartwright also confirmed that debris would continue to fall through Thursday (the night many heard the noise) and Friday, February 22nd.

13. ...and FINALLY, your payoff for slogging through all of this with me…Seems folks all across the area of the Tennessee Valley and not just my neighbors in Douglas County, Georgia heard and reported a noise last Thursday night. The Huntsville Times reported the same sounds I heard but all over the Huntsville area. This article confirms the confusion over the sounds which were heard in the Opelika area as well. Later they updated their report and advised Redstone Arsenal officials had finally come forward and admitted they were testing rocket engine motors last week. Here's a report from a Huntsville tv station and another.

Well, I sort of liked the satellite explanation, but since Redstone has stepped up, and after some thought I guess I’ll go with their explanation.

Wow, sound can really travel…..

Visit other 13s here.

Wordless 60: America: A Great Nation

The theme is America: A Great Nation.

How does this image show America is a great nation?......or does it? You decide and voice your opinion in the comments.

...and Another Year Makes Fifteen!

It’s hard to believe Dear Daughter is fifteen today. It seems like it was just yesterday when I wrote her birthday post last year, and now it’s time to do it again.

Of course, she’s not the only person born on this date. She shares her birthday with Chelsea Clinton, Ralph Nadar, and acrress Joanne Woodward. Dear Daughter also shares her special day with Elizabeth Taylor, Marian Anderson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and don’t forget John Steinbeck.

A short-list of historical events for February 27th include:

*The 15th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet in 837
*Henry IV was crowned King of France in 1594
*The first Mardi Gras was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama in 1703
*Washington D.C. was placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress in 1801
*Warsaw Massacre Russians fired on a crowd demonstrating against Russian rule of Poland in 1861
*John Menard was the first black man to make a speech in Congress in 1869
*A challenge (Leser v. Garnett) was made to the 19th amendment (allowing women to vote) was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States.
*U.S. troops landed on Iwo Jima in 1945
*The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from falling over.
*Supporters of the American Indian Movement began their occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of the 1890 Sioux massacre in 1973
*Terrorists occupy the Dominican embassy in Bogota in 1980
*Divorce became legal in Ireland in 1997.

Finally, what’s a birthday without knowing what the cover of Time Magazine looked like during the week of your birth? Here it is for February 27, 1993:

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter! Your father and I continue to love and support you in anything you choose to do. We marvel at your devotion to the Lord, your tenacity to do things on your own, and your depth of creativity!

Have a great, great day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fashion Sense...It isn't Just About Draggy Pants

I spent last Saturday in the land of my forefathers (North Georgia) celebrating the birth of my father as well the births of my niece and my daughter. Attempting to choose a gift for my father is an impossible task….either I can’t afford it, or he already has it.

I was pleased when Dear Father handed my husband a pair of computer speakers and had a perplexed look on his face. Dear Husband set to work hooking the speakers up, downloaded Real Player, and suddenly Dear Father’s music suddenly filled the room. We enjoyed tunes from the Big Band era while we ate a wonderful lunch prepared by my step-mother. I told my father since I had come empty-handed for his birthday the installation of his speakers was his present.

I remember reading somewhere that we often reach a point in our maturity where we become comfortable in our style of dress, and we no long experiment with fashion and musical styles. When I was young girl I still remember many of the ladies at church and at school who dressed in the style of the 40s and 50s instead of wearing Jackie Kennedy inspired outfits. One friend of my mother’s could have been Beaver Cleaver’s mother complete with the single strand of pearls.

Many of us become anachronisms meaning that our outward appearance and our various style preferences can be dated to an earlier time. In the 1830s, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. wrote about Major Thomas Melville, a real-life anachronism (he was also the grandfather of Herman Melville). Major Melville was one of the men dressed as an Indians at the Boston Tea Party and fought in the American Revolution. The Last Leaf, a poem by Holmes, describes Melville late in his life when he has reached anachronism status. The lines… But the old three-cornered hat, and the breeches, and all that, are so queer…identify the Major’s comfort zone as he continued to wear clothing from his heyday into his old age. I used the poem to teach about the anachronism concept and to revisit the Boston Tea Party because students always want to know who actually took part.

Go back a few hundred years and you can see drastic dividing lines between generations and what they preferred to wear and listen to. I believe it is harder today to date someone to a particular decade because current styles are so blended and the dividing line between various styles have become blurred. Nowadays if I wear a retro set of Nina platforms (how did I ever do that?) and a flaired skirt paired with a short vest I’m not only an anachronism to my own high school days in the late seventies I’m also very hip because my fifteen year old daughter has some of the same styles in her closet that we have bought brand new. If I go back to my early seventies days and choose to wear a short mini or a pair of low riding hip huggers (God forbid) I could also be accused of trying to look fifteen instead of simply being an anachronism to the era of my youth because Dear Daughter also has those same articles of clothing manufactured just a few months ago.

Since recent styles have become much harder to identify I’m not sure how my teaching colleagues will assist students in identifying the early decades of the twenty-first century, but it’s still fairly easy for me as I attempt to do the same with the first couple hundred years of American History.

I do know, however, that if you can get students to recognize certain forms of dress you have given them an important puzzle piece in analyzing historical sources. Political cartoons, a possible time period for a painting, or even a description of a particular individual can all become part of the questions with one of those pesky standardized tests, and being familiar with particular clothing styles is just one more skill that can become handy for students.

Knowing a little something about the history of fashion can also help to boost comprehension when students are reading a literature piece. Clothing can help to identify the time period which is just as important to the setting as location can be. This can lead to understanding certain details that only make sense when the time period and social mores are tumbled into the analysis.

Major Melville wasn’t the only anachronim walking about in the early 1800s. At one point my students discovered President James Monroe was a throw back to the Revolutionary era as well. One young man brought this to my attention when he came to me during independent reading time to show me an inappropriate word in a biography of James Monroe.

I identify the word and all the interesting details in my latest posting over at American Presidents.

Run along now….I’m sure you’re dying to know what word I had to address with students. I’ll be here when you get back.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Family Relations

My family tree is a little odd as I recounted in my post A Conundrum For You many months ago, so I don’t have any reason to cast aspersions against link-ups in other families, but I am highly intriged by them. The picture with this post is of course first cousins as well as husband and wife Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton from the movie and book Gone with the Wind.

Leaving the first cousin thing aside for the the moment…are Margaret Mitchell’s characters, Ashley and Melanie, based on her real life cousins……one being the infamous Doc Holiday?

Over at Georgia on My Mind I’ve posted The Hollidays, the Hamiltons, and the Wilkes: Real Connections?

I’d love to have you join me over there.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Angry White Man....An Interesting Species

Many thanks to the two loved ones who forwarded this column from the Aspen Times by Gary Hubbell (February 9th edition).

I wonder……are angry white men the forgotten faction in the American political process that the media and certain pundits are forgetting when they create their sound-bites and politcal forecasts?

Read Mr. Hubbell's column below, and let me know what you think?

There is a great amount of interest in this year’s presidential elections, as everybody seems to recognize that our next president has to be a lot better than George Bush. The Democrats are riding high with two groundbreaking candidates — a woman and an African-American — while the conservative Republicans are in a quandary about their party’s nod to a quasi-liberal maverick, John McCain.

Each candidate is carefully pandering to a smorgasbord of special-interest groups, ranging from gay, lesbian and transgender people to children of illegal immigrants to working mothers to evangelical Christians.

There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field. In many cases, he is an independent businessman and employs several people. He pays more than his share of taxes and works hard.The victimhood syndrome buzzwords — “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” — don’t resonate with him. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him. He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the company Christmas party, three sets of braces, three college educations or a beautiful wedding.

He believes the Constitution is to be interpreted literally, not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of a panel of judges who have never worked an honest day in their lives.

The Angry White Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun to defend his home and his country. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone who needs killing really doesn’t bother him.

The Angry White Man is not a metrosexual, a homosexual or a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina — he got his people together and got the hell out, then went back in to rescue those too helpless and stupid to help themselves, often as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter.

His last name and religion don’t matter. His background might be Italian, English, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, or Russian, and he might have Cherokee, Mexican, or Puerto Rican mixed in, but he considers himself a white American.

He’s a man’s man, the kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, hunt white-tailed deer, call turkeys, play golf, spend a few bucks at a strip club once in a blue moon, change his own oil and build things. He coaches baseball, soccer and football teams and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, weld a new bumper for his truck, design a factory and publish books. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant on time so that you keep the lights on and never know what it took to flip that light switch.

Women either love him or hate him, but they know he’s a man, not a dishrag. If they’re looking for someone to walk all over, they’ve got the wrong guy. He stands up straight, opens doors for women and says “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.”

He might be a Republican and he might be a Democrat; he might be a Libertarian or a Green. He knows that his wife is more emotional than rational, and he guides the family in a rational manner.

He’s not a racist, but he is annoyed and disappointed when people of certain backgrounds exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their race. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they work hard, play by the rules and learn English.

Most important, the Angry White Man is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.
He also votes, and the Angry White Man loathes Hillary Clinton. Her voice reminds him of a shovel scraping a rock. He recoils at the mere sight of her on television. Her very image disgusts him, and he cannot fathom why anyone would want her as their leader. It’s not that she is a woman. It’s that she is who she is. It’s the liberal victim groups she panders to, the “poor me” attitude that she represents, her inability to give a straight answer to an honest question, his tax dollars that she wants to give to people who refuse to do anything for themselves.

There are many millions of Angry White Men. Four million Angry White Men are members of the National Rifle Association, and all of them will vote against Hillary Clinton, just as the great majority of them voted for George Bush.He hopes that she will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, and he will make sure that she gets beaten like a drum.

Hubbell leaves no stone unturned, huh?

The problem is….it doesn’t look like Hillary will be the nominee. What’s a white guy to do, Mr. Hubbell?

The column and all 700 plus comments can be located here.

Blah, Blah, Blog also linked to the post and there's come interesting comments there as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Links to You!

I received a nice email yesterday from Ace’s Web World letting me know I had been included in the listings for “Best History Sites” over there. Look for the icon posted over in my right sidebar for a direct link to the list or follow this link here. I’d like to thank the Academy…….

As I surveyed the many, many contributions to this week’s Thursday Thirteen I saw a few that might be interesting to history types. Cross and Quill thirteened Noah Webster while Joy Is My Goal gave us 13 advertising icons from Texas. Yesiree, they do things BIG out there.

The Happy Wonderer posted info and pictures of a bonafide California mission, and Buck Naked Politics has been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I loved the 13 photos of paintings…..some your recognize…..some you won’t, but they are all beautiful.

And my final 13 I found with social studies value….. 13 Egyptologists Observations From Missy’s Window.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

13 Things About Elizabeth Cady Stanton

1. Her father Daniel Cady was hoping for a boy when Elizabeth was born in 1815.

2. Elizabeth got a lifelong exposure to the law in that her father was a lawyer, assemblyman, and congressman.

3. She excelled in Greek, Latin, and Math at Troy Female Seminary.

4. She married Henry Brewster Stanton, a prominent abolitionist. At first Elizabeth’s father objected to the match because Stanton had no means of support, but relented when Stanton agreed to legal training with his father-in-law.

5. Because the young couple were only focused on reforms they never obtained the type of wealth Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s parents or sisters enjoyed.

6. She had the word obey omitted from her wedding ceremony and then spent her honeymoon at the Anti-Slavery Convention held in 1840 in the city of London. She was a little miffed when women were not included as delegates at the convention.

7. In July, 1848 she spoke out for a women’s rights convention with Lucretia Mott and others. Later she drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments radically calling for the right to vote.

8. Susan B. Anthony also became a great friend of Staton. Together they spoke out against laws that discriminated against married women including statutes that denied married women the right to own property or even hold the guardianship of their children.

9. While many of the leaders of the early movement for women’s rights focused mainly on suffrage Elizabeth Cady Staton spoke out on many different issues involving women’s rights including equal wages and liberal divorce laws.

10. She believed the Bible was partial to men… much so she wrote a book called The Women’s Bible where sexism was discussed. Many of her colleagues in the women’s rights movement did not hold her views and many began to distance themselves from her.

11. She had a close working relationship with Susan B. Anthony where Stanton was the writer and Anthony delivered the speeches. After the Civil War when legislators were mainly focused on voting rights for black males Anthony and Stanton continued to speak out for women’s suffrage and formed the National Women’s Suffrage Association.

12. One fact I find amazing… of the reasons why Stanton stayed home and allowed Anthony the job of foot soldier in the movement was Stanton stayed home with her seven children. Anthony had no children and it was easier for her to travel. Interesting……

13. At her death she left behind an unmailed letter to Theodore Roosevelt asking for his support in the women’s suffrage movement.

Finally, a great quote from Stanton, “Whatever the theories may be of woman’s dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he can not bear her burdens.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wordless 59...America: A Great Nation

This is the USS New York. Some of the steel used to create this military vessel actually came from the ruins of the Twin Towers in New York.

Remember… theme is America: A Great Nation. So what do you think? Has our reaction to 9-11 made us a great nation? Does our military might make us a great nation?

You can find out more about the USS New York here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I've Been Hijacked!

Today may be Monday, but it has been a bit unusual…

Everyday when I log into the various email addresses I maintain I can usually count on at least two or three spam emails to brighten my otherwise drab little mundane life. They are pretty easy to identify, are usually repeats of emails received the day before, and with a mere click of the delete button the nasty little suckers disappear.

Today was a little different. I logged into one account and found not one, not two, not even five, but a whopping 75 messages. Gee, I thought, what did I do to make that many people get their knickers in a bunch?

Upon careful examination I soon thankfully discovered my angry reading public was nonexistent. What I had in my “in” box were 75 mail returns. It seems one of the Internet’s lovely spammers decided to use MY email address for some nefarious purpose.

Great! So far….no nasty return messages telling me what I can do with my filthy spam….only spam messages that did not reach their destination, but I have a feeling before long I’ll get a nasty note from someone.

While I could bemoan the lemons---75 of them and countin’--- that life has handed me I’ve decided to look for my old fashioned juicer and make some lemonade. If someone sends me a nasty drop dead note I’ll send them a nice reply explaining the situation and invite them to visit History Is Elementary. New readers, anyone?

Now, where’d I put that bag of sugar?

Btw….it seems this sort of thing happens quite often. Just Google “hijacked email” and you can get yourself quite an education.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Georgia Carnival: Edition 29

Regular readers of History Is Elementary are in for a treat as the Georgia Carnival has put up its tent here for the weekend. Hopefully visitors looking for the Georgia carnival will stick around long enough to see what History Is Elementary has to offer… isn’t just for teachers.

No matter the reason for stopping by welcome to
History Is Elementary, and welcome to the 29th edition of the Georgia Carnival…one of a very small number of state or regional carnivals being published today in the blogosphere.

The next carnival will be hosted over at
Georgia on My Mind two weeks from today. If you maintain a Georgia blog and would like to host the carnival at your site e-mail me to set up a date. It’s a great way to put your own personal spin on the carnival.

The last edition of the Georgia carnival can be found at
here, and the carnival archives are found here.

Due to some severe outages in my area (Thanks AT&T/Southern Bell) this was almost the carnival that didn’t happen. For that reason the submissions are presented in the order that they were received…..more or less.

Now… on to the highlights of Georgia blogging during the past two weeks. Please support these fine Georgia bloggers by letting them know you have visited them with a comment. Your continued support with your links and shout-outs at your site helps to alert others to what we Georgia bloggers have to offer:

Freddie L. Sirmans, Sr. wonders Can The US Prevent A Starvation Crisis? and Will the Euro Trump the Dollar? Big issues that deserve your input.

Every state needs a road geek and Steve Williams served admirably in that position. He presents A US 411 Connector Update posted at The Georgia Road Geek.

Moses E. Miles III gives us a character check-up and states, “Developing your character can lead to a hopeful more positive life.” Check out his post Celebrating Character posted at Three Sticks.

So what does a teacher do when the kids go home? Terrell shares what he did last week in his post Spring Has Sprung? posted at Alone on a Limb, saying, "A teacher walks the school woods looking for early signs of Spring." (His pictures are great!)

William Cotter better known in the Georgia Blogosphere as Paw Paw Bill states, “Everybody hates taxes--theirs, not yours. Yours are just fine.” So True. Read what else he has to say within his post Taxation With Representation.

I have a love/hate relationship with Home Depot myself, so I appreciate Paw Paw Bill's post Fall of the House of Homer .

This week at Georgia on My Mind I posted Moses Allen: A Great Georgia Transplant and over at Got Bible I thought about Love....the Greatest Thing.

John serves up another author interview with his post Never Challenge a Goblin to a Game of Rakachak: An Interview with Jim C. Hines posted at Grasping For The Wind.

Have you caught on to the fact that you can now watch many of your favorite television shows online? I have and it’s great! So has Kevin over at Satellite TV Guru. He provides The Best Places to Watch Prison Break Online.

Janet presents Buzzing With the Booties posted at Sky Girl Style. If I had to describe Sky Girl Style in one word I’d have to say “creativity” and I love the baby booties. This blog will be added to the Georgia blogroll in the next round of additions.

Another new addition will be Jen's Genuine Life. The tagline there states “a genuine native Atlantan mom of twins living life in the peach state”. Jen presents 13 Things about Republican Precinct Meetings and Conventions in the Peach State.

Felicia over at Fluffy Flowers presents Road Trip where we get a quick look at the lovely antique stores in Madison, Georgia and she provides another event from Lucky’s life with Scenes From a Vet's Office.

Russell over at Beer Pong Is Never a Good Idea has a few deep thoughts regarding The Modern Era, and I have to say I understand his position regarding cough syrup.

In case you were unaware this is the season of Lent. Pastor Bill over at Provocative Church asks the question, What is Lent and why do we do it?

Finally, the blogroll of Georgia blogs over at Georgia on My Mind contains several examples on online publications such as newspapers and magazines. Moonshine is one such example. It’s a magazine of the southern arts and the newest edition is available and free at the link. Go visit….the tagline states, “find the sublime by the light of the moon.” A few of the topics in the new edition include the National Symphony’s tour of South Carolina, and interview with the Blues pianist Eden Brent, photos of a pink dog, and something titled “Dumpster Diving For Roses”. Intrigued? I am.

The next edition of the carnival will be found at Georgia on My Mind on Friday, February 29th. Posts can be sent to or use the handy submission form. Submissions are due Thursday, February 28th by 6:00 p.m.

Thanks for your continued support of the Georgia Carnival!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

13 Rules Teachers in the Past Lived By

Members of my profession including myself continue to fuss, fume, and flip out over various educational reforms. The paperwork involved in order to maintain one class of students let alone maintaining six or seven groups is unimaginable Classroom management is a frenzied dance between federal and state laws, administrator demands, parental wants, and student needs.

Sometimes when I’m hanging on my the last knot in my rope I remember what it might be like if I was teaching school in the 1850s. Here are 13 rules and guidelines many teachers were required to adhere to.

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys [lamp globes], and trim wicks.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Teachers will make their pens carefully. They may whittle nibs to individual tastes.

4. Male teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

5. After 10 hours in school teachers should spend their remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in uncomely conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his/her earnings for his/her benefit during his/her declining years so that he/she won’t become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his/her worth, intentions, integrity, and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his/her labors faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his/her pay providing the Board of Education approves.

10. Teachers will maintain a garden on school grounds to provide additional food for themselves or students.

11. Teacher candidates must be at least 16, be able to read and write, do simple arithmetic, and have a clergyman’s letter in hand attesting to their sound moral character.

12. Teachers must attend a house of worship every Sunday.

13. Teachers must keep the school clean, haul any necessary wood to keep the stove going, bring water from the well, and start a pot to boil in the morning so students who bring their lunch can heat it if necessary.

Say what you want to about today’s difficulties….I wouldn’t go back to the “good old days” for anything.

Thursday Thirteen Participants
1. chuck
2. SJ Reidhead
3. Nicholas
4. Comedy Plus
5. Adelle Laudan
6. mama kelly
7. Jill
8. SandyCarlson
9. Cricket\'s Hearth
10. Susan Helene Gottfried
11. Bethany
12. Journeywoman
13. Gattina
14. forgetfulone
15. Pop Tart
16. susiej
17. Tilly Greene
18. Alasandra & The Cats
19. marcia v
20. Sarai
21. colleen
22. storyteller
23. Corina
24. ByrningBunny

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wordless 58: America...a Great Nation

This is an interesting image. What does it say to you? Is it providing a positive or negative image regarding my theme….America: A Great Nation? Leave me your link and your comment.

Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. SandyCarlson
2. Everlasting Love
3. feefifoto
4. melissa
5. forgetfulone
6. Euro Puppy
7. Jenny-up the hill
8. letha
9. Donna W
10. Jenny
11. Rebecca
12. maryt/theteach
13. VDog

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Out and About in the Blogosphere

What’s it going to take to fix education? Renewing NCLB? Throwing money at more programs? Giving ME more money for classroom materials? Getting YOUR candidate into the White House? Buying your newest book, video, or program? No, no, no, no….none of those. Mamacita’s got the answer in one simple word…BEHAVIOR.

Recently I updated my history links….several new links over there in my “history academics, topics, and educators” blogroll. Check it out!

Ms. Chili has a display up for Black History Month, and she knows the secret….make them interactive.

The Echoes of the Bugle Fades Away is Ms. Cornelius’ notice that there is only one World War I veteran left to tell the story.

I thought this post for Wordless Wednesday was interesting. Yes, it is the Statue of Liberty, but those are many, many soldiers forming it. Read all about it over there!

This Thursday Thirteen provides some interesting information regarding wild west outlaws and Kitschy-Kitschy-Coo is an interesting site regarding collecting. This post is about collecting vintage greeting cards and provides an interesting look at preserving history.

History Is Elementary has been reviewed not once but twice. I appreciate the honest reviews. We learn and grow when we have input from others.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Carnivals for Many Interests

Georgia blogger and fellow educator, Terrell, over at Alone on a Limb maintains the Carnival of Environmental Education. The February edition is being hosted here and Terrell advises the March edition will be returning to his blog next month. Check out all the different ways educators are using the great outdoors to engage students.

Interested in improving education? Interested in education policy? Then the education carnival is for you hosted at The Colossus of Rhodey. It’s not just lesson plans and theory. If education is your thing you can also check out the A Teacher's Life blog carnival and don’t forget the Carnival of Homeschooling.

The latest edition of the Georgia Carnival can be found here

Finally, lots of interesting postings regarding various history topics can be found at Historia i Media. This blog is written in Polish, but a large majority of the submissions are written in English so just click through the submission links and be surprised if you don’t have a translator program.

1,2,3,4...I Declare a Paper War!

Classroom management is never deleted from my list of ongoing concerns. Each new group of students…..heck…..each new school day brings a very different dynamic to the classroom depending on many varibles such as what went on at home the night before, what the student ate or didn’t eat, and whether or not my lesson is as educationally sound as it can be.

I’ve had my fair share of students that push my buttons, lack of administrative support, and I’ve dealt with some of the most incorrigible students our society offers today. It’s a real challenge to build a relationship with these students as they struggle with me for control of the classroom, but that’s always my focus. With a small degree of our student population more punishment does nothing. I try to remain on the positive side as much as possible.

I’ve read the current literature regarding classroom management, but sometimes great ideas for handling discipline issues come from history. After reading a biography of James Madison by Ralph KetchamI was inspired to try something out with a particularly rambunctious group of fourth graders that were stepping on my last nerve.

So, you have “paper war” in the title, a reference to James Madison, and a hint of a fun classroom management strategy. Are you intrigued? The remainder of my post is over at the American Presidents Blog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

13 Former Secretaries of State

The Secretary of State is a cabinet position concerned with U.S. foreign relations. The Secretary of State is the head of the U.S. State Department, and the position is the highest in the cabinet hierarchy regarding presidential succession.

This is a long post with lots of links. Even if you only read one or two entries I guarantee you will learn something.

1. Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary of State and served under George Washington.

2. John Marshall is more commonly known as a judge on the Supreme Court, however prior to that appointment he represented the administration of John Adams as Secretary of State. Marshall met with the French during his time in office and negotiated an end to the Quasi-War also known as the Pirate Wars and a French/U.S. alliance. Many people don’t know about the Quasi-War so click through and enjoy a new tidbit of knowledge.

3. Henry Clay served under President John Quincy Adams and he is more commonly remembered as “The Great Compromiser” in the U.S. Congress, and he ran for president unsuccessfully five times. He was appointed to the office of Secretary of State in 1824 which was dubbed by Andrew Jackson as “the corrupt bargain”. Clay had also run for president along with Jackson against John Quincy Adams. Read about the election here.

4. John Forsyth was among other things a former governor of Georgia. He served under Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. As Secretary of State he led the U.S. government’s position in the Amistad case.

5. Daniel Webster represented Presidents William Harrison and John Tyler as Secretary of State as well as Millard Fillmore. Webster had a varied career as a lawyer and Congressman as well. He argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court including McCulloch v. Maryland. As Secretary of State he took park in the Caroline Affair which I wrote about here. In 1850 he became Secretary of State for President Fillmore. Ever hear about the Hulsemann Letter? Webster wrote it defending America’s right to become involved in the politics of Hungary. Seems we were sticking our noses in other peoples’ business way back then.

6. Lewis Cass served under President James Buchanan but resigned when he felt Buchanan wasn’t being as strong as he thought he should be regarding the secession of southern states.

7. Hamilton Fish was Secretary of State for President Ulysses Grant. He negotiated the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain in 1871 and worked with Spain to end tensions with South American countries.

8. James G. Blaine served under Presidents Garfield and Arthur. He served in Congress and is remembered for his work regarding the separation of church and state. Maybe you are familiar with the Blaine Amendments? During his time as Secretary of State he organized and led a Pan-American Congress.

9. John Sherman was President McKinley’s man. Does the Sherman Antitrust Act sound familiar? Yes, he’s “that” Sherman. His brother was Major General William Tecumseh Sherman. Unfortunately he wasn’t a big hit as Secretary of State and President McKinley replaced him.

10. Elihu Root served as Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt after also serving as Secretary of War. Highlights on his hit parade include an Open Door Policy in the Far East, getting South American governments to participate in the Hague Peace Conference, and the Root-Takahira Agreement which limited Japanese and American naval fortifications in the Pacific.

11. Frank B. Kellogg….Presidents Hoover and Coolidge called Kellogg Secretary of State. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for co-authoring the Kellogg-Briand Pact

12. Dean Rusk …I included Dean Rusk because he was born in the very same county that many of my ancestors were born…..Cherokee County, Georgia. He served as Secretary of State under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was a firm believer in military action in order to keep Communism at bay during the Vietnam era. He was a controversial figure during controverial times.

13. William P. Rogers served under President Nixon. He attempted to secure peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict through the Rogers Plan

Thursday Thirteen Participants
1. Miranda
2. Peter Plum
3. Tilly Greene
4. Rasmenia
5. Robin
6. Starrlight
7. geek-betty
8. Harris Channing
9. Nicholas
10. Pop Tart
11. Deanna Dahlsad
12. Matthew James Didier
13. Celticlibrarian
14. Melanie

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Wordless 57: America, a Great Nation

Welcome to a new chapter in my wordless images. Read about the change I've made here. Look in comments for a short explanation about this image.

Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. Shannon
2. liza
3. Helena
4. Helena
5. aldon @ Orient Lodge
6. Kat\'s Krackerbox
7. Robert
8. Bobbie
9. MamaGeek
10. maryt/theteach
11. Momisodes
12. mamacita tina
13. Shelia
14. Diana
15. wildcatsthree
16. Qtpies7
17. Morning Rose (Lost)
18. Natalie
19. Andrea
20. PMKU
21. Gabriel
22. Yummy
23. Mariposa\'s WW
24. Lib
25. Siani
26. GreenBucks
27. feefitoto

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A New Direction for My Wordless Images

Every nine weeks I attempt to make some changes in the classroom. I shake it up by changing little things like the room arrangement or changing up regular activities such as spelling assignments. We might line up for lunch differently or begin the day with a different type of activity.

Who wants to get into a rut, right?

Understanding that some change is good I’m suspending my wordless image guessing game for an undetermined period. I have enjoyed posting images that make people think, images that have sent some readers off to research on their own, and images that I’ve shared with students in my classroom. However, interest has peaked, and it’s time to move on to a new procedure to participate in the Wordless Wednesday community.

Keeping in line with my history theme at History Is Elementary I will be presenting images each week based on the title America: A Great Nation. Images will be based on what students, friends, family, and readers tell me are the ingredients to America’s success…..not just my own interpretation. There will be no explantation post for the image. I will identify what the image is in the comments and invite you to provide your opinion regarding the image in comments as well.

Naturally everyone has a different idea as to what makes the United States a great nation mainly because the word “great” can be interpreted in so many ways. Some of the images I post may be very controversial. You might not think the images are great. They might be offensive to you, repulse you, enlighten you, or even entertain you.

My goal is to elicit some conversation and I’m hoping YOU will participate.

My first image in the America: A Great Nation series can be seen here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Comparing and Contrasting Campaign Ads

The Super Bowl of election primaries is tomorrow. Tuesday will be D-Day in Georgia as well as many other states. What better way to remind the adults in my student’s lives to get out and vote than by providing an opportunity for students to compare and contrast campaign ads! More often than not the exercise ends up being a parent-child discussion on the way to ball practice, on the way home from daycare, or the subject of dinner conversation.

First using Ease History we begin by looking at campaign ads from the past. As we watch them we categorize the ads into the following categories----biographical, issue-oriented, values-laden, and negative. These terms come from a lesson plan at the website found here.

Once we have looked at several examples for each category I divide the class into groups. Each student receives a work sheet with the following questions (taken from this page):

Group Members:
Candidate in Ad:

1. How would you categorize your ad? (biographical, issue-oriented, value-laden, or negative)

2. Describe the language and tone of the ad? Is the narrator a male, female, or the candidate? Does the ad specify an action for the viewer (i.e. to elect the candidate, to visit the candidate’s website, to vote against the opponent)? How do language and tone shape the overall message?

3. How do words, images, color, music, camera angles, lighting, people, and symbols contribute to the message of the ad? Do you think they are effective?

4. Did this ad influence you? Did you learn from it? How did it appeal to you? How would you change it to make it more effective?

During our look at past campaign ads I also provide opportunities for students to answer the questions they will encounter during the group portion of the activity so that once they are are on their own they are familiar with the direction I’m trying to take them.

This activity meets several of Georgia’s standards for Language Arts as well as Social Studies.

Here are ads for each of the candidates that are still viable. I only took ads that were uploaded to You Tube by the candidate’s campaign. I tried to choose ones that have aired on television.

Now it’s your turn….Choose an ad or view them all and tell me which one(s) appeal to you, if you dare. :) I haven’t decided yet which candidate I will be voting for. Perhaps your response will influence my vote.

Mike Huckabee

John McCain

Mitt Romney

Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blending Styles and Intelligences

When we acknowledge that students have multiple ways of learning and ways of showing that they understand, we move away from working to match and fit students into the exisiting curriculum toward creating new curriculum to meet students’ strengths (Silver, Strong, & Perini, 2000). I could not agree more, and it is the very reason why the lesson I relate here provides various ways to meet the strengths of all students, but also provides opportunities for students to stretch beyond their comfort zones.

The following lesson provides many opportunities for students to to access content through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing what they are learning. A large number of my students have had great success by manipulating the content through various learning styles, preferences, and modes such as reading, writing, and speaking.

While this lesson involves Native American regions other content such as exploration or the 13 colonies can be easily inserted into the format. The standard this lesson was based on focuses mainly on regional resources and how those resources provided food, shelter, and clothing for tribes such as the Chinook and Haida.

Since my students are nine and ten years old and are experiencing a formally sequenced American History course for the first time I generally begin a new topic by utilizing the textbook. For this particular lesson I started with general statements about the region as well as the tribes students would encounter and presented them as an anticipation guide for students to predict true or false. Laura Robb states in her book Teaching Reading in Middle Schoolthat taking the time to engage students in strategy lessons that prepare them to read a text can develop a strong base of prior knowledge that deepens students’ comprehension of books and other texts, which in turn helps them to construct new understanding (2000). Anticipation guides provide opportunities for students to become more attuned to their individual opinions about a variety of issues brought forward during reading and thus, are more apt to make personal connections to those issues as they read (Vacca and Vacca, 2004).

After students had had a chance to share with a partner their responses to the true and false statements we listened to a compact disc recording of the text while students followed along. I stopped the disc following each section of text and students discussed what the text had uncovered. I used questions to check for understanding and pointed out particular text features such as maps and pictures.

After reading the text I asked students to revisit the anticipation guide and review their answers. I encouraged students to volunteer their prior answers and identify answers that needed to be updated based on the text information. Following a short discussion I presented a concept organizing web on the board for students to copy in their notebooks. In the middle of the diagram was the title Northwest American Indians. Three legs extended from the middle circle. One leg was labeled food, another was labeled clothing, and the third leg was labeled shelter.

I asked students to revisit the text and working with their tablemates they should be able to fill in the organizer with the resources discussed in the text and how it was used. I encouraged students to draw sketches, as well, indicating the type of shelter, foods, and clothing the tribes of the Northwest used.

Once I observed students were close to being finished I called time and I asked each group to volunteer information they had found. I completed the diagram on the board per the information students gave me, and asked students to verify the information on their diagrams with the diagram on the board.

The following day I felt students had enough practice with the content to go it alone with various assignments I had structured for students to rotate through. Task rotations allow students with different learning styles to acquire the content and skills in the ways that best meet their needs and strengths as learners (Silver, Strong, and Perini, 2000). Assignments included creating flashcards for the lesson vocabulary including definitions and illustrations, writing an informative paragraph about the Northwest region, analyzing a diagram of two types of tribal canoes from the Northwest region, viewing a Powerpoint presentation I put together showing many images from the Northwest region, and creating a totem pole based on pictures and designs I have collected and maintain in a folder.

Students rotate through the various activities. Some are low maintenance on my part so that I am available for other students as they are involved in more complex tasks such as organizing the canoe diagrams or writing the informative paragraph. Low ability writers are given more support with various modifications such as a paragraph frame.

This type of two-day lesson format is common in my classroom. I attempt to hit various learning styles and preferences as well as include many activities that are based on reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing content. This type of lesson framework provides a comfortable atmosphere as students complete activities that match their learning styles and preferences while they are also safely prodded to go beyond their comfort zone.

NT learners are given an opportunity to think through the material on their own as they prefer to structure material while they craft their paragraphs (Silver, Strong, and Perini, 2000). ST learners prefer assignments that are logical and useful so they attack the flashcard activity with zeal because they realize they can use the cards to study with (Silver, Strong, and Perini, 2000). SF learners are comfortable because group activities give them social moments. The very content of the lesson gives SF learners information that directly influences the Native American’s lives rather than impersonal facts or theories per Silver, Strong, and Perini (2000). NF learners are imaginative and look for new ways to express themselves. What better way to do this than by creating your own totem pole!

This particular lesson provides all sorts of opportunities to satisfy many of the intelligences. Verbal-linguistic students have opportunities to read, write, speak, and listen to content as well as each other. Logical-mathematical students can use their deductive skills while locating and recalling information from the text. Spatial students are satisfied through the diagram activity, the power point, and the creation of the totem pole while Bodily-Kinesthetic students give their hand-eye coordination a workout to make sure the totem pole has the right proportions. The group work provides students an opportunity to experience the interpersonal style by creating the paragraph and the internalization of vocabulary during the creation of the flashcards helps students experience the interpersonal style. The Naturalist style is satisfied through the content which is heavily infused with images and descriptions of the Northwest region. By using a CD of Northwest Indian tribal music or chants I affirm and encourage the music intelligence.

This lesson is one of five that I utilize regarding Native American regions. They are all similar with the exception of the region. The last time I gave my benchmark assessment for the unit which covers all five Native American regions required by state standards 40 out of 50 students earned an 85 or higher on multiple-choice test even though the test is not the best tool for assessment for some students. I believe by including activities that hit upon all learning styles and preferences, by making sure students have opportunities to read, write, speak, listen, view, and visually represent content, and by including research-based reading strategies such as the anticipation guide I am helping all students to succeed.

*Robb, Laura. (2000). Teaching reading in middle school. NY: Scholastic Professional Books.
*Silver, H.F., Strong, R.W., & Perini, M.J. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating
learning styles and multiple intelligences
. Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.
*Vacca, R.T. and Vacca, J. (2004). Content area reading. (8th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Image Credit: From this worthy blogger

Related Post: Get Out of the Box

Friday, February 01, 2008

Weekend Reading Material

The Georgia Carnival is up over at Georgia on My Mind. Some of the posts that really stood out as I was putting it together last night were:

An interestng look at the prosperity gospel and capitalism. Is it a natural merger?

Of course we wouldn’t want you non-Southern types to loose those stereotypes you have concerning my Homeland so there’s some Liveass Possum Chasin' from Ashes and Glass.

The Shelbinator is a street reporter for MTV’s Choose of Loose. Read and view his experience during the MLK weekend political events in Edwards, Obama, the Secret Service and Me. I would hope teachers are using the election for several teachable moments, and blogs can provide great resources to show how citizen journalism can have an effect on Campaign ’08.

A GOP Georgiacast from Paw Paw Bill

And finally….. Should Georgia officially apologize for slavery?

If that’s not enough weekend reading for you tune in to the most recent education carnival found at Creating Lifelong Learners.