Saturday, December 30, 2006

President Ford's Tree

We’ve heard about President Ford’s integrity. His stellar athletic career has been discussed, his Congressional record, and the fact that he served as President and Vice-President without having one single American vote him into office.

We’ve heard numerous discussions regarding his pardon of President Nixon and debated if President Ford made the correct decision. The effect the pardon had on Ford’s subsequent election loss to President Carter has been discussed ad nauseum.

I’ve neither heard nor read anything within the last few days that discuss an event that is known, but is rarely dealt with in the realm of historical “Monday morning quarterbacking”. I’m a little mystified by it. For a couple of days during August, 1976 our nation stood toe-to-toe with an enemy who had attacked two of our soldiers without provocation resulting in President Ford staring down the gunbarrel of World War III erupting in his face,

….and it was all over a tree.

If you are a regular reader of History Is Elementary you know by now you will need to click over to American Presidents,where I have been given a wonderful opportunity to post about presidents, for the rest of this story.

Friday, December 29, 2006

History Is Elementary Has Given Birth!

The New Year is a time of reflection, goal setting, and new beginnings. While I'm working on the reflecting and goal setting I have already had a new beginning of sorts.

History Is Elementary has given birth to a four post (so far) baby blog called Georgia On My Mind. So far in the TTLB ecosystem my baby blog is lower than an insignificant microbe.

I've felt the need for some time for a blog such as Georgia On My Mind simply because Georgia history is so interesting and our current events are worthy of making note of. Georgia is a vast state full of interesting characters, marvelous land formations, and lots of political action.

I've been ferreting out and reading several Georgia blogs of late and I have seen some really great ones. Currently I'm trying to gather up as many Georgia blogs as I can and link to them so they are all listed on one webpage. I also am forging ahead with a blog carnival for Georgia bloggers. Even though many folks are off line this week I've still planned the first blog carnival to be up on Friday, January 5th. Both of my children ate solid food, walked and talked early, so I see no need in waiting with my baby blog. We'll have a carnival even if the only post is mine.:)

It's hard work birthing a new blog so forgive links that don't work and spotty posting over the next few days. If you know a Georgia blogger please contact them and send them my way. Georgia On My Mind is listed on my blogger profile now so you can use that link or you can click here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Carnival of Education: The 99th Version

Darren over at Right On the Left Coast is hosting the 99th Carnival of Education.
It's amazing how time flies.
Hurry on over and find out what is going on in the world of education before the cotton candy gets all gummy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thursday 13 Version 7: Top Influential Americans

Thirteen Things about The Top Thirteen Influential Americans
Atlantic Magazine has published the 100 most influential Americans compiled by ten eminent historians. Here are the top 13 for your viewing pleasure. The entire list can be seen here. While there might be some people who could be added here and there, I was pleased with the list overall. The authors covered all aspects of American life from politics, business, education, science, and religion.

Taken directly from the Atlantic Monthly site:

1. Abraham Lincoln-He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding
2. George Washington-He made the United States possible---not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself.
3. Thomas Jefferson-The author if the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.”
4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt-He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it.
5. Alexander Hamilton-Soldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power.
6. Benjamin Franklin-The founder-of-all-trades----scientists, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.
7. John Marshall-the defining chief justice, he established the Supreme Court as the equal of the other two federal branches.
8. Martin Luther King, Jr.-His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real
9. Thomas Edison-It wasn’t just the lightbulb; the Wizard of Menlo Park was the most prolific inventor in American history.
10. Woodrow Wilson-He made the world safe for U.S. inverventionism, if not for democracy.
11. John D. Rockefeller-The man behind Standard Oil set the mold for our tycoons---first by making money, then by giving it away
12. Ulysses S. Grant-He was a poor president, but he was the general Lincoln needed; he also wrote the greatest political memoir in American history
13. James Madison-He fathered the Constituition and wrote the Bill of Rights.

American Presidents has created a mini-list from the Atlantic list compiling just the presidents on the list. It can be seen here. The most amazing find at the Atlantic site is the list of links to articles written by some of the famous Americans on the list. These writings were actually published in Atlantic Magazine. They include a ballad written by Abraham Lincoln, a letter written by Harry Truman which gives his justification for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima, a nuanced portrait of Churchill by Eleanor Roosevelt, an essay authored by W.E.B. Dubois urging members of his race to achieve “self-respect” and “self-realization”, and an essay written by J. Robert Oppenheimer, inventor of the atomic bomb in which he encourages Americans to take responsibility for the world’s fate. These writings and many more can be found at the Atlantic site here.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Lady Liberty and Her Boys

It is amazing to me that it took right at 146 years for this great nation of ours to create a permanent home for our judicial branch of government. The building’s cornerstone was finally put in place in 1932. At that time Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said, “The Republic endures, and this is a symbol of its faith.” I believe it one of the most beautiful symbols of our proud Republic.

We have President turned Chief Justice, William Howard Taft, to thank for the construction of the magnificent Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. He was instrumental in seeing that Congress authorized the construction.

This week’s Wordless Wednesday is the image from the western pediment.

west pediment

Thank you for all the wonderful participation in this week’s offering. Angelo was the first to indicate that one of the figures is Lady Liberty. Hootin'Anni correctly identified the location as Washington D.C. while once again A.M. Whittaker was dead on. Teachergirl made a valiant effort in guessing some of the figures are Moses, Confucious, and Solon. She was speaking correctly but they are on the eastern pediment….not the image I posted. Moses, Confucious, and Solon are all three on the eastern pediment to represent the three great Eastern civilizations from which U.S. law was derived. I find it interesting that the tablets Moses holds are empty.

Getting back to the image I posted...

Robert Aitken was given the job of sculptor for the western pediment. He worked in the shed seen below as he carved the figures.

supreme court under construction

Aitken placed Liberty on her throne in the middle guarded by Order and Authority. Aitken later described Liberty as “looking confidently into the future with the scales of justice across her lap.”

On either side of Order and Authority are three figures which depict Council and Research.

Aitken modeled these figures after several prominent figures in law or after persons who had a hand in the creation in the Supreme Court Building to include on the far left Chief Justice Taft as a young boy at Yale. He represents Research Present. Look at the image below and examine Taft's reclining figure. To his immediate left can be seen a crown which one Supreme Court website states is the English crown. Taft is also looking towards a Pope's miter and a Bishop's crosier. Second from the left is Secretary of State Elihu Root who introduced Taft’s bill to create Washington’s Fine Arts Commission. He is one of the two figures representing Council. The figure seen third from the left is the building architect, Cass Gilbert.

Left Side of West Pediment

On the far right is John Marshall, Chief Justice from 1801-1835 representing Research Past. The figure second from the right is the sculptor himself, Robert Aitken, while the third figure from the right is Chief Justice Hughes who succeeded Taft. Hughes is the second figure representing Council and was also chairman of the building commission.

west pediment

Finally, here is one of my most favorite pictures. The columns are soaring up towards the wonderful coffered ceiling.

supreme court columns

The Supreme Court building is simply that....SUPREME!

The Death of a President

My son came in last night and told my husband and me about President Ford passing away. I was totally unaware even though I had been on the Internet all evening doing this and that. He was 93, our oldest living president, and he had been ill for sometime. He passed away at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.yesterday.

Though I was born during the Kennedy administration, was a toddler during Johnson, and remember most of the end of Nixon’s presidency, President Ford was the president I most remember as a young person. In October I wrote this piece for him that appeared at here at History Is Elementary and at American Presidents.

He was a very interesting and honest man. We will be learning many more things about him over the coming days. One of the most interesting facts about our 38th president is he served as president and vice president but was never elected by the people.

President Bush’s official statement regarding Ford’s death can be seen here, and the Ford Presidental Library site can be found here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wordless Wednesday Five

Wordless Wednesday is up a little early this week due to the holidays.
Who is involved in this cast of characters?
Update: Thanks for all of the great participation with this week's image. You can view my explanation here. Come back and play next week.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

See....knowing latitude and longitude is something you might need later!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Very Needed Surprise!

In light of my low-key Christmas I discussed earlier I received a very needed surprise yesterday. When I wasn’t looking History Is Elementary was added to the top 100 education blogs by the Online Education Database. Many of my blogging friends are there and many new finds (to me) are there as well. Looks like I have plenty of sites to visit. I’m sure many of the unfamiliar will become fast friends in the days ahead. I’m honored to be included and emailed the staff at OED to thank them.

Here are some blogs I’m already familiar with…….A big congrats to them!

Moving at the Speed of Creativity
This Week in Education
D-Ed Reckoning
Education in Texas
Jenny D.
Are We Doing Anything Today?
Christopher D. Sessums Blog
NYC Educator

Here are three that I look at often, but have been too overwhelmed with items on my “to-do” list to link to them:

The Stingy Scholar
2 Cents Worth
Education Intelligence Agency

Enjoy perusing this lengthy list of sites in the on-line community for education!

I'm Not Trying to be the Grinch...Really

There is no Christmas tree at my house this year. There is no baking, there is no caroling, there is no deck the halls, or fa-la-la. I have been home all week until today….no shopping, no lunches out, no nothing. Well, some writing was done here on my diversion from housework and lesson planning. I did do a bit of shopping today, but only because it has gotten to be the last possible minute and even the Grinch had a heart in the end.

My family has been very supportive of my decision to not unpack Christmas and drag it about the house. It’s just not in me. The sheer thought of having to make Christmas is simply too overwhelming this year. I think I’ve finally reached the apex of my grieving and folks simply need to let me be. No more fending and fighting it off…..I need to wallow and flop about in it. I need to be messy with it and let it ooze from my pores.

When my father-in-law reacted with surprise and shock as we discussed our “no tree” Christmas I joked and told him I was attempting to revive the custom of mourning which of course, used to dictate what some could and couldn’t do for up to a year or more. No, I’m not going to do anything to that extreme, but I need a quiet Christmas.

If you are new to this blog then you may be unaware that my mother passed away after a very lengthy illness on July 15th. I posted about her here, here, here, and here. Many of you went out of your way to console me and believe me I was touched. This blog has saved my sanity more times than I can count. The week following Thanksgiving Dear Sister lost her mother-in-law. Can you imagine….loosing your mother and your mother-in-law within four months of each other? I guess you could say Dear Sister’s mother-in-law’s funeral sent my grief to the top of a pot ready to be skimmed. I’m attempting to skim as fast as I can but sometimes…..

I write to cope…Dear Sister makes the loveliest mongrammed purses you’d ever want to see (a picture will be forthcoming soon) and works practically 24/7 as her coping mechanism. Dear brother-in-law is just beginning the process.

Once again this past week a reader, a fellow educator, contacted me and wanted to send something my way. I had no idea what she wanted to send me. Here is what my wonderful colleage, my fellow blogosphere citizen, my lovely friend, Butterfly Angel, sent to me:

Dear EHT,
I remembered that you suffered the loss of your mother and I wanted you to know that I hadn’t forgotten. The attachment was given to me when my dad passed away two years ago, December 19th. He had Parkinson’s disease. I understand what you are or might be going through at this time of year. I am thankful that we have ‘met’ and it is a joy to know that the Internet can be used for good. God works in mysterious ways and I am glad He brought us together.

Butterfly Angel, thank you for your gift, and I agree…the Internet can be used for good.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one and might be having a difficult time this year please forward this poem to them.

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular please wipe away the tears
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many songs that people hold so dear
But the sound can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me; I see your tortured heart
But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.
So rejoice for me my loved ones, you know I hold you dear
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I sent you each a special gift from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my all undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than ingots made of gold,
For I can’t count the blessings or love he has for you.
So have a merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year

(Author unknown)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Weblog Awards 2006: It Was Simply Lovely to be Nominated

Years ago I was simply enamoured over the Academy Awards…who wore what designer, who said what, etc. I always wondered what the stars really thought as they said, “Oh, it’s ok I didn’t win…really. It was such an honor to be placed among the other nominees.”

Right…sure….I always felt that deep inside they were probably tearing their awards program into tiny, tiny pieces and would throw themselves dramatically across their fur covered beds dissolving into a puddle of tears once they reached for the safety of home.

I may not ever think that way again because, honestly, I am honored to be among the six blogs who were eligible for votes in the education category for the Weblog Awards. Overall, there were forty-nine nominated blogs that were considered. Wow! Out of forty-nine History Is Elementary placed in the top six. I’d say we are all winners (even many of those that weren’t nominated), but of course congrats goes out to Michael Berube, Ivy Gate, and Spunky Homeschool.

All of the six blogs in the education category were vastly different. Perhaps the folks at the Weblog Awards would consider breaking up the category of education a bit as it is a very broad area. I found this post by Mr. Person at Text Savvy endearing and an appropriate inquiry. I also appreciate the sentiments of Mr. McNamar at The Daily Grind.

It was such a shame that there were instances of inappropriate voting as seen here and here from the Weblog Award message boards.

Looking over the message boards it seems that several panties were in a bunch but no matter. This is not the biggest problem the world is facing today, and the whole thing is meant to be FUN.

So…here it goes…my loser speech….Thank you to everyone at the Weblog Awards and to the person who nominated me. Thank you to each and every person who clicked through to check me out and for each of you who supported me with a vote or votes. It was such an honor to be included with my fellow nominees. I hope some of you newbie readers stick around because History Is Elementary will begin its second year of historical and educational ramblings in January. My goal is to continue to share with you, teach you, learn from you, and continue to prove history IS elementary!

A Painting With a Dual Purpose

Post Update: Firefly has uncovered a very interesting article regarding the whereabouts of the original painting for this week's Wordless Wednesday. I have emailed appropriate curators at the White House and the museums mentioned in the article and hope to hear back from them soon. This is getting interesting....Please read the entire post and make sure you view the comments as well.

Congrats to A.M. Whittaker and Firefly who placed the proper information in the comments section first.

The painting I featured in this week’s Wordless Wednesday seen here was created by American artist, N.C. Wyeth. It was first commissioned in 1930 for the Pennsylvania Railroad where it was used as a patriotic poster. Unfortunately I was unable to discover if any of the poster images survive or where the original painting is today. I have emailed the Wyeth homeplace and studio to see what they can tell me.

The painting does depict President Washington and White House architect, James Hoban inspecting the uncompleted White House in 1798. The site of the White House was chosen by Washington and city planner, Pierre L’Enfant, which we recognize today as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Though Washington never lived in the mansion he did oversee the construction. Wikipedia advises Mr. Hoban resided on the grounds of the White House during construction with his wife, ten children, and nine slaves in a red brick house.

The second purpose for Wyeth’s image came about in 1971, some twenty-six years after Wyeth’s tragic death in a train crossing accident. President Nixon along with his wife, Pat, choose Wyeth’s image for their official White House Christmas Card.

As I researched White House Christmas Cards for my recent post at American Presidents I was struck by the 1971 card and how different the image was compared to other cards. I loved the big, billowy clouds and just the overall painting style made me pause and take notice. Compare this image to other N.C. Wyeth images seen here and here. He had quite a career doing illustrations for children's book and magazines such as Scribners.

Tanya Nichols over at Crafty Girls mentioned in the comments she would come back and print the picture out for her children. This is a great idea. Children need to view art as something to interpret and every painting has more than one meaning.

Inferencing is one of the reading skills I struggle with every year to teach my fourth graders. All of you who commented on my Wordless Wednesday this week did just that…..even if you did it comically….you were inferencing and it is a powerful tool for learning. There is a fantastic N.C. Wyeth painting called The Giant here. It is a great learning tool for kids to experience the “whole” picture. Sometimes you can set your printer to black and white or outline and print a famous painting out for kids to color. They love this.

You can learn more about N.C. Wyeth here.

I'm pleased that some of you seem to be enjoying this little diversion. I had thought about chucking the whole thing, but it would seem it is serving a learning purpose....for ALL of us. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thursday 13-Version 6: Things I'd Like Santa to Deliver

1. A place for everything and everything in its place and that everything that needed doing was DONE

2. More room in my classroom

3. More room in my house

4. More room in my chair when I sit in it

5. A sweet Bulldog puppy that my lazy Hemingway cat would NOT eat

6. Several books on various political and historical topics

7. Extra time to read the books on various political and historical topics

8. A full time cook and laundress for my long suffering family

9. An assistant to do my clerical work in the classroom

10. A three-stone diamond ring from Dear Hubby

11. A book deal….it doesn’t matter what kind of book…any deal will do

12. A brand new Jaguar----Champagne colored

13. One more lucid conversation with my mother

Wordless Wednesday....Sort of....What Can You Tell Me About This?

Telling me the painting is set in Washington D.C. and the year is 1798 won't cut it.:)

Update: Shhhhhh! I know this is Wordless Wednesday, but the Education Carnival is in town. Hurry on over to The Median Sib before the lines get too long.

Update 12-20-06: The explanation for this week's Wordless Wednesday is posted here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is History Important? A Reprise

Polski3 has reviewed an article concerning the large numbers of higher learning centers that are no longer requiring any history for graduation.

As Dorothy Parker would say, “What fresh hell is this?”

Go read the rest of Polki3’s post here (Aren’t we glad he’s back to blogging!?) His observations regarding less emphasis on history at the elementary and middle levels is correct from what I can see, and my main comment to the source of this silliness is BALDERDASH!

I agree with Polski3 that we all need to make our voices heard. As NCLB is up for reauthorization we should make a plea to Congress to make sure Social Studies and Science are added to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind legislation.

One of Polski3’s commenters mentioned Richard Dreyfuss, the actor, who gave “dire predictions” in a recent interview regarding the teaching of Civics. This issue took a particular turn over at Dennis Fermoyle’s blog From the Trenches of Public Ed. Where he garnered a whopping 29 comments regarding teaching the Constitution and what some perceive as a lack of teaching in the area of Civics. You can see his post here.

So, is history important? I asked this question last January on my seventh day of blogging. I’m running it here again as I think it’s appropriate to do in light of recent events.

One reason why history is important it that the past has value to our society. Thousands of people throughout history have gone to great lengths to record history through newspapers, diaries, journals, saved letters, family Bibles, and oral traditions. It is believed that Aborigines of Australia actually managed to hang onto their history for 40,000 years by word of mouth.

History is the narrative of mankind. It provides answers as to how people lived as well as provide for us the roots to certain ideas concerning laws, customs, and political ideas. Have you ever wondered where the rude gesture of pointing your middle finger at people you are annoyed at came from? One origin story states it reportedly began at the Battle of Agincourt where the French demanded the surrender of the English longbow men. The French demand was very simple. The bowmen had to surrender immediately or upon capture they would have their middle fingers cut off. This finger was sacred to the men since it was the finger used in firing the longbow. The English response to the French demands was to raise their middle finger and raise their hands high in the air in unison for the French to view. This enraged the French who attacked immediately but were promptly obliterated by the plucky English. Think about their bravery the next time you are tempted to raise that finger.

The age-old adage, “you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you have been” is actually very true. A true scholar of history realizes history does repeat itself. This repetition has importance in society. It teaches the value of certain social changes and governmental policies. Ideas that were presented in the 1960s can be found in the writings of William Godwin in the 1790s. The Ancient Greeks redistributed wealth which was clearly repeated during the Communist regimes. It didn’t work for the Greeks and it certainly did not work for Communist Russia.Though the Greeks had strange ideas about wealth they were firm believers that history was something that people could learn from.

I began my love affair with history as an elementary student who read each and every biography my media center possessed. I was fascinated with the famous people I was learning about since they had a childhood like me and I was intrigued at the twists and turns their life took on their journey to achieve their goals. I remember particularly the biography I read about Woodrow Wilson. He held my interest because he was born in my home state of Georgia. He provided a character education lesson because he showed great tenacity as he never gave up even after several failed businesses that resulted in a bankruptcy. History provides a wealth of material to teach character education, both positive and negative.

History teaches a wide range of material. It isn’t simply a litany of dead people, places, and dates. I am amazed all the time as I discover links to science curriculum and the arts in the units I teach. You can’t teach United States regions without mentioning that each region has its own ecosystem made up of specific food chains, climates, and physical features. A study of history clearly shows man’s love of the arts and it cannot be denied that once a civilization was able to maintain a steady food supply their creative ideas flowed whether on rock walls, papyrus, or cedar bark. These links provide relevance for students. It assists them to take small chunks of history squares and weave them into a knowledge quilt.The links that students can discover between history, science, and the arts provides a well constructed framework that bond national and regional past events. This allows for comparisons with contemporary events to provide context for understanding. The American Revolution was basically our first national event. The powers that be in my home state of Georgia like for students to learn the significance of historical events as they relate to our state. Before we get into Georgia’s participation in the Revolution I have introduced the events leading to the war up to the Battle of Bunker Hill. When they realize we are going to talk about Georgia’s participation they get real excited and quickly get really upset. They are very disappointed to learn that Georgia fell very early in the war to the British. They learn that we have some war heroes but the majority of colonists in Georgia were Tories. Georgia was not the hotbed of revolution that Massachusetts or Virginia was. We then embark on a mission to understand why Georgia was not heavily involved in the independence movement.

History when presented properly lends itself to critical analysis. Even young students are capable of reviewing a series of primary and secondary resources and independently determine what happened during an event and why. This independence is a goal we have for all students throughout all disciplines of education. History is a perfect curriculum tool to practice analysis, generalizing, and inference. In fact, the Bradley Commission Report on History in the Schools (1988) states, “…history is the only avenue we have to reach an understanding of ourselves and our society. Without such understanding the two foremost aims of American education will not be achieved---the preparation of all our people for private lives of personal integrity and fulfillment, and their preparation for public life as democratic citizens.

"The question I pose in the title is a no brainer to someone like me. You see, I am one of those people who can be totally consumed by large twenty pound history tomes. I love the intrigue, story-twists, coincidences, and repetition of themes involved in history. I’ll read the history of anything. The history of butter, word histories, Mandarin Chinese, buttermilk, famous cats in history, the history of knitting, obscure African tribal histories, and yes…..American history.I strongly identify with a character in the Kingsley Amis novel, Lucky Jim, who works in the history department of a fictitious English university when he answers the department telephone by stating, “History speaking!” We are all history every minute of every day. We participate in the history of our families, we add to the history of the corporations and businesses we serve each day at work, and we participate in history as we vote, compose a letter to our congressman or a newspaper editor or attend a demonstration or memorial.

Recently I was looking at a website attached to the University of Utah where a history professor was reporting that he had asked one of his history classes of two hundred students, “Why is history important?” A student spoke up and honestly answered very matter of factly, “It’s not important. It’s about dead people, not about me.” The professor stood his ground during a deafening round of applause from the other students and countered, “Well, I see dead people. I hear dead people and ……so will you!”

Is learning history important? You bet it is!

If you agree with me and think history is important contact your Congressman and encourage him or her to include Social Studies and Science in the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Have You Received Your Christmas Card From the White House?

This is an image from the official White House Christmas greeting sent by President Johnson and Lady Bird in 1967.
Apparently there are a few people upset about this year's official greeting.
Click on over to my newest posting at American Presidents to learn more about this White House tradition.

Is Isn't Really Christmas Until....

This particular commercial always signaled to me that Christmas had arrived. For someone from the deep South I was intrigued with racing down snow coverered hills. Santa looked like he was having fun. When I was little I would have dearly loved to climb aboard that Norelco shaver and race down the hills.

This particular clip isn't exactly the way I remember it. Am I wrong or did the original version have longer clips of Santa whisking down and around the hills?

I wish Norelco would revive and update this ad campaign for the holidays. Oh well, I guess it isn't racy enough or perhaps they are afraid of alienating those that don't believe in Santa!

Friday, December 15, 2006

History Carnival 45

Eric Scott Kaufman has done a wonderful job of weaving together an entertaining post with many historical offerings at his blog, Acephalous for the 45th History Carnival. I’ve already forwarded a huge thank you to Mr. Kaufman for including one of my postings from earlier in the week.
I began my Christmas break as of 3:15 p.m. today so I’m glad I have plenty of history posts to enjoy!

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?

The title question caught my eye as I visited Cliopatria this afternoon. Ralph Luker shared this fun little quiz from Rum and Monkey. Answer the questions and you’re matched up with a historical lunatic.

My results: You are Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved!

The site goes on to give you a full accounting of the person and how lunatic status was achieved. Here are some highlights regarding my alter-ego:

*He was from a long line of dribbling madmen

*An illness brought on instability, and resulted in his hair and nails falling out.

*Cures were sought that involved drilling holes in his skull, an exorcism, a name change to Georges, and begging people to kill him.

*He smashed furniture and wet himself regularly

*He thought he was made of glass and demanded iron rods in his clothing

*Men had to resort to jumping out at him shouting “Boo!” before he would take a bath or change his clothes

*His wife finally hired someone to take her place in his bed.

*Oranges and pomegranates in vast quantities kept a fever at bay until he succumbed in 1422.

*His ongoing illness was probably heredity. He sired 11 children----all of which had problems of their own including one who was afraid of bridges.

Thanks Rum and Monkey for making history fun!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trumbull's Battle of Bunker Hill

Thanks to everyone who participated in my little game for Wordless Wednesday. Those of you who guessed an American Revolution battle were correct, and those of you who mentioned Bunker Hill were even more correct.

The title of this painting is The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull. A larger version of the painting can be seen here.

One unique aspect of this painting is the artist witnessed the battle from Roxbury where he was under the command of General Joseph Spencer of the First Connecticut Regiment. Trumbull used sketches he made of the spot at a later time, and many of the likenesses are very acurate since Trumbull obtained other portraits of many of the battle participants to be accurate.

After the shots were fired that were heard around the world at Lexington and Concord the British marched back to Boston…not an easy thing to do with wool uniforms and over sixty pounds of equipment to lug around…not to mention the Rebels hiding behind trees taking pot shots at them.

The next major engagement came when Rebel soldiers postioned themselves on the ridges up above Boston. The British decided to attack and Bunker Hill became a well known American battle. The funny thing is there is a little “bunk” in Bunker Hill because once the fighting began most of the battle took place on Breed’s Hill.

In my classroom I generally begin the Battle of Bunker Hill by writing the following on my white board, “Don’t shoot until…..” I ask students to write down what I have on the board plus I tell them to complete the statement. Of course some of the responses are quiet comical. Don’t shoot until you’ve loaded the gun. Don’t shoot until I get out of the way. My personal favorite is don’t shoot until you’ve got a good shot. Generally though over half to three-fourths of my wee ones know the phrase, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” And those that didn’t remember it suddenly recall it once it’s mentioned.

We have short discussion about what “whites of an eye” are, and we pair up and measure out how close someone has to be to really see the whites of an eye. We also discuss why so many of us know that statement yet we really don’t know where it comes from. I tell students that after our discussion of Bunker Hill is complete they will always remember where the statement came from. Many people are given credit with giving the order to the Rebel force. Israel Putnam is given the nod most of the time. The Americans did not have the stores of ammunition the British did. Every shot counted. By waiting until the last possible moment the Americans could as one young man recalled “[mow the British] down like pieces of grass”.

Look at the painting. Notice how the grouping froms a V-shape around the fallen man. Of course, the man on the ground is none other than General Warren. Some sources state, however, his rank of Major General was not in effect at the time of the battle. In fact he he fought as an individual in this battle as he refused command. Warren was actually a doctor and was very active in the Sons of Liberty and the Committee of Correspondence. It was Warren who sent Dawes and Revere on their famous midnight ride.

In Trumbull’s own words he explains the painting, “[It] represents the moment when (the Americans having expended their ammunition) the British troops became completely successful and masters of the field. At this last moment of the action, General Warren was killed by a musket ball through the head. The principal group represents him expiring, a soldier on his knees supports him, and with one hand wards of the bayonet of a British grenadier,…Colonel Small…is represented seizing the musket of the grenadier, to prevent the fatal blow, …Near this side of the painting is seen General Putnam, reluctantly ordering the retreat of these brave men; …Behind Colonel Small is seen Major Pitcairn, of the British marines, mortally wounded, and falling in the arms of his son,…Under the heel of Colonel Small lies the dead body of Colonel Abercrombie. General Howe, who commanded the British troops, and General Clinton,…are seen behind the principal group.”

If you look over to the extreme right of the painting you see Lt. Grovesnor (with the hat and sword) and behind him we see Peter Salem. You can see his image much better in the larger image (see link above). Peter Salem was a former slave who was given credit for shooting British Marine Major John Pitcairn, the man mentioned above who died in his son’s arms.

The British won this battle but paid a dear price. They had over 200 dead and over 800 wounded to the Americans 140 dead and 271 wounded. These numbers vary sometimes depending on the sources, but the British suffered heavy losses. Once the Americans ran out of ammunition many fought hand-to-hand even using their teeth when necessary.

The British knew immediately they had underestimated the Rebels and began to realize they would need more soldiers in the colonies including mercenaries.

It is most amazing to realize that Trumbull had lost the sight in one eye at an early age. Based on that information alone his early paintings are astounding. I find it just as amazing Trumbull could have painted one of the American victories, but painted our first significant loss. In doing this he documented the struggle and the determination of those involved. His snapshot of Bunker Hill has become our national memory of the event. We are fortunate that he was actually involved in the struggle. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 11, 1789 Trumbull stated, “Some superiority also arose from my having borne personally a humble part in the great events I was to describe. No one lives with me possessing this advantage, and no one can come after me to divide the honor or truth and authenticity, however easily I may hereafter be exceeded in elegance.”

More information about Bunker Hill can be found here

A great resource is Patriots, a middle to high school level novel about the battle. It’s illustrated, has a glossary at the end, and also has a free teacher guide. You can find the book at Battle of Bunker Hill.

The Good and Bad...A Week Before Christmas Break

The Bad…..they’re dropping like flies. Some sort of stomach ailment is traveling around giving bad tummies, fevers, and headaches. I wrote so many passes to the office this morning I was afraid somebody would think I was trying to empty my room. I’ve been on the fringes of the travelin’ crud myself, but since it’s a near impossibility to secure a sub I’m trudging on……

The Good…presents! So far I’ve amassed lots of sweet homemade cards, hugs, a mini-snowglobe and bear figurine from the dollar store, raspberry vanilla and cherry blossom products from Bath and Body Works, a bag of fruit, and a nice watch. One gift was particularly unusual…..I received a battery operated pencil sharpener in the shape of a monster. You put your pencil in his mouth to sharpen it. When you’re done he burps. The young man that gave it to me said, “I gave it to you because you have a good sense of humor.” Another student spoke up and said, “Yeah, you’d get it….you’d think it was funny.” I did get it. I did think it was funny. What my gift giver didn’t realize is the best gift he gave me was telling me he thinks I have a good sense of humor. My students understand me. After the thirtieth burp, however, I don’t know if my sense of humor will still be intact.

The Bad…tempers are short. Kids who have tolerated each other suddenly have had enough and are telling each other off right and left. This leads to shoving desks, shoving chairs and shoving each other. Name calling is high on the activity list, and being in a state of constant alert for everyone’s safety is a little exhausting.

The Good…I have earned a new reputation among students, especially the boys, as a tolerable linebacker. Earlier this week one of my young men became a bit too aggressive during a friendly game of football. He didn’t like the way a play had gone and pushed another boy rather hard two or three times. I began walking towards them telling the first boy to stop several times. The boy being pushed puts his hands up and backed away, but the pusher kept after him. I basically ended up tackling the pusher from behind and held him in a restraint hold to get him to calm down. Once things calmed down one of the boys hollered, “Nice tackle, Elementaryhistoryteacher! Ya wanna play?” The news must have gotten around because several students in other grades mentioned hearing about my “tackle”. I won’t hold my breath….I don’t think the Atlanta Falcons will be calling anytime soon.

The Bad…coordinating a pizza order for 100 students for our non-party, movie watching event on Friday, sweating out the delivery of our presents we ordered for students on-line, end of term paperwork, grading, coordinating exams when students are absent from school more than they are in, and adding the extra load of completing 96 certificates for students throughout the entire school who had exemplary behavior during September, October, and November. These were awarded at our PTSO meeting Tuesday night. They took me three days to complete. How do I get roped into these things?

The Good…Our reading teachers have determined our fourth grade has risen an entire level in reading scores since the beginning of the year. Approximately 90 of 100 fourth graders have 10 Accelerated Reader points or more. This is fantastic since none of our students had 10 points during the first term…..our reading teachers pushed the program, motivated the kids, and they surpassed our wildest dreams. In 9 weeks many of my homeroom students have amassed 20, 30, and even 40 points. Most important of all we have noticed that fluency is increasing and comprehension is improving. What a Christmas present!

The two highest students are in my homeroom. One has 69 points while the other has 70. These points for students represent many minutes of independent reading. Today we recognized the top three in each homeroom with pizza. It was nice to have this small group for a special lunch in one the classrooms with us to acknowledge their hard work. Here is a couple of pictures of our top students.


The young man on the left is my "pencil sharpener guy".


S0….it’s finally here. The final day before break, and I haven’t even started my shopping yet.

The Carnival of Education---Edition 97 is up over at the Education Wonks. Go see the best and brightest in the edublogosphere!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

13 Reasons to Vote For This Blog in the Weblog Awards

First of all forgive the self-promotion....Second I realize I am woefully behind in the voting. A little old teacher's site like mine simply can't compete against a powerhouse professor's site, but still it's fun to see how many votes I've gotten and I'm honored to receive each and every one of them. They are a huge validation for what I do here and I appreciate them so much.

Vote for me because....

1. You never know what you’ll find when you visit…interesting stories about presidents, a glimpse into my classroom, or a personal reflection

2. I work really, really hard on this site

3. I am passionate about what I do whether it’s my teaching or writing

4. Not only do I educate my students, but I educate each and every visitor who sticks around long enough

5. I support my fellow bloggers with comments, links, and virtual high-fives and hugs

6. This is is the only excitement I have in my poor, mundane academic life.....:)

7. A blog award will legitimize my efforts in the eyes of my neglected family

8. Because history really is elementary!

9. My students will think it’s really cool if I win, and we will have a great reason to have punch and cookies in the classroom.

10. The Weblog winner button will look really great on my sidebar

11. You enjoy reading about my quirky Southern family

12.Because I might soon tire of this fal-de-ral without encouragement and Dear Sister will be very cross……ok, that may be a little too dramatic.

13. As a Social Studies teacher it is my duty to remind you to vote……if not for me, vote for someone!

BUT if you want to vote for me follow this link!

Wordless Wednesday: Week 3

This is a representation of a very famous battle. Can you tell me the name of the battle and something unusual about it?

Thanks for stopping by…an explanation of the image will be up by Friday!

I’m a finalist for weblog award in the category of education. Please vote for me here

UPDATE: Thanks for the Wordless Wednesday comments. You can see an explanation of the painting and leave more comments here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ummmm.....I Believe Your Myths and Traditions Are Showing

I hadn’t planned on writing about this issue until I had the fourth person mention it to me. It was at that point I decided I couldn’t remain silent any longer. Now at the outset let me remind you that I have made it no secret here that I am a Christian, and I am fairly conservative. I believe in many American traditions and love our heritage of liberty laden documents like the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
However, the comments made in my presence this past week by several people reinforced to me what I already know. What many Americans think are fact and law are sometimes at best only tradition and myth. Now there’s nothing really wrong with this. Every culture needs its traditions and myths, but when tradition and myth intrude on the legal rights of others then tradition and myth can be a dangerous thing. So what started this discourse? Last week Dennis Prager, talk show host, author and on-line columnist, published this column seen here, and the next day his follow up can be seen here regarding the brand new Congressman from Minnesota, Keith Ellison.

This week I heard from American citizens that it was a law that all members of Congress must swear an oath on the Christian Bible. I heard someone say only Christians should be members of Congress because the United States is a Christian nation. I heard someone say, when confronted with the truth about the legalities, that law doesn’t matter and that if a member of Congress doesn’t want to swear to the Christian God by placing his hand on a Christian Bible then he shouldn’t be allowed to serve the people who elected him.

How Puritan! How close-minded! So, is this what we have made of ourselves with tradition and myth? Is it “our” way or the highway?

In the early days before the thirteen colonies were even completely organized a man by the name of Roger Williams dissented from the Puritan way of life. He spoke out and stated he thought the Puritan tradition of allowing religion to dictate government policy and procedures wrong. He felt the treatment of Native Americans was wrong. He was banished from the Puritan colony and eventually founded a settlement at Providence where a government was set up that clearly seperated church and state and called for equal rights for all who lived there.

Thomas Hooker, a pastor, was a Puritan dissenter as well. He disputed Puritan views that stated only those of the Puritan version of faith could vote within the colony. Hooker felt any man should have the right to vote, and after banishment went on to found the colony of Connecticut. The Fundamental Orders, Connecticut’s plan of government, is thought to be the world’s first constitution of its kind. All men were given the right to participate in government.

I review these situations in our history because they are important. The ideas that these two people took with them as they were banished from the Puritan way of life became some of the most important aspects of the government of the United States….freedom of religion, seperation of church and state, and the right to comment and dissent.

Poor Mr. Prager, though. He has been cussed out, villified, and has been threatened. We need to remember he has a right to express his opinion and there is a way to disagree without name calling and threats. I admire Mr. Prager and have enjoyed listening to him in the past. I will probably listen to him in the future, but I feel strongly he is wrong in this case simply because the Constitution does not support his views.

The oath of office that members of Congress recite is not written specifically in the Constitution. The only oath of office that is prescribed word-for-word is the oath for president. Members of the first Congress in 1789 took it upon themselves to create an oath as one of their first acts as a lawmaking body. The oath, a mere fourteen words, said, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Why so short? Why so simple? The answer is simple…..The Constitution states members of Congress and other officials “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution.” That’s it. This oath was changed a bit during the Civil War over time as members of Congress were concerned a traitor might take a seat in Congress. The added text came to be known as the Test Oath as it was a test of loyalty. Eventually members of Congress had to recite this revised oath as well as sign a copy. Even when the test oath text was removed, in 1884, it became a tradition for members of Congress to sign their name in a book that is filled with names of people who have served in Congress and have taken the oath. Mr. Ellison and other new members of Congress will be signing that book very soon.

In Prager’s first column he states, “When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization.” Huh? I don’t get it. First of all they don’t’ and haven’t in the past said the oath with their hand on the same book. Second, they don’t state they will support a value system. They only state they will uphold the Constition as they serve “we the people”. The Constitution is not a value system… is a plan for our government….it details how the government will operate.

Mr. Prager states many Jews, non-believers, Mormans, etc. have placed their hands on a Bible, but he doesn’t give any specific names of people. I am wary of blanket statements, and quiet frankly I’d be suspect of any person who placed their hand on the Bible when it isn’t their sacred text. To force someone or intimidate them to do that is an act no better than the early explorers who slashed the throats of Native Americans simply because they wouldn’t pray to God and convert from their wicked ways.

Many say, and I can agree, the whole thing is a moot point anyway. All new members stand together in a group, raise their hands, and repeat words that have been part of an oath crafted by the First Congress in 1789. There are no hands placed on any book of any kind. Later during the photo-op there is an opportunity for a new member of Congress to be surrounded by friends, family, and the book of their choice if the mood strikes.

Prager goes on, however, and says, “So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done----choose his most revered book for this oath?” Gee, maybe because that’s the tradition……others have done this with no problem. Case in point……Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida refused the Christian Bible when she was sworn in as a U.S. Representative. A Hebrew Bible could not immediately be found, but one was eventually borrowed from another representative.

Eugene Volokh, in a National Review article seen here takes issue with Prager’s statement, “for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament.” Volokh continues, “…it is clear [Prager] is wrong. Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, took the oath of office on a Torah in 2001….[and] Madeleine Kunin, a Jewish immigrant and Governor of Vermont [used family owned prayer books].” (Mr. Volokh also explores the mutliculturalism aspect of Mr. Prager’s argument in the last link given as well).

Prager continues, “…I nor tens of millions of other Americans will watch in silence as the Bible is replaced with another religious text for the first time since George Washington brought a Bible to his swearing-in.” First of George Washington was being sworn as the president of the United States. This is the only office that the Constitution specifically calls for and prescribes an oath of office. I have researched and have been provided with a waterfall of information regarding Washington and his oath of office and my sources explain to me that the Bible Washington used was not one he brought. It was an after thought and one had to be procured.

In fact, there have been presidents who were sworn with no Bible at all such as Theodore Roosevelt. Rutherford B. Hayes had no Bible at his private ceremony. He only pulled it out for the public. Franklin Pierce did not swear but used the affirmation choice, as did Herbert Hoover, a Quaker. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in for his first term using only a missal, a book containing the prayers and rites used by a priest in celebrating Mass.

In the follow up column Prager states, “Clearly, many Americans, including some conservatives and libertarians, have no problem with the idea that for the first time in American history, a person elected to Congress has rejected the Bible for another religious text when taking his oath of office.” In another statement he says, “America is interested in only one book, the Bible.”

I’m sorry….I must have missed the memo that made Christianity the official religion of the nation. What about the Constitution’s provision that states “no religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States….” It would seem that the framers of the Constitution solved this issue a long time ago. The Constitution goes on to state, “The Senators and Representatives…[and other state and federal officials] shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution, but no religious test shall ever be required.”

In the second column Prager states, “My belief that the Bible should be present at any oath (or affirmation) of office has nothing whatsoever to do with the religion of the office holder.” This really scares me. Is this what we are about? I don’t care what religion you are. I don’t care if you don’t worship this way. Swear to my book, my way, or it’s the highway. Mr. Prager says the solultion is very simple….Mr. Ellison should bring both books, the Bible and the Koran, to the ceremony. In this way he will be sending the “right” message. In fact I believe that is really what is at the crux of Mr. Prager’s shorts being in a tangled knot….

Mr. Prager seems to think since he will have already been sworn in Mr. Ellison will bring his Koran to make a point to the American people. He says, “…the use of the Koran has absolutely nothing to do with taking an oath on the book he holds sacred. It is used entirely to send a message to the American people. So all the arguments that he must be able to swear on the book he holds sacred are moot. He will have already been sworn in.” If this is the case then all of the books members bring to the photo-op are moot and are simply “messages” being sent to the American people. I disagree with the whole “message” reasoning, however, when have we ever denied free speech? If Mr. Ellisons’ message can’t be delivered then no one’s message should be delivered.

I tell my nine year old students everyday they have a responsibility to themselves to not believe everything they see, hear, and read until they have have checked things out themselves and have used the facts to arrive at their own conclusions. It is easy to make blanket statements, it is easy to allow tradition and myth to cloud our collective national conscience, and it is easy to sit back and allow things to happen. This situation has probably educated many, many people who were under wrong impressions. This situation has probably opened the door for some to reconsider their thoughts and opinions. This situation shows that our country is indeed a wonder place where all are invited to participate in government, and all are free to worship in any manner they choose.

BTW...I’m a finalist for a Weblog Award. Vote for me here. Thanks!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Was It the Arrostook War? The Lumberjack's War? The Caroline Affair? The Pork and Beans War? Or Was It the Northeastern Boundary Dispute?

It is possible the United States could ever be used as a staging area for a non-American attack on one of our neighbors? Would Americans allow their sacred ground to be used in order to topple a neighboring government?

Our government uses the land and strategic locations of other nations all the time. We have military bases in many other countries all over the globe.

I guess the question is have other countries, organizations, or groups had military bases here in the United States? The answer is a surprising YES.

My wordless Wednesday image is reposted here. Look at the image very carefully. You see a large vessel going over a waterfall. Here’s a hint….the waterfall is Niagra Falls. Are you wondering about the long title to this post? All of those events have something to do with the picture.

Let’s go back to the years 1838 and 1839 and the presidency of Martin Van Buren. During his watch relations with Britain deteriorated to a very dismal state. One reason had to do with the Panic of 1837 where…..well, that’s another story for another time. I want to concentrate on the historical engraving and the Panic of 1837 can be a side cause to this ship going over Niagra Falls, but I’ll stick to the basics for now.

Part of this story also goes all the way back to 1783 and the Treaty of Paris which ended the American Revolution. Part of the treaty determined the boundary between the newly independent United States and Canada. The main problem area was between the Canadian province of New Brunswick and the territory of Maine which in 1783 was part of Massachusetts. Maine became a state in 1820 and settlers began staking claims even though the British claimed many of the same lands especially those in the Aroostook River valley. In fact, many of the new settlers were actually British who decided to cross the border to claim new lands….land Britain was claiming anyway. Many of the British were lumberjacks who spent part of the year on the Canadian side of the border and the other part of the year on the American side. Because many of land claims were so far away from the authorities many land claims went unfiled and ownership often overlapped.

There was another reason the British weren’t too happy with us during this time as well. Canadian rebels hoping to begin a republic had attacked their home country from bases established in the United States during a time in history Canadians remember as the Upper Canadian Rebellion.

Here is where I will defer to Wikkipedia as they give as good an explanation as any other I’ve seen:

A band of Canadian rebels, led by William Lyon Mackenzie, seeking a more democractic Canada, had been forced to flee to the United Strates after leading the failed Upper Canada Rebellion in Upper Canada (now Ontario). They took refuge on Navy Island on the Canadian side of the Niagra River, which seperates the two countries (between Ontario and New York) and declared themselves the Republic of Canada…

American sympathizers supplied them with money, provisions, and arms via the steamboat SS Caroline. On December 29, Canadian loyalist Colonel Sir Allan MacNab and Captain Andrew Drew of the Royal Navy commanding a party of milita, crossed the international boundary and seized the Caroline, towed her into the current, set her afire, and cast her adrift over Niagara Falls, after killing one American named Amos Durfee in the process. [His body was later exhibit in front of a recruiting tavern in Buffalo, New York.] It was falsely reported that dozens of America were killed as they were trapped on board; in fact the ship had been abandoned before being set adrift. Public opinion across the United States was outraged against the British. President Martin Van Buren protested strongly to London, but was ignored.

On May 29, 1838, American forces retaliated by burning a British steamer SS Sir Robert Peel while it was in US waters. The tensions were ultimately settled by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. President Martin Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott to prevent further American incursions into Canada. Later that year, Irish-Canadian rebel Benjamin Lett murdered a loyalist captain who had been involved in the incident. As part of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, the affair was settled by an expression of regret on the part of Britain that there had not been an immediate explanation and apology for the occurrence.

This incident has been used to establish the principle of “anticipatory selfdefense” in international politics, which holds that it may be justified only in cases in which the “necessity of that self-defence is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.”

Look for next week's Wordless Wednesday History Mystery. Will you be able to guess what it is?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The 2006 Weblog AwardsElementaryhistoryteacher is turning cartwheels…ok, those of you that know me personally know that I am physically unable to do this. It’s a long story for another time involving two dogs, and one narrow flight of stairs that resulted in a surgical steel rod, nine screws, and two pins installed into my ankle. But IF I could….

I’m turning cartwheels in my mind’s eye though.

I’m so very proud! I am a finalist for a 2006 Weblog Award in the category of education.

Take a spin around my blog and if you think I’m worthy please vote for me here. You are allowed to vote once each day through December 15th.

I’m so happy to be nominated and your vote is much appreciated.

Thursday Thirteen 4: Remembering Pearl Harbor

December 7th….per FDR a day that will live in infamy. He was so correct.

Today, sixty-five years later we are still remembering the horrendous attack at Pearl Harbor.

My Thursday Thirteen is dedicated to the many men and women who died, were injured, or experienced this shattering event on the day that formalized our participation in World War II.

Thirteen Facts about December 7, 1941…the Attack on Pearl Harbor

1. One source states the attack involved 300 Japanese planes. Bombers first attacked the airfield at Ford Island at 7:55 a.m. This prompted the dispatch, “Air raid---Pearl Harbor---this is no drill.”

2.More than 2400 servicemen and civilians were killed. 55 Japanese airmen were killed and one was taken prisoner.

3.19 ships were sunk or destroyed---

4. 188 planes were destroyed----155 planes were damaged. The Japanese had 29 planes destroyed and 4 of their mini-subs were sunk.

5.American intelligence had the knowledge we would more than likely be attacked, but they thought it would be somewhere in Asia.

6.Frank Knox, the Secretary of the Navy at the time, said, “No matter what, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.”

7.A series of errors kept the forces at Pearl Harbor from being warned of the impending attack.

8.Every member of Congress voted to declare war against Japan except for one. She was Jeannette Rankin of Montana.

9.The war declaration ended a long period of isolationism in the United States.

10.The attack on Pearl Harbor was not the only place Japanese forces attacked that day. The British lost the HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse

11. The Arizona is still submerged under the waters of Pearl Harbor and continues to be a memorial to the many men entombed there.

12. The damage at Pearl Harbor was devastating that day, however, vital oil tank farms, the Navy Yard and machine shops were not destroyed. The submarine base, a power base, and the Headquarters Building where the intelligence unit was located were left intact.

13. The Navy Yard and machine shops were key in getting six ships---Nevada, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, California, and Pennsylvania----repaired and returned to service. The Oklahoma was initially capsized, was righted, but was never returned to service.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Education Carnival-Edition 96

Welcome to the 96th Carnival of Education! I’m honored to host this edition and have enjoyed the experience. Since this was my first time to host I decided I would keep my presentation fairly simple. Perhaps I’ll get a little more elaborate the next time. Submissions are arranged acccording to curriculum and topic area in no particular ranking order.

There is something here for everyone so enjoy as the midway is now open…..

Social Studies

Henry Cate of Why Homeschool fame has found an interesting way to study political campaigns over the last fifty years. In this post titled Great Resource for Learning History he discusses this websource all educators would be proud to have on their “favorites”.

I’m offering up a mysterious picture here in my ongoing series of Wordless Wednesdays. I post a historical image of some type and you can try to guess what you think it is. I will post an explantion of the image by Friday of each week.

Digitalnative advises while The Atlantic magazine decided to list the Top 100 most influential figures in American history, they forgot to provide any details. So, this Digital Native decided to bring the list into the 21st Century. Here, you'll find a list of the Top 100 with a link to Wikipedia. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…..

Darren at Right on the Left Coast wants us to take a look at calendar. Go on….you won’t be disappointed. You can see it in his post titled School Calendar

Students Do and Say the Darndest Things

NYC Educator states, “Smart kids can trick you and get away with murder, however I think old age and treachery always overcomes youth and enthusiasm (in the end).”
Intriguing, huh? Find out what he’s talking about in his post titled Four Girls.

Carol, The Median Sib, has a whole different spin on the story that goes “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue….” Now, what were the names of those ships again? Find out here.

This section probably should be corrected to say students and “parents” do and say the darndest things……Ms. Cornelius shares a story regarding expulsion for students who planned a fight at school titled Maybe the Principal Didn't Say "I REALLY Mean It"

Testing, Narrowing the Achievement Gap, and Meeting AYP

What would you do if 2007 was looming ahead and you still had not received your 2006 test scores? Alexander Russo from This Week in Education offers More Testing SNAFU Stories. Receiving them in May or the following January the results are the same…..backflips and high-fives or wailing and gnashing of teeth!

Alvaro at Sharp Brains provides Student Achievement Gap, Stress, and Self-Regulation and you can give your brain a work out and illuminate how your brain works at the same time with A Well-Deserved Break: Top 10 Brain Teasers

Guest blogger, Alan Bonsteel, M.D. at Edspresso discusses closing the achievement gap in his post titled Closing In on Closing the Black/White Educational Achievement Gap. He wonders if the Holy Grail has been obtained.

AYP, AYP, AYP, AYP… this some strange motivation cheer? I think not! Those three little letters either cause your administrators to rub their hands together with glee, or they become whip cracking authors of memos instituting policy change after policy change in attempt to fix whatever it is that’s broke. Absences are such an important part of making AYP, but an policy for truant students is only as good as the courts in your district. If they aren’t willing to do what’s necessary to get students to school it’s hopeless. In an excellent post entitled My Letter to Staff IB who authors Three Standard Deviations to the Left questions how students manage to pass even thought they aren’t in class.

Matt Johnston of Going to the Mat fame provides Wizard of Oz Diplomas which also takes a look at passing students along for the sake of passing them along.

Perhaps we could achieve some of the goals of NCLB if ALL of our students had the buildings they deserved. Ed at AFT has posted Build It Up at NCLB: Let's Get It Right. Go find out the sad state of conditions for some teachers and students as well as view the AFT report “Building Minds and Minding Buildings”.

Dan McDowell has posted My Castle over at A History Teacher. He furthers the conversation regarding building conditions and gives us a personal glimpse of HIS castle including a picture.


As a part-time Language Arts teacher I find it interesting to see how others advise writers. Lucas McDonnell provides a short article on how to become a better writer through using what you already know titled Write What You Already Know: 7 Effective Tips for Writers

With the New Year fast approaching you can’t help but begin thinking about resolutions. A little reflection and self-improvement goes along way. Steven Aitchison doesn’t mince words as he discusses Self-Discipline, Willpower, and Motivation at his blog titled Change Your Thoughts.

Educational Philosophy

Who said, “Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power”? Brad Hoge of HUNblog clues us in on who said it plus gives us some random thoughts regarding Kant on Constructivism.

Tammy over at Life Without School provides her philosphy of homeschooling in Zen and the Art of Homeschooling.

The Bluedorns discuss The Trivium Pursuit in a post titled Classical Q and A

Do you know who John Taylor Gatto is? John at Pick the Brain clues us in with his post A Teacher's Essay on the Public Education System.

Professional Issues

Every wonder why we have so few male teachers? Strausser over at A Teacher's Perspective states he has the answer. He verbalized his viewpoints recently in an interview for a magazine article. I hope he let’s all of us know soon which magazine we need to pick up! His post titled Shortage of Male Teachers provides us with a great preview of his responses.

In this post titled True Mr. NcNamar of The Daily Grind states he wants to give parents exactly what they want. After examining his proposal I’m all for it. Where do I go to sign the petition?

David Parker teaches college just up the road from me and now he’s joined the blogosphere. His blog titled Another History Blog is just a few days old. He gives some great insight into teacher evaluations with his post titled Beauty In the Classroom. Go welcome this new blogger!

This edition of the Education Carnival has two views regarding an educator’s autonomy regarding choosing curriculum sources we use with students.

What makes a resource appropriate or inappropriate for student use? Who makes that decision? What control do we as educators have? Matt Cheney at The Quarterly Conversation gives us his point of view in his post titled appropriately What Is Appropriate?

I don’t know about you…but blogging helps me think through an issue especially when I’m upset about something. Apparently I’m not alone. In her post titled Justification Aquiram of Teaching in the Twenty-First Century fame continues a discussion from an earlier post involving a recent situtuation where her choice to use a particular novel study with her students was questioned.

Now here’s a choice in curriculum I’m not so sure about….In his post titled The School of Chaos our esteemed EdWonk advises about the curriculum at the Brooklyn Free School.

“Bald-faced charter school hostility” is how Ryan Boots describes the attitude of one public school coach towards charters in general. Click on over and read Refusing to Play Charter Schools at Edspresso.

What is is an education carnival without a post or two from Mamacita at Scheiss Weekly? In her heartfelt post titled The Text Message I Expected But Didn't Want she gives a wonderful tribute to a friend and teacher. On a lighter note Mamacita explains just how much she loves her job in Then and Now: My Working Life

Like Mamacita, Dr. Homeslice is also in mourning for someone he admired. He has changed the background color of his blog to indicate he is Mourning Mooney . Click on over and discover who Dr. Homeslice admired so much.

Strategies to Help Students Succeed

Russ Egan over at The Student Help Forum offers us practical advice to any student writing a science report in his post How to Write Up a Science Report for High School

Do you know what problem posing is? Last year my team at school had a wonder in-service (yes, some are beneficial) on this very issue. Mister Teacher has posted a fine example of what problem posing is. Go take a look at what his students provided when they posed a few problems in his post Houston, We Have a Word Problem. I just love that title!

It’s never too late to learn as Me-Ander provides a great ABC lesson for her Seniors in a post titled Teaching the ABCs

Ms. SuperScience states a simple reason why some students fail in her post titled You know it's going to be a long day when...

Graduate School and Online Education

Through her own online education experience The Science Goddess examines the effect online courses may have on public education in her post Brick and Mortar Dinosaurs . She includes some interesting facts and number regarding this growing trend.

Mr. Lawrence was surprised when he encountered some major “tudes” as well as Whining In Graduate School. It would appear he had a quick refresher course in negative reinforcement.

Have you wondered which schools are The 25 Best Colleges for Nerds? Check out Online University Lowdown.

David E. discusses immigrants and jobs heading overseas in his post titled Immigrants Taking Jobs? Jobs Are Going Overseas.

Well, we began with Social Studies and we’ll end with it too……

Constitutional Issues

The Supreme Court entertained arguments on Monday regarding the Seattle and Louisville busing cases. Joanne Jacobs weighs in with her post Who Goes Where.

Didn't Tinker v. Des Moines Settle This? That’s what Greg is asking over at Rhymes With Right in his post regarding free speech and what students may wear and what they can’t wear. Go state YOUR opinion.

There you have it….the 96th Education Carnival. Thanks for visiting History Is Elementary and all of our worthy participants.

Next Week's Midway: The Carnival comes home to The Education Wonks. The deadline for submissions is: 8:00 PM (Eastern) 5:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, December 12. Submissions may be sent to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net . Contributers may also use Blog Carnival's handy submission form: here.

The Midway should open Wednesday morning.

See the Education Carnival archives here.