Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wordless 41


What's the story behind these coins?

Last week's explanation is here.

Visit other wordless images here.

Thanks for the comments. You can find this week’s explanation here

Tools of the Trade: Class Syllabus, Part Two

Yesterday I posted part one of my syllabus I provide for students at the beginning of the year.

Here is the rest of it:

Class Work-Students will be responsible for various assignments each day---many of these will be graded. Lessons are planned very carefully, and time limits are taken into consideration. Students are expected to complete class work in class---it will not turn into homework unless special conditions apply.

Homework-Homework is required. Students should review their notes for at least 10 minutes each night. Reading a sub-section of the current chapter is also a great tool for success. Homework is an important part of the curriculum as it provides extra time for independent and responsible thought regarding the content from that day’s class. Written homework assignments are always due the next school day. Assignments will be written in the agenda. Total homework time for fourth grades in all subjects combined should never extend beyond a 40 minute period. Please note there are several opportunities for students to begin and/or complete an assignment---while students are in the hallway before the school day begins, if a student finishes class work early, or at the end of the day while listening to transportation calls.

It is understood; however, from time to time family emergencies will arise. Students MUST bring a note to class regarding the missed homework assignment the day the assignment is due or upon the student returning to school (refer to the section regarding late/missing assignments for further information). Playing sports, cheerleading, or other afternoon lessons does not constitute an excuse for failing to complete homework. There are no exceptions given for long term assignments.

Study Guides-Students will receive a study guide at the beginning of a new unit of study. The study guide will be kept in the student’s notebook during the course of the unit. The guide contains all of the information a student needs to be successful---the essential question for the unit, the page numbers in the text where information can be found, the test and/or quiz dates, project information, vocabulary words, key questions for each lesson, and information regarding extra credit. At the beginning of each unit students will be given a homework assignment to share the study guide with a parent and to obtain a parent signature.

Extra Credit-Students can earn extra credit during every unit of study by following directions that are printed on each study guide. During the unit students will define every vocabulary word and answer each key question on notebook paper. Students will turn in their work with their notebook on test day. Based on how complete the assignment is students can receive up to five points added to their test grade and an extra letter grade in the gradebook. Students are encouraged to work on their extra credit througout the days leading up the test. It should never be completed in one night. This can be a terrific study method! Students will be instructed early in the year regarding the procedures and strategies to follow in order to complete extra credit.

Classroom Rules-Students are required to follow classroom rules and procedures. Students will be instructed regarding various classroom procedures (how to turn in papers, etc.). The classroom rules are as follows:
1. We will respect the rights of others
2. We will respect personal property and the property of others.
3. Before saying anything outloud, I will ask myself: Is this kind? Is this necessary?
4. We will not eat in the classroom unless a special event is planned.
5. We will follow the rules of specific areas and those printed in the student handbook and student agenda.

Attendance-Please refer to the county and school handbooks regarding the importance of perfect attendance. All guidelines and regulations will be strictly enforced.

Late Work/Missing Assignments: If students choose not to complete and turn in classwork or homework assignments they will earn grades of zero. If work is turned in late due to absence only those students who have legal, excused absences will be given credit. If absences are not excused make-up work will not be allowed. Please understand family vacations are not excused absences. Please schedule doctor and dental appointments after school hours. If the student has not been absent and has late work it will be accepted, however, five points will be deducted for each day the assignment is late. Students will be instructed regarding the procedure to obtain makeup work during the first few days of class.

Progress Reports: Parents will receive the traditional mid-term and end-of-term reports printed by the school system. Parents will also receive additional reports if the student’s average falls below a “B” (79 or below) and has incomplete or missing assignments. Student behavior is closely monitored. Parents will be asked to sign these reports and return them to school for verification. Social Studies grades are based on classwork, pop-quizzes, noteooks, projects, unit tests, and extra credit.

This syllabus should become a permanent part of the student’s notebook for reference throughout the year. Students will be instructed to place the syllabus inside their Social Studies notebook. From time to time students will be given points for having the syllabus in the appropriate spot during the year.

Slip….Please cut along this line…..

Social Studies
August, 2007-2008

Student Name_________________
I have read and discussed the Social Studies syllabus with my child and we understand EHT’s requirements.

________________________
Parent Signature

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tools of the Trade: Class Syllabus

The first of the school year is a time for questions.

Teachers question how their students will react to new procedures and new, more intense curriculum.

Students question the teacher. Will you be stern or easygoing? How will we change classes? When is recess? When is lunch?

Parents also have questions. How much homework will my child have? Does my child have to bring home all of these books? Will you allow my child to visit the restroom when she/he needs to go? Can you move my child away from “that” kid with the reputation?
As the year progresses parents have more questions. Why is my child failing your class? We need extra credit. What can my child do? When is the test anyway? How can my child pass the test if we don’t know what to study?

Parent questions and my own desire to assist students to become responsible, independent learners gave birth to the class syllabus I present here.

Every year I have to tweak the syllabus due to system and administrator changes to various policies, but it has basically remained the same over the years.

The syllabus is handed out the first day of school. The first night’s homework is to share the syllabus with parents and to ask them to sign the slip. Slips are brought back to school and placed in my files. I have a file for each student I teach. Later in the year when I am invaribly called on the carpet because a parent complains to the principal because I haven’t let parents know anything about my class I can present the signed slip. In fact, I don’t even have to do that anymore. My principal has heard so much about my syllabus that when a parent makes THAT call to the office she immediately tells them, “Oh no, EHT has a syllabus. Check your child’s notebook.” The syllabus is stored in the student’s notebook all year so that it can be used as a reference when questions come up.

Here is part one of my syllabus. I’ll present part two tomorrow.

Syllabus for Social Studies
Grade Level: Fourth Grade

Teacher: EHT
Contact Information: School
Address
School Phone
My school email

Mission and Goals: Our primary goal in Social Studies is to assist the student to become a productive responsible citizen. The Social Studies program includes the study of geography, political science, economics, behavioral science, and the humanities. Students will attack these domains by practicing the following skills---information processing, problem solving, civic participation, time and chronology use, reading maps, globes, graphics, and charts.

Sequence of Study: In fourth grade, students begin the formal study of United States history. At this grade, the four strands of history, geography, civics, and economics are fully integrated. Students begin their study of United States history with the development of Native American cultures and conclude with the antebellum period ending in 1860. The georgraphy strand emphasizes the influence of geography in early United States history. The civics strand emphasizes concepts, and rights during the formation of our government. The economic strand uses materials from the historical strand to futher understand economic concepts.

First 9-weeks (August-October): American Regions, Native Americans, Age of Exploration, and Early Colonies

Second 9-weeks (October-December): Colonization in America, American Revolution, Map Skills

Third 9-weeks (January-March): Constitution/American Government, Westward Movement, Civil War

Fourth 9-weeks (March-May): CRCT Review, Reconstruction, Big Business/Immigration

Textbook: Title (Publisher). Students are encouraged to keep the textbook in their book bag at all times so they can read during free moments. Students are highly advised to read at least one sub-section of the current chapter each night as a tool for success.

Textbooks, trade books, and other chapter books are furnished without cost to the student. The textbooks are the property of ______ School System. Students and their parents are held accountable for all that are lost or damaged. The school system must be reimbursed for lost or damaged books.

Student Requirements: Students should bring their book bag, agenda, textbook, social studies folder, pencils, and paper as well as any other items as assigned.

Agenda-Agendas will be provided to students to record homework assignments, long-term assignments, test dates, due dates for various assignments, and school events such as PTO. Students will find information posted each day in class to be written in the agenda. The first activity in social studies each day will be writing the posted “Agenda Notes” down. Agendas will be reviewed and signed by the teacher each day. Parents should go over the items listed in the Agenda each day to make sure every item is completed. Students are required to have their agenda at school each day. Agenda pages should remain in the agenda at all times. Replacement agendas are $5.00.

Notebook-Trapper Keeper/Zip-up type notebooks DO NOT work well with the types of assignments students will be given. Each student is required to have one (1) 3-prong/2-pocket folder for their Social Studies notebook. Students will be instructed regarding the maintenance of their folders. At NO TIME should anything be thrown away unless instructed to do so by the teacher. Students will be taking notes in class and completing various assignments. Everything will stay in the notebook. On test days students will turn in their notebooks for grading. A grading rubric is attached for student/parent review. Notebooks will NOT be accepted for grading unless they are housed in a 3-prong/2-pocket folder.

Are your eyes glazed over yet? Look for the rest of my syllabus tomorrow….

Related posts you might enjoy:

Keeping a Notebook: Elementaryhistoryteacher Style
The Moment
Interruptions: Do They Matter?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Giving Gifts

This week I have a special two-year-old to shop for. I haven’t done that for some time as my children are in their 20s and teens, and my youngest nephew is fast approaching his upper elementary years. I don’t even know what is trendy right now for toddlers. I believe we are going to go towards books and Dora the Explorer, however. I love the giving, I adore the shopping, but actually getting the right thing….that’s the part that drives me insane.

You can go back pretty far in history and find that government leaders have been exchanging gifts as far back as ancient times. This week’s wordless image was a gift of state. It is customary when heads of state visit they exchange some sort of gift. These visits are arranged by the Department of State and there is a method of protocol that is strictly adhered to during the entire visit.

The office of the Chief of Protocol arranges and coordinates all state visits as well as visits our president makes abroad. The cermonial division of the Office of Protocol is responsible for the appropriate selection of gifts to be given by the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and their respective spouses to foreign dignitaries. Information regarding the handling of gifts and their legal status can be found here.

An article from the New York Times relates Abraham Lincoln, who did not have to disclose any gifts he received, was inaugurated in a suit that was provided to him as a gift. Among the many other things he received was a John Hancock autograph and several potions and laxitives. Yes, that’s right….laxitives. He turned down, however, a herd of elephants from the king of Siam.

Tokens and Treasures connects to some explanations regarding some very interesting gifts presented to U.S. Presidents all the way back to Hoover.

The particular piece of jewelry I shared for the wordless image this week is an auquamarine and diamond brooch given by His Excellency Arthur da Costa e Silva, President-elect of Brazil at the end of January, 1967 during a state visit to Washington D.C. You can see the toasts given at the official state dinner for President Johnson and President-elect Silva here.

The brooch can be seen on exhibit along with many of the state gift items presented to the President of the United States during the Johnson Administration. The two-inch long auquamarine is tear-dropped in shape and is set in platinum. It can also be worn as a pendant. Nine diamonds are found on each side leading up to five brilliant cut diamonds topped with four baguettes set at angles. Mrs. Johnson wore the piece of jewelry during the remainder of her husband’s term in office.

*the first image with this post is from the official state dinner for the Republic of India and is courtesy of the White House
*the pendant image is courtesy of the Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration.


This post also appears at American Presidents Blog

Fall Break Is Around the Corner

It’s hard to believe school has been in session since the first of August. In some ways it feels like yesterday---in another way, however, I’m more than ready for Fall Break. The other night I spent some time online looking for possible destinations for my break from educational duties. I wanted to go somewhere different. Somewhere I’d never been.

Of course, my destination has to meet certain requirements. There has to be beautiful beaches, warm to hot weather, swaying palm trees, and posh condo d├ęcor. I love staying in condos. You have all the comforts of home while you are away from home. Every condo I’ve ever stayed in has been different, and I enjoy discovering all of the little decorating details. Condos make the trip more memorable because we remember each of the beautiful places we have stayed.

I believe I have found an interesting spot to travel to and wonder when Dear Hubby reads this if he’ll think the same thing. Hmmmmm………

How does Kauai, Hawaii sound? Kauai is the northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands and is only twenty minutes by air from Honolulu. The landscape appears to be absolutely paradise. While visiting Kauai you can visit the Captain Cook monument and Fort Elizabeth, the only Russian fort remaining in Hawaii. Want to see how Hawaiian sugar plantations operated? You can visit Grove Farm Homestead, the 80-acre sugar plantation once owned by Georgia N. Wilcox. At one time the plantation covered over 12,000 acres. Wilcox was a noble under the Hawaiian monarchy, a Senator under the Hawaiian Republic, and served as a Cabinet prime minister in 1892.

The most difficult detail regarding planning a trip to Hawaii might be securing the right condo considering I’m practically on the other side of the world, however, I found Hawaiian Beach Rentals. Their website appears to be a one-stop shop for meeting my housing requirements. I can pull up pictures of each condo and I can reserve mine and hubby’s spot online. If hubby decides to bring the whole family (oh no!) we can reserve a house. Better yet Hubby and I can rent a condo and rent the rest of the crew hotel rooms!

Well, I’ve got some packing and planning to do because in the next couple of weeks I’m goin’ somewhere….

Check out Hawaiian Beach Rentals for your Hawaiian destination needs today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

13 New World Explorers Not Commonly Known

1. John Rae was a surgeon and Scottish explorer of the Canadian Artic. Between 1848 and 1854 Rae set out to find Sir John Franklin who disappeared along with his crew during an artic expedition. During his search Rae mapped over 1400 miles of coastline and proved King William Land was actually an island. Eventually Rae met up with some members of an Inuit tribe who informed him Franklin and his crew had died of exposure and starvation.

2. Jean Nicollet was a French explorer. He traveled through the Great Lakes region and lived among Native Americans for many years in what is today Ontario, Canada.

3. Henry Kelsey (his picture is seen above) was also known as Boy Kelsey because he was a mere boy of 17 when he began exploring Canada. In fact, he was the first inland explorer of the Canadian region for the Hudson Bay Company, and the first European to see the praries of Canada. Kelsey met with many Native American tribes and negotiated trade agreements that increased the profits of the Hudson Bay Company.

4. Panfilo De Narvaez was a Spanish sailor and explorer who helped to conquer Cuba in 1511. He led an expedition to North America where he landed on the western coast of Florida near where Tampa Bay is today. Unfortunately he died in Florida one year later.

5. Antoine de Cadillac was French and would have probably listed explorer, soldier, and leader on his resume. He founded the city of Detroit in 1701 and later served as the governor of Louisiana from 1710-1716 or 1717.

6. Gaspar Corte Real was a Portuguese explorer who sailed to Greenland in 1500. He may have reached Newfoundland, but was lost at sea in 1501. Unfortunately his brother, Manuel, was also lost in an attempt to find Gaspar.

7. Sir Martin Frobisher was an English privateer which is a politically correct way of saying he was a British government sponsored pirate. His picture is to the left. For many years Frobisher sailed to northwest Africa and then attacked French ships in the English channel. Later on he become one of the many explorers who sailed to North America in search of the Northwest Passage.

8. David Thompson was a Welsh explorer who traveled over North America including western America and Canada. He explored the full length of the Columbia River. His detailed maps of North America became the template for ones that followed. From 1797 to 1798 Thompson sailed down the Missouri River.

9. Sabastian Cermenho was Portuguese by birth but explored for Spain. He was not only a soldier and navigator….he was also a historian. He chronicled the Spanish conquest of Mexico in his book, The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, in 1568. Cermenho first traveled to North America in 1514 as a soldier with Pedrarias Davila, the new governor of Darien. He also sailed with Cordoba, Grijalva, and Cortes.

10. John Hawkins, seen below, was an English naval officer, slave trader, and privateer. He was also the cousin of Sir Francis Drake. In 1562 Hawkins sailed to the Spanish West Indies to trade Guinean slaves. He was the first English slave trader and fairly successful at it. The Spanish were none too pleased about an Englishman eating into their profits and when Queen Elizabeth I sponsored Hawkins’ second and third slave trading ventures it was just one of the things that finally sparked the war with Spain. You may have heard about the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Hawkins can be thanked for thinking up the strategy of blockading Spanish ships at the Azores and he also had something to do with looting of treasure laden ships flying the Spanish flag.

11. Baron Alexander Von Humboldt was from Prussia. He explored Center and South America along with French botonist Aime Bonpland. He explored Venezuela, Peru, and Ecquador, and sailed down the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. Along the way Humboldt and Bonpland collected plant, animal, and mineral specimens.

12. Juan De Fuca was also known as Apostolos Valerlanos in his native Greece, but he explored for Spain. He also searched for the Northwest Passage but he sailed up the western side of North America from Mexico to Vancouver Island. He located a strait which today is named for him. De Fuca was convinced the strait was actually the waterway that led to the Atlantic Ocean.

13. William Dampier was a British pirate, explorer, and map-maker. As a teen he began travels to Australia, New Guinea, southeast Asia, and the Southseas charting rivers, inlets, coastline, and the water currents. He published a book titled A New Voyage Around the World which published in 1697 that described native cultures, other discoveries, and the first noted typhoon.

Visit other Thursday Thirteens here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wordless 40

Isn’t this stunning?

This piece of jewelry is historical yet not really in a groundbreaking kind of way.

Do you know its significance?

Other Wordless images can be found here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Weekend Reading Assignment

The 18th Georgia Carnival is on the road this week hosted by What a Concept!

The Education Carnival can be found here…….here is literal as in History Is Elementary!

I plan to spend the weekend revisiting some of the education carnival entries to leave comments, as well as enjoy the Georgia carnival.

I hope you do the same and have a nice restful weekend with plenty of reading and of course, football.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The 136th Education Carnival

Welcome to the midway of the 136th Carnival of Education!

Here's the very latest roundup of entries from around the EduSphere. Unless clearly labeled otherwise, all entries this week were submitted by the writers themselves.

Folks interested in hosting an edition of the C.O.E. should make their intentions known by notifying Edwonk via this email address: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about last week's midway, which was hosted over at The Education Wonks. Visit the C.O.E.'s archives here and see the latest entries there.

Next Week's Carnival will be hosted by The Education Wonks. Contributors are invited to send their submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net, or use this handy submission form. Entries should be received no later than 11:00 PM EDST 8:00 PM Pacific Tuesday, September 18, 2007. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!

Remembering September 11th

Mamacita asked, “Where were you when the planes hit?

Beginning the New Year

Poor Mr. Teacher, or is it Miss?

New to teaching? NYC Educator has a few Startup Tips for beginning teachers…..they also are great reminders for not-so-newbie-teachers, too!

Joanne Jacobs remembers a time when schools weren't buying the students their supplies and their clothing. Their clothing?

Dangerously Irrelevant knows it’s the first day of school (again), and provides a classroom technology checklist. Has anything really changed over the summer? Should we expect it to?

There’s some new technology to go along with that checklist, too. Global Citizenship in a Virtual World asks, “What do the new Apple products mean to me?

Campbell Soup labels and boxtops….Saving Advice Blog provides
some thoughts on the costs and benefits of corporate promotions for schools.

The Business of Teaching

So You Want to Teach has made a recent discovery that no matter how good I am at teaching, I will be much better if I avoid every single negative/sarcastic comment. It's time for an attitude adjustment.

Mrs. Bluebird understands. Sometimes you just need to stop everything and give in to the novelty of it all.

Did you know the number of classroom rules you have could be an indicator of how many years you’ve been in the classroom? The Science Goddess says, “"Throw off those crutches and walk!"

I’m sure you have heard about Method Acting. So, what’s Method Teaching? Dy/Dan has the answer.

What happens when a school system accepts a split adoption for textbooks…one grade level is given a book published by one company while the other two have textbooks from another publisher. Chanman says You can take this textbook and...

Sick of the Rim-Sitters is a follow up to The Tempered Radical’s last carnival post which generated high interest and several comments. It continues the conversation about who is responsible for student learning in our classrooms.

Yes, Ms. Cornelius, I agree. A good substitute is worth their weight in plutonium. Subs need props and support to do their jobs.

Curriculum Minded

Personally, I am so tickled pink that Terrell from Alone on a Limb is from my own beloved Georgia. I really need to trek to Rome and see him action…. Check out his slideshow that details a nature study project students in Rome, Georgia will be working on this year.

Let's Play Math shares math challenge problems from ancient Egypt.

A Passerby’s Trail knows our kids need music and other co-curricular activities to be integrated in the school curriculum.

A large number of Americans state religion is important to them. A smaller number actually know little concerning their particular religion. Who is to blame? Edreviews provides a review of Religious Literacy, a book by Stephen Prothero where some of the possible reasons are given.

Those Pesky Situations

Three Standard Deviations to the Left provides a situation many of you are all too familiar with regarding students in higher grades. What would you do when Parents Go Behind their Kid's Back?

Right on the Left Coast asks, “Healthy food at school?” Go on over and get into the entire healthy food debate.

What’s just as worse than lice in the classroom? Ringworm! Running a close second is the beating that commonsense takes regarding contagions.

Do you have one of those pesky school loans? Seems like they will never go away. Finance Is Personal provides information concerning Congressional reforms for the student loan industry.

The folks in Ms. Teacher’s district are scratching their heads. How does someone end up making it through the screening process with no apparent credentials?

Legal Situations

Should schools be able to control what is written and said by students outside the school building? This post provides some thoughts about a public school verses freedom of speech case currently being fought in Connecticut. Caution: May not be appreciated by some school administrators.

“Therefore, schools must be the one place in our students' lives where they do feel absolutely safe and protected,” so says EdWonk in a post that discusses our troubled high schools: gang-banging the Indy way.

And just what should we do with “those” problem students? Many state but they have to go somewhere!

Testing, Reform, and Other NCLB Effects

NTLB? Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable is wondering not so much about excellent teachers, but what are we doing to keep good teachers and helping them to become excellent.

There continues to be a significance shortage of teachers and looking at the NCES statistics gives you a real feel for just how bad it will get”, says Dave with the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.

Mamacita
states, “Any teacher can tell you why so many of us are leaving the profession.

Going to the Mat explores the SAT Achievement gap.

Are you already bogged down with data, data, and more data? Help has arrived from Leader Talk. Check out School Data Tutorials

Education Notes Online has the scoop. Teachers in NYC have been besieged by tests while Mayor Bloomberg has been using phony rising test scores to make a national rep as an education reformer. Were state reading and math tests deliberately made easier in an election year?

Friends of Dave also has some thoughts on testing and why good schools fail.

Denver Classroom Teacher’s Association’s new program called Promoting Classroom Success deserves a grade of “C”, and Alan over at Schools for Tomorrow admits he’s guilty of grade inflation.

My Urban Report discusses the NEA and their new program promoting education in minority communities calle I love My Child

The College Campus

The Kafkaesque K provides us a glimpse regarding what happens to last year’s Seniors as they become the newbies on college campuses across the country.

Beloit College has released it’s annual “Mindset List” for the class of 2011. This list is supposed to consist of pithy statement that underscore the generational differences between the average college instructor and the average incoming student. Greg over at Evolution…Not Just a Theory Anymore provides the list and his reactions to it...

And speaking of teacher responsibility…Are high school grads ready to write in college? Great College Advice says, “Nope!”

Rape and the College Man….Marcella explains that with school back in session, we need a reminder about why rape prevention shouldn’t be limited to educating potention victims.

So what do you do when you discover the week before that you have been assigned a class of 25, you have no textbook, and you are about to leave for your family’s first vacation ever? Suzanne has an idea.

I guess every level of student enjoys a game now and then. Siobhan Curious provides some examples of games in the college classroom.

It’s All About Learning

Punish students, label students, push pills down their throats? No, Me-ander says a better cure would be more sleep.

How can you learn if you can't read? is an article posted by Stephanie at the Life Without School site. Her findings are vastly different from what you might expect.

From Principled Discovery…”A quality preschool is not the common denominator among successful readers. Nurturing parents are. And it isn't like the government has not noticed this.”

Sherlock Holmes solved problems alright…but he wasn’t 100% right! Read Luke Houghton's post to find out why.

Pick the Brain provides five keys to success in foreign language learning.

Can we train our brains? Sharp Brains explains the views of eleven neuroscientrists.

And finally: This, like nearly all of our journeys around the EduSphere, has been both enjoyable and informative. We continue to thank all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible, the folks who give of their time to help spread the word, and the readers who continue to make it A Free Exchange of Thoughts and Ideas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

More Questions Regarding Good Old TR

Can a plunger be used as an educational prop?

What happened when President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dine with him?

How did President Roosevelt ever combat and reconcile his deep Southern roots?

What do I share with students when they ask me about celebrating their Confederate heritage?

The answer to these questions can be found in my post Theodore Roosevelt: The Plunger.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Well Connected Story

As I began to plan this week's wordless image I was absolutely at a loss.

I thought,

and I thought,

and I thought, but nothing---absolutely nothing came to mind.

I even contemplated NOT having a wordless image.

The situation sort of reminded me of my Language Arts students when I announce that we will be doing creative writing for most of the period. There are always a few students who wail, “….but, I can’t think of anything to write about.” I remind students to check out their idea list we began at the beginning of the year---the list they keep in the front of their writing notebooks.

During the first week of school we set up the notebooks and then I show students my own personal writing binder with my own writing ideas list. When they write I write. This breaks those students who want reassurance after each sentence. The rule is if someone is writing they cannot be interrupted. I write along with students for the entire time….usually 20 minutes.

I pop my personal writing topics up on the television screen and I go through my list explaining what each and every entry refers to. As I share my writing ideas I tell students my ideas might spark some of their own, and they should list these as I speak.

Here are three of the items on my list and the explanations I provide students:

Lady-she was my dog….my one and only dog. She was with me from the third grade through my second year of college.
Riding my bike-I used to spend the majority of my day on my bike sometimes riding as many as ten miles a day though to look at me now you wouldn’t believe it. I used to make all sorts of ramps. My young men can’t believe I really had a bike with monkey handle bars, a banana seat, and a sissy bar until I show them a picture. Popping wheelies was the best.
Riding out a hurricane 6 blocks from the beach-I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia when Gloria blew through. It was quite an experience for someone who had never heard the wind really blow or seen house parts fly down the street.

My list goes on and on, and while I talk the kids learn many things about me. and at the same time my entries act as a trigger helping them to write down some of their own.

So, back to my empty brain...I had nothing. I took a long look at my blog and looked at my resource blogroll. I saw my link to American Heritage Magazine and clicked through. I went into the archives and accessed an article from August, 1955 titled Spoiled Child of American Politics, an article concerning Henry Cabot Lodge. Here’s how it began:

When Henry Cabot Lodge was a lad of sixteen, his mother took him to the studio of a famous American sculptor named William Story. Alter examining a number of Story’s works, she decided to purchase one entitled: “Lybian Sybil.” She asked young Cabot what he thought of it. He replied that the statue was perfectly lovely, but the inscription was all wrong. “It ought to be ‘Libyan’ and ‘Sibyl’,” he announced tartly. “The letters in Greek are Upsilons.”

This tale had a happy ending, for Mrs. Lodge bought the statue anyway (with the inscription altered). But the outcome of other incidents in which Lodge displayed the aggravating, smug, and generally unlovely side of his personality was often disastrous. For Lodge was without an equal among American statesmen at the art of arousing people’s ire. Few politicians have been so cordially hated; certainly none who held office continually for more than 35 years, as he did.

In part his bad reputation today steins from the dim view most people take of his Machiavellian conduct during the fight over the League of Nations in the Senate…

While very interesting this is the point where where I stopped reading the article because my interest had not been aroused by Mr. Lodge but by the mention of the statue. “Hmmmmmm, I wonder what that looks like?”I thought.

I certainly don’t mean to dismiss Henry Cabot Lodge. He is a very interesting historial figure and certainly he was a major thorn in the side of President Woodrow Wilson, but I had been majorly distracted by a shiny object…..a statue with an interesting name that the young Lodge had pompously deigned insufficient unless the name was changed. If you haven’t guessed already Henry Cabot Lodge is the reason why I referred to the League of Nations in my teaser for the wordless puzzle. Once you are done with this post I encourage you to find out more about Mr. Lodge and his family.

I did a quick google regarding the “Libyan Sibyl” and suddenly found myself looking at the Sistene Chapel. A sibyl is a female prophet or seer, and was used by Michelangelo in contrast to the images of Old Testament prophets seen on the chapel ceiling. Sibyls were first mentioned by the Greek writer Heraclitus in the fifth century B.C. There are four sibyls depicted in the Sistene Chapel, and one is the Libyan Sibyl. You can see it here. Over the years there have been many discussions concerning sibyls in Greek literature and thought. The actual numbers of sibyls have increased from four to twelve depending on the source you are using.

“Well,” I thought, “that’s very interesting, but not what I’m looking for.” I changed my keywords and entered “William Wetmore Story” in the Google search box. Now, I already knew Henry Cabot Lodge was from an old, connected family, but I soon discovered Mr. Story was as well. His father was Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. William Story was born in 1819 and attended Harvard University. He eventually practiced law, wrote legal textbooks, and even wrote a biography of his father. He was interested in art, but treated it as a hobby during the early part of his life and never received formal training. I learned that many of Story’s subjects were inspired by Greek tragedy and often his subjects were idealized including the lovely statues of Cleopatria and Medea.

When viewing his work the fact that he did not have formal training as a youth is astounding. You would think he had been working with marble all of his life. I think out of all of the works I’ve seen so far I love Fallen Angel (left) the best. This sculpture rests on the grave of Mr. Story’s wife, and I find it very compelling.

After being commissioned to design a statue of his father, Story traveled to Italy and began to study sculpting earnestly. Rome became his new home where he resided in the Old Barberini Palace. He hobnobbed with the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I couldn’t help but think as I learned this that Story and Lodge really had much in common. They were well connected, their families were well off, and they were both well educated, however they were born 57 years apart. They were also both very passionate concerning their beliefs. Lodge had opinions he felt worth fighting for with regards to the League of Nations and immigration. Story, even though he lived most of his later life in Italy, felt very strongly about rising tensions in the United States leading up to the War Between the States. Early in the war Story sent regular letters to the Daily Mail that were gathered up and reprinted as The American Question. The subject was mainly neutrality, and the collection of letters had significant influence in Britian.

At this point you might be thinking I had promised you a connection with abolition and women’s rights, and so far no pay off, right? I’m getting there….

After I thought I had learned as much as I could about Story in the time I had alloted myself I returned to the Google search page and scrolled down. Suddenly, I was seeing references to Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sojourner Truth. HUH?????????

I discovered in 1853 the ex-slave turned speaker and preacher, Truth, had visited Harriet Beecher Stowe in her Andover, Massachusetts home. Truth was hoping Stowe would write an introduction to Truth’s Narratives. At the time Stowe was enjoying her success with the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which provided many Northerners with their only picture of what life was like in the South.

Stowe remembered her visit with Sojourner Truth ten years later in an Atlantic Monthly article from April, 1863, you can read here. As you read the article, and if you view it with a critical eye, you can pick up on details that tend to romanticize Sojourner Truth.

Many have argued that Harriet Beecher Stowe took creative license with her 1863 article. First, the contents can be doubted since it is certain she took no notes during her visit with Truth which leads us to the conclusion that the article is simply a recollection of events that were ten years old. Many take issue with Stowe referring to Truth as an African since the ex-slave was born in the United States. Her parents may have arrived in chains from Africa, but Sojourner Truth was born with the name Isabella as a slave in Ulster County, New York. If you really wanted to get technical she wasn’t an African or an American. She was property and as such was not a citizen of the United States. At one point Stowe refers to Truth’s passing. Of course, Sojourner Truth was very much alive in 1863 and for many years after. As I read the article I looked at the passing reference to mean she passed through Stowe’s life….not that she had passed to her great reward. Others take issue with Stowe writing Truth’s words in the style of Southern dialect. This incorrectly labels Ms. Truth as a Southern ex-slave, and she was not. She would not have spoken with the Southern dialect. In fact, until she was sold for the first time in 1806. Truth spoke only Dutch. Many state that depending on her audience Sojourner Truth could change her manner of speaking. I guess we will never truly know. I have not researched this very well, but do find it interesting.

Stowe also recounts in her article that she met with William Wetmore Story soon after her visit with Truth and told him all about it. The romanticized description given to him by Stowe, gave Story inspiration and the statue I presented as my wordless image was born. Stowe’s article states:

But though Sojourner Truth has passed away from among us as a waveof the sea, her memory still lives in one of the loftiest and mostoriginal works of modern art, the Libyan Sibyl, by Mr. Story,which attracted so much attention in the late World's Exhibition. Some years ago, when visiting Rome, I related Sojourner's historyto Mr. Story at a breakfast at his house.

The history of Sojourner Truth worked in his mind and led him intothe deeper recesses of the African nature,--those unexploreddepths of being and feeling, mighty and dark as the giganticdepths of tropical forests, mysterious as the hidden rivers andmines of that burning continent whose life-history is yet to be. A few days after, he told me that he had conceived the idea of astatue which he should call the Libyan Sibyl. Two yearssubsequently, I revisited Rome, and found the gorgeous Cleopatrafinished, a thing to marvel at, as the creation of a new style ofbeauty, a new manner of art. Mr. Story requested me to come andrepeat to him the history of Sojourner Truth, saying that theconception had never left him. I did so; and a day or two after,he showed me the clay model of the Libyan Sibyl. I have neverseen the marble statue; but am told by those who have, that it wasby far the most impressive work of art at the [London] Exposition.

As you can see from my wordless image it is most impressive, but doesn’t it have an even more interesting quality to know that Sojourner Truth was the statue’s inspiration and Harriet Beecher Stowe has something to do with it?

Eventually after some correction with the text (I left the bottom portion of the image out of my wordless post, but include it with this post) the statue became the property of the Lodge family. Years later the statue was donated to the Smithsonian where it is displayed today for everyone to see.

In her fantastic read, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, Nelle Irvin Painter states the Atlantic Monthly article transformed Truth from a little-noted evangelist and reformer, she became a celebrity; her presence of itself, was not news. Newspapers began to refer to Ms. Truth as the “sibyl” and she introduced herself as “the well known Mrs. Stowe’s African Sibyl”.

I also referred to the Washington Monument in my wordless hints. In 1876 the construction of the Washington Monument had stood still for almost twenty years. The monument was only one-third complete, so to jump start efforts the committee in charge of the monument agreed to look at five other designs including one submitted by Mr. Story. His design was considered to be “vastly superior in artistic taste and beauty”, however, the original design was altered a bit and construction continued. The completed image is what we see today.

So, there you have it…my journey to a wordless image.

Damn….for someone who had absolutely nothing to say I ended up with quite a “Story.”

I should learn from my own teaching. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

13 Various Odds and Ends I Need to Mention About this Blog and the Edublogosphere in General

Warning….this post may contain some great links that may lead to an increase or overload with your time on-line. :)

1. New to my History blogroll….Miss!...the daily fun of a second year high school social studies teacher.

2. New to the education blogroll….Confessions From the Couch

3. I’ve added Classtools.net to my resource blogroll. It’s a new web 2.0 site providing free flash templates to use in the classroom. You can create your own games, diagrams---fishbones and venns, etc., and more…The really great thing is you can save your work on your blog or website and open your creation again for editing.

4. I’ve also added Active History to resources. It’s a facinating site regarding teaching history in the U.K.

5. Educahistoria.com is a site from Spain and is written entirely in Spanish, however most of us these days have the ability to read sites in our own languages. I'm thinking this site would be wonderful to share with students….students who speak Spanish and are learning English.

While we want them learning and reading English we also want them to have a little "comfort"reading, don’t we? I know I would want a few English resources if I suddenly found myself in Spain or Mexico and didn’t have a clue….which I wouldn’t. :)

6. Make sure you check out Educahistoria’s Blogosphere page for other Spanish sites too.

7. Every year I begin by teaching a short study skills unit since I’ve found most students have no idea what it means to study. They also generally don’t know how to set a goal and follow the steps necessary to achieve it.

I think I’ve found something I can add to my unit box…..Follow this link to Teaching Moments: Goal Setting for Students--- where it states, “Today’s students will be tomorrow's Generation Y employees. …they will dramatically change every aspect of society over the next ten years.”

Hmmmm….that could be a scary prospect, but with a little shaping, a little guidance we might be ok in our old age. From the website you can purchase Goal Setting for Students for only $6.95. What a bargain! There are also links to sign up for a newsletter and a blog.

8. In case you missed it the last round up of blog posts dealing with education was hosted by Matthew K. Tabor's site while this week’s education carnival can be found over at the Education Wonks.

9. The History Carnival posted around the first of September. You can find it over at Greenman Tim's wonderful site.

10. Do you know about Bibliodyssey? It is clearly one of the best image sites on the web. Check the current page out as well as the archives.

11. World History Blog has been on my history blogroll from day one. Miland posts several times a week regarding various events in world history. There is something interesting over there every time I visit.

12. Topics From 192 Countries is a group blog that has many different authors. There are new postings every day that clue you in to what’s going on around the world. Scroll down the sidebar and see if your country needs an author.

13. I’m sure that many 13 readers are royalty buffs. World of Royalty is an interesting site that places royalty resources in a one-stop-shop for your convenience. There is always new information to be had.

Finally, this blog will be hosting next week’s education carnival. Education posts can be fowarded to my email located at the top of the sidebar or use this handy submission link.

Visit other Thursday Thirteens here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wordless 38

This week’s mystery image has connections to abolition, suffrage, the Washington Monument, and the League of Nations.

Can you tell me how this piece of sculpture weaves and winds through the concepts and events I’ve mentioned?

Isn’t she beautiful? Look for my explanation later this week.

Last week’s explanation can be found here.

Find out more about Wordless Wednesday by following the link.

Someone guessed correctly regarding this week's image. You can see my explanation HERE.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Two Rockwells for Labor Day

This image was completed in 1937 by Rockwell Kent and is called Workers of the World Unite. Kent completed many landscapes in his lifetime, however, he was also a political activist. Many of his prints were used primarily for politcally charged magazines.



While the second image was not intended to be a Labor Day image I’m using it today since it not only celebrates the worker it also celebrates the contribution women have made to the American workforce. This is one of Norman Rockwell’s most famous images, Rosie, The Riveter, painted in 1943 during World War II.


This image served as the color illustration for the May 29, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The canvas was donated to the United States Treasury Department’s Second War Loan Drive that year.

In 2002 the painting sold at Sothesby’s at auction for $4,959,500.

For more Labor Day reading here is my Post from last year's Labor Day and an article from the Detroit News that might interest you.