Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Fact for Each of the 13 Colonies

If it’s November many fourth grade students in Georgia have been examining the 13 original colonies.

Here are some facts they have discovered:

1. New Hampshire-At one time this small colony was in dispute with New York regarding a particular territory west of the Connecticut River. Later the territory also known as the New Hampshire Grants would become Vermont following the American Revolution.

2. Massachusetts-Originally this colony was a Crown colony and was organized by William and Mary in 1691. Many do not realize but originally the province of Massachusetts included land all the way through what is today Maine.

3. Rhode Island-this colony’s charter set the territory apart from others because it granted freedom of religion for all Christians and Jews as well. Some historians think the name of the colony refers to its similarity in shape to the Greek island of Rhodes and Giovanni da Verrazzano had the honor of naming the province.

4. Connecticut-this plot of land was at one time known as River Colony. It was the site of one of the major wars with Native Americans....The Pequot War fought in 1637 and 1638.

5. New York-Before the British took over this colony it was already a very successful Dutch colony. New York City was originally known as New Amsterdam.

6. New Jersey-the settlement of a debt transferred one section of the colony from James, the Duke of York, to Sir George Carteret and another section to Lord Berkeley of Stratton. This is where the terms East Jersey and West Jersey come from.

7. Pennsylvania-William Penn received the territory known as “Penn’s Woods” because the monarchy owed him money. One other interesting fact is that by 1730 the colony had approximately 4,000 slaves. Fifty years later Pennsylvania would be one of the first colonies to issue an act of abolition.

8. Delaware-the actual ownership of this colony changed hands many times, but that didn’t stop it from being one of the most diverse colonies with people living there from Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, France, and Britian.

9. Maryland-This colony’s capital city was named for Lord Baltimore who received a charter to create a haven for Catholics. Over the next few years the give and take regarding Catholicism in Britian determined the future ownership of the colony for some time.

10. Virginia-If Francis I of France had had his way the colony would have been known as Francesca or New France. Though Jamestown was the first successful British settlement in Virginia (1607) the French had actually claimed it earlier due to the exploration of Giovanni da Verrazzano. Basically, they let the British have the land and didn’t make a big issue of it at the time.

11. North Carolina-this territory originally included all of South Carolina and Georgia down to the boundary with Spanish controlled Florida.

12. South Carolina-Beginning in 1710 the proprietors of North Carolina could not reach an agreeement regarding governing issues so there was a split and South Carolina was born. Due to more disagreements and the Yamasee War (another Native American conflict) it would be 1729 before the two Carolinas would be formally established.

13. Georgia-Many don’t realize that a small strip of the last original colony stretched all the way west to the Pacific, and for all of its ties to slavery it actually began as a colony where slavery was not allowed.

Discover more 13’s here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wordless 49

Another unfinished painting this week. There is much to say you know what I'll write about?

Discover other wordless images here and join in the fun!

Last week’s explanation can be found here.

What Is Your Dream Teaching Assignment?

Over the years I’ve joked many times with colleagues that things would be different when I’m the Queen of Education. I’ve been overheard saying things like the following:

“You know….when I’m the Queen of Education we are going to do something about respect in the classroom on behalf of teachers, parents, and students.”

“When I’m the Queen we’re going to kick inept teachers to the curb and not find them suddenly in a position of authority.”

“When I’m the Queen consistency will be the guideword, and there won’t be a hop, skip, and a jump from the greatest thing to the next greatest thing without true and various methods of measure than one standardized test score. If students are to be treated as unique individuals then we need more than one type of measure.”

Well, as time goes on it seems Prince Charles and I have more things in common than just grey hair, adult and nearly adult children. We may never reach our throne, and as far as I’m concerned that’s ok by me. My throne is already hot enough as it is…..

I still dream though and wonder about that elusive perfect teaching assignment. It would be an assignment where I had time to feel like I was really making a difference with students. It would be an assignment where my opinions matter and my years of service and education would be taken into account. It would be an assignment where my knowledge of content would be appreciated and creativity to inspire children would be cultivated.

One of my former colleagues….a person I miss very much….has been placed in a position of a dream assignment of sorts. After moving with her pastor husband to Virginia to take the pulpit in a new church she found herself suddenly responsible for 13 highschoolers in grades 9-12 at the private school the church runs. When my friend, who I will refer to as Mrs. S. from this point on, wrote me an email detailing her newly found position I asked her if I could share her exploits this year with you. She gladly consented. It’s not very often these days that you find a position with as much responsibility and opportunity for creativity as the one Mrs. S. has found herself in.

She states that with some creative scheduling and with the help of an assistant they are making things work. To make things a little easier for everyone Mrs. S. has decided all 9-12th graders will study American History this year. Her group has already been on field trips to Jamestown and Yorktown. In fact, the picture you see above is her students inside a Powatan canoe hollowed out from the trunk of a tree. I wish I could have gone on their trip. :(

Of course, Mrs. S. confesses there are pros and cons to her dream situation. It’s awfully easy to pack them up and take a trip since there are only 13 of them. Recently she returned to Georgia to her home church that also runs a school for a youth rally and brought all of her students with her. Here they all are posed in front of a monster truck.

She doesn’t have to deal with many of the environmental issues some of us do. One factor that is very different from students I have taught is all 13 of her students live with both biological parents. I don’t think I’ve ever had a situation like that. Many of my students live with grandparents.

One of the downsides is she’s with the same 13 young people all day long. They are with her all day long as well and with each other all day long. Since it is a church school this means they also are in the youth group together and all other church services. Mrs. S. states because of all of the togetherness she’s feeling so much closer to her students this year than any other….she’s not so sure that’s a good thing.

Most of Mrs. S.’s students were participants in a program called ACE where they all worked at their own pace. She states there was a little struggle at first as she encouraged a few to work a little faster. Their writing, Mrs. S. admits, needs much improvement, and I look forward to her sharing some of the achievements her young men and women make this year.

In case you think Mrs. S. really has it easy and all of her students are motivated and have high abilities she advises she does have some students with learning diabilities. I’m proud to say Mrs. S. is doing some research to discover strategies to help her young people succeed. Currently she is attempting to help one man with strategies for memorization including the spelling of certain words, Bible verses, and things like the Preamble. Mrs. S. states the education carnival can be a great help to teachers when they are researching ways to help students.

So, I hope to hear from Mrs. S. often so I can keep you advised of her one-room-schoolhouse type situation. Feel free to offer her any advice in the comments…believe me she will see it, and while you’re at it what would a dream teaching assignment be like for you?

Is there a perfect teaching assignment?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I’m In Love With My Lobie™

First of all let me begin this post by stating I rarely review a product on this site, but I have found something that has really helped me and I wanted to pass the word along. I am receiving no compensation for this review.

I love to listen to podcasts and videos when I’m online and last Christmas I finally joined the Ipod revolution with my own Ipod clip. There was one problem….all of these items come with ear buds that I absolutely hate. They don’t stay in my ears and after 15 minutes or so my ears are very sore.

A friend of mine passed the strange looking items you see in the picture, more commonly called Lobie™ to me, and after following the accompanying directions my ear buds were encased in the soft plastic forms and were ready to use. They can be used with any ear bud and can be sized to fit.

My ear bud problem has been solved! I get the same great sound with no pain or discomfort. You do loose some audio isolation with Lobie™ and you do loose some bass while listening to music, however, there are times when you are listening to an audio book or podcast when you need to hear what is going on around you. For example, when running on a busy street or sitting in a classroom where you might need to hear directions Lobie™ could be a perfect tool.

Many of the larger type headphones used in classrooms are being replaced by ear buds because the ear buds take up less room, and they attract less dust.

The Lobie™ product would be perfect to help students who complain with sore ears or for the student who is wary concerning inserting the ear buds into their ears. They are also totally washable and much easier to wipe down after each use than the larger bulky headphones commonly used in classrooms.

If you think you could benefit from the Lobie product visit their website here for more information.

You can even order directly from the site.

Thank you for visiting. My more current postings can be found here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Georgia Carnival Is Underway

Happy Friday!

The 23rd Georgia Carnival has been posted and can be found here..

My gold star award goes out to Facing the Sharks, this edition’s host, for the wonderful job of presenting all of the submissions.

Go on over visit for a spell! You just may find an interesting new blog you never noticed before.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m on a self-imposed posting holiday until Friday. I will be spending time with family and friends.

The painting I’ve presented here is by Norman Rockwell and was inspired along with three other paintings by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedom’s speech.

The four paintings (you can see them here) were published in the Saturday Evening Post on February 20th, February 27th, March 6th, and March 13th in 1943.

The paintings raised over $130,000,000 in war bond sales when they toured around the country by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

If you are looking for Thanksgiving reading here are the titles of some of my former postings:

13 Thanksgiving Myths

What's All the Hubbub, Bub? All I Want Is Turkey, Family, and a Little Football

Squanto: A Coincidental Life, Part 1

Squanto: A Coincidental Life, Part 2

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking the Time to Give Thanks

We have this wonderful opportunity at church each month for every Sunday school department to get together for a lesson, and of course, being Baptists the process involves food. We call it Breakfast Sunday.

Various folks volunteer or are volunteered to provide the lesson. This month’s lesson was given by one my most favorite volunteers as he generally provokes me to think. We even had a craft with our lesson which is evident by my picture with this post. We wrote things we were thankful for on feathers and then glued them to the turkey's body. It was nice to come home and place my Thankful Turkey on the fridge. Since my kids are 22 and 14 I haven’t had refrigerator art in some time.:) It’s supposed to be a turkey…..don’t make fun of it, please.

Our teacher’s lesson plan had an opening salvo that depended on everyone connecting to their prior knowledge of the Pilgrims, of course. Being an avid history reader, history reseacher, and history teacher I usually try…..try….to remain silent when historical topics come up because folks-in-the-know can really be boorish people, and I really hate to beat people over the head with what I might know. Truth be told as many can testify once I get started I can’t shut up and then basically I embarrass myself. My children can quote chapter and verse on this….

Our esteemed teacher for the morning asked the question regarding what the Pilgrims had to be thankful for. Why did the Pilgrims give thanks with a great feast? There were several good answers thrown out between bites of biscuits slathered with gravy, but when one particular answer was uttered I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I prayed I could give a statement that would not become a treatise on the Pilgrim’s experience. Praise be! I did ok. My comment was short and to the point, but be warned….I might not be with this post. :)

The answer that prompted me to action was a comment concerning how the Pilgrims gave thanks for their journey across the sea by giving a Thanksgiving dinner.

No, that’s not so.

It is so very easy to speed the story along and think the Pilgrims were unhappy in England, procured a ship named The Mayflower, and sailed for the New World. It’s also very easy to recall the Pilgrims arrived, landed at Plimouth (Old English spelling) Rock in 1620, and the annual holiday was begun upon landing.

There’s so much more to the story…..

The Pilgrims did have a hard time worshipping the way they wanted to in England. Back in the day there was only one church in England and one way of worship. If you didn’t agree you could be made to feel very uncomfortable and ran the risk of being charged with treason since the monarchy was the official head of the Church of England. The Church of England would not have appreciated the blending of traditional and contemporary worship styles that so many churches in my area enjoy today.

So, the Pilgrims did not set off for the New World, but went to Holland where they remained for several years. When they couldn’t obtain the necessary papers to leave their home country they resorted to any means necessary including bribery to book passage. Two attempts to leave England were thwarted and several ended up in jail for a time. Eventually it was only a small group of 150 or so that ended up in Holland. They were happy for awhile, but eventually there were problems. In his History of Plimoth Plantation William Bradford advised the Pilgrims began to have many “discouragements” in Leiden, the Dutch city where they had settled. They were still a small group, and others had been unable to follow them. Many of the older membes of the group had difficulty in obtaining a job, and money was running out rather quickly. The Pilgrim children were being “drawn away by evil examples into extravagance and dangerous courses” as well. In order to keep their own culture intact they knew they must go somewhere where they could be “unto themselves.”

In September, 1620 the Pilgrims set out for the New World. Procuring the right paperwork and obtaining needed investors was not easy. The investors, of course, were looking for a profit and over the many months would express their displeasure at the lack of progress the Pilgrims would make in the New World. Their original destination was not as far north as present day Massachusetts, but an area north of the Virginia colony where colonists had already set up the settlement of Jamestown (1607). The climate had been tested and they had a fairly good idea where they wanted to settle. A terrible storm ended up blowing the Mayflower off course and this is how they came to land at Plimouth in November, 1620.

Plimouth was not an ideal place for a colony and the timing of the Pilgrim’s landing was not ideal either. By December, many of the Pilgrims were sick with scurvy and other ailments. Snow had begun to fall and needed crops had not been planted. What resulted was a period of time the Pilgrims described as the Starving Time. The name makes sense because that is what many of the Pilgrims did. During the first winter approximately half of the Pilgrims died.

The survivors along with their Native American friend, Squanto, eventually developed the settlement we refer to as Plimoth and by November 1621, after their first harvest, they did indeed have much to be thankful for.

Looking towards our own Thanksgiving, what do you have to be thankful for?

Friday, November 16, 2007

FDR's Unfinished Portrait

I’ve wanted to write about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last days for sometime, and this week seemed appropriate. I had once again reached a point where I was uncertain about my wordless image and what I would post, and I had to look through my research in an attempt to pull something from my….from my…..well, let’s say from my notebook. :)

Time ran out and I had to think quickly on my feet. This can occur when you have a necessary but boring vocabulary quiz planned and you find out the superintendent of schools will be in your room along with other visiting dignitaries in twenty minutes to see something “stimulating.” Luckily my dilemma wasn’t that serious and I’m awfully glad I spent some time during the summer to research various topics. What’s that old Boy Scout motto? Be prepared!

In my wordless image readers were given the assignment to provide me with information about the image, and just like my classroom students they didn’t disappoint me. Readers came up with some wonderful bits of knowledge regarding FDR, and some were so brave to leave a comment indicating they didin’t know anything about the image….well, I’m impressed with their honesty.

In my classroom I appreciate and students learn to appreciate mistakes and the “not knowing” because we are then given a precious gift….the opportunity to learn something.

What a gift to give yourself, eh?

In the responses commentors provided information such as FDR was our 32nd president, he served more than two terms (four actually), led us through the Depression with programs like the CCC, instituted Social Security, and led us through World War II. Roosevelt went to Harvard, had polio, married his cousin, and at one time was Assistant Secretary to the Navy. A couple of Georgia participants reminded us that he had a huge impact on Georgia. I’ve written about his impact before as well some family connections here and here.

The unfinished painting of President Roosevelt was by Elizabeth Shoumatoff, and it represents the last moments of his life since he suffered from a cerebral hemorrage on April 12, 1945 while the President sat for the picture at Warm Springs, Georgia.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prince Henry: Wealth Builder or School Administrator?

Before we begin discussing Portuguese exploration I often direct students’ attention to the world map in their text. Certainly I could use the map at the front of the room, but their personal text brings the world much closer to their vantage point. I want them to explore the map close up. Rotating through 28 kids to peruse the world presented at the front of the room would simply take too long..

Students examine their maps and make observations. I ask how many students watch the nightly news. A few hands go up….pretty good results for a group of nine year olds. I ask them if they see any of the countries they’ve heard mentioned in the news. They volunteer several. Then I ask students which countries are the most powerful. Some choose the largest countries while others choose the ones they hear repeatedly on the news. Finally, I remind students the time period we are studying is the late 1400s and 1500s. I ask, “Which countries were the most powerful when the explorers began their expeditions?” Some students stated the same group of countries as before. Make sense, doesn't it?

In all the years I’ve completed this exercise I have never had a student identify the country of Portugal, but she was a real powerhouse in the early days of the Age of Exploration. When I ask students to zero in on Portugal they are amazed a country so small in comparison to others led the series of expeditions that would became so rampant in the 1500s by the Spanish and English.

Last week’s wordless image is a wind rose located at Sagres which is supposedly on the grounds of the famed school of navigation funded by Prince Henry of Portugal.

Prince Henry was a prince of Portugal from the house of Aviz. He was the third son of King John I and had a connection to England’s royal family through his mother, Philippa. She was the daughter of John of Gaunt.

Like any person of historical note there are facts and myths attached to his life.

As a young man Prince Henry made a name for himself when in 1415 he encouraged his father to capture Ceuta, a port held by Muslims of North Africa. By taking and holding the port Prince Henry toned down the raids led by the Barbary Pirates against trade ships and Portugal was able to have an inroad to the Saharan trade routes. Prince Henry was always encouraged by the legend of Prester John and wanted to fund expeditions to locate the source of the gold Africans used in trade.

Prince Henry established himself at Sagres Point, also referred to as the end of the word, as this was the last piece of land that was close to the most southwestern point of Europe. From Sagres Prince Henry sent his ships out to trade, explore, and gather data. We can know with certainty he hired cartographers who took the information from sailors and charted land masses. As knowledge grew additional expeditions were more successful because they had up-to-date charts and information.

The process of data mining and data presentation is how many believe the legend of a great school at Sagres began. Peter Russell, in his book, Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’: a Life (2000) presents this theory, and it holds water with me as well.

You can visit Sagres today but there is little there to suggest a school on the grand scale that most texts suggest. In fact, the port Prince Henry used for his expeditions was Lisbon.

Many have said Prince Henry was well educated and had a scientific mind that eventually led to the invention of the caravel. While these are nice and tidy bits of knowledge there is no foundation of any of this in the historical records and some sources such as the writer Azurara had reasons to be biased. He was the chief archivist of the Portuguese kingdom. It would not have boded well for him to write anything that made Prince Henry or his family average.

So, if there was such an outstanding school it would seem the chief historian of the House of Aviz would devote many lines to the description of the school, however, some scholars state that the first mention of the school of navigation that is mentioned in our textbooks today was actually in a 17th Century text of English authorship….The Foundations of the Portuguese Empire by Diffie and Winus.

At any rate….the explorer who never explored was important, the knowledge his sailors gathered was important, and his role is worthy to be studied.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

13 Notes Students Have Passed to Me

Teachers need to take time every so often to assess themselves and their lessons for effectiveness. Of course, one of the most often used methods is students’ grades. If a high number of students receive passing grades you’re doing ok and need to follow up with the stragglers. If you have a large number of failing grades it simply can’t be blamed totally on the students. There has to be something you could be doing better as well.

Something else I like to do every nine weeks is to have students write me a letter. In the letter they should tell me what they like about class, what they don’t like, and suggestions regarding how I can make class a friendlier, enjoyable learning environment. Many student suggestions over the years have become tried and true strategies that have been passed on to other teachers. For example, when we were having a difficult time with the doling out of classroom jobs it was a student who suggested my “Most Valuable Student” or MVP program I still use. Everyday one student is the MVP and they do all of the jobs I need done. I post a class roll and we simply go down the list. The kids keep up with it and it’s very orderly.

Recently when I was cleaning out a container I found a set of letters from last year written about this time. Here are 13 things students told me they like, don’t like, or suggestions that were given to me. I’ve cleaned up the grammar a bit and the text within parentheses are my own editorial remarks.

1. I really like coming to your class everyday. I can’t wait to get here. Can you change the posters though? Enough already with Native Americans and Explorers---I’m ready for something different. (I usually change posters during Thanksgiving break).

2. You need to have “little talk” (that’s what I call it when I take a student aside in the hallway) with ______. He really smells. Or you could just put me next to ______ (this person’s best friend….I don’t think so)

3. The no homework thing is great except to study our notes or look for things on our own that go with what we are studying. I’m going to keep getting my classwork done, so I won’t have to do it at home. (The standing homework in my class is to review notes every day. I also encourage students to use books and the Internet to find out more about what we are currently studying. I explain to them that their research could very well become a topic for a post here at History Is Elementary).

4. I know we don’t do it everyday, but I really hate it when we get into groups. Do I have to do this? (I had a private “little talk” with this student and let them give me a list of students they thought they could work with. When I set up groups in the future I referred to the list. The student felt they had some control, and I still pushed the student to try group activities)

5. The explorers test was so hard. I can’t remember all of those guys and all of those things they did. Can I do something to help my grade? Make the test easier for your students next year. (I have discussed my explorers unit before here at HIE and I agree that the state of Georgia is asking too much of nine year old children. I try to include projects and other assignments so that a unit grade is not just the test).

6. I love it when you just sit on your stool and tell us stories. How do you remember all that stuff? You don’t even look at anything. Can you just tell us stories all the time? (I do love to tell the stories).

7. I’d like to do more projects. You said we were going to learn about the colonies next. Can we do Internet research and create slideshows? (Sounds like a good idea to me….)

8. The notes. Why do we have to take notes? Can we have less notes? What good are notes? I keep loosing them. (This young man and I had a few “little talks” and we devised a method for him to have his notes and keep up with them as well. Notebooks are very important in my room. If they don’t’ have their notebook they can’t study their notes.)

9. I hate it when we are busy with class and the intercom keeps coming on or the telephone rings, or someone comes to the door to talk with you. You don’t need to be so nice. Tell them we are busy and to go away. That’s what my mom tells salespeople that come to our door. (Sweetie, I agree. It’s kind of hard to tell the principal to go away).

10. Less work. More recess. (Short and to the point….got to admire him though).

11. I got to read your website last night. Since it’s not for students my mom reads it first and then lets me read it if it’s G or PG. I love it. I wish we could see your website in class. When are you going to write some more about us? Oh….and another thing I lost my coat last week. It’s purple and has a hood, and it’s from Old Navy. My mom says I have to find it. Any ideas? (There are always a few who forget the purpose of the assignment)

12. When are we going to get to the American Revolution? I can’t wait. Native Americans are BORING. You tried, you really tried to make interesting. It’s not you, it’s me. I want to learn about a war, any war. (Have I got wars for you…..just wait my wee man!)

13. I really wasn’t trying to hit you with that paper hornet yesterday. Honest. I’m sorry you were mad. Can we talk about it again now that we have had time to “cool down”? (This young man whizzed the biggest paper hornet towards me I have ever seen and it hit me….well, it hit me in the chest, shall we say…..and I was a bit upset I had been injured, but I was more upset that my class discussion was derailed.)

So there you have it. Feel free to assess my efforts with this website if you want to in the comments.

Find more 13s to read and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wordless 48: You Tell Me the Story

One of the ways you motivate students in the classroom is to surprise them every now and then. The focus is “expect the unexpected”.

This week’s image should be familiar to most … least the identification of who is in the portrait. However, instead of me telling you the story later why don’t you leave ME a tidbit of knowledge in the comments.

Not too much now…..others will want to share as well and no cut and paste. :)

So, educate me. What can you tell me about this man?

Last week's explanation has not been posted yet, but it will soon.

You find other wordless images here.

Shhhhh.....This Blog Is In Prayer

I’m in prayer today, and I hope if you have a notion you are too. However, it didn’t take my Governor to prompt me to prayer. I’ve been praying since early in the summer for a change in our weather pattern and so have many others.

I guess there are those who would be shocked to discover I have prayed in my classroom (gasp!), prayed in the hallways, and even placed my hands over that all important state test before it’s sent in for scoring. I have been known to stand beside a student while he or she is working and place my hand on their shoulder while I say a prayer. Prayer should be a constant activity…..a daily conversation with God.

My daily conversation with God, however, is a silent one. Most students never know I say prayers in the classroom and I certainly wouldn’t gather students and direct them to pray. However, I have given them the opportunity at their suggestion….one such occasion was 9/11 when a student wanted to say a prayer for the people in the towers. The student organized it, made sure everyone knew they didn’t have to join in, he led it, and I silently prayed with them. Sometimes public prayer is necessary.

Gov. Sonny Perdue’s call for prayer has once again placed our state in the forefront for those who like to write off Southerners as simple country bumpkins. You know….those “There they go again…..” types.

Religion is a part of the South and deeply embedded into our culture no matter how many critics want to ridicule it or even deny it. If your family has been in the South for over five generations and have more or less followed the Baptist, Methodist, or just the Christian faith in general there’s a good chance you have a long line of pastors in your family like I do.

It’s hard to shake that kind of dust from your shoes.

I guess some high-falutin’ educated folks manage to educate themselves right out religion even if they have deep Southern roots. I too have been faced to separate fact and faith. It’s a choice they make and I support their choice, however, I hold three pieces of paper that tell me I’m highly educated as well…. yet for me and my house I choose prayer and all that goes along with it.

News stories regarding the Governor’s request can be found here, here, and here.

This post also appears at Georgia on My Mind and Got Bible?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank You Veterans!

This isn't the day to debate if a war was/is just or not.

Recognize the veterans in your life for their sacrifice whether they are from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or the current conflict!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some Notable Links for Weekend Reading

Well, as you can see things here in the great state of Georgia are dire….very dire. Our governor has finally resorted to prayer even though many of us have already been on our knees, and Florida has backed away from the water truce.

The image you see here is courtesy of the Atlanta Water Shortage blog via The Atlanta Journal. Amazing, isn’t it? All that we should see of the tree stump is the very top or not at all. Our area lakes are quickly becoming desert landscapes.

I find it ironic that here in the middle of an extreme drought my husband and I spending the day getting ready to cook at a fish fry tonight for our Sunday School group at church. Of course I don’t have to do too much….hubby handles the cookers, and I’m mixing up the hushpuppies with plenty of green onion and buttermilk.

In an about face from American History I was intrigued by a book mention from Uncovered History….The Fall of the House of Hapsburg. I’m putting it on my list to see if the local library has it. World of Royalty also linked to something I might be able to use with students…Sherwood Forest is in danger. You could use the article to open a discussion on historical places and people versus Disney and other media portrayals. Some places our young students see in the media really do exisit, but the history is skewed.

First things this morning I was hit with this interesting tidbit of discovery. I hope to have more time tomorrow evening to delve into this...for now the hushpuppies are a priority rather than DaVinci and music embeds.

Another link you could use for diversion is from Caffeinated Politics involves watching Atlantis land from inside the craft. NYCEducator hates it when I used this word but……NEAT-O!

The Wrens Nest Online (of Joel Chandler Harris/Brer Rabbit fame) have been working with middle schoolers regarding this whole blogging thing.

Carnivals abound for reading pleasure….The 58th History Carnival is here, the Georgia Carnival is here, and the Education Carnival is here in an agenda type format (neat idea or should I say NEAT-O?).

Walking in the Berkshires has proposed a new carnival I’m really excited about. It’s called the Carnival of Curiosities. It’s a great idea and I can’t wait to participate. Head on over and check it out.

Finally, in case you missed it I posted Grace for Faith: The Perfect Trade over at Got Bible, and I explain how I would rather remember fallen members of the Allman Brothers Band over at Georgia on My Mind.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Presidential Doughface

As a writing exercise I often place pictures of important or famous people up on the screen in my room and ask students to provide a caption or write something about the picture. After a few minutes students share their ideas and then I share one of mine which leads into a quick lesson in history. Sometimes this type of activity can be used to review a topic, introduce something new, or simply move a unit along with additional content.

The last time I presented students with this image they came up with some interesting responses:

*My belly hurts. I should have left that last taco in the bag and thrown it away.

*When are they going to invent a real tie that doesn’t look like a bow?

*This man is important. He looks really smart. Maybe he’s a writer or a great thinker. I wish the picture was in color.

*The picture looks like it is from a long time ago. I didn’t know they had hair gel back then. Interesting!

These are the better ones, of course. I left out the silly, off the mark, or inappropriate ones that can be the result of this type of exercise, but you can see that some students can really get into the moment when analyzing photographs.

Next we discussed names and labels…words we use to identify individuals or groups of people. We talked about how those names aren’t always meant to be nice. We also talked about how some names stick simply because it’s easier to remember a group of people by a certain name in order to remember what they stood for….groups like tree huggers, Bible thumpers, and even educrats.

These types of monikers are not simply for the 20th and 21st century. Certain groups throughout history have claimed remembrance through their name such as the Know- Nothings, muckrakers, and don’t forget the hawks and doves.

Do you know who the gentleman is in my image?

It is President Franklin Pierce, our fourteenth president and the tidbit of knowledge I share with students is Franklin Pierce was a doughface.

What’s a doughface?

Well, click on through to the American Presidents Blog and you can scroll down to find my explanation.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

13 Premature Obituaries

What would you do if you read your own obituary? What would you do if you heard an announcement regarding your demise on the radio or television?

Here are 13 folks who have the distinction of finding out they were dead….

1. When Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, learned he would be called “the merchant of death” in his obituary it is said he created the Nobel Prize in order to redeem himself.

2. Pope Benedict XV was expected to die in January, 1922 when it was reported he had pneumonia. A New York paper ran the headline “Pope Benedict XV is dead”, however they ran it a little too early and then had to retract the headline by printing another paper with the claim “Pope has remarkable recovery”. By the end of the month Pope Benedict finally met his maker.

3. White House Press Secretary, James Brady, was reported dead by all three major networks in the chaos that ensued following the assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. While his injuries were severe Mr. Brady was very much alive.

4. During an event dubbed “The Incident” Fidel Castro’s obituary along with others was prematurely placed online where the public could access it. The obituaries were sketched out templates that could be accessed in a hurry by CNN staff upon receiving word a famous person had passed away. Apparently Reagan’s obituary was used as Castro’s template because the text described Castro as a lifeguard, athelete, and movie star!

5. The writer, Robert Graves, was close to death following the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He recovered enough to enjoy reading his obituary in the New York Times.

6. Ernest Hemmingway was declared dead after being involved in an African plane crash along with his wife in 1954. They both were very much alive.

7. In 1897, Mark Twain was visited by a journalist who wanted to find out how Twain was. The journalist had heard Twain was close to death. The news reports had mixed Twain up with his cousin. An obituary was not published, but in an article published June 2, 1897 Twain stated, “The report of my death is an exaggeration.” In May, 1907 Twain was reported missing when a yacht he was on was held up by fog. Twain wrote an account of the incident in the New York Times the following day.

8. Rudyard Kipling read his obituary in a magazine. The story goes he wrote the magazine and stated, “I’ve just read I’m dead. Please delete me from your subscription list.”

9. James Earl Jones was declared dead in 1998 during a Pittsburgh Pirates game. The announcer confused Mr. Jones with James Earl Ray (the man convicted of assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). The announcer quickly corrected his error.

10. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was shocked to learn his obituary had been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 29, 2005. On December 2nd the paper retracted the obituary by printing, “We are embarrassed, but happy for Mr. Schlesinger.”

11. During 1971 Katie Webb was a journalist in Cambodia when she was captured by North Vietnamese troops. Her cremated remains were returned to Reuters and her obituary was published. Later Ms. Webb was found very much alive.

12. James McNeill Whistler read his own obituary in a Dutch newspaper. In reply he wrote the paper that reading his own obituary gave him the “tender glow of health.”

13. Serbian, Vuk Peric, placed his own obituary in a local paper in 1997. He simply wanted to see who would show up to his funeral. He watched the proceedings for awhile and then proceeded to tell everyone.

Read other 13s here

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wordless 47

This is a very important spot in history. Can you tell me where it is and why it is important? Here’s a hint……it’s not in the United States and does not involve any historical event during the 1800s or 1900s.

Last week’s explanation can be found here.

More wordless images can be found here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Marcus Garvey and the UNIA

I’ve not met a student yet who can’t identify Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by sight. They can usually give me some sort of idea why he is remembered as well. True, some students are under the mistaken notice that Dr. King freed the slaves, but after we take a quick sidetrack into a description of the highlights from Reconstruction, the 13th through 15th amendments, Jim Crow, and the rise of the Civil Rights movement along a hastily drawn timeline young minds are straightened out.

This week’s wordless image depicted a forerunner to Dr. King by several years…Marcus Garvey. Gold stars are due Matt from Tomorrow's History and The Tour Marm who correctly identified Mr. Garvey.

Click over and look at the image. Mr. Garvey is on the right. The man in the middle is Prince Kojo Tavalou-Houenou of Dahomey and the man on the left is George O. Marke, the deputy supreme potentate of the UNIA, also known as the the Universal Negro Improvement Association. They sure do look dapper, don’t they?

Sandy Carlson made a great observation in my wordless comments regarding how the men are standing apart. Notice they are not touching in any way. I’m not sure if this holds any significance for the time period, but if the picture was taken today we might see these young men standing in a much more casual pose with their arms around each other.

Tour Marm commented on the wordless image that she remembered learning about Marcus Garvey in the fourth grade, however, I don’t believe I have ever studied Mr. Garvey in elementary, middle, or high school. I don’t think he was ever brought up in my college studies either.

When I checked various sources in my personal library the only reference I found for him was in War, Peace, and All That Jazz….one of the volumes from the Joy Hakim series. Basically the mention he got was a sidebar caption along with a picture. But what an interesting character….look at the picture I’ve posted here. This is the same one used in Joy Hakim’s book.

How intriguing? What student wouldn’t want to know more about the guy in the Captain Crunch hat?

Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica. Today many associate Garvey with Garveyism or Pan-Africanism. Garvey advocated for people with African ancestry to reclaim Africa and for Europeans to leave Africa. He also felt the way to improve the situation for blacks were to unite them into one voice.

He founded the UNIA in August, 1914 with the original purpose to educate blacks and provide them with economic opportunities. The organization began in Jamaica, but didn’t see any real growth until Garvey relocated to New York City. UNIA events included debates, fashion shows, classical music, plays, and vaudeville. These were events that had been unavailable to blacks in all areas of the United States. The UNIA events were meant to provide a sense of belonging and lift up black society. In this regard the UNIA was very successful.

The Black Star Line of Delaware was begun by members of the UNIA with Garvey serving as its president. The company served as a shipping line for goods and it was hoped ships would eventually transport Americans of African descent back to the African continent. There were problems from the start, however, as the ships that were puchased had been passed from owner to owner many times. They were in very poor condition.

Another business venture, The Negro Factories Corporation, called for the creation of an infastructure to manufacture many different types of products. Other Garvey businesses included a chain of restaurants, grocery stores, laundries, a hotel, and a printing press.
During the 1920s the UNIA had twenty million members worldwide, and many were American citizens. Even so, however, many blacks disagreed with Garvey’s strategies and made their disapproval known. One such black leader was W.E.B. DuBois. In reaction Garvey called DuBois predjudiced mainly because Garvey had darker skin that DuBois. It goes without saying that the UNIA did not mesh well with the NAACP. Later Garvey would accuse DuBois of having a direct hand in his deportation. Many black leaders were involved in the "Garvey must go" campaign.

A young J. Edgar Hoover was comissioned with the job of gathering information concerning an element of what was then perceived to a growing radicalism. Hoover referred to Garvey as “a notorious Negro agitator”. To some in American the UNIA was a group that was growing in strength and threatened what many Americans considered to be their way of life. During the 1920s the UNIA had twenty million members worldwide, and many were American citizens. Hoover work for the Bureau of Investigation or B.O.I., which was the forerunner of the F.B.I. In order to fully investigate Garvey and the UNIA the very first African American agents were hired in order to infiltrate the organization.

Their investigation led to Garvey being convicted of mail fraud in connection to the sale of Black Star Line stock. Marcus Garvey was sentenced to five years and he began serving his sentence on February 8, 1925 at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. Garvey’s sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, however, since he was a felon and not a U.S. citizen he was deported.

Garvey spent time in Jamaica before moving the headquarters of the UNIA to London, England. It was there, on June 10, 1940, Marcus Garvey died after reading his obituary even though he was very much alive. It’s said upon reading it he suffered a heart attack. Because of travel restrictions during World War II he had to be buried in London. In 1964 his remains were reburied in Jamaica at National Heroes Park.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. laid a wreath at his grave in June, 1965, and remarked, “[Garvey] was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement, the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny.”

Over the years Marcus Garvey has inspired many members of the Nation of Islam as well as members of the Rastafari movement who refer to Garvey as a prophet and in some circles he’s thought to be the reincarnation of John the Baptist.

You can see the Marcus Garvey photo album here.

My, Where Does the TIme Go?

Today is my sister's birthday. I've written about her before, but I wanted to acknowledge her special day today.

Time has a way of marching on whether we want it to or not.

We cannot go back in time except through our memories. We cannot stop time even though Saturday morning cartoons and movies sometimes told us we could. One thing that we can do with time is capture it in images. These pictures are small snippets of time in my sister's life depicting her relationship with our father. The photographs show changes of time...not only in how Dear Sister has grown and matured over the years, but how Dear Daddy has grown from a young married father to a grandfather who has this uncanny knack of "always being correct in ALL matters." :)
I thought these two pictures were interesting. In the first image Dear Sister is still new at getting around on her own. She's enjoying some "prime Daddy time" sitting up high. In the second image Dear Sister is standing tall on her own, but notice....she's got an arm around her. That Daddy support is still there at the ready. Arms around the shoulder, quick hugs....those are the support actions that speak volumes over time as they are repeated over and over.
As time marches on these pictures become more and more precious to us all.
Happy Birthday, Karen. I love you very much! I hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekend Reading Assignment...The Fall Back/Hey, I Need a Butterfinger Edition

I’m still in the throes of candy withdrawal after the Halloween celebration my family and I particiapted in Wednesday night. I believe this is the first time in many, many years we didn’t have a cache of candy in the house to munch on for days and days. I guess that’s one of the pitfalls with having grown and near grown children….plus the extra ingredient of giving out candy at church and not at home. There was no candy leftover to take home. For the last two or three nights, however, my husband and I have wanted Halloween candy to munch on. but there’s nary a Snicker or Butterfinger to be had in the house.

I’m a little late posting my weekend assignment….our sojourn of free time is almost over, but here it is anyway.

The education carnival has lots of interesting post to peruse through. It can be found over at What It's Like on the Inside and the homeschooling carnival is being hosted by Sprittibee.

We managed to get our clocks set accordingly acround here, but I really wonder if we haven’t outgrown the whole process of springing forward and falling back. The Education Wonks has a great post about some of the effects of setting our clocks back

Earlier this week I wrote about President Hoover and our tendency in early grades to gloss over his contributions to society prior to becoming president. Over at American Presidents I posted A Hop, Skip, and Jump...Right Over Hoover that includes a teaching strategy called “mystery” in some circles and in others I have heard it referred to as “inquiry”.

I recently took over the posting at the blog called Got Bible?..........In my first posting I discussed the connection between buzzards and church committees. I was inspired by an invasion of buzzards that flew directly over my church last week.

And finally, I drew a connection between great teaching and Coach Richt’s directions at the Georgia-Florida game last Saturday. It was a great strategy in more ways than one.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

You Know You're In Georgia When...

These truisms were lifted from a great book by William Schemmel called You Know You're In Georgia When...

You know you are in Georgia when…

1.You visit tumbling waters.

2. Introductions begin with “What would you like to drink?” The proper answer is sweet iced tea. It’s the wine of the South.

3. You find yourself located in the carpet capital of the world.

4. Grits is groceries. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

5. Hushpuppies are for eating not for wearing.

6. You find yourself at America’s oldest state park in the nation…. Indian Springs State Park

7. You attend Octoberfest in an alpine village.

8. You see Stonehenge.

9. You savor Swamp Gravy.

10. UGA is a DAMN GOOD DOG (and don’t forget that Ramblin' Wreck)

11. There’s a Waffle House on every corner.

12. You need a phrase book to understand the natives. Examples: “That dog don’t hunt”; “All vine and no taters”; “That’s so good you’ll slap your granny”; “Shootin’ the Hootch”; and my personal favorite “I’m fixin’ to”. Not sure what these mean? Check out the Urban Dictionary or ask me in comments.

13. You hear funeral announcements or the county hospital report on the radio. You have to go pretty far outside of Atlanta to hear this now, but it still exists. How else would you know who to go “a visitin’” after church on Sunday?

Catch more Thursday Thirteens for your reading pleasure.