For several weeks now, we have been starting our morning with an artifact or primary source to analyze together as a class. I have been following the "See-Think-Wonder" strategy to promote students' observations and interpretations. I will say that I am really enjoying this morning routine, as I am seeing students that do not normally participate in class discussion engaged in learning.
My kids know that whatever I put up has some sort of connection to our current studies. In my room, this has many possibilities. Is it connected to the state we are studying? Our current social studies unit or a celebrated birthday?
Today, I placed the object above (courtesy of NPS Franklin D. Roosevelt Home) up for discussion as today is Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday. My students do really well with the "seeing and thinking". I love when we get to the "wonder". I have several students that I love watching think. One in particular sits and stares at our classroom timeline.
He is thinking and it makes me happy.
As our discussion continues, ideas come out. Was it Harriet Tubman's (we are studying the Civil War)? Could it be Helen Keller's (we learned about her recently while studying Georgia)? Another student chimes in about the hat. I left my students to continue to wonder and then showed one of my favorite series of presidential videos by Disney (see clip on the right). I prefer this clip for my purposes as it has an image of FDR in a wheelchair, which is uncommon. Once the students saw clip, they immediately knew that it belonged to FDR. This then opened the door to further conversations about the image that FDR worked very hard to uphold to the public so that he would not appear weak.
I love #MuseumMonday!
Tonight, I came home to look up more on the National Park Service as a museum. I hadn't given it much thought before I went looking for my daily artifact with the intent of finding FDR's wheelchair. The National Park Service is the guardian to SO many of our nation's treasures. In their charge, they oversee battlefields, natural treasures and historic sites. It only makes sense that their collection is immense. As I continued to explore further, I came across the Museum Collections department of the National Park Service. Definitely worth my while to continue to explore. I can predict that pieces will show up in the future on #MuseumMonday.
It's #FridayWithFriends and I thought today would be the perfect day to introduce my dear friend Jill. Today's her birthday and I wish I could celebrate with her!
Jill and I met at the NEH Benjamin Franklin Institute in 2011. It was the first one I ever attended. I can remember being quite fascinated by this teacher that taught at a museum school. It is a concept I am still very intrigued by. As our time came to a close, we said our good-byes, connecting on Facebook. I then learned of her upcoming trip to James Madison's Montpelier. She graciously accepted to host Moffat for her trip and the rest, as they say, is history.
To this day, she is one of Moffat's biggest champions. Despite the multi-state difference that separates us, we reach out to each other regularly for professional support and advice. Our friendship began with a stuffed rabbit. I love seeing the adventures she and her family participate in, with Moffat often tagging along. I think it is best to have Jill sum it up. The following is a post from her blog.
Here’s the thing…I carry around a bunny.
Yes, I am in my late 30’s.
Yes, it’s a stuffed bunny.
No, I don’t care what I look like with it.
Yes, my family is occasionally embarrassed by the bunny.
Yes, he’s kind of a part of my family.
His name is Moffat (think Flat Stanley, but way cooler). He’s met presidents and authors. He’s traveled the world. He is always a conversation starter. He has built friendships. He’s taught lessons. He’s opened the world for students and for the crazy adults that carry him around as only a stuffed bunny can do.
I figured that I better go ahead and introduce Moffat because chances are he will show up in my blog. He’s already the star of his own blog.
I met Moffat in 2011 at a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. When kindergarten teacher, Christy, introduced herself to all the participants on the first day she also introduced Moffat, explaining that Moffat was how she brought history and geography to her young students. “Everything is more exciting with a stuffed bunny in front of it.” I watched during the week as Christy posed him in front of buildings and with interpreters. Moffat became participant number 41 in our group of 40 teachers. I didn’t think much of it except that Moffat was an ingenious way to make history exciting to young children.
Fast forward to 2013 when Christy saw I was at James Madison’s Montpelier. She messaged me and asked if she could send Moffat my way. She didn’t have any pictures of him at Montpelier. I obliged. He arrived on the last day of my visit and was a hit with everyone. I found out the bunny was fun to have around. I posed him all around the estate and even took him to a Civil War camp the following day. I kept him as I returned to Florida so I could snap a few pictures of him in front of Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. And, before I knew it, Moffat was a permanent fixture in my house and the one thing we never forget on a trip. The first few years we had Moffat my son happily carried him and posed with him. Now that he is middle school, he is too cool for all that.
Moffat has made friends with me all over the United States. This little inanimate object has brought lots of people together. Check him out at http://www.moffatstravels.com/.
Happy Birthday to one of my heroes, Dolly Parton! One day I dream of meeting you. In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching main idea and primary source analyzation while listening to your songs. More samples to come! We have projects to do in first grade.
This post was supposed to go up last week until the terrible bug attacked my ENTIRE class! Anyhow...
I can't imagine not teaching cross-curricularly. It is such a fun and effective way to tuck so much in and the kids make connections. Last week, our states of study were Tennessee and Mississippi. Chattanogga is home to the Moon Pie factory, supporting the local economy. So of course, we needed to eat Moon Pies!
To meet multiple standards, we started out by looking at a MoonPie package to see what information we could learn from it. The students discovered that the Moon Pie is celebrating 100 years in 2017. We even did the math to double check. We learned the location of the factory and checked for nut allergies for a classmate. We then watched the Youtube video tour of the factory. The kids had to listen for how many Moon Pies are made daily and what ingredients are in a Moon Pie.
We then transitioned to the carpet to do a poll checking to see how many students had tasted Moon Pies previously. Only one out of the 23 there (yet more math). My daughter was in this afternoon and read the great story, "Jimmy Zangwow's Out Of This World MoonPie Adventure" by Tony DiTerlizzi. Such a fun story!
Our current writing focus is opinion writing. The students are modeling their writing with the OREO model (opinion-reason-explain-opinion). That a better opportunity to work on that writing than while sampling vanilla and chocolate Moon Pies. They then added some facts from the video and an illustration from the story. All in all, it was a rather grand afternoon of work!
Student modeling critical thinking while looking at the Civil Rights to Present timeline. The question was were Eleanor Roosevelt and President Obama alive at the same time? What other information do you need?
We met for the first time the summer of 2013. His incredible tan color, calm, quiet, almost stoic demeanor, and his willingness to participate in all group activities drew me to him. It was on a battlefield in Gettysburg that our love story started, the tale of Tara and Moffat. I can honestly say that I never would have imagined that my favorite travel companion and history enthusiast would be a stuffed rabbit, but now that we have joined, there is no one I would rather share my adventures with.
I met Moffat through another Moffat keeper, Jill Cross in Gettysburg. I then had the distinct privilege of traveling with Moffat to Boston, and Washington D.C. in year following our chance encounter. It was while we were bonding as roommates at the Anderson House in Washington D.C. that I decided to reach out to Christy to obtain my very own Moffat. Much to my excitement, and my nieces, and my students, Moffat arrived that summer and became a true fixture in my classroom.
Everyone I know for the most part that is Moffat handler teaches elementary school, so I was nervous about how middle schoolers would respond to this stuffed character, my worries have long since subsided, as they love him. He comes on field trips with us, just last year he saw King Tut, tomorrow he is taking in a fashion exhibit. He travelled with our eighth graders to Washington D.C. last summer, and he is fought over when I use him as a teaching aide in class. The students want to interact with him, they want to hear the stories, and see his pictures. Moffat was even had his picture in the yearbook last year, and will again this year. He has become a known and loved entity within our school and I couldn’t be more tickled about that fact. He lives in my display case most of the time, surrounded by images of his adventures, and daily I see students stop to look at his pictures and smile. There is something about my floppy eared friend that makes even the coolest middle schooler a fan.
As we all know, the holidays are over and we are getting back into the routine...or so I wish.
Last Thursday was supposed to be our first day back. We had a snow day. Friday was only a little better as we had a late start, hence a good time to enjoy the PB banana sandwiches for Elvis' birthday.
Monday, our city encountered hurricane force winds, uprooting 100 year old trees and stretching them across streets. The day started out as normal until around 9:00 when the lights flickered and we were without electricy for the rest of the day. The kids loved the adventure, with the highlight being able to take flashlights to the bathroom. The day was fun, we were safe, but my planned teaching went out the window.
Tuesday was divine. A glimpse of the normal routine and learning before the holiday hub bub.
Then came Wednesday. Over night, my class was hit with a bug. Not just any bug, but one that took out my class. What do you teach when have less than a third of your class in attendance? Not much I say. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit