RIght about now, you are probably asking yourself what singing at the Grand Old Opry has to do with anything, so I will just tell you.
This post is about relationships. Last Saturday, my husband and I were fortunate enough to attend a performance at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. It's an American icon. It has been on my bucket list.
One of the performing groups is the group that contributed to a song on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. The audience was encouraged to sing along to the chorus, with one of the reasons being that we could then say we sang at the Grand Old Opry. So...I can now say I have sung at the Grand Old Opry.
Again, you may be wondering what does this have to do with anything.
On several occasions during the performance, the musicians asked to lift up a fellow musician in prayer and good thoughts. The musician was clearly a part of the "Grand Old Opry family." Many of the performers had been part of this family for 50 years. As I listened to the stories told by these performers, I realized that their time was more than just music. Sure, music was the driving force that brought them together, but it became more than that. It became a family. It was about relationships.
We build relationships everyday. Some are easier than others. Some last longer than others. All of them take an investment.
I just got off the phone with my second grade teacher, Robin, that I wrote about in my first blog of this adventure. She is struggling with health issues. She thanked me for my investment. We have been invested for a long time (40 years by my calculation). Not all relationships last this long and I am thankful for this relationship.
Other relationships impact you in a short time and you hold on to that time. I have several relationships in my history world of educators that I hold onto. I know that it will be almost impossible to get this time we spent together back, but I hold onto that time and dream that it could happen again. That time had a great impact on me!!
We can have that impact on our students. Our impact may be a short time together, but may have ripple effects for years. Others, may be sustained for years to come. They are an investment.
I ask you, how are you invested? Your investment makes a difference!
It's that time of year in the curriculum when we begin on the timeline learning about Jamestown, Pocahontas and the Powhatan tribe. Guess where my students have gotten all their knowledge? You got it, from the Disney movie! Don't get me wrong, at least they know that Pocahontas was alive, but that's about as far as it goes!!!
Today, I taught a great lesson to my teammate's class (we rotate with science and ss). We used prior knowledge, practiced geography skills, math vocabulary and pounded syllables in Atlantic Ocean. We analyzed the primary source map by Captain John Smith, worked in groups analyzing current photographs with Moffat, read a story of Pocahontas, and watched a mapping video from the Jamestown settlement. The kids were completely engaged.
I will have to say, I was rather impressed with them when they were analyzing the map. They picked up on the compass rose, the title of Virginia and the smaller image of Powhatan in the upper left corner.
As we discussed our prior knowledge or the students justified their answers, the same point of reference continued to resurface. All of their knowledge was from the Disney movie!!! HELP!!! One of my students even proclaimed that one of the posts in the recreated Powhatan home was where John Smith was held captive and he knew this from the movie.
As I have been referencing other articles from historians, it is noted that Disney never intended the film to teach accurate history. Obviously! For older students, the movie could be a tool to compare and contrast with accurate resources to discern discrepancies. For my students, with a short amount of time, it opened up a good discussion regarding accurate sources for information and times when that information needs to be questioned.
My husband and I are off on an adventure. We are headed to Memphis and Nashville for five days. This is highly unusual for us, but I am not complaining! I am giddy! Giddy for the unknown adventures that lay ahead! Giddy about what I can take back to my classroom. Giddy about my new photographs and stupid snow globe that I will buy! I am GIDDY!
One of my own personal heroes, Margaret Gehrke of Nebraska, would have noted this day in her journal as the "day of days." I wish I could keep up with my travel journal, by my pictures will have to suffice. Margaret collected her National Parks from her husband's Buicks, I travel over the wing of a plane.
Travel is like no other and it is something I do not take for granted. My adventures traveling affect how I teach and interact with my students. Travel is necessary.
Simply said, I am giddy!
Have you ever have one of those teaching moments when what you do is validated by one of your students? It's grand, magnificent and delightful beyond words!
Today, as we continued our museum studies, I shared with my students a clip produced by the American Museum of Natural History (snack time is a great time to tuck more in). It shared primary sources from Teddy Roosevelt's childhood with his scientific observations at age 9. I actually used these sources for my masters research, integrating, math, science and history.
As I paused the video, we look at how TR changed over time. There were some classic photos of him as a young man sporting those incredible side burns.
Upon further discussion, a student inquired, "Did TR wear a wig?"
Now this might seem like a rather strange question to many, but it registered quite clear for me. Last week for Constitution Day, we watched a few clips from the HBO mini series, John Adams. As we paused and discussed, we looked at clothing styles, technology and WIGS!!! We also saw the first three presidents.
So to connect the dots of a first grader, our first three presidents appear to wear wigs (see the links below), so why wouldn't TR? Makes perfect sense when you think about it! What made my day was that this student was using unique background knowledge and applying it to today's lesson. For me, this is yet another example of why we need to be integrating SS into our curriculum on a regular basis.
As it is #MuseumMonday in our class today, we enjoyed this incredible resource put out by Google Arts and Culture. It was magnificent listening to my students shout out that they recognized a piece of art as it danced across the screen.
My endeavor this year is to continue to explore museums in my classroom and use exhibits as a teaching tool. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to take an online course through Colonial Williamsburg focusing on just that. I can see the power of using exhibits and the engagement that it brings to students.
As part of our studies, we will be looking at different museums across the country, the collections they hold and how those collections are classified. I am excited to continue to investigate the endless resources that Google has worked to make available to the public. These resources will become a valuable teaching tool for me this year. Another strategy that I want to expand upon is the Visible Thinking strategy using See-Think-Wonder. I believe this could be another valuable tool. Excited to learn more!
One os my students commented to me to day, "Mrs. Howard, we need to study more American art." Well guess what my friend, you got it!! My only problem is there are too many resources and not enough time!!!
Tonight I enjoyed dinner with a dear friend. A friend that I hope to teach with someday. We are alike in so many ways!
Much like this blogging community offers support, insight, accountability and challenge to each other, it is important to surround ourselves with individuals that do the same in our own community.
My post tonight is simply to honor strong friendships that support our passions, hold us accountable and bring a smile when needed!
Anyone who knows me, knows I ADORE children's picture books. I have two libraries filled with high quality children's picture books and I always want more!
For years, I thought that I should be reading novels more appropriate for a grown woman. For years, my own children teased me about my book selections. Now, I am content. I LOVE children's picture books and here is why:
As I was sharing the book with my students, I was inspired that Anne Carroll Moore used a character called Nicholas Knickerbacker. She used her stuffed puppet as a social object to encourage the kids she worked with to be less shy. Her character, Nicholas, was a social object, an object that broke down barriers and encouraged interaction. The story of Miss Moore took place over 100 years ago. How inspiring. She was truly a woman ahead of her time, not only for her vision for including children in the library, but for her use of social objects!
I encourage you to go check it out. You will not be disappointed!!
Don't you love the smell of crayons? You know the smell I am talking about. It smells like the amazing art room from elementary school. I honestly think that the smell should be bottled or put into a candle. I would buy it!! The other artifact that this reminds me of is the rolled crayon holder that my mom made for me as a kid. Each crayon had its own spot and then we would roll it up for storage. That is one artifact that I still wish I had!!
In my first grade classroom, today was the first day we began writing in our journals for #MuseumMonday. We are studying the state of Pennsylvania this week, so naturally a crayon box needed to be in our classroom museum. Our #MuseumMonday work will be a combination of artifacts from our own museum and from online museum collections.
This particular box is a treasure to me. About 10 years ago, Crayola Crayons came out with the state crayon collection. I had several boxes in my room that were used for special projects. At the time, I still taught Kindergarten. It was a joy to have my kids yell across the room, "I have Macaroni and Cheese Orange" or "I have Purple Mountain Purple." It was even better because the had the background knowledge to know why the crayons had the names they did.
Sadly, all that is left of my wonderful crayon collection is the box. I have looked on Ebay and Amazon and none are to be found. Honestly, I think they need to begin manufacturing these again. If Crayola could see what was happening when the kids were coloring, it would be well worth it.
My thoughts for the manufacturing world: Crayola needs do begin manufacturing this crayon set again and Bath and Bodyworks needs to make a crayon scented candle! I would buy both!!
You can't ignore it even if you want to.
On this 15th anniversary of 9/11, I have thought a lot about how I react to it and I have concluded, like many of us, I try to control it. I need to control it, so it can't control me.
Today, I spent time working in my gardens, something I dearly love and something that brings me great solace. It is time to start making that shift towards the changes of fall. So what am I out doing? Controlling what is there to prepare for the shift. Many of my plants are tired. Many of my plants are overgrown. However, my garden is something I have a certain ability to control.
At home, our daughter has decided to relocate to the basement. This is change. This change is exciting because it means that I can move my office into her room and hopefully create my dream study. As she and I are working through the piles of junk that needs to be thrown away or organized for the future, my daughter makes the comment that it is good to clean, because you find things that have been lost and you have forgotten about. Too true!
This is the case with September 11. As time passes, it is easy to forget. Our nation was forced to change that day, even if we wanted to ignore it. That change was hard. It was emotional and for some, it was life altering. As educators, we need to remember this change and find the appropriate ways to continue to teach about it. Time should not cause the day to be lost.
Time changes everything and no matter how much we try to control it, ultimately we can't. Instead, we need to reflect upon it and learn from it, no matter how hard and painful that may be.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit