II have been fortunate enough to see the Statue of Liberty three times. Each time I see her, I get a little closer. My first time was from Battery Park in the fog, the second was from a ferry passing by, and the third was finally on the island itself. My goal for the next time is to go into the crown.
Yet for as moving as the three times that I have seen her have been, I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like over 100 years ago as an immigrant with the Lady and her torch welcoming immigrants in! As a history teacher, finally seeing her was an emotional experience. For years, I had spent time teaching my students about her and her opening arms. When I saw her, it was emotional.
Students love her and want to know more. I know for my own learning, I had my own misconceptions about her size from the evening news. She looked enormous! How could she not, when the helicopter is basically sitting on her!
By far, I have to say that my favorite type of art is folk art.
By definition, folk art is art that is created by an untrained person. Both my husband and I are drawn to it and our own house has become a resting spot for many pieces over time.
Every year, at this time, I have an itch to go back to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. The photos above and the video below are from the Santa Fe Folk Art Museum. I know that this draw has to do with many fond memories from several trips there during this time of year. There is something very alluring about being there every fall.
In my own classroom, we are currently working on a writing project inspired by folk art from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. For me, it matters not where the folk art comes from, I just love it.
I look at the pieces and I wonder...
Wny did you create this? Is there a story? Did you ever imagine your work would be in a museum or part of someone's collection?
Objects tell stories. The stories could be from the creator or from the collector. They are stories.
What do you collect? What inspires you? Why?
Since I discovered last week that the majority of my kids do not know who Kid President is, I am showing several videos a day up until the election. I love his positive messages and the kids LOVE his dancing, goofy antics and don't forget, the raspberry noises he makes (we had to talk about when that is appropriate). I am going to spend part of my evening making a new Youtube list for the days leading up to the election.
I am more familiar with his older videos so I spent some time viewing the new ones. I came across the Totally Awesome Historic Sleepover held in the National Archives. Listening to the back story while KP met the National Archives archivist, David Ferriero, was intriguing. Apparently, he wrote to the President when he was a kid and when he took over the Archives, someone on staff found his original letter and had it framed for his office. It seems, if you write a letter to the President, it remains in the Archives. Happy to say that I have a letter there!!!
I was intrigued by Kid President's comments on wanting to make history. He has some ideas on how he can make history, Being the first man on the moon is out, electricity is out, as is writing the movie Space Jam or the musical Hamilton. So instead having a totally awesome and historic sleepover in the National Archives under the Declaration of Independence was going to be it. .
In closing, Kid President shares that all stories are important and that we add to our history everyday. We most certainly do Kid President and I want to thank you for your contribution.
It's #MuseumMonday, although I didn't have any kids to share my artifact with as it was a teacher work day.
I wanted to share my favorite camera from my vintage camera collection. I can't say why this one is my favorites, other than the fact that I love it's compact size. I used this photo during an online class through William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg for teaching with museum exhibits.
As a child, I could always tell where my mom was in a crowd as all I had to do was look for the first flash of a camera. Mind you, I grew up in the 70s and my mom used the sad Kodak 110 camera. It produced a large collection of grainy memories. I'm not complaining, the pictures exist, which is more than many people can say. I am thankful that my mom had to mindset to capture my childhood on film.
My grandpa, Andy (see above), was also a photographer and a traveler. I like to think that I am much like him. I am currently looking for a Bantam camera like he used to add to my collection.
When teaching with objects, there are several approaches to take for instruction. Most commonly, I find myself simply having my students describing the artifact, hypothesizing what it may have been used for and who used it, and then how has it changed.
This summer, during the application sessions held during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, we were introduced to two alternative strategies for object based learning. One approach is to take a type of object that has evolved through time and note how it has changed. Cameras are a great option to do this with. Toys, telephones/cell phones or countless other objects could be looked at from this view point. Our local history museum uses this approach in the local photography exhibit at a hands-on teaching cart. Children (and adults) are encouraged to look at a set of 5 cameras and put them in chronological order. The docent then asks how the participant came to that conclusion.
Another strategy is to look at the story of the object coming from the perspective of that object. I particularly think this would be fun with a camera. I think about my own cameras and the thousands of photos I have taken. What would it say about my perspective? The lighting? The subject? The settings? Would it have a favorite series of pictures and why?
For cameras that have captured tumultuous times, what would it have to say? Or the camera of a fashion designer or on a movie set? This type of approach challenges our students to look at an object through a different lens (no pun intended).
Challenge yourself to try some new strategies rather than falling into the same routine. Object based learning is powerful and has so many teaching opportunities to take advantage of.
I am happily sitting down from a long day of teaching in my new library. My husband has been a tremendous help with all of it, including the finishing touches. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful place to work (although I wish the sun would stream through the orange fall leaves right now).
As I was sitting down, I had no idea what I might write about today. I sat in my chair, looked out at the gorgeous fall view outside my room and the blog that I was reading yesterday popped back up.
We are all making history. We need to remember that. It may not be in grand ways that dance across the cover of a paper or make the evening news, but we all make history. We cause change.
Many years ago, I believed I wanted to be a principal or other administrator. BAH! No desire to do that now. That is not me. I know where my strengths are and where my passions lie.
I love history.
I love to travel.
I love to teach kids.
With this being said, my website, Moffat's Travels, was born. Today I had a delightful conversation with a parent that will be traveling to DC with her family. They have been many times before and she and I were sharing itineraries in the area. She was trying to decide between Gettysburg or other Pennsylvania sites. I suggested Colonial Williamsburg.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to travel with summer teacher scholarships. I have been to been to Chicago, Monterey, Philadelphia, Springfield, Gettysburg, and Colonial Williamsburg on teacher scholarships. I have traveled to many major cities with my own family. I love all of it.
I loved being able to share some of the insights into these places and what might interest their daughter. As an educator and a travel fanatic, this brings me great pleasure. I may not move mountains, but I open doors to young minds. I open those doors daily through my teaching, private conversations and the opportunities I take advantage of.
That is my history.
I want to get back into my creative zone so badly. It seems like the last six months have been a whirl of change that have taken me away from that creative space that I so dearly crave.
In my classroom, I have regular moments during the day when I often think to myself, "can't wait to get home to jump in on that."
SO...tonight for the first time in a very long time, there is nothing on the docket and I want to create. Is it there? Is the creativity flowing? NO!!!
Creativity is such a blessing. I can't imagine my life without having creative outlets. Creativity in my own classroom is a gigantic outlet that I am thankful for everyday. I could not teach if I could not be creative.
The last six months have been full of change and that change has taken away from my creative energies. Mentally, I want to create, yet I am not in that space yet. I want and need to get back in the zone. It is a zone. It is a zone I often take for granted.
My goal is to find my zone again. I need to get into the zone!
What is your zone?
As educators, we work hard to help our students build connections to the world around them. One regular strategy is text-to text, text-to-self, text-to-world. While reading, students are encouraged to think about other texts they are familiar with and to think about how the texts are related.
As students master this, they then move onto relating texts to themselves and then ultimately to the world.
For several years now, I have noted modern day companies that have names rooted in history. Silly, yes, but something I have given a momentary thought to. The Mayflower Moving Company is one of those modern day companies.
We are currently beginning our studies of early colonies in class. Today, we were reading one of my favorite books, The Pilgrim Cat, and enjoyed many short discussions along the way. The story shares that the Pilgrims are not immediately able to leave the Mayflower upon their arrival to the New World. This, of course, led to the discussion as to why the Pilgrims were not able to move inland.
As we continued in this discussion, I asked my students if this reminded them of anything in their lives. One student raised his hand and said that he recently moved. His move was not nearly as great as the Pilgrims move, but it was a move none the less. This discussion did not stop there. He related the story to his life because the company that moved his family was the Mayflower Moving Company. With further discussion, we were able to make connections between the Mayflower that the Pilgrims used to move and the Mayflower moving truck that moved his family.
WOW! It made total sense to him. We moved from text-to-self to text-to-world all via the Mayflower!
Oh how I love election season! I love election season because it gives me great cause to dive into all things Presidential for a month. Today, I put up the presidential timeline in the classroom and it grew quite a bit of attention. I love the math connections that I can incorporate while teaching about the presidents.
Four years ago, I was not using objects in my classroom like I am today. I decided today would be a fantastic time to share the White House Historical Association's collection in my classroom. We recently learned about the Bald Eagle in the classroom and were discussing Obama ending his time in office, so I thought this piece would be fitting to share. It was important to share the color choices of the piece chosen by the First Lady to represent the colors of the blue waters of Hawaii. I am encouraging my first graders to pay close attention to detail in their illustrations as the details give the readers more information.
I began exploring the association's collection, but am looking forward to incorporating it even more into my room. I encourage you to take the time to create and account and explore for yourself.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit