I just returned from seeing the movie Jackie with a dear friend and fellow historian. We love going to see history movies together. I highly recommend taking the time to go see the movie if you have not done so already. As we watched the movie, we were both moved with the obvious emotions for the loss the country must have felt. I was also taken by feeling the power for the sense of place.
The premise of the movie is the week following the shooting in Dallas. Jackie has invited a journalist to Massachusetts to hear her recollection of events. Aside from scenes from the immediate days following the shooting, there are many scenes from the tour that Jackie hosted on TV of the White House, as well as musical events held in the White House.
Travel is very important to both my husband and I and I feel blessed that we have been able to see many historic sites with our family. Several years ago, we visited our son while he was living in DC for a residency. Arlington Cemetary had been on my list for several reasons, the least of which is its significance in honoring those that have given their lives for our country. When I learned more about the history of the Arlington House itself, it only added to my desire to visit. The visit did not disappoint.
Sense of place is very powerful. I have felt it as I stared at the Statue of Liberty for the first time, at the Gettysburg Battlefield and walking through the town of Concord, Massachusetts. All places have history, but some are more moving than others. I believe it is important to be in these places.
According to the Arlington National Cemetary, the President had visited the cemetary on several different occassions, two of which were on Armistice Day. On a separate visit to the Lee-Custis house, the President admired the view from the house believing he could stay there forever. Mrs. Kennedy's choice for the burial site was also contingent on her belief that "he belongs to the people."
If you have never been to Arlington National Cemetary, add it to your bucket list. I believe it is a place that all Americans should experience. Our history is important and experiencing it through a sense of place is invaluable.
My kids know me. I was quite delighted to receive this photo of one of my current students visiting her grandma. She found this White House Christmas ornament of Teddy Roosevelt. She wanted her mom to send it to me!
On Monday, one of my students came to me and asked if I kew about the Christmas tree Teddy had in the White House. He was hoping to trick me, but to his surprise, I was able to respond and told him that TR did not allow a Christmas tree in the White House.
If you look closely at the 2011 White House ornament, you can see that the Christmas tree that the Roosevelts are looking at is actually in the closet. Being the conservationist that he was, Teddy did not approve of having a cut tree in the White House. His sons, Quentin and Archie, surprised the family on their second Christmas in the White House by cutting down a small tree from the White House property, decorating it and placing it in a closet in the same room the family opened gifts.
Love that my students find fun learning even on a Christmas tree!
One of the regular activites in my first grade classroom is the Moffat journal writing station. Each week, students research different states together, as well as listen to the stories that I share with them. This station runs itself and has the capacity to grow with them throughout the course of the year. Writing mini lessons are easily imbedded within.
We have begun working on paragrah writing. In some ways, the students have been doing this from the beginning of the year with our very scripted journal entries.
In my room, I always have the bare minimum that I expect of my students, but encourage them to go above and beyond to challenge themselves. More is always better!
Like I said, we have begun paragraph writing. This is quite amazing when you might consider a successful Kindergarten student to be writing one full and complete sentence. Imagine my delight, when one of my students brought me this incredible writing sample based upon our NY studies. I was particulary fond of the personal voice she added to her work. She knew her mom had run the NYC marathon, so it would stand to reason that Moffat could participate as well! This child is a writer! Way to go!
What is a museum? How do they start? Do they have to be housed in a public space or can they be sheltered in a private abode?
Merriam-Webster defines a collection as an accumulation of objects for study, comparison or an exhibition or as a hobby.
My husband and I were talking last week about our first memory of a museum. I don't have any memories of museums as a young child. My first memory is from going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as part of a middle school Spanish trip. Truth be told, the entire motivation for going on the trip to the museum is that it was followed up by a trip to the local Denver landmark restaurant, Casa Bonita. As a teenager, it doesn't get any better than Casa Bonita!
In my married life, we began taking our own kids up to Denver to the Museum of Nature and Science. We began taking trips with the first one to Kansas City. Along the way we explored the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame and the Jazz Museum. We strolled through the Nelson Atkins Art Museum. This was the beginning of many trips.
At home, I have always been a collector. As I child I remember collecting pens and pennants. My grandmother started a bell collection for me. Not much has changed. Like so many of you, I have way too many collections to keep track of and I love them all. Friends come over to our house and believe we have our own museum.
According to Amerian Alliance of Museums, US museums protect more than 1 billion objects. It is estimated that there are more than 35,000 active museums in the United States.
There is no way to calculate the millions of items that are in private homes as a collection. I am intrigued by what people collect and how their collection was started.
I thought I would begin posting from time to time a piece or two from my collections. Stay tuned...
The holidays are here and that means it's time to start reading some of my favorite holiday books. We all have them.
I have hard time choosing a favorite between Auntie Claus and Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (a childhood favorite).
Every year read Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera. I read the story as part of our NYC holiday studies as we learn about different holidays around the world.
If you have not had the time to read this gem, I highly encourage you to do so. Sophie, the young girl in the story, learns the meaning of the holiday season after spending time with her aunt, Auntie Claus (Santa's sister). As Auntie Claus teaches, "it is far better to give than to receive." I think this is such a valuable lesson for all, both young and old.
As part of the lesson, I have my students write letters to Santa. Theses letters are not letters for their own requests, but letters for friends and family. I want my kids to think of others.
As I was looking over my kids' letters, this one caught my eye. It seems my kids know me pretty well and were thinking of Moffat as too. I feel blessed to be a teacher with such thoughtful students.
Happy holidays! May we all remember Auntie Claus's message, "It is far better to give than to receive."
This is a question from one of my students posted on our "See - Think - Wonder" wall.
I LOVE THIS QUESTION!!
There are so many reasons.
So thanks to my student for asking this question. History is a part of my life and I can't imagine a day without it.
Like so many of you, I am a GREAT multi-tasker. We have to be. With all the many hats that we all wear, it is a simple form of survival.
However, blogging does not offer this as an option.
I can't tell you how many times, I only wish I could haved blogged while driving or ironing or showering or while on the treadmill. Alas, this is never going to happen.
When I was asked to join the #365Blog by my good friend, I thought it would be a nice challenge for my writing. It is. However, I have also come to learn that it is ok if I do not blog everyday. Yes, it is the goal, but I need to give myself permission to not get there. It does not mean I am lazy or uncommitted, I look at it as allowing myself to have balance in my personal life. Something that is very hard to achieve.
I greatly admire my friend, Jill Cross, and many of the other bloggers of the group that have held to the commitment. It is, indeed, a very commendable one that I look up to. For myself, I am ok with not getting there everyday. I am working to fulfill other goals.
Monday, I sat down to write after having the perfect post school afternoon. If only everyday could be like this. I read a novel for awhile (big goal of mine), graded some papers and even worked out before writing. If only I could do that everyday!
So with this being said, I will continue to blog, allowing myself to miss days. For me, it's ok. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves. Let some of those pressures go. It's ok.
Hmmm, a blue hippo? Museum Monday?
This summer, I was fortunate enough to listen and then present at a department meeting in the Colonial Williamsburg Education Department. One of the many energenic and young staff members had just returned from her recent visit to The Met to share about an new approach to museum tours called a "museum hack." I listened with great intrigue and then appreciated this small gift store momento she picked up along the way. The entire musuem hack idea sounds rather intriquing as these tours are very intimate, fast paced and chocked full of more obscure, yet engaging tidbits of information.
Ahh, one more adventure to add to the bucket list.
Anyhow, back to first grade. During the month of December we focus our studies around New York City. I do this for many reasons, including the diversity and festivities during the holiday season. The city also offers some wonderful mini studies including the Statue of Liberty and immigration, buildings and transportation and MUSEUMS!! Yes, it's museum week.
As I was gathering my books and other resources, remembered a fabulous video that I have used in the past. It took me way too long to find this gem, which is one of the main reasons that I wanted to share. My kids loved it today! The video is from the Met and is and introduction to some of the masters within the Met. PLEASE, PLEASE check out the video!
As my class began watching the video, I noticed that it began with the same blue hippo I had held in the meeting in Williamsburg. I needed to know more. It turns out that this little blue hippo is originally from Egypt (please see the museum information for a complete description). I then did more research and came across the #MetKidsBlog with further questions on William the Hippo. This letter to William from a child only reinforced that artifacts are an excellent teaching tool within the classroom.
Artifacts naturally prompt questions.
Questions create learning.
Learning opens doors.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit