I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks and have become ok with that. I feel like it is more important to do so when I feel that inspiration.
Tonight, I found it as I was sitting down to continue to work on my lesson plans for the week. Like every Sunday, I pull out my collection of books highlighting our state studies to haul off to school. This summer, I treated myself to some new ones with some of my Crystal Apple funds. Always love buying books. I bought Trombone Shorty by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews. I read it quickly when I first got it, but reopened it again this evening.
After I finished rereading the story, I proclaimed to my husband how much I love quality children's literature. He was not shocked to hear me profess this for the millionth time!! The story, by musician "Trombone Shorty" or Troy Andrews, tells the childhood story of how he became a musician in the neighborhood of Treme in New Orleans. Troy is truly a gifted musician, picking up the trombone at age 6. The story recalls to how music was always the constant in a neighborhood that had is ups and downs, but was never lacking for the gift of music. Young students can relate as he shares how the neighborhood kids would go out to play at 5 o'clock after completing their homework. He compares the music to gumbo stirring in a pot, a little of this and that coming together.
With most books I read to my class, I particularly enjoy looking for the author's notes at the end of the book. This, of course, did not disappoint. I also did more research to discover that "Trombone Shorty" has started the Trombone Shorty Foundation to support young New Orleans musicians. Talk about a way to give back to your community!
I found this book inspirational for so many reasons. I played the baritone saxophone all through college and was fortunate enough to attend a festival while in college. I wish that I could say it is something I kept up with. My husband and I visited New Orleans several years ago, and I am always hungry to learn more about the city, culture, history, and music. This book opens those doors for my own students.
I am anxious to share tomorrow in class as we will also be enjoying some current performances of "Trombone Shorty."
Music, history and a great book!
My post this evening is inspired by one of my history professors. He posted a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt by John Singer Sargent as part of a growing trend on Facebook right now. The trend is to fill FB with art as a change from so much of the negativity that is going on.
Thanks George! I like it! I also have been meaning to post this little gem of a portrait.
The TR portrait above was given to me just this last week by one of my current students. She is in an art class and came up with the idea on her own. It is my early Presidents' Day gift, and quite honestly, the only Presidents' Day gift I have ever received. I thought that I would add it to our own classroom museum area as part of our portrait gallery. I think TR rounds out Abe (Happy Birthday today Abe!) and Lady Liberty rather well.
This gift makes me smile! It brings me such joy to know that my students are going home with history on their minds.
The portrait has also inspired me to explore the website from the National Portrait Gallery for tomorrow's #MuseumMonday blog. Stay tuned...
This week in class, we are studying Minnesota, Wisconsin, and iowa. Charles Schulz was born in Minneaplis, MN on November 22, 1922. I was pulling out my books for the week and reread Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz. As I read the story, I couldn't help but to think of my own childhood and my blanket.
The slideshow above, shows images from my childhood. I carried around a blanket and my "tickle pooies". As I got older, my dad got tired of me always having that big blanket and he cut it up onto smaller pieces. I still have my "tickle pooey" and one piece of my blanket. A couple years ago at Christmas, the cutting of the blanket somehow came up with my dad and our daughter. She was appalled (coming from a kid who loved her blankets). She loves her Papa, but still gives him grief about this choice.
Today, I brought my blanket square and "tickle pooey" in as artifacts to share with my kids. I told them the story of my blankets and my "tickle pooeys." As I read Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, I chuckled as Linus' grandmother threatened to do the same with his blanket. He outwitted his grandma.
As with most of my research, my curiosity starts with a book (and memories in this case). I started exploring Charles Schulz online and discovered the amazing museum located in Santa Rosa, California. As an educator, I truly appreciate when a museum has a strong online component so that I can bring the information into my classroom. The Charles M. Schulz Museum does not disappoint! The timeline gives excellent visual detail to his life, so much so, that I will use it as a further teaching tool for artifacts and primary sources. The museum website also gives in incredible insight into the background of the characters from the Peanuts gang.
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.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit