I have had the incredible fortune to teach with some amazing, strong and innovative teachers in my career. Several who have been mentors, cheerleaders and dear friends through thick and thin. I am lucky!
However, I also have teaching soulmates, as you can see by the pic above, sent to me today on a teacher work day by my dear friend Jessica. She and I can spend hours dreaming and planning lessons for our students around history. We never get tired of it! We love to think outside the box. We also LOVE Teddy Roosevelt! I don't know if we will ever be fortunate enough to teach in the same school, but the moments we can spend together dreaming of history lessons are grand!
The images to the right are from one of my former students and my other teaching soulmate, Lisa. We met through a mutual friend and think SO much alike. We are separated by thousands of miles from Colorado to Virginia. Still, we love sharing our passion for teaching history and challenging our students. Oddly, she teaches college freshmen and I teach first grade. Last week she sent me a couple of vintage postcards of TR. The one to the right is most unique and is going to require some more research (more to come on that).
Today, I received the more modern postcard from one of my students last year. Arianna's mom had text me last week inquiring for our address as Arianna wanted to write. Her postcard made smile. My kids learn a lot about TR in my class (they know he is my favorite). I love that Arianna has background knowledge on TR and wants to share her new knowledge with me! It only reaffirms for me that we need to start sharing history with students at a young age!
On a different note, I need to work on my winking skills!!
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.
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!
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