Today was a big day in our little hometown (ok, it's not so little anymore)! Under a much welcomed, overcast sky, people from across the community gathered to line Tejon Street for the "Parade Through Time" to celebrate our city's sesquicentennial. The parade, complete with high school marching bands, rodeo horses, vintage vehicles and costumed performers, ended down by the Colorado Springs Pioneers with festivities continuing down the the brand new Olympic and Paralympic Museum.
As a Colorado Springs native of over 50 years, seeing the growth of the town I have grown up in is astonishing. While watching the Olympics this last week and seeing a drone fly over the recently completed museum and the skyline of home, I stop to think that this is being shown around the world! Our little town, the town that is also home to "America's Mountain" is also Olympic City USA.
I feel fortunate to be here for this celebration and look forward to finding ways to contribute to the history of this city in my own way. Colorado Springs is a special place and a place that I proudly call home! Happy Birthday to a very special place, my hometown!
As I am typing, my husband and I have the opening ceremonies on in Tokyo, a ceremony that should have taken place a year ago. This morning, I headed a couple of miles to downtown to snap some pictures at the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum and the surrounding area. As a Colorado Springs native, it is simply mind-boggling to me to think that we live in "Olympic City USA".
As an elementary student, I can remember when the Olympic Training Center opened at a former US Air Force base just a few blocks from my elementary school. For so many years, I didn't think much of it. We still live in the neighborhood and have visited on several occasions. Many years ago, I took a group of students on a tour as one of my student's mom was training in Greco Roman wrestling. Such a unique opportunity! In 2012, President Obama visited the center on his Colorado Springs stop for the campaign.
As the Olympics begin and I think about my hometown, I am inspired to look more closely at the town that I call home.
I had every intention of posting this yesterday and just didn't get that far. However, I was so excited to celebrate this birthday, that I figured a day late is better than nothing. This upcoming year, one of my themes is going to be focused on immigration and the many gifts that ALL humans add to our world. As an introduction, I am going to be looking at the individuals connected to building the Statue of Liberty.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I held the "golden tickets" to go on an adventure up into the crown of the Statue of Liberty. I have to admit that this was a HUGE item on my bucket list. It was a thrill to be some of the few people that have experienced the long climb up 354 steps into her crown. Despite the many challenges that our country is facing, I do believe that she is a symbol of optimism and hope and I want to share her wonder to my students.
Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi is known for his design of "Liberty Enlightening the World" otherwise known as the Statue of Liberty. She was designed to commemorate the friendship between France and the United States. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in October 1886. She is 151 feet, 1 inch tall and sits on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
The classroom calendar is a perennial wall hanging in almost every elementary classroom across the country. Many are decorated with seasonal pattern cut-outs such as red apple, yellow apple, green apple (can you tell I taught Kindergarten?) or fall leaves in various color patterns. Teachers use the calendar as daily tool to show holidays, school events, a way to count to the 100th day of school, and classmates' birthdays. However, for so many of us, the challenge of carving out time is an ever present battle during instruction.
A couple of years ago, while I was teaching timelines in class, I realized that I needed to be more intentional with my calendar time and could incorporate quality literature while connecting them to the classroom calendar and the larger timelines that I teach in class. I have streamlined my calendar design and added new history makers for students to learn about. I have tried to share not only my favorite grade level books, but some other strong pieces of literature for upper grades. I use these books as part of our regularly scheduled read aloud time. Additionally, I have MANY Youtube cues that I continue to add to for each month (I will share more later).
If you are interested in using this in your classroom, the August file can be found on my Teachers Pay Teachers site for FREE for the month of August. Additionally, if you are interested in any of the book recommendations, please click on the images below to go to my Amazon Affiliate store.
Landing on the Moon-50 Years Later
Be honest...when you were a kid, how many of you thought it would be cool to be an astronaut? If you didn't, you certainly had a friend who did. The picture above was taken in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's gift shop while on an adventure with my nerdy history friend Jessica. I couldn't resist. My kids are going to love it, particularly as we have a year long space theme (among other themes) going on in class this upcoming school year. I am busily researching STEAM projects we can explore in class.
So much of my social studies instruction is based upon teaching timelines that having a focused theme on space exploration will be a timely touch. I have to admit that I am a bit partial this year as I am celebrating the same number. I am still searching for the perfect t-shirt to add to my collection for teaching history. I'll keep you posted.
As always when teaching timelines, I LOVE finding new children's literature to support our studies. Whenever there is a big anniversary celebration coming out, authors are quick to think ahead and write for the event. Recently, I have become obsessed with the new line of Little Golden Books of historical events/characters. I recently picked up the new Statue of Liberty on our last visit. I was pleased to see a new one focusing on the first moon landing. Additionally, if you are unfamiliar with Chris Gall, he published a book on America The Beautiful that has incredible illustrations to use with your students and I am excited to get my hands on Go For The Moon. Admittedly, I don't have either book YET, but have added them to my Amazon cart. Please click on the images below if you would like to order from Amazon as well. I am Neil Armstrong is a new addition to Brad Meltzer's series.
As I mentioned earlier, almost all of my social studies teaching centers around teaching timelines. I have discovered over the last many years that students find great success when given the ability to organize people and events via a master timeline. I have many mini-timelines that merge into my GIANT anchor chart and the history makers from this mini timeline are then embedded into the larger. Please enjoy the images below as a small sample of the MEGA pack that can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers if you are interested.
What's Your Story?
I truly can't think of a better way for me to start the new year and a weekly post that I have been wanting to start for awhile than with one of my heroes, Dolly Parton. Tomorrow, January 4, the Grand Ole Opry will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dolly's membership at the Grand Ole Opry. Fifty years! That simply goes to show the talent and determination Dolly shows both in her career and her life. Dolly will also be celebrating her birthday on January 19th.
Three For Thursday will feature a timely book, a primary source/artifact, and a Moffat postcard(s). These items can be used together as a lesson in the classroom or a fun inspiration for home studies. I hope you find this inspiring.
Moffat has a truly magical life, one that many of us want, as he travels from place to place learning along the way. This time, Moffat hitched a ride with my good friend Jill and her family, as they got to explore Dollywood during the holidays. I have to admit that I am a bit jealous as I DREAM of going there. I want to explore the park and take in Dolly's museum, Chasing Rainbows. Someday...
The photograph below is Dolly's loved and iconic "coat of many colors" that is the real life artifact that inspired her favorite song "Coat of Many Colors" in 1971. At that time she wrote the lyrics, she was traveling with Porter Wagoner. Unable to find paper, she wrote the lyrics on the back of a dry cleaning ticket!
And so it begins...
I am not much of a New Year's resolution type of person. Never have been.
However, as 2019 approaches, I have set some personal writing goals that I am doing my very best to achieve. This is not a New Year's resolution, but rather a life goal.
Today, I spent a great deal of time at my new desk made by my husband for Christmas. Moffat and I are sitting here with my new 2019 Smithsonian calendar (thanks dad), my TR/teddy portrait, family photos, and a view of Pikes Peak.
I hope to bring more insight into best social studies practices in the classroom for young learners. I want to return to my blog, create more resources for teachers, present more and get to writing some children's books! Fingers crossed! I continue to grow and learn myself from other amazing educators and am thankful to have strong mentors in my own life.
Wishing everyone a bright 2019...and so it begins!
What's Your Favorite Book?
For several weeks now, I have been watching friends tag other friends while posting the cover to their favorite books. In the midst of this, I was tagged by a good friend, and until now, have yet to respond.
Original Photo Credit: Shawn Miller/ Library of Congress
I haven't blogged in several months. I have taken some time to step back from social media to simplify life. However, I think writing about "The Book Lady", aka Dolly Parton, is the best place to jump back in.
For most Americans, Dolly is known for her legendary career in country music, beginning in the late 60s. My husband and I were fortunate enough to hear her in concert at Red Rocks in 2016 and then visit the Country Music Hall of Fame that same year. In the CMHOF, her dress, shoes and scratch paper with the words to her iconic song, "Jolene" were on display. Such a treat to see and experience!
However, for millions of Americans age 5 and under, Dolly is known for sending one free book a month (60 all together) to foster the love of reading. Her program, Imagination Library, started locally in her hometown in Tennessee and was started to honor her father, who was never given the opportunity to learn how to read.
This weekend, I once again began searching for a Dolly t-shirt (I have wanted one for a long time) and came across the above quote from her. She may be the queen of country music, but her leadership in business and education for young children sets her apart even more. Dolly knows who she is and lives her life to the fullest. Her purposeful life is not only a gift of entertainment for the world, but a gift of early literacy skills for young children. She dreams big and works to fulfill those dreams.
In my own life, I have many dreams and so many of those involve educating early learners. It is hard work, but it is worth it. I hope all of us can look to Dolly for inspiration.
One final note, it is going to take years for those sweet preschoolers in this picture to realize the event they got to participate in! Oh how I would have loved to have been there myself!!