As the National Park Service is celebrating their 100th birthday, we are just getting back to school. I can't think of a better way to kick off the new year with a grand celebration to open the door to new learning for my young students. We enjoyed S'More style birthday cupcakes to compliment the Junior Rangers we made in class.
Youtube is such a wonderful addition to the classroom as we were able to enjoy the very creative birthday song as well as an overview by Finley Holiday. Many of the students were familiar with some of the more prominent National Parks, which led to a very engaging conversation about the parks. One of my students even brought in her collection of Junior Ranger badges (I had mine to show off as well).
Over the years, I have grown to LOVE the National Parks (my husband thinks I am crazy for the Park Rangers). I was not exposed to the NPS as a child and feel like I am making up for it now. The diversity of the system leads to learning about science and social studies and can be differentiated for any grade level. Many of the parks have well developed lesson plans online that can be used for extended learning. My biggest challenge is going to be to limit the number of parks that I share with my students. I want to create a balance between the beauty and conservation efforts of the National Parks with the historic value of the memorials, battlefields and monuments. It is impossible to go wrong with any of my choices.
I am looking forward to the new year for many reasons. It excites me to bring the NPS into my classroom as an educational tool and I am looking forward to more travels to National Parks that I have yet to enjoy. Our studies will be a fun-filled adventure that I am excited to embark upon! More updates down the road!
This is one of my favorite times of the year (ok, I have many)! My first graders are now independent enough that we have projects going on all over the classroom. In honor of Poetry Month and National Haiku Poetry Day, we will begin our class book of Moffat USA haikus. Above is a sampling of some of the pages in years past created by the students.
I will be formatting the planning pages and accompanying Moffat images soon for my TeachersPayTeachers store so that others may join in in creating one in their classroom. For a very professional look, I then upload my images to Shutterfly and make the book available to my students' parents to purchase. It's a great end of year project! Enjoy!
In honor of Father's Day, I thought I would share with you some of the research and work of my students while we studied George Washington and Mount Vernon.
I either tie my studies to our geographic studies of the states or to our timeline studies when I am planning. This extended study on George took place while we were studying VA (the week was packed as there is SO much to look at).
Moffat's friend, Zerah, gave him some royal treatment earlier in the winter and my kids truly enjoyed the photographs. Mount Vernon continues to expand the visual choices for the virtual tour. As it is impossible to actually take my students there, this offered a rather amazing substitute. They enjoyed having the ability to investigate rooms, rotate to see various angles and have more information available about the artifacts in the room.
Since I use an interdisciplinary approach in my classroom, drawing Mount Vernon using shapes seemed like such a natural crossover into math (we had been studying decomposing shapes in our math unit). I am always amazed at what students can do if you have them follow you step by step. All of the Mount Vernons had their own distinct look, but one could definitely tell which historic landmark had been drawn.
I really enjoyed combining our books and research with Mount Vernon's online resources with our classroom art. The students were completely engaged and my only regret was that I wanted more time!
If you have not seen the amazing Mount Vernon virtual tour, click the link below to see more!
As many of us have been packing up our classrooms this last week, I have come across some old notes and received new ones and thought I would share that history really does make am impact. These are a few of my favorites and they bring great joy to my heart! The bottom image is the self-designed card cover with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. Love teaching!!!
Walking a bridge is one of my favorite things to do on any trip. Two years ago, our family was able to put the check mark on the bucket list for the Golden Gate Bridge. We had seen it several years earlier on a previous trip, but this was the year for the walk. Public transportation makes getting to the visitors center and entrance to the bridge very accessible. We visited in July, and the iconic International Orange columns were shrouded in the regular fog of the bay area. The details of the bridge were the most captivating to me followed by the view (although limited) of the city behind us. Fort Point lies directly below at the SF entrance. When the bridge opened in May of 1937, its 4,200 foot suspension span was the longest in the world. Today, it is the ninth longest suspension bridge. The bridge is an American icon and year after year my students love learning about it.