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.
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.
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!
I love election season. Let me clarify, I love teaching during election season.
It's Friday and I often use the day to put done stamps on projects or do fun stand alone projects. I am tucking election/presidential pieces in all over the place right now.
I love the new series of Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold. They have a great storyline, while at the same time, tucking in all kinds of crazy facts that the kids just eat up. We were using the fire station one earlier this week.
I purchased the White House books for all of my kids so that we could access the presidential timeline within the book. The math involved with the presidential terms is too good to pass up! We made it through part of the book, discussing along the way and then looking at the timeline.
I decided to wrap up our day with one of my favorite Kid President videos where he get to go to the White House to meet President Obama. It's a classic! What surprised me was the amount of kids in my classroom that had never seen Kid President. WHAT? Never seen Kid President? Clearly, I know what I will be showing during snack time today. The message Obama shared with him was even rather timely for some kindness issues.
As I shared the video, I stopped along the way to show the images of White House photographer Pete Sousa. I am honored to have both a family photo with the President, as well as an individual photo, taken by Pete. They both hang in my classroom. As I discussed Pete's job with my class, they began to wonder if his photographs of the President are some of the ones highlighted in Fly Guy Presents The White House. What a great question! I don't know the answer, but it was an incredibly fun lesson.
If for some reason you have not seen Kid President or the new Fly Guy book, I encourage you to check them out. Also, take the time to look at some of Pete's photographs. The are magnificent!
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!
Hanging with Ranger Michael and Ranger Peter at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site
It's that time of year when I look forward to the Annual Lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Oddly, Moffat has hitched a ride to see the amazing site THREE times and I have yet to go! It is very high on my bucket list. In 2011, The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel was published.. This is the story of 8-year-old Henry, who works alongside his father during the Depression selling Christmas trees. Henry dreams of living in a home other than the drafty shack they currently have and the kindness of others, brings Henry's wish to life.
David Rubel wrote this book in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. Today, deserving families now call the magical wood from a Rockefeller Christmas Tree their home! Enjoy the video links below to learn more about this wonderful partnership and giving back to the community!
In remembrance of a songwriter...
It has been weeks since I have posted. Blame it on the start of school and my brain being on overload. I think about it daily, but never get there.
Interestingly, I joined my husband for a documentary this evening and it happened to be on John Denver. I have always loved John's songs with the stories he told and the melodies he carried on his guitar. I also remember how he tragically died at an early age in an airplane crash. As the documentary progressed, the date of his death came up and the anniversary happens to be today. He died in 1997 at the age of 53.
Several years ago, I remember walking along the beautiful, foggy beaches of Monterey, California. I can remember how shocked I was when my family and I came across a marker on a rock commemorating the sudden loss of John Denver. I don't recall that I knew where he had died until our morning walk.
As a Colorado native, his songs are calling card to the beauty of our state. He was a long time resident of Aspen, Colorado, long before it ever became the ski town it is today. Each time I hear one of his songs, I remember how much I enjoy his music. As I watched the documentary, I learned more about his interest in both space and NASA and the oceans with his time spent with Jacque Cousteau.
I am surprised that this commemorative rock is in my collection. It is an obscure location, but one worth remembering. My own personal travel lesson is to always be open to where the day might take you. There are surprises around every corner and many are worth reflecting upon!
To learn more about the portrait and the story of Dolley, take the time to explore the links below or read the book that can be found on Amazon.
It's National Hot Dog Day!
It was too hard to resist National Hot Dog Day, especially since Moffat has visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Take a look at the attached Youtube videos for more fun! Admit it, you know the Oscar Mayer Wiener song!!!