Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25 Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is." ~ Benjamin Franklin

What was it like in colonial times? I'm always interested in what everyday life was like for people. As this video reveals, very few folks dressed in the fancy clothes we associate with colonial America. Here's the way most of us would have dressed for a typical day.

Looks like it would get awfully hot out in the fields in August...

This week: We'll share our information about colonial trades. (Be looking for an informational bulletin board that describes many of the trades and crafts of colonial America.) We'll complete a quick review of American colonies (quiz), then embark on an adventure to learn about the French and Indian War.

Take care-

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 22 "All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move." Ben Franklin

Hi families--

Have you noticed that the communication and style of our blog has changed? More and more I'm trying to use it as a teaching directory--and a way to provide you with the information and activities your child is experiencing each day. It's good to know what's going on here, and to see how your child's education is evolving in a "21st Century" classroom. I must admit that I've grappled with the benefits of our everyday communication vs. "keeping it simple" for students so that they can most readily acccess information. I do hope I'm still being clear enough about what we're doing. As far as due dates, please understand that much of what I do is "work in progress" stuff--which involves teaching kids how to independently explore resources, glean information from primary text, and develop the curiosity and motivation that exemplifies true learning. Additionally, as the class moves through a plethora of self-directed activities, I can devote more time to the specific needs of each individual child. I'm learning more every day about what truly engages kids, and I am working long and hard to provide them with experiences that will entice them them and pique their interests.

So, just as an update:

Both classes are working on "Hero" web pages in Language Arts. I'm conferencing with students as fast as is humanly possible; meanwhile, there's lots that they can do without me. The children are being given the freedom to develop their webpages in unique and expressive ways as they work toward quality products. Mr. Wright is working with me to continually address "urgent" concerns, answer questions, and provide necessary support and enrichment. If you have any expertise or time on your hands, feel free call or email me. I'm forever open to new ideas, strategies, and techniques.

I've asked everyone to try to finish their essays (5) or research reports (6) by Friday so that we can wrap this up next week. I'll check them between now and Monday as they filter in to me.

In Social Studies, we're going to finish up our mini-research on the trade we selected and work on our posters as we prepare our final products for display. Depending upon when folks have Social Studies, paragraphs should be done (including editing) by Monday or Tuesday, at which time we'll finish the "art part." Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun with these short activities.


Dictionary of trades and occupations -- JUST in case you didn't think there was anything going on in Colonial America...

Kid Info--Colonial Life Pretty much anything you want to learn about colonial life can be found here; this is an excellent, very rich site to explore!

EVEN MORE information I stumbled upon for a couple trades:

I guess I'll head home. Good-night everyone-


Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19 "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Ben Franklin

Hello families--
I'm waiting for some materials I purchased for my unit on the French and Indian War, so in the meantime, we'll travel back in time and explore how people made a living in colonial America. This will involve two activities. Here is a copy of what I gave to the kids:

Part 1:

We will investigate colonial trades through virtual tours of living history museums and through primary sources containing personal accounts of colonial apprentices.

For this activity, your tasks will be to:

  • Read about becoming an apprentice.

This is interesting, too!

  • Answer the following questions:

1. What was life like for colonial apprentices and other youth?

2. When did young people have to choose a trade?

3. How do the lives of colonial apprentices compare/contrast to your own?

Part 2:

We’re going to learn about the many trades practiced in colonial America, the process of becoming an artisan, and the role of artisans in colonial society.

For this activity, your task will be to:

  • Choose a trade and become that person. Research your trade, using the questions on the next page to guide you. The answers will then be written in paragraph form.
  • Create a mini-poster that includes the name of your trade and an illustration.
  • Present your information to the class
The information and poster will create an impressive bulletin board display in the hallway, so the emphasis is on creating a product that is PRESENTATION QUALITY!


1. Your trade is__________

2. Describe your trade in detail.

3. What are the tools of your trade, and where do you get them?

4. What are the required skills of your trade?

5. Do you need to be an apprentice for your job? If so, for how long? What process do you go through to become the master of your craft?


On an 8 ½ X 11 piece of art paper, write the name of your trade in large, decorative letters. Then draw a picture that exemplifies your trade. (For example, if I was a broom maker, I’d draw a [colonial-style] broom on my paper.) Fill the space, and use bold colors; small pictures or letters don’t show up well on a display.

Your mini-poster (8 ½ X 11) and write-up will be matted and glued onto a 12 X 18 piece of construction paper for our hallway display.

Here is a list of colonial trades (certainly not a complete one!) Click on the links to begin your research. (I do hope you look beyond this one site for your information. There's lots out there!)

We're continuing our work on our "Hero" webpage. I hope to complete all essays this week so that we can conclude the project at the beginning of next week. I'll post them for you to peruse asap. Ask your child if they have finished their writing piece. Ask them how they're coming on their web page, too. We've experienced a few glitches that a minute with Mr. Wright will certainly correct...

I hope your evening is a pleasant one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6 "Hard times don't create heroes. It is during the hard times when the 'hero' within us is revealed." -- Bob Riley
Hello everyone-

Today Mr. Wright introduced Web pages to grades 5 and 6 as part of the "technology-infused" heroes unit. One of the expectations of this unit is that every child will learn how to create a Web page. For the 6th grade who are researching and writing about a hero, it will satisfy their "Research Report" requirement for the year. The fifth grade is doing an essay on a hero, as well as some other activities soon to be announced. If they turn out the way I hope, these should be awesome. I'll post them on our blog for you to see.

  • Grade 6 should have first drafts done by now; I need to check them. Those who are ready will begin creating their Web pages tomorrow.
  • Grade 5 was asked to choose a hero from the many links I've provided on a previous blog (scroll down to see). They will begin their essay tomorrow.
  • Grade 5 had Social Studies today and filled out a graphic organizer about the differences in the regions of the 13 colonies. (It's due Thursday.) They also have a Scavenger Hunt to complete by Friday, although many are nearly done already. They also had to trace or draw a map of the 13 colonies and color in the three regions.
  • Grade 6 should have their Social Studies ready to turn in tomorrow. (See above)

The following is an additional link to help those who may still need to complete their graphic organizer.
(See the others that I posted in the previous blog.)
The Thirteen Colonies Interactive Powerpoint

Have a good evening, everyone.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4 “I believe it is the nature of people to be heroes, given the chance.” James A. Autry

Grade 5 Web Page Project

What Makes a Hero a Hero? Click on the portraits of these American heroes. What do you notice about each of them? Does he or she look like a hero? When I tell you their stories, be thinking of attributes (character traits) that describe them.

Grade 5 Homework: Complete "Portrait of a Hero" for tomorrow.
Grade 6 Homework: Complete first draft of Hero Bio. We need to stay on track.

Meet Amazing Americans--America's Story--Find lots more links and information about heroes here! Don't forget to check out to the links I placed on the last blog entry, too.



Regions: Find out about which colonies are in each region. Also, get information about climate/geography, religion, and economy.

Regions--What were the geographic regions of the 13 colonies? Find out about the environment, natural resources, and religions of these regions.
Scavenger Hunt--Independent Assignment-due Friday. (Most of Grade 6 completed it in class today!)


SOCIAL STUDIES LINKS FOR WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY ASSIGNMENT (I'll provide the graphic organizer for this assignment.)

Colony Profiles: Learn about how each colony was established.

Another Map Interactive that might be helpful.

Chart of the 13 Colonies--good, quick information

13 Colonies Village and Trades--Find out what a colonial town was like.