Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello families--

Happy Memorial Day (and day-after-my-husband's-birthday)! It won't be long now before your beloved son or daughter will embark on a wonderful adventure into the wilds of the Adirondacks. It's such a beautiful place; I wish I could do a continual live-feed so that you could all have the opportunity to experience it, too. Rest assured that your child will be well taken care of.

If you haven't sent in your medical forms, and I'm still missing 10, PLEASE get them to me on Tuesday so that I can fax the "medical hot sheet" to the camp director. It is a requisite that every child provide one...

It looks like Thursday might rain just a bit. We'll see... It's a good idea to keep an eye on the weather and pack accordingly. Rest assured, there's lots to do in any eventuality. Do pack some lightweight rain wear (I have an inexpensive poncho) that is easy to slip on in case it begins to shower. Again, I urge you to consider--less is more. A change of clothes and evening attire (and toiletries) is about it.

We'll plan to leave as close to 7:30 as possible on Wednesday. (Your children can still ride the bus to school; we'll wait for them!) We'll return between 5 and 5:30 PM on Thursday. I'll provide my cell phone number for emergencies, which I'll include in a flyer that I send home tomorrow.

Pok-O-MacCready Camps

Monday, June 14th, at 7:00 PM

I need volunteers to help decorate. We can begin any time after 1:00 or so. I'll also send home a notice with a place to sign up.

I need someone willing to call around for the best price on [red] roses, then pick them up on the afternoon of the 14th and bring them to school. I need about 22 of them, each with one of those little plastic thingies on the bottom with water in them.

I need someone who is willing to pick up and return the helium tank -- The place we've generally gotten one at Merriam Graves on Williston Road in South Burlington. (It has always been the cheapest place to go.) Taylor Rental had a smaller one for $78.00, which we used last year, but we ran out of helium. Feel free to call around: we usually blow up about 250 balloons.

If enough volunteers show up, we should be done decorating in just a couple of hours. Then we can all go home and relax before the big event.

See full size image

  • We'll have our all-school meeting on Tuesday this week to accommodate our leaving on Wednesday. It will be their last regularly scheduled All-School Meeting. (On the last day of school, there is one final All-School Meeting that is both symbolic and poignant. It is when the six graders rise and ceremoniously relinquish their benches to the upcoming elders. They are subsequently dismissed, leaving the auditorium in solemn silence as their school family bids them farewell.)
  • We're finishing up Poetry Anthologies for Language Arts, and
  • concluding our discussions about the Revolution as we prepare for watching the PBS documentary, Liberty!
  • We'll take a final writing assessment this week (either tomorrow or Friday),
  • and a Spelling assessment as well.
  • We're also concluding Reading assessments in the next few days.
The end of the year sure is a hectic time! It's also a fun time as the year winds down.

Thanks, as always, for all that you do...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23 "He who is brave is free.” ~ Seneca

A brief overview of the Revolutionary War through its battles. Feel free to stop each frame so that you have time to read it.

Dear Families--

In the May 19th blog, I began posting an excellent series called Liberty's Kids. I will continue with them now, since I found very little that would recall the events of the Revolutionary War in a more organized, understandable, and "kid-friendly" way. (I'm posting even what we don't use so that it's available to those of you who may be interested.) After the conversations are over and we're completely comfortable with the people and places of the Revolution, we'll watch an excellent PBS Documentary that I purchased for the occasion. That will come later... For now, join us in learning about the Revolution through the eyes of Liberty's Kids:

Liberty's Kids #07: The Green Mountain Boys -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids #07: The Green Mountain Boys -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 08: The Second Continental Congress -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 08: The Second Continental Congress -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 09: Bunker Hill -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 09: Bunker Hill -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 10: Postmaster General Franklin -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 10: Postmaster General Franklin -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 11: Washington Takes Command -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 11: Washington Takes Command -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 12: Common Sense -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 12: Common Sense -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 13: The First Fourth of July -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 13: The First Fourth of July -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 14: New York, New York -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 14: New York, New York -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 15: The Turtle -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 15: The Turtle -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 16: One Life to Lose -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 16: One Life to Lose -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 17 -- Captain Molly -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 17 -- Captain Molly -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 18: American Crisis -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 18: American Crisis -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 19: Across the Delaware -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 19: Across the Delaware -- 2/2

Liberty's Kids 20: An American in Paris -- 1/2

Liberty's Kids 20: An American in Paris -- 2/2

I think we'll call this enough for today. I'll post the rest soon--you'll have to admit, it's pretty good!

Be looking for information about the class trip, and please return any necessary forms at your earliest convenience.

Before it becomes "good morning" I'd better say good night, everybody. I'll talk to you soon!


Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21 Addendum--Class Trip Forms

For Parents (Links to forms)

Parents’ Guide to Pok-O-MacCready

Packing List

Health Form

Dietary Needs


Sample Menu



Hello again, families--

The kids forgot these forms, so here they are for you to peruse. I'll be sure the hard copies get to you on Monday.

The information here should give you a pretty good idea about what to expect at Camp Pok-O-MacCready. It's a great place!! The boys will be staying in the Junior House and the girls will stay in the Farmhouse next door (see map). There are shower stalls for privacy, and each room has multiple bunks. I'm not sure how much of the packing list you need to worry about, but do read it. The kids will need a sleeping bag or bed roll and a pillow; enough clothes for the next day (underwear, extra shirt, sweatshirt, long pants/shorts); lounging/cooler weather wear; good shoes for walking/hiking (sneakers would be fine...) toiletries, bug spray, flashlight or headlamp (fresh batteries) for the night hike, etc. PLEASE read what NOT to bring. A few healthy snacks would be OK, but not a bunch of junk food, candy, etc. That kind of stuff will be confiscated.

If you have any questions, you can always call me.

Take care- Teri

P.S. In case it's not already below this, click on the archive to the left for today's regular post.

May 21 "I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering." ~ Robert Frost

Dear families-
Today we read/listened to "Out, Out--" by Robert Frost. It is a powerful [one-stanza narrative] poem that is based on a true event that occurred in late March, 1910. Raymond Fitzgerald, the twin son of Frost's friend and neighbor, lost his hand to a buzz saw. His hand bled so profusely that he went into shock and died of heart failure. Frost compares this story to a scene in Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. Upon learning of his wife's death, Macbeth cries: "Out, out, brief candle!/Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/and then is heard no more...." In these lines, Macbeth compares her life (and everyone else's) to that of a candle--brief and ultimately insignificant. Here is Frost's poem "Out, Out--" spoken in strong, convincing New England vernacular:
"Out, Out..." by Robert Frost

As far as our poetry unit is concerned, each class writes about four poems a week, with time in class to complete, edit, and type each one. I am available whenever a child needs a little extra help! Glossaries were a long-term assignment that was due last Friday (writing simple definitions and examples for 14 poetic terms), and a "Found Poem" was due today. This entailed finding a poem that they could relate to, typing it (in most cases, they cut and pasted it from the internet in about 30 seconds), illustrating it, writing a bibliographic entry at the bottom of the page (which I provided help with), and writing a brief paragraph about how they connected to/with the poem. LOTS of class time was given to this assignment with DAILY reminders. Though it was a relatively simple task, some did not do it. (With the level of support we're providing, I have to say you really have to work at not completing these assignments...)

I'm excited about the way in which we're approaching Social Studies as this year winds down. With the help of a few well placed short clips (which I provide on this blog...), we're discussing some pretty significant aspects of the Revolutionary War. Discussions become quite animated as we explorer "the stories behind the story"! It's a good way to review, and to make connections to everything we've talked about this year..I'll be adding more clips this weekend for future discussions, but please take the time to watch the Victory Kids episodes; they're entertaining AND informative!

happy friday


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19 "Writing a poem is discovering.” ~Robert Frost

"Nature's first green is gold" ......................Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Dear families-
I get so caught up in history (which I love; can you tell??) that I have been remiss in telling you about all the other really good things that are happening right now. For example, we're concluding our time together with a pretty impressive poetry project. It gives us the opportunity to play with language--and review some significant writing skills. We're discussing multi-sensory descriptive writing, figurative language, clear and concise word choice, presentation... utilizing a rich and varied array of literature. (It doesn't hurt that the assignments are short, and can be concluded in class!) From the profound to the ridiculous, our discussions focus on the power of the written word--using such notable writers as William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, e. e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Dr. Seuss... My, my, what a plethora of material to choose from! We read them, discuss them, analyze them, illustrate them, and create them. Every day a different student showcases a poem they particularly like by reading it and discussing what it means to them. We're each putting together an anthology of original poems -- get ready to be amazed!

Please help me help your children by continuing to expect (abbreviated) "homework" time each night. Ir might simply entail reading silently for 30 minutes, but the discipline that they develop from this structure will be of great benefit later on. If your child is struggling for any reason, please direct them to me so that I can help. (Your job is not to be the "homework police"...I know that that can get ugly; I'm a mom, too!) It's important to say here that there should BE no significant homework except in the instance of those who choose to bring something home to "tweak".

In other news:
  • Literacy groups ended on Thursday. This time will now include completing reading assessments, and providing time for additional content work.
  • We've got visitors (Addison seniors) for one more day--we're all helping prepare a community float for the Memorable Day parade. Hopefully, we'll be able to pull 'em all back [after 3 days of fun] so that we can finish up our work for the year....
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of those who generously offered to chaperone this year's trip to Pok-O-MacCready. Using call sticks, it was determined that Pam Stearns and Kyle Clark will come along. I hope you all offer them your support as they bravely embark on this great adventure...
I continue to be amazed by your children, and wish to thank you for all that you do every day to make them who they are.

Good night-

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 19 “All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws”

Dear families-
History can be fun to learn, and perhaps these video shorts are a good way to reinforce what we're learning in class... Anyway, they're sure to entertain the whole family, so enjoy! (Remember, you can make these videos "full screen" by clicking on the square [only partially showing] in the lower right hand corner of the video.)

Liberty Kids 01: The Boston Tea Party, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 01: The Boston Tea Party, Part 2/2

Liberty Kids 02: The Intolerable Acts, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 02: The Intolerable Acts, Part 2/2

Liberty Kids 03: United We Stand, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 03: United We Stand, Part 2/2

Liberty Kids 04: Liberty or Death, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 04: Liberty or Death, Part 2/2

Liberty Kids 05: Midnight Ride, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 05: Midnight Ride, Part 2/2

Liberty Kids 06: The Shot Heard Round the World, Part 1/2

Liberty Kids 06: The Shot Heard Round the World, Part 2/2

May 17 “The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” Thucydides

Dear Families--

The Revolution: Can you think of a more unlikely war? Whatever possessed the 13 colonies (with little organization, no trained army, and no navy to speak of) think they could defeat the most powerful nation in the known world?? (Were they not watching what happened to the French and their allies during the LAST war??) Was the war won as a result of determination, support, weather, terrain, timing, or sheer luck? (The answer here is probably "yes...") An entire year would not give us enough time to explore the stories behind the story. We'll continue the conversation as circumstances following the French and Indian War ignite unrest in a country already feeling it's connections dissolving...

The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites Part 1

The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites Part 2

The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites Part 3

The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites Part 4

The American Revolution: The Conflict Ignites Part 5

Lots of Ways to Approach Understanding -- or -- A Kid-Friendly Review of the Events Leading to the Revolution

Events Leading to the Revolutionary War -- Part 1

(Video from Discovery Education)

Events Leading to the Revolutionary War -- Part 2
(Video from Discovery Education)

Events Leading Up to the Revolutionary War -- Part 3
(Video from Discovery Education)

May 16 "Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom..." ~Patricia Sampson

Battle of Fort Carillon, also known as the Battle of Ticonderoga

On July 8, 1758, the Battle of Carillon, also known as the Battle of Ticonderoga was fought near Fort Carillon on the shore of Lake Champlain. In the battle, which took place primarily on a rise about three-quarters of a mile from the fort itself, a French army of about 4,000 men under General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and the Chevalier de Levis decisively defeated an overwhelmingly numerically superior force of British troops under General James Abercrombie, which frontally assaulted an entrenched French position without using field artillery. The battle was the bloodiest of the war, with over 2,500 casualties suffered, of which over 2,000 were British soldiers.

Battle of Louisbourg, July 26, 1758

The Siege of Louisbourg was a pivotal battle of the French and Indian War in 1758 and led directly to the loss of Quebec in 1759 and the remainder of French North America the following year. The British government realized that with the Fortress of Louisbourg under French control, there was no way that the Royal Navy could sail down the St. Lawrence River for an attack on Quebec. An Expedition against Louisbourg in 1757 led by Lord Loudon failed due to a strong French naval deployment

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, was another pivotal battle in the French and Indian War. The culmination of a three-month siege by the British, the battle lasted less than an hour. British troops commanded by General James Wolfe successfully resisted the column advance of French troops and Quebec military under Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, using new tactics that proved extremely effective against standard military formations used in most large European conflicts. Both generals were mortally wounded during the battle. Wolfe died on the field within minutes of engagement and Montcalm died the next morning.

The French forces continued to fight and prevailed in several battles after Quebec was captured, but the British did not relinquish their hold on the fortress. It was the beginning of 250 years of occupation.

British Invasion of Quebec—1759

The conquest of Quebec is more than just a single battle; it is the result of a long siege that lasts from June 26th to the 18th of September, 1759. During this interminable confrontation, Montcalm adopts a purely defensive strategy and chooses to take no initiative against the enemy. Wolfe attempts twice to take the city before September, but his troops are defeated and repelled on both occasions. Despite these failures, the English surround the city with their boats and bombard it day and night for weeks, reducing the once proud capital of New France to a desolate pile of smoking ruins. We estimate that about 15,000 bombs were thrown on Quebec that summer, and the fate of the surrounding villages is also far from lenient. Farms are pillaged and burnt, villages are ravaged and the inhabitants who did not join the militia (women, children, the elderly, and priests for the most part) are incarcerated in prisoner camps. The inhabitants are the ones who suffer the most from the British invasion.

This is amazing. So much to learn...
I hope you have a chance to watch and enjoy these videos... I tried to fix the problems on the last blog [that covered the French and Indian War] and simply couldn't. So...I wrote everything over and redid it here. It appears to be OK.
NOTE: Scripts are from YouTube also, so that the words and the videos matched.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8 “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” ~Ben Franklin

"Stand Your Ground" by Dan Troiani

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty not safety. ~Benjamin Franklin: Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Soon after the defeat at Fort Necessity, Britain learned that 78 French troops had been deployed to attack the British fort Oswego, in Canada. The British Parliament responded by providing more money to the colonies to fund an expanded militia. They also sent British regiments to the colonies. In February 1755, the first British general to ever set foot in the colonies, Edward Braddock, arrived in Virginia to take charge. Braddock had had 45 years of experience in European style warfare, but was completely ignorant of how to fight in the North American wilderness. Here, “Indian fighting” took the place of formal, face-to-face combat. Upon his arrival, Braddock developed a three-part strategy for defeating the French. The Massachusetts regiments were sent to reinforce the defenses at Oswego, and to capture Fort Niagara on the south shore of Lake Erie. Colonel William Johnson was assigned to capture Fort Frederick at Crown Point, on the banks of Lake Champlain. Braddock himself was to take Fort Duquesne in Pennsylvania.

The battle for Fort Duquesne was the first significant battle of 1755. Though the British outnumbered the French by more than two to one (2,200 men to 1,000 men), the French defeated them easily. As Braddock’s men marched toward the Monongahela River in formal columns, the French ambushed them using the surrounding trees as cover. Braddock refused to allow his men to break ranks and seek cover. Panic ensued as the soldiers were fired upon relentlessly by an invisible (hidden behind trees and rocks) enemy. In the end, 977 British soldiers were killed, while only 9 French soldiers lost their lives. Braddock was also killed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5 "There was never a good war, or a bad peace."

Rogers' Rangers

Not to be confused with the battle of Fort William Henry, the Battle of Lake George was fought on September 8, 1755. The first engagement, aptly known as "The Bloody Morning Scout," occurred when the British, in an attempt to cut off French supplies, headed south down the Lake George--Ft. Edward road toward the vicinity of Ft. Lyman. In the meantime, French scouts learned of the British advance and hurried north to ambush them. The French commander deployed his forces in a hook shape on both sides of the road, and almost immediately upon setting out, the British found themselves in a trap. Military leaders on both sides were killed. Read here for more information (including pictures) about the Battle of Lake George.

The remaining British panicked, wildly retreating north to a small pond where they barricaded themselves behind stumps and logs and made another brief stand before continuing their retreat. Other British forces were immediately sent to assist. Preparations were hastily made against the approaching French--several cannon and other field pieces were put in position. The French regulars arrived around noon and marched directly into the center of the British position, and were mowed down. Some British soldiers from the morning battle attempted once again to retreat, causing confusion in the ranks. William Johnson, in rallying them, took a musket ball in the leg. Later that day, with most of the fighting over, some 300 New Hampshire and New York Colonials who on their way to reinforce the British garrison ambushed a group of French and Natives encamped for the night near a pond. After a desperate struggle, the French force was almost wiped out. Over 200 bodies rolled into the pond, staining the water red. That's how it got its name, "Bloody Pond". In this conflict Rogers, the famous Ranger made his debut as a soldier.Information from the above article can be found here.

The life story of Major Robert Rogers, the New England frontiersman who recruited companies of colonial soldiers, known as Rogers' Rangers, to fight for the British in the French and Indian War, is a compelling mix of military intrigue and national identity. This feisty major codified colonial military strategies into a document, known as Standing Orders and put these principles to practice in many battles, campaigns, and scouting expeditions. Check it out:

What follows is a six-part episode By Ray Mears who allows you follow in the footsteps of Rogers' Rangers as they withdrew through New England, fighting off both the approaching enemy and starvation as fall turned into winter. This is part of BBC's third series of "Ray Mears Extreme Survival". It's a fascinating episode, and knowing how much we all love the outdoors, it provides great lessons for surviving in the woods! Enjoy!

Here's something else really worth watching if you're interested in Robert Rogers. This is called, "Rogers' Rangers, Ranging Way of War." (I find this stuff fascinating!)