Monday, May 26, 2014

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

Read more about the Boston Massacre – including fascinating primary documents –  1.) here and 2.) here  

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...

Watch these videos to recap what we've learned and what is 

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


A quick list! Check it out. 


We will embark on a "Made in America" WEBQUEST about the Revolutionary War that explores the causes and events of the American Revolution from both a Loyalist and Patriot point of view. It'll be a fun and interesting way to "show what we know" about the development of our country. Check it out.

TUESDAY SOCIAL STUDIES:  Watch videos above for a recap of earlier events and a greater understanding the growing tension between the 13 colonies of North America and Great Britain.  


Monday, May 12, 2014

"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. 

Answer these questions about the Battle of Ticonderoga  and write a summary of the article. (Remember who, what, when, where, how, and why) NEAT AND COMPLETE!

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...
NOTE: Scripts are from YouTube also, so that the words and the videos matched.


Monday:  Pages 143-144
Tuesday:  Pages 145-146
Wednesday:  Guidance
Thursday:  Pages 147-148
Friday:  Pages 149-150

Monday:  Write Source Tests
Tuesday:  Finish Write Source Tests.  Then:  Grade 6 writes letter of introduction to Middle School. Grade 5 continues work (from yesterday) on Poetry Analysis/Poems for book.
Wednesday: Status update -- what is left to do on Poetry books? Hand out work for final drafts.  NOTE:  Last in-class day to work on poetry.
Thursday: Begin Documenting Democracy mini-unit  Watch video: Shh! We're Writing the Constitution! by Jean Fritz.   Answer these questions. (Also on handout.)
Friday:  Continue work on questions.
Essay Questions:
  • If we did not have a set of rules or guidelines for the people of our country to follow, what would  people do to maintain order?
  • What problems do you think would arise if our country had no rules?

Monday:  No class
Tuesday:  Watch the short video about the battle of Ticonderoga on my blog.  Then silently read the first short article and follow directions for answering questions.  Read the second (short) article and write a summary of the battle.
Wednesday: Same as above for grade 5.
Thursday: Finish watching movies on this week's blog and complete activity.
Friday:  Same as above for grade 5.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

"There was never a good war or a bad peace."


Dear Families,
Before I begin this blog, I do want to remind everyone that our district is piloting the new SBAC tests and grades 5 & 6 will be taking them this week beginning on Tuesday.  Although data will not be generated on each individual child, it is an opportunity for our students to be exposed to the format and complexity of the test before they officially take it next year.  Data from their results will be vital to the ongoing development of the SBAC. As with any tests, please be sure your student is rested and has had a good breakfast. No sugary snacks, please.  Sugarless gum will be allowed during testing.

  • Tuesday, May 6: 10:15 Non-PT Math; 12:45 PT Math 
  • Wednesday, May 7: 10:15 Non PT ELA; 12:30 PT ELA
  • Thursday, May 8:  Gates, Part 1
  • Friday, May 9:  Gates, Part 2;  Spelling; Begin Reading Assessment
We'll be sure to take plenty of "oxygen breaks" throughout testing!  FYI:  As regular classes will be suspended for most of this week due to SBACs, students will have an opportunity to work on some independent assignments in any free time between/after tests. For me, that includes work on:
  • Independent Poetry Unit activities.
  • Two cloze activities pertaining to the French and Indian War.


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!)


Thursday, May 1, 2014

"It is a united will, not mere walls, which makes a fort," ~Author Unknown

Dear families-
I will be posting a series of videos that support our learning about the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. By doing so, students can readily access key information for review or just a second look -- and all of you can continue to check out the kinds of things we're talking about. I'll post assignments at the bottom of each blog.


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.

 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.

Battle of the Monongahela AKA Battle of the Wilderness– July 9, 1755
On July 9, 1755, Braddock's men crossed the Monongahela without opposition, about ten miles south of Fort Duquesne. The advance guard of 300 Grenadiers and colonials with two cannon under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gage began to move ahead, and unexpectedly came upon the French and Indians, who were hurrying to the river. The Battle of the Monongahela, or the Battle of the Wilderness, was officially begun.

Another Tragedy: The Acadians Deportation--1754

The Acadians are the descendants of the French who settled in Acadia located in the Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and in the state of Maine. Acadia was founded in a region geographically separate from Quebec. Québecers and Acadians have different cultures, but during the deportation, many refugees move in Québec. Today almost all Québecers can say they have an Acadian ancestor. In the Great Expulsion of 1755-1763, mostly during the Seven Years' War, British colonial officers, New England legislators and militia deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region.

Many later settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns. University of Maine at Fort Kent history professor Roger Paradis said that this was a clear case of ethnic cleansing and genocide because an attempt was made to make French Acadians disappear by scattering them throughout the 13 colonies. It was unnecessarily cruel in the sense that ships were overloaded, which resulted in disease, death, and the sinking of vessels. Families were broken up and the Acadians were sent to an alien and unfriendly land of exile.


Monday: Copier down.  Worktime.
Tuesday: Copier down. Work on Reading project due tomorrow.
Wednesday:  Time to finish up book projects
Thursday:  Pages 137-138
Friday:  Pages 139F & 139G

Book projects (Acrostic summaries) due on Wednesday, April 30th.  

Monday: Share "Telephone" poems. Write a sensory paragraph titled, "Entering the Classroom."
Tuesday: Type sensory paragraph and turn into a poem. ("Prose to Poetry" activity) Begin work on 14 vocabulary words--due Monday, May 5th.
Wednesday: Fort Necessity Activity. (Gr 6) "Then & Now" Map activity due Thursday, May 8.
Thursday: Introduce Poetry Unit (which we've already started) with handout listing due dates
Friday: Work on Poetry Unit -- look online and in books and choose a poem to analyze. FYI: Poems must be OKed by me.

Monday: Willow came.  No class. 
Tuesday:  Videos and information from this blog.
Wednesday: Fort Necessity activity. (Gr 5) "Then & Now" Map activity due Thursday, May 8.
Thursday & Friday: The Acadians Deportation--1754 & Battle of the Monongahela AKA Battle of the Wilderness– July 9, 1755

Go to  this site for maps to answer the following questions:

  • Why was the Ohio Valley of particular importance to the French?
  • Why would they fear British control of this region?
  • Why did the British colonies covet this land?
  • How would French ships have brought supplies to Fort Duquesne?
  • Why was Fort Duquesne strategically important?