Sunday, November 9, 2014

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example." ~Benjamin Disraeli

As we prepare to celebrate Veterans' Day, a day to honor the unparalleled bravery and heroic acts of our country's fighting men and women, I am reminded of the importance of having heroes in our lives. According to "Heroes:  What They Do and Why We Need Them," we seek inspiration from heroes, from the fictional heroes of our youth to the real-life heroes we celebrate every day. 

From the time we're young, heroes nurture us, they reassure us, they educate us about right and wrong, they "save" us when we're in trouble, they inspire us to overcome adversity, they give us hope, they solve problems with brains as well as brawn, they validate a preferred world view, and they deliver justice, satisfying our thirst for fairness and lawfulness.   

Heroism reminds us that, "in times of terror or quiet desperation, we are not alone.  It is the distilled essence of. . .humanity."

In Celebration of Our American Heroes
Veterans' Day, 2014

Dear Families--
We come to understand ourselves through our shared stories -- of fear and hope and love and inspiration and bravery and redemption. . .  In the case of the ancient tale about Gilgamesh this week, we are reminded that people have always hungered to share the human experience (often metaphorically) through time-honored narrative.  

NOVEMBER 10 -- 14


  • Tuesday: Sumerian Mythology and Human History
Let's watch the video (below) to learn about Sumerian writing and Mythology. We'll learn about the first great super-hero, GILGAMESH, and  LEARN TO WRITE IN CUNEIFORM!  (Try THIS INTERACTIVE to write your name!)

  • Thursday:  Hammurabi, king of Babylon, and his Code of Laws

Hammurabi (1810 BC - 1750 BC) was king of Babylon for 43 years.  He was a "warrior king" who conquered all of Mesopotamia, creating the first Babylonian Empire. Once his kingdom was established, he turned his attention toward improving the way of life for the people in his kingdom, embarking on many construction projects such as huge public buildings, tall temples, canals for irrigation, and aqueducts for carrying water.  

Hammurabi was the strong head of a strong government that ruled over its people with a tight grip.  He became most famous for enacting a new set of laws that he collected from all over Babylon and compiled into what became known as the Code of Hammurabi. These laws (There were 282 of them!) were famous not so much for what they said, but for what they did. They made clear for everyone what the laws were and how people who broke those laws would be punished.  No more could people claim that they didn't know what the laws were -- they were carved into stone columns called stelae that everyone could read and understand.

Some of his laws were extremely harsh! You can find all 282 of them HERE!

Now, there's no way we're going to have the time to go through them all, strange, gross, harsh, unbelievable that they may be, so. . . We'll spend class time analyzing some of these laws in cooperative groups and sharing what we learned with our classmates.
FOR FUN:  You think Hammurabi had some strange laws?  Our country has some pretty bizarre laws, too! Look HERE to read a few. . .  

HOMEWORK:  Now that you know a little more about Babylonian law, here's an assignment for you. Create a list of 5 laws and their punishments for the classroom. Hmm. . . 

Remember, the punishment is supposed to fit the crime (or will it be "an eye for an eye?).

How's your ZIGGURAT coming along?  Remember, it's due on the 19th!



Your email addresses are really going to come in handy for learning about Ancient Mesopotamia this week. This Language Arts task will require you to create a [free] account with so that you can make your own permanent website.  You'll be able to work on it anywhere that has internet access. 

Your project will highlight some of the key points we've learned about Ancient Mesopotamia and allow you to present it in a thoughtful, creative way.  I will provide you with a paper that includes a Tackk Checklist and Content Options for the project.  Use it to guide your work.  You will be required to follow the guidelines and include at least 5 items.  

Are you ready? Click HERE to create you own very cool, totally awesome TACKK website. (Don't worry; you don't have to be a techie for this project. It's easy and fun to do!) Got questions? You can click on THIS video and  THIS link for more information. 

By the project deadline, Friday, you will email me.  Included in your email will be your name, a brief description of your project, and the url address of your project.  If for some reason I am unable to access your work, I'll let you know so that you can resubmit.


Monday:   "Air, Wind, and the Atmosphere" packet (Due Wednesday)
Wednesday:  Test prep on information from both packets.


Monday:  Page 9
Tuesday:  Page 10
Wednesday:  Page 11
Thursday:  Page 12
Friday:  BHT

  • Monday: GILGAMESH story and comprehension questions--a copy is located HERE in case you lose your story/questions.
  • Tuesday:  Complete comprehension questions (Remember QuEEC!) and submit.
  • Wednesday:
  • Thursday:
  • Friday:

Hammurabi intro taken in part from
cuneiform interactive:
How writing came to be video @

Bizarre laws @
Picture of Mesopotamian life @ reading and comprehension @