Monday, April 23, 2018

A Cross-Curriculum Test

My seventh and eighth grade world history students took a four page test on World War II this week.  It had all the usual items: names of people, places, and battles.  It also had several fill-in-the-blank type of questions covering the major aspects of World War II.  Those alone would have made it a decent test.  But I like my tests to have a little more than that, because I like my students to think a little more than that.  

I also like to include maps.  Geography is important, especially with world events being what they are nowadays.  
And since Jackson Pollock and abstract impressionism were covered in this chapter of our history book, why not add a little bit of art history to the test?  Most of them loved doing it, and think it helped their attitudes and cleared their brains as they continued working on their tests :-).  
And grammar?  Absolutely!  I asked them to diagram a clause they included in one of their answers.  

And yes, spelling does matter.  Even on a world history test.  

Since my students have been struggling with following directions, 
I added some of that as well.
(And I threw in a little humor, too.)

And while the third draft of their research papers was due today, I didn't overload them with an essay, but I did ask them to write what impressed them most about our study of WWII.  

There was some logic involved in this.  

"What impressed me the most about WWII is how the big leaders used propaganda on the children, which then lured the children into helping with the war, which was not a good thing."

"What impressed me the most is how everybody was fighting, but Switzerland remained neutral; and I wish the U.S. could be more like them." 

"I think what impressed me the most about World War II is the amount of life given for peace.  Hitler thought one way, while Britain thought another, which made a fight, and many deaths happened because of this."

"From World War II I learned that people are very evil, and can do horrible things.  Because Satan is still alive, there is bad in the world; however, Jesus says He has overcome the world."  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Eighth Grade Class Trip to Colonial Williamsburg

My eighth grade homeroom class enjoyed a delightful day in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Their favorite parts were the carriages, the tavern meal, the tinsmith's shop, the houses and furnishings, the musicians, and playing a colonial game with our fabulous tour guide, Sierra McDonald.  We recommend her to any school group that is planning to go to Williamsburg.  We saw and did more in a few hours with her, than I have been able to see all day there on my own.  

One of all of our favorite parts was the music.   My fun-loving gentlemen students actually stopped running around, sat down, and calmly listened to the music.  Then, when the ladies were done playing, they went over and asked them questions about their instruments.  The harpsichordist took the lid off the harpsichord and showed them how it worked.  They were amazed.  I was amazed at their extraordinary behavior.  

We ended the day with a delectable fried chicken dinner at Christiana Campbell's Tavern.  The waitress told me twice how well behaved our group was.  She said that normally school groups are a "nightmare", but that our group was exactly the opposite.  Then she got a guitarist and a singer to come upstairs and perform for us.   
We headed to the bus for the drive home, and most of the students did indeed stay up the entire twenty-two hours as they had told me they would.  They played spoons and laughed the whole way home.  Good day!   

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Home Run! Oops . . .

I was sitting at my desk grading research papers and dropping bits of cheese and crackers on them when I heard a loud cracking sound.  Hmm, that sounded like breaking glass, I thought.  And it was.  I pulled myself away from my students' super interesting papers and ventured out of my classroom door.  I was one of the first to arrive at THE WINDOW.  One of my eighth grade sluggers had hit the ball from the softball field which can be seen in the far distance, and after bouncing just once, it smashed into the window.  It's just that time of year again.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

La Fiesta de Mexicana!

For the third achievement party of the year, we held a Mexican Fiesta for the students.  I found real Jarritos Mexican pop and authentic Mexican candies at a specialty store, and our amazing K-4 academic supervisor Hilary Martin and principal Dervin Martin did a fantastic job with the menu, including my favorite, authentic caramel flan.   

The rest of us were the waiters and waitresses who took the students' orders and then served them their meals.  
The pinata was too cute to break, and Jeff wanted it to stay in his classroom anyway, so I just threw the candy on the tables.  

Jeff wrote a funny song about the students and they all sang along once they had learned the chorus.  
Then we laughed hysterically while we all (students included) performed a few skits.  We had told each student to bring a random item, and then we, the teachers, used the items in a skit we threw together.  
As usual, the students did a fantastic job helping us clean up, and that topped off a quite enjoyable evening.  

And a special thank you to art teacher Susanna Nolt for taking most of these pictures.  Ole! 

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Big Long Viaduct Thingy (AKA What Is Left of the Big Long Viaduct Thingy)

On the way  home from our recent Eternal Praise Chorale tour, we stopped by Kinzua Bridge (or what is left of it), once the longest railroad bridge in the world.  It was built in 1882, and in 2003, a tornado whipped through the valley gully thing and destroyed a large part of the bridge.  They made an overlook out of what was left of it.  
So, the bus stopped and we got out at the visitor's center/museum part.  I love to take my time and go through these and learn all about the history before I actually see the thing.  Jeff doesn't.  He walked right through the visitor's center and out the back door declaring, "I'm going to see the thing."  I chased after him.  When I got to the end of the overlook, I was pleasantly surprised. 

After the tornado struck, they left all the twisted metal down there in the valley gully thing.  It was an amazing sight

And when we did finally get back inside the visitor's center thing, we did read all about the history of the bridge, including a Big Foot sighting there several years back.  Jeff liked that part.  

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Why I Choose to Check Out 50+ Books for My Students' Research Papers

I recently returned around fifty books to our local public library.  Here's why. 
1.  My students are currently working on their research papers.
2.  It is easier for me to make one trip to the library, gather up all the books and check them out than it is for all thirty-eight of my students and their parents to make thirty-eight separate trips to the library to get books.
3.  While my personal library and the school library have a pretty good selection, there were not near enough books for each of their topics.
4.  This way they all can begin working on their notecards the same day, which makes the entire project and my week more organized. 
5.  I wanted them to have good information, and lots of it.
6.  I still have nightmares about the student I taught years ago who never did make it to the library and ended up plagiarizing ninety percent of his paper from websites.  Just for fun, I printed out the websites and highlighted every sentence he copied.  Hee hee hee.
7.  My husband was editing this and told me to add it.  Library books smell WAY BETTER than computers.  

AND - my students' topics were amazing.  Here is a list of some of them, and I have a google docs slide presentation with over 100 interesting topics for students to choose from, broken into two separate parts:  American history and world history.  
Email me if you are interested and I'll be glad to share it with you!

Egyptian pyramids
Adolf Eichman's escape and hiding 
Kon-Tiki expedition
Easter Island statues
Viking longboats 
St. Basil's Cathedral
wooly  mammoths
the history of paper  making
Roman aqueducts 
the Roman Colloseum
Mayan pyramids
Great Wall of China
Halifax explosion 
and many more . . .