Focusing on the Famous, Fabulous 40s!!!

Have you ever wanted to eat PB&Js in the 20s, dig a victory garden in the 40s, and do the Twist in the 80s all at the same time? 
Well, this past semester, I got to do all of that right in Greenlawn. 

With the significance of past events framing our design for Social Studies lessons, it has become all too apparent that students are struggling to find an interest in the subject. It's a sad fact indeed. However, a simple  activity in which the students get to choose a time period, research what they find interesting about that time, and then get to create a board and activities is an exciting way of making history fun. When we got to present our work to our fellow classmates, my group decided that no matter what, we were going to do our best and have a good time. Instilling in our students this same reasoning, I look forward to the day I get to share this activity with them :)

<-The 70s

The 80s->

<-The 20s

The 50s->

A great blog for teachers to use when discussing History:
"Molding" a Great Lesson...

What does this give you? 
An activity that'll get your hands messy and your brains working.

In class, I found out that probably one of the easiest methods to teach students about geography is to get their hands in the process with building land masses. They get to explore and research a selected area and be creative with their findings. However, looking into this project like we did, we, as teachers, have to be careful about not making this this some simple arts and crafts activity. Rather, we teach our students that geography is a key element to understanding our weather, our country, and our world. Salt dough maps help us to visualize what our world looks like in a 3 Dimensional understanding. This activity was a great and MESSY experience!!

Here are some links to some great Salt Dough Activity Blogs:
MAPS OF EUROPE          
Trade Fair or Fair Trade??
Excitedly waiting for the results, we sat, watching as Mrs. Lucchese rolled the giant bulletin board into the room. We caught our breath, saw what was written, and cheered: "TRADE FAIR!!!
At Eastwood Elementary, the 6th grade trade fair was a right of passage. All year long, the students wait until the infamous giant green bulletin board is rolled into the classroom and Mrs. Lucchese, one of the Social Studies teachers, announces that they will be putting on a trade fair for the school. When I was at Eastwood, my group spent three weeks creating a booth, making various arts and crafts, and anticipating the day we could bust out our newly learned bartering skills. 
The whole point of this activity was to make us students aware of the concepts of fair trade. Fair trade is  an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards. Mrs. Lucchese decided that the students should know the importance of trade, not just in a traditional sense like we practiced earlier this year in E325, but that we knew the significance trade has in modern society.
However, thinking back on E325 this semester and my 6th grade experience, I now know how to involve my students in an activity that is both fun and educational.

Here are some links to great fair trade organizations:

Paper Clips: Such a Simple Object Turned into a Powerful Lesson
In 1998 Whitwell Middle School principal Linda M. Hooper asked Sandra Roberts to begin a Holocaust Education class that would be the basis for teaching tolerance in a voluntary after-school program. Sandra Roberts held the first class in the fall of 1998. Soon the students were overwhelmed with the massive scale of the Holocaust and asked Mrs. Hooper if they could collect something to represent the lives that were exterminated during the Holocaust. Mrs. Hooper responded that they could if they could find something that related to the Holocaust or to World War II. Through Internet studies, the students discovered that people used to wear paperclips on their lapels during World War II as a silent protest against Nazi occupation. The students decided to collect 6,000,000 paper clips to represent the estimated 6,000,000 Jews killed between 1939 and 1945 under the authority of the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler. After hard work and a lot of help, the students were soon able to fill an entire train car (that had been used during the holocaust to transport Jews to the concentration camps) with over 11 million paperclips. 6 million to represent the Jewish men and women who died, and 5 million to represent homosexuals, gypsies, Christians, and the many others who lost their lives..
On January 19, 2012, Block II sat together in a crowded room, watching this documentary. I looked around, and what did I see? I saw my friends, my colleagues, completely still (which happens to be quite a challenge for some) silently watching the story unfold. I saw tears, I heard laughter, I felt. This one film brought together 40 college students in a tiny room full of tables, smells, and uncomfortable chairs; and it made me think of how I might be able to bring together a class of 20 some students from diverse backgrounds - how I might be able to make a difference in their lives. And I thought... maybe I could introduce them to the paperclip.

A Blog Everyone Should Check Out:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I AM EQUAL  

    Block One Memories

 Last semester was a whirlwind of lesson plans and ERC hours. Though this semester is looking like it's not going to fall far from the tree dubbed, "Barb's Block," I cannot help but look back on the wonderful events of 2011.

     Group activities abounding, I got to know some the best people and experienced some great activities. At one point in the semester, a wonderful professor of ours decided that we would be making self-portraits and spend a day building a community through art, games, and even voting on PB&Js. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I can get into a little trouble with trying to make the drawing done in class a little too "clean." However, that does not stop me from trying. :) All of the class put their skills to work in creating their best rendition of a self-portrait. The hardest part being the figuring out which colors best suited our own skin color. From there, most of the class started the slow approach of sketching and outlining faces, trying to incorporate all the different elements of a self-portrait.

The Finished Project:

     During our Civics Day, the hit of the event seemed to be the game Apples to Apples. An ingenious game that pins people against each other in the hope of winning the spectacular green apple card. Silly? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. However, what caught my interest was the giant poster the class created together to symbolize who we were as a community: