Transcontinental Railroad-Choo Choo

Transcontinental Railroad. Late 1800s. 6th grade curriculum. 12 year olds who would rather be talking with their friends, facebooking, going to the movies. Do you see where I’m headed with this? I had to do SOMETHING that would keep them engaged. I wanted them to know:

1. How hard it was to build

2. How it felt to be mistreated 

3. How important it was to our country

Definitely got the 1st 2 across and hope they understood the 3rd one as well. 🙂

Each student had to wear a name card identifying who they were while building their part of the railroad. An apology to the Chinese immigrants who were treated unfairly.

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The bottom railroad was made by one class who had more time to work while the top one was made by the class who didn’t have as much time.

It was ORGANIZED CHAOS in our room. 🙂

They had rulers to measure the paper, and I wrote the measurements on the board of what they needed to do.

However, here is a bit of wisdom.

DO NOT ASSUME that they all know how to measure with rulers. 

DO NOT ASSUME that they can do this by reading measurements on the board.

I think I will make a section of the track in front of them next year before I let them go at it. 🙂

It’s amazing the things I learn each day from my students!!

It ended up being an engaging activity that I will have them do every year that I teach history!

 

Rachel’s Tears Book Review

Rachel's Tears: The Spiritual Journey of Columbine Martyr Rachel ScottRachel’ s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott

Goodreads Summary:

The Columbine tragedy in April 1999 pierced the heart of our country. In December 1999, we learned that the teenage killers specifically targeted Rachel Scott and mocked her Christian faith on their chilling, homemade videotapes. Rachel Scott died for her faith. Now her parents talk about Rachel’s life and how they have found meaning in their daughter’s martyrdom in the aftermath of the school shooting. “Rachel’s Tears” comes from a heartfelt need to celebrate this young girl’s life, to work through the grief and the questions of a nation, and to comfort those who have been touched by violence in our schools today. Using excerpts and drawings from Rachel’s own journals, her parents offer a spiritual perspective on the Columbine tragedy and provide a vision of hope for preventing youth violence across the nation.

My Thoughts:

A very moving and spiritual book about the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Of course I remember this horrific event, but I never followed too much of it afterwards concerning the victims or the shooters.

This book revealed the spiritual walk and life of Rachel Scott, one of the 13 victims in the form of narration from her parents and others who knew her as well as her journals. The journals were amazing as they shed light on her personal walk with God.

I’m a better person because of reading this book.

If you want to read about Rachel’s Challenge which was started because of her kind nature and spirit you can visit the website below:

Rachel’s Challenge

Night by Elie Wiesel Book Review

Night  Night by Elie Wiesel

Goodreads Summary:

Night A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family…the death of his innocence…and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

My Thoughts:

Author wasn’t afraid of revealing his thoughts and feelings even when it made him seem harsh. An honestly written book about what he went through and how it changed him during those times! Very thought provoking. Makes the reader wonder how he/she would have reacted to those terrible atrocities.

Some powerful quotes from the book-

” ….I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both.”

“To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive;to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

” He does not want his past to become their future.”

5 of 5 stars

Trapped Book Review by Chris Jordan

Trapped  (Randall Shane #2)Trapped by Chris Jordan

Goodreads Summary:

“Mom, I need your help. Please call—” That’s it. The call cuts off in midsentence. No static. Nothing.Just an overwhelming silence.

Long Island single mom Jane Hartley is frantic when her sixteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, a survivor of childhood leukemia, disappears from her bedroom one night. To Jane’s frustration, the police believe that Kelly ran off willingly with her boyfriend, Seth. Unaware that her daughter even had a boyfriend, Jane soon discovers that Seth is no boy. He is an adult—a man who, after meeting Kelly on the Internet, took the teenager on one thrill-seeking ride after another. From motorcycles to skydiving, Jane’s little girl has been hiding some dangerous secrets.

Like mother, like daughter.

Adamant that Kelly is not a runaway but, rather, is being held against her will, Jane hires ex-FBI agent Randall Shane to follow the trail of her missing child. But every step brings them closer to a cold-blooded predator lurking in the shadows… coiled around Jane’s shameful secret…waiting to strike.

My Thoughts:

This one hit close to home with the kidnapping of Jane’s teenage daughter who has kept secrets from her mom. 2nd book of Chris Jordan’s Randall Shane mysteries. Great way to pass a Sunday afternoon.

This is the 2nd one I’ve read by Chris Jordan. They aren’t excellent in keeping me grasping at the pages to find out what’s going to happen next, but I do like them and like them enough to read more of his. 🙂

3 of 5 stars

Sitting Bull Book Review

Sitting Bull: Dakota Boy (Childhood of Famous Americans)Sitting Bull by Augusta Stevenson

Did you ever read these little biographies when you were in elementary school? I remember I couldn’t get enough of them! I don’t remember how many I read back then, but they were so easy to read, and I remember feeling like I was back in that time.

I picked this one up last week from our school library because I knew we had a 6th grade history lesson coming up on a couple of battles between the settlers and the Indians where Sitting Bull was involved. It didn’t disappoint! Loved it! 🙂

Goodreads Summary:

Sitting Bull was admired by friends and enemies alike for his courage, strength, intelligence, and humanity. A great Sioux chief, he fought to preserve his people’s homeland and way of life from the encroachment of the white man. Illustrations.

Sitting Bull didn’t always have that name. He earned it in his youth.

I’m hoping that some of my students will pick this one up so they can get a clearer picture of what life was like for the Indians during that time. 🙂

5 of 5 stars

French and Indian War Comic Strips

 

 

 

 

Now this was FUN! I’m hoping it made a lasting impression and led to a greater understanding of the French and Indian war. Which by the way-in my opinion wasn’t named correctly since it was a war between the French and British with the Indians being allies of the French. How confusing is that???? They should have kept 5th graders in mind when naming this one. 🙂

We had already read and discussed the French and Indian War and taken notes on it before we did this activity. And STILL-I think I might should have required the same information for everyone in the 4 frames. If you could see each one you would notice that a couple of kids got a little confused about the Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Paris. I mean who wouldn’t? So note to self for next year-TEACH FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, MAKE COMIC STRIPS, THEN LEARN ABOUT PONTIAC’S REBELLION. 🙂 PROBLEM SOLVED!

I originally put this in my lesson plans for 2 days-2 class periods that is. Next year it will be going down in the books for 3 days. Unless I have them finish it for homework, and I’m not too keen on homework. 🙂

All in all, this was FUN, engaging, and student centered. I have detected another problem though. When the kids are actively working on something where they don’t need too much of my help I GET BORED! I’m thinking of buying a pedometer to see how many miles I walk each day at school in my classroom. 🙂 Maybe I should start making what they make when it’s a project like this!!!!

This is definitely a lesson/activity that I will repeat in the years to come!

 

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Since I don’t really have an original bone in my body here are a couple of links where I got this idea. 🙂

Mr. Husted’s Class

John Jones’ Elementary School

Do you have a lesson/activity that is so good that you will do forever????