Through my work as a Common Sense teacher for 2014-2015, students are learning about digital citizenship. Connected with 2nd grade lessons on community, we are learning how to be positive community members even when the community is virtual or online. A great way to demonstrate kid friendly sites, is to allow students to visit the San Diego Zoo kids site at http://kids.sandiegozoo.org/.
Why do I love this site so much? There are great kid friendly videos, lessons, activities and live cams of animals. What is not to love? Here is the video that students watch before our virtual trip.
Want to learn more about an animal, but can’t get to the zoo? The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has many animal cams set up so that you can peek in and learn about animals. Just today I watched a panda take resting on Panda Cam 1. Perhaps it wasn’t the most exciting video, but it is summer and even pandas deserve a nap!
Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, www.historyofphilly.com, offers great insight into the importance of Philadelphia in the late 1700’s. Not only was Philadelphia a modern city, but it was a diverse city with white and black, free and enslaved persons living together. The following webisode nicely lays out the key locations during a tumultuous time in 1793 when yellow fever came to Philadephia.
Aerial America: Pennsylvania
The Smithsonian Channel has brought us this aerial view and historical tour of Pennsylvania. The first 15 minutes offer a nice overview of the planning of Philadephia as well as some fun stories. This provides students a physical overview not often seen if visiting the city on foot.
If you like a good adventure and aren’t afraid of learning some history, check out this virtual tour of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Author David Baldacci, as part of the 39 Clues Reading Club, teamed up with historians to bring history to life. One of the video segments discusses the pottery of David Drake sometimes known as Dave the Potter. I have featured the award winning book Dave the Potter in school and previously shown students clips of PBS’s series History Detectives. Happy learning!
Curious about the 57th Inauguration? Ever wonder what happens when it falls on a Sunday? Get answers to your Inauguration questions on the senate website http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/. There is also video footage of the actual events.
To support our virtual travels, Kindergarten and 1st grade students will listen to the New Years message from the International Space Station members. These short video clips allow students to get a better understanding of what life is like in space with zero gravity (note the somersaults!)
Starting in December, 4th grade students were asked to engage with Colonial NJ living. They will ultimately create a project to represent their learning. While the following video from Mount Vernon is not a NJ colonial experience, it does represent what early living was like.
This month my classes will again be traveling to Paris to compare our neighborhoods with those in other cities. We have been inspired to visit the Eiffel Tower after reading Madlenka’s Dog by Peter Sis. Madlenka lives in New York City where she dreams of having a dog of her own. With her imaginary dog she walks around her block meeting neighbors. Each neighbor imagines what her dog looks like and fondly remembers their own childhood dog.
Teaching Thanksgiving lessons can be so predictable… the Pilgrims and the Native Americans ate a feast together and that is why we have turkey, cranberries etc. This year I shared 2 stories with students and teachers. The first is the virtual tour of the Mayflower. Scholastic and the Plimoth Plantation do a nice job bringing history to life.
Another great story is the one of Sarah Hale. I shared Thank you Sarah by Laurie Halsie Anderson with 2nd graders and all of them had never heard of the school teacher who requested that Thanksgiving be made a national holiday. She also was a writer and penned Mary Had a Little Lamb. To see her national holiday request letter to President Lincoln, visit the following link to the Library of Congress.