Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Outstanding Geography Lesson! Ship Travels 3000 miles!

What a wonderful geography project that really engaged students!

Sixth grade students at the Morristown-Beard School,Morristown, in New Jersey, launched a  5 ft. long model boat into the Atlantic Ocean.  On board the craft was a GPS tracking device.The students also placed their names on the bottom of the boat and a photograph as well as a message in several languages.  Part of a geography project, the students watched the location of their boat,called the Crimson Tide, as it made its way into the Gulf Stream. Fourteen months later, the ship has gone nearly 3000 miles and arrived at the English Channel island of Guernsey! It was here that it was found by a fisherman. Covered in barnacles, the boat had lost its mast and a waterproof capsule. The container with items including a school tee-shirt, thumb drive with messages and more photographs, and even some money, were lost during the Crimson Tide's voyage. It is hoped that with a new sail and battery for the GPS, the ship can be relaunched with it maybe, returning back to this side of the Atlantic!
 Photograph from

Extension Activities:
* After reading this news short, pretend you are the Crimson Tide. Tell about a day during your travels. What did you see? Hear? Feel? as you bobbed in the Atlantic Ocean?

*Read about the island of Guernsey.  Draw a travel poster for the island including 5 facts learned about Guernsey.

* Learn about the English Channel: Use the map and do some measurements learning about distances between  several cities.

* Draw a picture of a boat. What would be 7 items you'd place in a boat that might go across the ocean to a distance shore? What would you want the person who found the boat to learn about you and your culture?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents' Day

Check out this free web quest on Presidential trivia-lots of interesting facts!

*Illustration from

There have been many polls taken on the topic of our greatest presidents. The results of a poll taken in 2000 by ABC News asking people who they felt was the greatest American president: 
  1. Abraham Lincoln 
  2. John F. Kennedy 
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt 
Another poll taken in 2007,listed the following presidents as our top three:
      1. George Washington
      2. Abraham Lincoln
      3. Thomas Jefferson

Still another poll taken in 2011, listed the following as our greatest presidents:
      1. Ronald Reagan
      2. Abraham Lincoln
      3. Bill Clinton
Who would be your top three greatest Presidents? For what reason would you rank your top three?

Which president in history, do you think is mentioned the most?

What would be 3 issues that would be important to you if you were president of the United States?

What are three character traits you think a president should have and why?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Show Kids That Even Candy has a History!

I love history....always have, especially world history. Unfortunately, kids don't always see the excitement in history.  Maybe, showing that history is all around them, even in CANDY, might be a way to spark an interest in the subject.

Marshmallows date back to 2000 BC in ancient Egypt and King Tut's Tomb contained licorice! Did you know that the earliest "lollypop" was probably eaten by prehistoric people that placed honey from a bee hive onto a stick?  Did you know that candy canes were originally just WHITE in color and originated in the country of Germany?

Try this fun/informative webquest on the history of Candy:


Friday, February 7, 2014

Sensory Fiction Books....Would this be a good thing?

Engineers at MIT are developing new technology that will enable readers to actually feel what is happening in the story,and not just through your imagination. The books come with wearable gear for what is being called "sensory Fiction". Specially adapted books come with special sensors that will signal to the device when you reach a scary part. The result might be a vibration or a tightening of your chest. Other sensory responses might be to give you a chill down your spine or increase skin temps to make you turn red for an embarrassing moment in the book. Other sensors in the book will cause the words to brighten or dim depending on the mood or setting. The book used for the experimental technology of sensory fiction was The Girl who was Plugged In by James Tiptree. The technology for sensory fiction books for consumers are still a few years away. 

What do you think? Would you wish to read such a book or would you prefer using your own imagination as you read?

Photograph from

Sunday, February 2, 2014

MEGAFACE...Would You Want Your Face on the Side of a Building?

In the News: 
Bell Ringer Activity:

The Winter Games are about to begin. There is a building,called the MegaFace, at the Olympic Village where people will get to see their faces(giant versions) on the side of the MegaFon Pavilion. It's kind of like a huge Mt. Rushmore for "regular" people.  The side of the building has a screen with 10,000 pins that can extend to the shape of a person's face.Those who wish to see their face on the side of the Pavilion first need to go to a 3D booth to get photographs scanned. It is estimated that about 170,000 people will participate in the Megaface project. The face photographs will be sent to a computer program where the face will get a few seconds of fame, in color, thanks to lights on the end of each 6 ft. long pin on the side of the pavilion.

Extension Activities:
1. Write a paragraph pretending to be your face on the MegaFon Pavilion. What do you see, hear,smell as you look out on the crowds walking around the village during the Winter Games?
2. Draw a picture of your face on the side of the MegaFon Pavilion. Write 3 things you'd like people to know about you.

Photograph from:

Gail Hennessey