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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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Women to Make History at 2014 Winter Games!

Since 1924, ski jumping has been one of the exciting sports at the Winter Games.  However, until 2014, only men were able to compete in the sport. This year, history will be made when women will be allowed to participate in ski jumping for the very first time!  It took female athletes, including American Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome(and other women athletes from around the world), to sue the International Olympic Committee for gender discrimination to get the organization to change their ruling on the issue. Now, world female ski jumpers such as Sara Takanashi(Japan), Jessica Jerome(USA), Atsuko Tanaka(Canada),Carina Vogt(Germany), Irina Avvakumova(Russia), Sarah Hendrickson(USA and 2013 World Cup Champ) and Lindsey Van(USA), will be athletes to watch beginning on February 11th,when many of these women and more will be competing in ski jumping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia!

Extension Activities:
A. Think of three descriptive adverbs to describe your feelings as you ski down a 10 story ramp going about 60 mph just before taking flight into the air.

B. Write a paragraph describing your first ski jump at the winter games.

C. The sport of ski jumping began in the country of Norway. What do you know about Norway? Write a fact about the country(note:not that they started the sport of ski jumping).  Look up Norway at this link: Write a travel postcard pretending to visit Norway and write 3 specific things learned about Norway in your postcard.

D. Women athletes worked to get the IOC to change their ruling on the ban of women competing in ski jumping at the olympic games. Is there an issue that you feel strongly about? What is it? Why do you think this needs to be changed in some way?

Photograph of Atsuko Tanaka of Canada from:

If you are planning to discuss the historic games,which began in Greece,with your students, you may find my web quest of value to use in your classroom. The web quest uses informational text for each of the 10 web questions. Lots of fun facts are also included as well as extension activities. Click here to learn more:

Additionally, the 2014 Winter Games would be a great opportunity to introduce your students to the country of Russia. I have developed a resource which contains 11 web questions, fun facts, lots of extension activities and a map activity which you may find of value, too!  Click here to learn more:

Learn about the country of Greece, home to where the games originated:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Using the News in Your Classroom

In the News:At an auction in Texas, someone spent $350,000 to hunt and kill a black rhino in the African country of Namibia.Black rhino are very endangered. It is estimated that less than 5000 are left in the wild. The money raised at the auction will be used to help the endangered black rhino but some people think killing a rhino, an old male, is just not the way to go about trying to "save" the creatures. Those who approve of the idea say that the selected rhino for the hunt isn't breeding any longer and that elderly males can sometimes be a threat to younger male rhinos.   What do you think?  

Check out my web quest on the rhino:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How will the Common Core Impact the teaching of Social Studies...I am worried!

In New York State, 6th grade social studies is world cultures. Here are the subjects that I taught during the school year. Wondering what is covered in 6th grade in other states. What do you teach in social studies at other grade levels?

Map skills
Prehistoric Man
Customs/customs of the world
Mesopotamian-First Historic people(also covered other groups in the region including the Phoenicians)
Ancient Egypt
Middle Ages
Introduced civilization of China and Japan(around Chinese New Year time)
Rise of Europe
Introduced civilization of India
If, time, did a short unit on Economics at the end of the year.

With each culture, I also included the present day country, did current events and tried to make connections to the past and their lives today. With each unit, I tried to include an art project, listened to the culture's music(usually during map work),tried having the kids sample a food, wrote in their writing system,listened to a story from the culture, etc. 

I can see the point that with the common core, all states and students in the same grade will cover the same materials. This would be helpful, especially if you live in a district with lots of kids moving in during the school year from other states who may not have been covering the same curriculum. However, I really fear with the Common Core approach which seems to have everyone teaching the same on the same day and no time for variation from the lesson, that social studies class just won't have the time to do these activities ,many of which the kids really enjoyed and got some sparked to learn more about the topic. I am very worried about how the common core will impact negatively  the kids in a subject I so very much loved to teach!!!!!