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My daughter and I both read this book during our vacation week, and we both had the same response to it. World War II Japanese internment is a favorite subject for my daughter, so she has read a few books about the subject. We waited for something riveting to happen during the course of this story, but nothing ever really did. The resolution also seemed to just happen, and was way too easy to me; it should have been a more difficult process to resolve the issues involved.
At the same time, I could tell that author Sandra Dallas worked hard to craft the story in simple language that younger students could read and understand. One line, mistakenly written in first person tells me the original draft was probably completely written from the main character's point of view. I wish she had stuck with that model, as the reader would have felt more a part of the story. As it is, the story doesn't take long to read, so I'd encourage you to read it, especially if you are not familiar with WWII internment camps. I did learn some information I previously did not know.
Here's something for you to try.
You can do this, whether you travel abroad or stay home.
All you have to do is make a list of the things you have done.
Below, I have listed the elements of our successful vacation:
What does your list look like?
What have you achieved in the first weeks of your summer break?
We were proud of our singer and her ability to stand before the world and sing without fear, and we are more than happy to allow her to have these experiences.
While we always have a general itinerary for our vacations, it's also nice to leave something to chance. When we traveled to Springfield, Illinois, at the end of May, we knew there would be some things to discover along the way, as well. Driving by two state capitols (Missouri and Illinois) along the trip allowed us to compare and contrast the structures. Both command attention and awe, though they are very different from one another.
After visiting Abraham Lincoln's house, we walked across the street to a quaint, privately owned gift shop, where the proprietor recommended that we see the Springfield Military Museum. He also told us it has free admission. Thinking our six-year-old son might like to see the tanks and helicopters up close. Unfortunately, many of the places in Springfield are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we could not see the museum at the time, but it looked interesting enough that when had the chance on Wednesday, we returned.
We saved the outdoor exhibits for last, as we entered the castle-like building. Once inside, the museum exceeded our expectations. The exhibits were well-produced, with uniforms and weaponry respectfully displayed. Among the most interesting to me were the following:
One tug boat can push as many as 15 barges into the lock at a time, where water is then either allowed in to float the barges higher if going north, or water is released from the lock if going south. Since one barge can hold as much grain (for example) as 1,050 semi-trucks, this saves a lot of money for the wear and tear of our roads, reduces traffic on our highways, and saves much in transportation costs. At the same time, even a kayaker must go through the process unless s/he wants to portage around.
A very nice interpretive center also teaches about the locks and dam, as well as the nature in the area.
Did I mention that we did not come straight home? In fact, our route wasn't straight at all. After crossing the Mississippi, skirting St. Louis, we also crossed to the north side of the Missouri River, we stopped for a brief time in St. Charles, Missouri. Walking on the sidewalks of the beautiful historic section, I found myself touching the buildings that have been there since the 1830s. We've been to St. Charles a couple of times before, but we are still intrigued by how remarkably preserves things appear.
St. Charles is an important part of Missouri and United States history:
Our plans were to find a campsite near the Johnson Shut-Ins, which is an amazing state park. While there we wanted to explore the highest point in Missouri - Taum Sauk Mountain - and we wanted to touch the Elephant Rocks nearby. However, with questionable weather, we opted to make a reservation in Branson.
Still, we were able to spend some time at the Johnson Shut-Ins before the long drive to Branson. Almost immediately, we took the wrong hiking trail, wet and muddy, along steep grades with difficult walking surfaces. Finally realizing we had misunderstood the signs, we hiked back down the mountain and found the paved trail that took us quickly to our desired location.
Here, water flows rapidly through the mountain, constantly carving its way to a larger river. Wading in the cold water and allowing it to rush past you can be refreshing and relaxing. The sounds is that of a waterfall. In the short moments of our visit we decided to return some time. I just didn't get enough rock-climbing time, and the beauty of the location is awesome.
It was a long, long, very long day by the time we arrived in Branson and an actual bed. After four nights in a tent, a bed would be a welcome sight - not to mention a television, and a shower without spiders.
Along to winding road, we were not able to acquire a cellular signal, so for a while we just headed in the direction we thought was correct (especially since we had no map). At one point I had to slow down to allow a bobcat to cross in front of us - another first for me. After seeing the signs that bears could also be in the area, we weren't too surprised.
Branson and Home Again (Jiggity Jig)
Finally finding familiar ground, we skirted Springfield before hitting the last jaunt south. Branson, Missouri, is a common day trip for us, so we felt like we were at home. We would stay there for three nights before coming the rest of the way home, visiting Silver Dollar City during the Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival on one day, shopping at the outlet mall the next.
We felt mixed feelings as we unloaded the car in our own driveway. We were happy to be home and tired from being on our feet for many of our adventures, but we also wondered where our next vacation may take us. Back to the Johnson Shut-Ins to experience it more fully, perhaps even with a side trip to the Bonne Terre mines? To Colorado to explore Mesa Verde with its prehistoric cliff dwellings? Or to something more distant? Should we go somewhere to learn history? Should we aspire to learn something scientific? Or should we just seek out something mindlessly entertaining? I'd like to say yes to all of the above (if only the money existed to make it all come true).
Don't overplan your family vacations. Leave some time in there for some wiggling. You might even discover there are some hidden treasures right here in our own back yard. Explore the little things. Chase the signs that point to places you have never been. Even a drive with no planned destination can be a pleasure if you're with the right people!
Mathstakes - or Math Mistakes - are an attempt to encourage students to find and correct mistakes. Most are introduced with a visual prompt, but there is no other word prompt outside of the visual. In addressing the visual, learners must first find, or construct, what they believe the problem. They must then figure out what was done in the visual to solve the given problem. The problem and solution are always provided in the visual.
After this, learners are charged with the task of determining whether the solution is appropriate. If so, they must defend it; if not, they must explain - or teach - a better process.
Use the worksheet (right) to report your reasoning for the picture provided:
We arrived just in time to cross the central plaza of the complex and enter the Lincoln's Eyes presentation in the Union Theater. This immersive multimedia show features an artist explains about his study of Lincoln's face for a painting. He quickly learned that Abraham Lincoln apparently had a "lazy" eye, suggesting that perhaps it was due to being kicked in the head by a mule at an early age. A kicking sound is suddenly heard while at the same time the seat you are sitting in vibrates. It is the first hint that this show is a little different. Later, smoke rings are blown across the audience from "cannons" during the Civil War, and the artist-narrator explains how Lincoln's facial expressions reflect the stresses of his presidential term.
Outside the theater, we took a turn at the pre-presidential portion of the museum, where one recognizes the eclectic nature of the place. Exhibits include wax figures, reproductions of posters, multimedia programs, special lighting effects, and actual objects. In 2005, I was taken aback by suddenly seeing my own reflection in Lincoln's shaving mirror.
Lincoln's political campaigns were brutal, as is demonstrated in the language of the candidates (and we think twice about blunt candidates today). Consider what our 16th president said of his opponent, Stephen Douglas:
His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.
A winding hallway describes what the general populace and the press thought of Lincoln's presidential decisions, especially when they concerned slavery or the war, and one quickly understands the pressures this man must have endured. Any president changes during the four to eight years of his term, but Lincoln's face truly reflected changes as things progressed.
Before going through the Treasures gallery, we took the kids to the Ghosts of the Library show, which is very nearly indescribable. In this show, the actor on stage tells about the importance of research in the presidential library across the street. Special holographic effects amaze the audience. Seeing the show for the second time, I knew what to expect. I made a point to look to my 12-year-old when the show ended; she was oh-mouthed, just as I was the first time through.
After the show, we took our turn in the White House, admiring the dresses of Mary Lincoln and others, we walked past the death of one of the Lincoln sons during a White House party, we were immersed by the team of rivals who attempted to advise the president concerning the war, we spotted the Lincoln's in the balcony at the theater (along with the dark figure sneaking through the curtain behind them, and we paid our respects to Lincoln's casket as it lay in state in a very somber scene. Finally, in the Treasures gallery, we gazed upon the Lincoln's china and one of Abe's stovepipe hats, sporting the fingerprints of the president due to his tipping of the hat to people.
All in all, I am more impressed with the real items in a museum than with reproductions, and this museum pays off in a big way. In addition to his shaving mirror, the china, and Abe's hat, we saw documents written and signed by Abraham Lincoln, wife Mary, and others. We saw a ticket to Ford's Theatre for the night of the assassination. And we saw a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair carried by Mary after his death. On our previous visit, we had seen the carriage Abraham and Mary took to Ford's Theatre, the bed in which Abraham breathed his last, and the president's kid gloves and handkerchief, still stained with blood from the gunshot wound to the back of his head.
This museum remains top-notch, and I highly recommend a visit. From our location in Joplin, Missouri, one should drive and spend the night before seeing this museum, another night before visiting Lincoln's house, tomb, and New Salem village, and another night before returning home. While other people choose to drive to the beach and take their vacations at amusement parks, we've tried to add something different to the itinerary. We want to make memories and provide our children experiences they will keep with them, and I can imagine they will want to relive those experiences with their own children in the future.
We are pleased to inform you that you are part of the list of the world's Best 150 Teacher blogs. We have created this list after a through scrutiny and deep research and settled with only the best bloggers.
This message comes to us through a website called HowtoBecomeaTechnician.com. Our classroom website appears on the section of the list (TOP 150 TEACHER BLOGS OF THE YEAR 2016) that describes sites that "offer technological advancements as a tool in enhancing teaching". Here's the paragraph that describes the list:
It's an honor to be named in any list like this and to be presented as a positive influence on education. As always, I hope teachers, students, and parents are able to glean something worthwhile from our website. I spend a lot of time making daily posts on the site and linking usable posts to pages that can be easily accessed.
If you're just tuning in and you're a teacher, please focus your eyeballs on our Teacher Collaboration page where you will find organized lists of pages, posts, and articles that you may find useful. And, of course, feel free to drop us a line with positive comments, questions, or suggestions.
They rested in the holding vaults in the side of the hill (pictured right) as the official tomb was still being prepared.
Once ready, Lincoln's casket was placed into the sarcophagus in the official tomb. Soon, a gang of counterfeiters made an attempt to steal the body with plans to hold it for ransom.
Robert Lincoln, the only remaining son of the president, insisted that Abraham be placed ten feet below ground and covered with as much concrete. Too many people had opened the casket too many times, and he wanted to make sure that practice was halted forever.
Driving into the cemetery, the tomb is obvious. Placed at the peak of the hill, the obelisk probes skyward, surrounded by statuary on all sides depicting battle scenes. These statues were forged from dozens of cannon, no longer tools of war, but now tools of healing. A statue of the president stands in the front, holding a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation which ended slavery in the United States. A relief plaque finishes out the front, holding a broken chain in its beak, signifying the breaking of the slave's shackles.
Inside the tomb, visitors face a smaller bronze version of the Lincoln Memorial. Hallways encircle the tomb, with even more statues which picture the president in various phases of his life, and in the center of this, of course, is the location of the presidents final resting place, along with his wife and three of his four sons (The fourth son is memorialized with a marker, but is buried elsewhere).
Our visit to the tomb, I was struck with the need to remember and reflect upon history. Things happened during the Civil that should never have occurred, and the president, as beloved as he is, undoubtedly made mistakes. His was a life of seriousness, marked with tragedy and depression. He held many positions, failed repeatedly, and kept going. We can and must learn from history and tragedy. We should learn about characters in our past, both distant and recent, and see how they responded to the events of the time. How much greater our own lives can be when we do!
Below is the universal school supply list the school district provides for all fourth graders in Joplin Schools. Since every teacher does not use supplies in the same way, I would like to request the following four revisions to the list for our class (and save parents a little money):
If you would like, please feel free to bring these items to our Open House on Tuesday, August 16 (5:30-6:30). If you would rather, send them with your child on the first day of school.
We recently returned from a week-long family vacation. I preached for a congregation in Nevada, Missouri, on Sunday, May 22, and we headed straight out from there, stopping only for lunch and restroom breaks. Our car was packed to the hilt with camping gear, clothing, and toiletries, as well as some items to keep a 6- and a 12-year old occupied for the drive to the Springfield, Illinois, area.
Arriving, we had a terrifically uncrowded campground at Lincoln's New Salem, described below by the New Salem website:
He clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836 after an unsuccessful try in 1832.
This is the location of Abe's courting of a girl named Ann Rutledge. When Ann became engaged to another man, Lincoln is said to have entered a great personal depression. The buildings here are reproductions, so that magical feeling of being in a significant place is dwarfed unless one has a strong historical imagination.
Trekking into the Illinois capital city of Springfield, we found the only house that Abraham and wife Mary ever owned. This national park offers the Junior Ranger badge to children who complete a couple of tasks. We've participated in a number of these in our adventures, and it's always worth our time.
The Lincoln House and several other houses are restored and preserved. The outside is pristine and peaceful (until school groups come through on field trips). The house is pictured below in the pictures on the left.
It would be nothing without a tour of the inside. Scheduling a tour was easy, and there was a very short wait for our tour with a few other people.
I've been in presidential houses before (Andrew Jackson's house in Tennessee, Ulysses Grant's house in St. Louis, and Harry Truman's house in Independence, Missouri), so I expected to see a number of acquired items that were true to the period, but not necessarily items truly owned and used by Abraham Lincoln.
We were fortunate to be here when the weather was perfect. It was ideal for a day filled with exploring and learning. Are you a history buff? Perhaps you could explore right here in our own state. There are at least three houses between Joplin and Independence that were lived in by Harry S Truman and his wife Bess, and in St. Louis, you will find two houses where Ulysses S. Grant lived with wife Julia (at Grant's Farm).
There's nothing quite like sleeping under the stars with nothing but a thin piece of material between the bed and nature. Growing up, my parents would take us around the region, dragging our "pop-up" camper behind the Jeep Cherokee. My parents took my brother and me to Arkansas and Missouri to visit caves. They took us to Mesa Verde National Park to explore prehistoric cliff dwellings. They also drove us to Oklahoma's Sequoyah State Park on numerous occasions.
The greatest thing my parents gave me in our vacations were rich, positive experiences. Whether it be around a lake or at a national park, I gained experiences that molded my interests. My hope is to give my own children the same opportunities to learn, observe, and live. Being outside - living outside - is one way we can do so.
Last week we were in Springfield, Illinois, to see what we could see. We finally pitched our tent in the New Salem State Park. Against our nature, we awoke before the sun and listened to the birds as they became more and more active. On a couple of mornings, we heard a flock of geese taking flight over our heads, and one day we were serenaded by the hooting of an owl.
If you get the chance, take your family on a vacation this summer. Get your kids out there - in the fresh air - and build some memories with them.
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