December 8, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Abraham Lincoln and The Gettysburg Address

The Angle, Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, PA
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Pat Henson via Compfight
The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was given by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, on November 19, 1863. We read that this year was the 150th anniversary of the speech, so we decided to do some research about the speech to learn more about it. Here are some facts we learned:

  • The Gettysburg Address was given at the site of a Civil War battle which was fought July 1-3, 1863. They wanted to dedicate the field in memory of the people who died there.
  • President Lincoln was not the main speaker on that day. The main speech was given by Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours.
  • The Gettysburg Address took only about three minutes to deliver, and was about 272 words long.
  •  There are several hand-written versions of the speech with a few differences in wording. Because there was no video or sound recording back then, no one knows exactly what President Lincoln said on that day. We studied the version of the speech contained in the National Archives.

After we did a close reading of the speech, we tried to memorize parts of it. Almost all of us memorized the first sentence, which says:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

A group of us made a recording of the speech. We thought it was a good opportunity to try out our green screen for the first time this school year!

As we learned about the Gettysburg Address, we also researched information about the life of Abraham Lincoln. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a Traveling Trunk from Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park, in Kentucky. The trunk contained books, games, and reproductions of items Abraham Lincoln would have used during his life. We had a great time exploring the items in the trunk! Here are a few pictures:

The trunk contained replicas of clothing people in Lincoln's time would have worn.

The trunk contained replicas of clothing people in Lincoln’s time would have worn.

There was a set of Lincoln logs in the trunk, which we used to make a model log cabin.

There was a set of Lincoln logs in the trunk, which we used to make a model log cabin.

We learned how families like the Lincolns made “windows” for their log cabins using brown paper and oil. Can you see that the paper becomes translucent?

We learned how families like the Lincolns made “windows” for their log cabins using brown paper and oil. Can you see that the paper becomes translucent?

The trunk even contained a replica of Mr. Lincoln's stovepipe hat!

The trunk even contained a replica of Mr. Lincoln’s stovepipe hat!

What do you know about the leaders of your country?

November 13, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman
1 Comment

New Friends in Honduras

Skype Honduras

Today we had a chance to learn about a different country by going on a Skype visit. Our class got together with Mrs. Carney’s kindergarten class to make a special Skype call.

Mrs. Carney has a sister-in-law who is serving in the U.S. Air Force. Right now she is stationed in Honduras, which is in Central America. She told us about what it is like to live in Honduras, and we made notes of the similarities and differences between Honduras and Arizona. She said that it is warm there right now, like it is in Arizona, but much rainier. One interesting thing she told us is that skunks are a very common sight on their base, so they have to be very careful to avoid them when they are walking at night!

One of her jobs while serving in Honduras is to work with the local people, and they often visit local orphanages. Here is a link which tells about one of the orphanages which they visit. She told us about what it is like at the orphanage and what the kids who live there like to do. It sounds like they enjoy the same types of things we do here, like reading, drawing, playing sports and using computers! We are planning to work with Mrs. Carney’s class to send some letters and cards, in Spanish and English, to the kids who live there. We look forward to making friends with the kids in Honduras!

It was very interesting for us to learn about what it is like to serve in the Air Force and to live in another country. Every time we Skype we learn more about our world!

Have you ever visited another country?

What other countries would you like to visit?

September 26, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Messages Through Time: Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs VCDo you know what a petroglyph is? Today we had a video conference with the Minnesota History Center. We learned about a historic site in Minnesota called the Jeffers Petroglyphs. After our conference we all wrote down some of the facts we learned. Here are a few of them:

  • Petro means stone and glyph means picture, so petroglyphs are pictures that are made in stone.
  • Native Americans drew symbols on rocks to tell stories about what was important to them.
  • We know what the symbols mean because of the oral tradition which is still passed on today.
  • Native Americans used tools made of stone, wood and animal bones.
  • They had a tool called an atlatl. It helped them throw an arrow 2.5 times farther than they could by hand.
  • Native Americans drew timelines in the shape of a spiral instead of a straight line.
  • They planted three sisters gardens, which had corn, beans and squash.
  • Many petroglyphs had pictures of buffalo, which the Native Americans used for food and to make clothes, houses and tools.

After we learned about petroglyphs we tried making petroglyphs of our own. We used sand paper and crayons to make drawings of things that are important to us. Here’s a slideshow of our model petroglyphs. Can you tell what our favorite symbols are?

There is a hiking trail close to our school called Hieroglyphic Trail, where you can see real petroglyphs.  Have you ever seen a real petroglyph?

September 14, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Close Reading and Constitution Day

This post was written for Week 2 , Activity 5 of the Student Blogging Challenge.

This year we have been practicing close reading and learning how to annotate text. We are finding that when we read things closely and carefully, we learn a lot more!

It is Constitution Day in our country on September 17, so in social studies this week we did a close reading of an article about the Constitution of the United States. Here are some things we learned:

  • It took a long time for people to agree about what should be in the Constitution. The Constitution was finally signed on September 17, 1787.  
  • The U.S. government has three branches which work together to run the country. There is not just one person who is in charge of everything.
  • In George Washington’s own copy of the Constitution, he wrote the word “President” in the margins next to the sentences that talked about things that were his job. He annotated text as he read, just like we do!
  • The beginning part of the Constitution is called the Preamble.

We read the Preamble and talked about what it means. Here is a video of a group of us reciting the Preamble.

Constitution Day 2013 from S Hamman on Vimeo.

What have you learned from reading a text closely?

May 3, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman

Mystery Class Update

We identified all ten Mystery Classes and were one of the winners of the contest!

At our school we’ve been talking about feeling proud about something you’ve accomplished. We definitely feel proud that we found all the Mystery Classes! We wrote in this blog post about how we worked to find them. It took a lot of effort and perseverance to figure out all the clues. In fact, we struggled over Mystery Class 8 until the last day of the contest, when a small group finally figured out it was in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

This was such a fun project! We enjoyed learning about the changing seasons and the cultures of so many interesting places.

Here is the actual list of classes, courtesy of Journey North. Have you heard of all these cities?