October 10, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Mystery State Skype

This photo was taken by Mrs. Hamman and edited using an iPhone app called WordFoto

In social studies we have been studying the history and geography of the United States. This year we have been learning about other states from the students who live there! We’ve been doing an activity called Mystery State. We Skype call a class in another state, and ask them questions about their state. Then they ask us questions about our state. We try not to make our clues too obvious, because we don’t want them to guess our state too quickly. At the end of the call, we each guess the other’s state.

We were introduced to Mystery State by Mr. Haney’s class, and now we Skype whenever we get the chance! Here is a Google Map with the states we have “visited” so far marked. We’d love to talk to a class in each of the fifty states before the end of the year.


Which states have you visited?

Which states would you like to learn more about?

August 29, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

A Trip Back in Time

Last week we traveled back in time to visit Setauket, New York, in the year 1778. Well, we didn’t really travel through time, but we felt like we did!

We participated in a videoconference with the Ward Melville Heritage Organization in Long Island, New York. They presented a program called “Windows through Time: Journals of Revolutionary War Spies”. We learned about the Setauket Spy Ring, which operated undercover delivering important messages to help the Patriots during the American Revolution. Members of our class participated by pretending to be members of the Setauket community; some of us played ordinary townspeople and some of us were spies. It was really interesting to learn about all the ways the spies delivered their secret messages, all without the British soldiers suspecting a thing. The presenter made us feel like we were really there! Thank you, Anna!

Videoconferencing is a great way to visit places and make connections with people we wouldn’t be able to meet in person. This was our first videoconference of the year, and for many of us it was the first one we had ever experienced. We learned some tips for making a videoconference successful, and we took photos and drew pictures to illustrate our tips. Here is our Voicethread showing what we have learned so far:

We’re looking forward to doing lots more videoconferencing this year, and we will be adding to our Voicethread as we learn more.

Did you know there were Patriot spies during the American Revolution?

Have you ever participated in a videoconference?

August 20, 2011
by Mrs. Hamman

Exploring the American Revolution

In fifth grade, we study the geography and history of the United States in social studies. We’ve been learning about life in the colonies just before the American Revolution. We found a great way to experience what life was life back then through Mission US, an interactive, multimedia adventure.

Mrs. Hamman taught us some background information to explain the first mission of the game, which was called “For Crown or Colony?” After that we all got on our netbooks to explore the game. In the simulation, you play the part of Nathaniel Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in Boston in 1770. Through the tasks Nathaniel has to perform, you get to meet real people who lived in Boston. You learn about the Loyalists and the Patriots and get to make decisions about who to trust and which side to support. The game introduced us to many primary sources, or actual documents and objects that were created during the time period. We’ve learned that when studying history looking for primary sources is important, so that you know the information you get is reliable.

We recorded our comments after playing the game:

Next week we’ll be video conferencing with a museum in Stony Brook, New York, to learn even more about the American Revolution!

Why do you think we should study history?

What historical periods would you like to study?

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