Friday, February 26, 2010

Words of Wisdom from a Seventh Grader

One of my students from last year stopped by my classroom yesterday to visit. I asked what advice a Seventh Grader could pass onto a Sixth Grader to help them prepare for Junior High School.
Here are some of the tidbits:
Study your grammar. Teachers in Junior High School expect you to be able to write. You have to write a book report every month and the book has to be at least 100 pages long.
Pay attention to your teachers. Teachers in Junior High School expect you to listen in class.
Take notes. One teacher lectures and expects you to take notes, and then quizzes you on the information.
Do your homework, every time. In Junior High School, they are much stricter about that.
Don't be late to school. You can get ISS (In-School Suspension) for being late.
Obey the Dress Code. They are strict in Junior High School.
Keep your locker organized. Then you can find what you need.

I am sure there were more words of wisdom, but what I enjoyed was hearing my own comments come back to me. I wish I could arrange for some seventh graders to come back and talk to the sixth graders. Then maybe they would understand why I do what I do!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

DonorsChoose Project has been FUNDED!

Yesterday, as I was checking up on my DonorsChoose projects, I found that both projects has qualified for a "Double Your Impact offer". That means that half of the funds needed for the project are provided by an organization once other donors fund the remaining half. That was EXCITING!!!!

Then earlier today, I found out that in honor of Presidents' Day, the Pershing Square Foundation is funding history, government, geography and civics projects down to $98--on the condition that citizen philanthropists take these projects across the finish line.

The offer is the first in a new series called "Almost Home," made possible by a $1 million grant from the Pershing Square Foundation. Over the next four months, funding will be implemented as five site-wide "Almost Home" offers, each pegged to a specific theme day. For a limited time each month, "citizen philanthropists" will be challenged to activate matching funds from the Pershing Square Foundation by completing the funding on classroom projects meeting the theme day's criteria.

I thought WOW! So, I planned to arrive home and spread the word!

Upon arrival home, I received an email that one of my projects had been fully funded! My class will be receiving three different news magazines for use in our classroom! FANTASTIC!!!

My other project: What did He Do to Become Famous?, also qualified for the Pershing Foundation Offer.

I only need $97 worth of donations to make that project a reality too!

SO, here I am , spreading the word! If you are interested in supporting a classroom, or know someone who is, please help us out! It would be wonderful to be able to take advantage of the Pershing Square Foundation's generosity!


What did He Do to Become Famous? has been FUNDED!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Made in the USA

I teach Ancient History to sixth graders. On a daily basis, I work to relate what we are learning to real life. We were discussing the history of Ancient China and one student commented about the number of items we buy that are 'made in China'.

This lead to a discussion of why it 'costs' less to make items in China (and other places) and why Americans will buy cheaper products. Most of the kids were nodding their heads in agreement about saving money on cheaper items. We also discussed why items made in the USA can sometimes cost more.

We then discussed an item's 'lifetime'. One student observed that sometimes cheaper items do not last long, they break or wear out quickly. Good Observation there! Of course, the comment was also made that because kids outgrow clothing quickly, the clothing does not always wear out before they outgrow it. Another good point.

This comment then lead to their weekend homework assignment. They are to go through all of their shirts and pants that they own and make a simple tally mark chart to indicate if the items were made in the USA or in another place. I did not ask them to specify where the clothing was made other than USA or non-USA for simplicity's sake!

This lead to a few exclamations about the amount of work that would involve! In clarifying that I only wanted them to count shirts (not sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets) and pants (not shorts or skirts) they were a bit relieved. I did comment that if they thought that they had too many shirts and pants to go through in one weekend, then perhaps they had too many articles of clothing!

I too, will be going through my shirts and pants for this assignment. It will be interesting to see what the class results will be. Look for a graph later this week.

Remember: if you must shop, shop locally, shop USA made products! and

My students brought in their results yesterday and we were not surprised at the outcome.

Here are the results:
Shirts: Made in the USA: 133
Made somewhere else: 645
Pants: Made in the USA: 233
Made somewhere else: 570

Please note that this is a class of 27 students. While the fact that most of the clothing was not made in the USA did not surprise me, the fact that these students own so many clothes did!
There was one student who had 95 shirts and 65 pairs of pants! That is just amazing!

We talked about how we could change these numbers. The students talked about buying clothing that was made in the USA. I challenged them to find clothing in physical stores that was made in the USA. I believe that they will have a hard time finding clothing easily that is made in the USA. Since it requires more effort to shop American, most people will not do it. In order to make an impact, not only do we have to increase awareness of the situation, but we have to act on it. Even one more person taking action makes a difference.
The difference is you.
Can you do it?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snowy Day Projects

As I mentioned in my January Status on my new year's resolutions, I was working on the Car Club items for their show in April.

Well, I am pleased to announce that they are finished! They are all placemats, so it was easy to work on. There are three different fabrics used, all which will appeal to owners of Classic Cars!
I did purchase the car fabrics last year, but I used fabrics from my stash on the backs. I would estimate that I used up 10 yards of fabric from my stash! YAY!

1939 Woodies!

Muscle Cars!

More Muscle Cars!

I also finished the baby quilt I was making for a friend. I used fabrics that I purchased on January 1st to finish this quilt as I had NOTHING that went with the focus fabric in my stash!
As you can see it features the Cat in the Hat! This fabric is no longer manufactured, and I had a rough time finding the piece I did find....I had all but given up locating any fabric that I could use, when I stumbled across a piece at an indoor flea market in Corinth, Mississippi!

So, because school has been closed for these past two days, I was able to finish these two projects and make some progress on a Block of the Month kit I purchased last March. It has 12 different blocks and I have finished 5 of them so far.