Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Last Day - Divide and Conquer

Today we realized we had one day to accomplish a lot.  Therefore, we split up and went to different places to get in as much as we could.  Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Martin went to tour Historic Harvard and the surrounding area.  Ms. Lightheart and Mrs. Barnes went to the Boston Zoo to see what they could find that would supplement our reading/science theme of endangered animals.  One of the greatest things about the Boston area is we can cover all the subjects we teach because there is so much to see here!

The Harvard Tour was awesome!  Students lead us around and told us of the famous people that had gone there, showed us where they lived, how they changed the world, and how you get into Harvard.  A few tidbits about this Ivy League School:

1.  Famous people that went there include:  President Obama, President George Bush, President JFK, VP Al Gore, actor Matt Damon, Bill Gates (neither Matt nor Bill graduated Harvard though), the list goes on and on.

2.  Usually the students in the top 10% of their graduating high school class are eligible to attend Harvard.  Of course they also have to take tests and receive good scores.  If a person's family makes less than 60,000 per year, they can go to Harvard for free (if they meet admission requirements)

3.  It was founded 16 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1636.

We took video of the tour and will show it to you in fall.  It is absolutely inspiring to hear the things the students who graduated this University have done for our country and are continuing to do.

At the zoo, we found several endangered species and got video for our school projects.  We also got several student resources books.  We can't thank Fund for Teachers enough for the opportunity to not only learn about the many areas we teach, but to get materials for our classrooms.  We have purchased student resource books, classroom games, artifacts, replicas, and hands on history kits.  We are so excited to make history come alive this next fall. 

Over the week we have taken about 1000 pictures and hours of video.  This summer we will be creating "virtual field trips" for the students using them.  We will also be reviewing our current lessons and  enriching them with the many things we have collected.  Stay tuned, because we aren't done blogging! :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Things we have learned

1.  Salem, MA has many historical claims to fame.  One of which is the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690's.  Another one is the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne

2.  The British won the Battle of Bunker Hill and today the monument to that battle sits on the wrong hill.

3.  The USS  Constitution can still sail today and fires its cannons twice a day.

4.   In most historical homes photography is not allowed.

5.  In Boston they would say:  Harbor as Habaah and Chowder as Chahdah

6.  The best way to get around Boston is by ferry, subway, or taxi.  You do NOT want to drive!  The reason why is because the shoreline line has changed dramatically over the years and the roads follow the old shore line. 

7.  In both the Mayflower and the USS Constitution the captain's quarters are significantly nicer than the crew's quarter.  The crew received one gallon of water a day.  They had to decide if they were going to wash with it, drink it, or wash clothes in it.  Most drank it therefore making for pretty smelly working conditions. 

8.  Paul Revere still has many descendants alive today.  Probably because he had 16 kids.

9.  Paul Revere had a side job of being a dentist.  Toothbrushes were made of bone and whisker.  The dentist came to brush your teeth twice a year. 

10.  Prisoners in Colonial times were given live uncooked lobsters to eat.  If they were lucky that was once a week.    

11.  Mrs. Fish has taken over 800 pictures and loves ice cream.

12.  Mrs. Barnes is attached to her phone and always knows the best Food Network restaurants.

13.  Mrs. Martin walks too fast and gets up too early.

14.  Ms. Lightheart takes pictures of every dog she sees. 

So much to do, so little time by Mrs. Fish

Today was a very history packed day. We started our day by taking a shuttle to Quincy Market Place right off of the pier. We saw a variety of fresh fruit, veggies, fish, and much more. We then boarded a trolley ride that took us to 9 different locations, of which each location was filled with historical places and information. We spent ALL day getting on and off of the trolley, stopping at each location to explore, take pictures and video, getting information and supplies, and simply learn about the history and culture of our young nation. The trolley had a driver who narrated the majority of the trip with no problems. 

In this case, pictures will tell the best story:

The Market Place
The USS Constitution, the world's oldest still operational sailing warship.  Commissioned by George Washington and key ship in the War of 1812. 

Bunker Hill Monument.  According to our guide, Boston is the only city where they actually put up a monument to a battle we lost.  Does anyone know why we would make a big deal out of losing this battle?
The Old North Church where the famous "two if by land, one if by sea" lanterns were placed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 4 - The Mayflower II, Paul Revere House, and the Old South Church

Wow!  What a day!  We started the morning out by visiting the Mayflower II.  Did you know the captain had a large room on the main deck while all the Pilgrims had to stay below deck and were treated as cargo?  Parents slept on small beds and their children slept on the floor under the bed!  Our visit to the Mayflower II 

We left Plymouth around 11 and arrived in Boston in time to head out to our class at the Paul Revere House. The educators there presented a workshop just for us and gave us a private tour of the Paul Revere House.  We have so many great ideas for activities focusing on the use of primary sources and realia.  After that we walked Freedom Trail and visited the North Church.  This is where Paul Revere worked as a bell ringer and was paid 2 cents a week and where the lantern was hung to warm that the British were coming!The families who belonged to the North Church had to pay the equivalent of $25,000 a year to revere a pew box for their family and pew space upstairs for their servants!  The storms you all experienced earlier this week hit the East Coast today while we were visiting the North Church. 

Tomorrow we are off to explore more of historic Boston!

Students, Where did the Mayflower depart from on its to America and how many people were on board?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3 – Cape Cod, The Ocean, The Pilgrim Monument, and Plan B by Mrs. Martin

Today we wanted to drive out to the end of Cape Cod and see the ocean. We were excited to see the place the Pilgrims first landed and where they signed the Mayflower Compact. Did you know this is one of our country's first written plans for a government? Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Martin climbed the 116 steps to the top of this monument. While they were there they saw a whale's jaw bone in the museum. It was huge!  We learned a lot at this monument and also had a lot of fun with photography here.

After that, we went to the Cape Cod National Seashore to see the ocean. We were amazed at the dunes and how diverse the ecosystems were in such a short distance. We went from forest, to beach, to ocean in a matter of a feet. (see the video)
Link to Ocean Video

We left the ocean and wanted to head to Hyannis, MA to learn a little bit more about JFK. This is where the Kennedy family vacationed and where JFK spent his summers.  They have a museum and a memorial to the late President, but when we got there it was closed. So we decided to see if we could learn more about the all the lighthouses we were seeing.  Once again, that plan wasn't working so well for us. It was just when we were getting frustrated that the coolest thing happened.

Mrs. Fish and Ms. Lightheart wanted to stop at what we thought was a lighthouse. It was an adorable looking structure by a quaint house overlooking the sailboats. Well it turned out it was a famous artist's studio; Sam Barber. He is an impressionist and sculpture who has paintings in many museums. His customers are the Kennedys, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and many other famous people. He gave us a tour of his home and studio and even gave us a free signed print of his work. While we spoke to him we learned about the local history, the Kennedys in MA, and the landscape of the Cape Cod area.  Ms. Lightheart inquired how much it would be to purchase the painting we were watching him do. Let's just say that none of us had the asking price of $14,000. Never the less, it was one of the best art lessons we ever had!  You can see his work at

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 2 - Whale watching & Plimoth Plantation by Ms. Lightheart

Wow!  What a great day!  We started the day with a wonderful New England breakfast at Hearth and Kettle and then we sailed on the John and Sons II for a morning of whale watching.  We were blessed to see the majesty of several Humpback and Minkey whales!  It was quite an experience to see these endangered giants.  Check out the picture of baleen, which is like a whale's teeth.

Upon returning we went straight to Plimoth Plantation.  My Gosh!  What a learning experience. We witnessed first hand the building of a Wampanoag Wetu (see picture) and life in a 1627 English village.  Ms. Lightheart was fascinated by the rare breed chickens and goats.  Tomorrow we are off to Cape Cod to learn its rich history and about the ocean's ecosystem. 

** A free souvenior to the first student who can explain why Plimoth (Plymouth) is spelled two different ways. 

Plimoth Pictures

Video from whale watching

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day One- Photos from Plymouth Rock- By Mrs. Fish

Well, after a bumpy flight, we made it to Plymouth, MA! We enjoyed a traditional New England seafood dinner and were able to visit where the Pilgrims landed- Plymouth Rock. Check out the video and the pictures from today! We also went back in time and had some photos taken of us as pilgrims!  We are planning on going whale watching and visiting Plymouth Plantation tomorrow, so check back soon!