So today, we finally got to go on our much anticipated field trip to the cemetery with my class that is researching the history of our town. The kids were adorned with donuts upon arrival and believed that the donuts made the field trip 100% worth waking up early for today. Everyone partnered up and we combed the land for an hour finding unique and interesting things that could help add to our small but growing (pretend) book of information. For the first time, I finally found the gravesite of the founder of the cemetery. As I flipped through the photos that I was able to take today, I realized that we share Nov. 7th in common. He passed away on my birthday... only 120 years earlier. Little things like this make it even more interesting to me. I can't wait to see all of the pictures my students took and hear all of the stories of things they found.
One other note from the experience:
One of the parents came with us on the field trip and we partnered up to walk around. While we were walking, she shared about her and her child going to interview the city leaders to find out more information on our town. She said the city couldn't believe we were doing something so interesting and important. She said the city has just been empty handed on how to share the towns history that they knew so little about.
Its comments like this that give me hope that even though we aren't finding tons of information, every little bit is so important and will be cherished!
Today we had our first in-class robotics competition. With five groups manipulating robots and one being way more advanced, I wasn't sure at first how to proceed. So last week, I asked the advanced group to create a challenge and then asked each of them to be team lead and hands-off-teach the other teams what they needed to know to be successful. So each grabbed a group and made it happen today. They had about 40 minutes to teach the path and to make their robot successful. One group struggled just a hair, but it was such an awesome experience to see them all finally succeed and then to find out what they learned in round one. I loved that the leads then stayed after class (missing part of their lunch) to discuss next week and what they could challenge the groups with in class. (We meet only on Wednesdays.) Kids have been approaching me throughout the week saying... "its almost Wednesday Mrs. D!" "Robotics is today Mrs. D!" "I can't wait for class!" Who knew it could be so much fun. The best part is that some prospective parents for next year walked in and were amazed, better yet, they were completely giddy! I thought it would be fun, but I have to say, every time I'm reminded that its Robotics day, I get a little excited myself! I wish I had more space in my class for more kids!
The Lucas History Project - Student research update:
I know there has been a whole lot of interest in what I am doing in my class and I wanted to share the status.
This year, I am making every effort to write a book with my students about the town where my school resides. It is a small town with a somewhat unknown history.
This week we will get into Ancestry.com for the first time. I am very excited about that! I will let you know how easy or hard that is for 8th graders to find and decipher information. I know it will be challenging.
The good news is that on Monday we talked a lot about primary sources and getting information from people in the community. We talked about find resources in museums and libraries, from local experts on animals, farming and more. The students went home with an idea of at least a few options for who they could contact.
I have had a mix of messages today, but was thrilled to find out at least one has a parent just as excited about the project as I am. Visiting the city council and getting first hand contact to get us more information. As you can imagine, the city was thrilled. So am I. They want us to come present what we find at the end of the semester. I can't wait to see what we have at the end of the year.
I also have had two other parents come up with two elderly people that want to come present to our class. It sure looks like we may be taking off. The runway has been very long, but the front wheel is up.
Stay tuned! This is gonna be awesome!
A wife, mother, teacher, life-long learner and an avid runner.