Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Visit with John Muir

Before I return to CTK tomorrow to spend another day with students, I should tell you how I spent my Friday. As it turns out, Christ the King School is only about five miles from John Muir's Home in Martinez. And a beautiful, almost-spring day is the perfect time to walk around the grounds.

John Muir, who was actually born in Scotland, is perhaps best known for being a champion of nature. In 1867, he began a 1,000-mile walk from Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico, and along the way was able to experience so much of what nature had to offer. He is arguably this country's most famous conservationist, without whom we may not have Yosemite National Park. In fact, Muir is often referred to as The Father of Our National Park System. He co-founded the Sierra Club, and became its first president, a title he would hold until his death in 1914.

As it was a school day for most children in the area, we pretty much had the place to ourselves...except for the rather rambunctious first graders who were on a school field trip. That attic got rather noisy with all of those little voices, especially after one of the moms mentioned something about ghosts!

We were lucky enough to have our own private tour guide for our walk through the Muir Home. Mr. Hughes was nice enough to share plenty of wonderful information about John Muir and his wife Louie and what life was like when they lived in this house.

There are actually two homes here to see: John Muir's and the Martinez Adobe, built around 1849 by Don Vicente Martinez. The walls of this home are made entirely of adobe, sun-dried bricks.

You can see photos of the John Muir Home here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Meeting CTK Students

After meeting with the principal this morning, it was time to meet the students of Christ the King Catholic School. I didn't know I would be meeting them all at once, however. I was introduced to the entire school at their morning assembly. Rachael, the student body president (pictured with me), and Samantha did a very nice job introducing me to everyone.

One of my first stops at the school was the computer lab. The fourth graders are just learning how to use Google Sites for their blogs. With the tech teacher off for a few weeks following knee surgery, I went with a few of the seventh grade Google experts to see if we could offer any help. I hope Mrs. Massi didn't mind me borrowing her chair.

Later in the morning it was time to sit in on the eighth grade social studies class. They've just started studying the Civil War, so I got to listen to the students talk about slavery. The topic was the Wilmot Proviso, but the conversation focused on how slaveholders viewed slaves as property not human beings with the same "unalienable rights" that Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence. The eighth graders just couldn't believe that people were ever treated like that.

In the afternoon, I enjoyed a few of the seventh graders' presentations on African history. Each student researched a different African country, created a powerpoint, and then have to give a ten to fifteen minute lesson on the country they've studied. I was quite impressed with the presentations I've seen so far; their presentations don't contain as much text as their history books, and the students barely use any notes to get through their talk. They really know their stuff!

Monday and Tuesday of next week I hope to get around to several of the other grades to talk with the students and answer any questions they may have about the Civil War or American history.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm in Sunny California!

Phew! I have finally made it to Pleasant Hill, California. It was an extra long trip, taking about a day and a half more than I thought it would. But I'm here now and so excited to be meeting new people and learning a lot with these middle school students.

I arrived after school had already gotten out yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to meet any students. I did, however, get to sit in on a faculty meeting and be introduced to everyone. I had to stand up in front of everyone and talk about myself and some of my travels. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but everyone here is so nice that they made me feel welcome right away.

Before school this morning, I had to go to the principal's office. No, I wasn't in trouble; not everyone who goes to the principal's office is in trouble. Sometimes it's for a really, really good thing! I wanted to meet with Mrs. Gannon-Briggs before meeting the students of the school so I could answer any questions she might have about me. We had a very nice chat so early in the morning; she's a very nice lady.

I'll write all about my first day here in another post.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Departure from Pangburn

Wow!!! I had a full two days since I last blogged. The kids at Pangburn keep me busy. Yesterday, we spent some time just checking out my blog and out my posts about my travels. I sure have covered a lot of places in a short time. I think I impressed the kids. :) Today, we spent some time learning about Harriet Tubman and what an amzing woman she was. Fredrick Douglas was also talked about because he sure did accomplish a lot during his life time. We also talked about how difficult it must have been for General Lee to surrender to Grant in Virginia after losing so many men. The kids at Pangburn donated several things to me before I packed up to leave. They gave me my very own Pangburn Tiger t-shirt and it actually fits me! A huge thank you to Mrs. Janet Reaper and her high school class for making it for me. Another huge thank you to local author, Mrs. Kimberly Langley, for donating her book. It is titled " Another Time" and has Grayson who travels through time from the Civil War era to the future. She even signed my copy and I am definitely going to spend some time reading it during the long trip to California to visit the kids at Christ the Lord Catholic School. Another huge thank you must be said to Mr. Turley and son, Derik, who created a wooden true-to-the-size Civil war sword replica. I now have another box traveling with my original one because I am collecting so many things. Everyone is been so kind about giving me things. Well, I'll hush until next week when I greet the California kids. Take care until then...Where is that book? Ahh.....Adios, Sallie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mrs. Melissa's 1st class

Check me out!

Mrs. Melissa's 3rd class

GO Pangburn Tigers!

Mrs. Melissa's 2nd class

We are having so much fun together.

Courthouse at Searcy

Courthouse at Searcy
Originally uploaded by civilwarsallie
Check our court house in nearby Searcy. The statue honors the Confederate Arkansas soldiers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Arrival at Pangburn

Today, as I arrived at Pangburn, I found about 60 4th graders learning about which side of the war that each state joined. We found out that Arkansas joined the Confederacy.
We discussed the differences between how the battles were fought back then as compared to how we fight modern wars today. We also talked about how difficult it was to survive a battle back then and how many soldiers died.
We talked about the reasons for the war such as different viewpoints about slavery, Lincoln's goal to perserve the Union, and the shots fired on Fort Sumpter.
I shared the CD of the battlefield music and the kids loved the drums.
I'll be back on Wednesday. Sallie