Monday, November 24, 2014

Washington Crossing the Delaware Pop Art

Emanuel Leutze "Washington Crossing the Delaware "
The students looked at the painting of Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware.  They listened to the story behind the painting on NPR's Morning Edition from October 28, 2002. Then they looked at parodies of the painting. The were then tasked with creating their own mashups. Here are a few of them:

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Immigration Monuments

The seventh grade are learning about the culture of the United States. One of the activities they have to complete is to create their own monument to immigrations like the Statue of Liberty. Since many of my students are Hispanic, they wanted to to include their culture into their projects. This allowed for a great discussion on the history of Hispanics in the United States.

Here is an example created with Lego. Students had the option to choose their own medium to use. 

Boston Massacre Prints

The eighth grade are learning about the American Revolution right now. One of the lessons I teach is how Paul Revere created his famous Boston Massacre print. The students had to take what they learned about the Boston Massacre and create a print that reflected a Loyalist point of view. 

The students created a sketch of their picture and then recreated it by carving into a styrofoam plate. They then covered the plate with marker and pressed to paper. Some students were really creative and used several different colors on the print. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Here is a picture of our new student council. We met for the first time today. Mrs. Burton and I are really looking forward to working with these great people!

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Hobbit Posters and Riddles

As we read through the hobbit we are doing some creating. Below are two posters my students made that represented their favorite scene from the first 15% of The Hobbit book. 

After Bilbo bests Gollum in a riddle contest (completely through luck and a bit of cheating) we decided to make our own riddles. Here is mine, see if you can guess the correct answer.
It's long, it's short, it's gone. When you are young you want it where it isn't. When you are old you have it where you don't want it. 

Julissa's riddle:
You never know when it will grow or shrink.  
Nicole's riddle:
What grows old and loses it's color but comes back new in the next summer?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

STUCO Election Results

The election results are in:

Congratulations to the new members!

President Eugenio Mendoza 

Vice President Nicole Salas

Secretary Sam Whitehill

Treasurer Brandon Andrew

8th Grade Representative Madison

7th Grade Representatives Heidi Hinojos and Alexia Estrada 


STUCO Election 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

Hero of History: Columbus or de las Casas?

Essential Question: Which should be a 'Hero of History", Christopher Columbus or Bartolomé de las Casas?

You will be researching both Christopher Columbus and Bartolomé de las Casas as their stories intersect through the 'discovery' and occupation of the Americas. As you research ask yourself the questions:

  1. Are my sources reliable
  2. Is there corroboration between my sources?
  3. Who is more believable as a storyteller?
  4. Since de las Casas is responsible for the only surviving journal information from Columbus' voyages, how reliable are those journals knowing de las Casas' prejudices?
  5. Which one, in your opinion, is most moral? 
  6. Is it appropriate for us to judge either Columbus or de las Casas today?
  7. Who would you choose as your 'Hero of History'? 


Create a poster of your "Hero of History". The poster must include facts that you uncover through your research as well as drawings that back your choice. You will not be allowed to use printed pictures. You may choose either men, but your facts must back your claim. 

All sources you use must be cited on your poster. is a great resource for how to cite your sources.


Here are some references to get you started. You will also need to find two more sources of information not on this page. Remember, we need corroboration before we can draw conclusions. 

Bartolomé de las Casas

Extracts from the journal of Christopher Columbus:

Viggo Mortensen reads Bartolome de las Casas in Spanish and English:

Washington Irving's biography of Columbus

You may also want to read Chapter 2 of Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen. I have a copy you can use. 

You may also want to scan through Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. I have a copy if you wish to peruse it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Using Emoticons to Show Understanding of the Spanish Entry Into Tenochtitlán

The Aztec people used glyphs to communicate. (Here is a great page that describes their writing system.) Why then would it not be appropriate for students to learn about the process of writing about an event in their history using our own modern glyphs, emoticons?

Today I will be reading experts of the excellent article Imperial City of the Aztecs: Mexico-Tenochtitlan by Inga Clendinnen to my students. (BTW if you don't know about Common-Place you definitely need to.) In it she describes Bernal Diaz del Castillo's astonishment at the magnificent of the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlán. If you still have any misconceptions of the ability of the people in the America's abilities to create cities you will also be amazed.

The students will be place themselves in del Castillo's boots and write his story as if it were their own. Then they will transfer that story into emoticons. Students with phones or tablets can write them there and send them to me. Those without will do as the Aztecs did, write them by hand.

There is a myriad of things I am hoping my students learn. The students will have the opportunity to internalize the amazement of del Castillo. They will have the opportunity to use glyphs to write a story and reflect on the process of using pictures to convey specific meaning. They will be exposed to the idea of using emoticons in their daily interactions as well, if they aren't already doing so. There is also the bonus of students connecting today's technology with history, and for some of my Hispanic students it is really their history.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, April 07, 2014

Russian Nesting Dolls Project

Today in 7th grade we are creating Russian nesting dolls (Matryoshka). The students get to choose the subjects and I have seen some amazingly creative choices. While many of the students have used popular characters such as superheroes, Disney characters, and sports teams others have created their own 'line'.

The next step will come later when they reflect on their choice for subject matter. We will do this later in the week and hopefully will have a few students record their reflections on video to share here. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kiva Loan Update

Only a couple months from being able to make another loan! How cool is that?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Skyping with Brayden's Grandmother from England


We were fortunate to have a 20 minute Skype call with Brayden's grandmother today. She shared about the cultural similarities and differences between us and the United Kingdom. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fun in St. Louis

I just returned from attending two teaching/learning conferences in St. Louis. While I was there I took the time to do some personal learning and sightseeing. This is a .gif that I took from the top of the arch. My Galaxy Note 3 phone's camera app allows me to make them really easily. How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day Survey

NOVA: The Great Incan Rebellion

Today we are watching Great Inca Rebellion. The students are observation a fascinating video that combines archaeology with forensic science and historical records to examine how what we know about the battle for Lima doesn't fit the Spanish accounts.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Atlantic South America: Traditional Music

As we learn about the countries of the Andes Mountains we will be listening to music from those cultures. Here is a short video of a concert we will view:

Here is the Spotify playlist we will be listening to during the unit.