Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gilder Lehrman Institute

If you're completely confused about the title of this blog no worries. You probably have no idea what the Gilder Lehrman Institute is, and that's okay. For us history folks, it is an institute based out of New York City that has vast historical documents and artifacts in its collection, and an institute that believes in offering FREE seminars to teachers across the country on various topics in history. This is what brought me to NYC this week; way back in January I applied online for a seminar and voilá! A few months later I heard back that I got accepted...and accepted to a seminar in New York City about the Civil War and multimedia.

After a jam-packed week of lectures, projects, trips, tours, and lots of food, I am back in STL happy to be home with my boys and looking back at all the cool stuff we did this week.

The first night we realized we were staying across from the restaurant commonly seen in Seinfeld. That was cool.

We got to go on a walking tour of the Five Points neighborhood--the place the movie "Gangs of New York" was based off of. It was awesome, got to see a lot of the places where notorious gang fights took place and where the NY draft riots happened during the Civil War. A lot of the "stuff" has been hidden or torn down, but we had a tour guide that showed us all around where a lot of the gang stuff use to be.

We got to visit Grant's Tomb, which was only a few blocks where we were staying at Barnard College--across from Columbia University.

The college--Barnard--where we were staying had some history itself too: it was the site of Malcolm X's last public speech before he was assassinated in 1965.

We got to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to tour the American wing and see some paintings and artifacts from the Civil War period we'd been talking about all week (the pics below are going to inspire me to wallpaper our living room similar to what they did...I'm sure Mike will LOVE that). If you haven't been to that museum, it's HUGE!!! and the times I've been (that was my 3rd) there it's always been jam-packed with people...this time was no exception. It was super crowded. But we had a good time and we got to check out the roof garden and enjoy the view from up there.

So our entire week came down to Friday when we had to share our video projects we created. This was taking the things we've learned this week and our prior interests with the Civil War and creating a 3-5 minute video about a topic in the Civil War. If you check out my previous post you can read about that and check out my video or check out the video HERE...any feedback is welcomed :)

Overall it was a fabulous to meet some cool people and see some stuff in NYC I haven't seen before. We're a good lookin' group, aren't we?!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Civil War Seminar in NYC

So I've been in NYC all week--and actually am here till Saturday!--for a Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History seminar over the Civil War and multimedia.  While I'll probably blog later with all of the activities and some pics, I wanted to write up a quick post with the video I've been working on all week as my big "multimedia" Civil War project for this seminar.

We are viewing all of our 3 to 5 minute videos tomorrow (there's about 25 other middle and high school social studies teachers here from across the country), but I went ahead and popped mine on YouTube so I could embed it here for your viewing pleasure.

Basically we were to create a video about something in the Civil War.  This is a project (with a little bit more structure and guidance :) that we can have our students create on computers during the school year for their Civil War (or any part of history!) unit.  I did something very similar last year when we looked at the Maya, Inca, and Aztecs (my kiddos created movie trailers for the civilization they had), so I had a little bit of background and head start with the kind of project they were looking for us to create to use as an example in our classroom of this type of project.  Anyways, after working on it here and there all week (using a lot of the pictures and ideas from the lectures we've had), this is what I've come up with.  I used the Walt Whitman poem "O Captain My Captain!" as the basis for this roughly 5 minute movie.  Check it out...and let me know what you think!  Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Scooter Can Wake Board. Jealous?!

We recently headed out to my cousin Christy's house to hang out--which is conveniently also located on a lake! Of course the real reason we went was so Scoots could try his paw at some water sports on the lake. Boy, did he ever! He's a wake boarding pro now! And of course Scootie looked handsome as ever in his fancy Hawaiian print life jacket. Check out some of our pics from our adventure...& a big thanks to Christy for having us out and playing host for the day! We all had a blast!!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Conference, round 1

This blog is "round 1" because I have another summer conference to attend next week in New York stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about that one! For now, I'll leave you with this one:

This past week I got the opportunity to attend the Kagan Cooperative Learning conference in Orlando, FL.

This conference is all about using cooperative learning and promoting its successes in the classroom.

After 5 days of conferences, I can definitely say that I am beyond excited to begin using these structures in my classroom this fall. Some of them I am like, "Duh! Why haven't I been doing this already?" Needless to say I took a lot away from the conference that I plan to implement immediately this fall. And we even had fun on the beach with our new cooperative learning team strategies...using some crabs as our kiddos!

To all my teacher friends, I'd encourage you to check out this conference--they have them all over the country throughout the year, and whether you're an elementary or high school teacher, this stuff can work for you in your classroom. Check out the link below for their website...I highly recommend it!


And we did get to do some sightseeing while we were in Orlando...we felt a reward of Disney or a trip to the beach was much needed after sitting in a conference room for 8 hours everyday :)

Our 2 science teachers hanging with a new friend :)

Scott showing off our demoed cooperative learning team project...appropriately named "Keggin' Man"

(of course I had to give a shout out to my boys back home!)

This is Bill (on the right) one of our stellar science teachers hanging with Spencer Kagan--the guy behind all of this!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wedding Extravaganzas!

Wow, what an eventful past week! Okay, first off, let me officially post that we switched (& for the last time!! PROMISE!!) our wedding date to Saturday, June 9th, 2012. We are so excited to be settled on a date and not move or change it again!! And we found our reception place too! It's Favazza's Rose of the Hill. We LOVE Italian food and love the Hill, so we thought it would be perfect! Plus Mike and I really wanted a place with St. Louis history, and we definitely get some history being on the Hill!

Tonight my little brother Benny got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Erin! Oh my goodness, it was the cutest proposal and the most beautiful ring!! I'm so happy to be gaining a new sister very soon! Ahhhh! I am just so happy for them!

So stepping aside from our wedding, we got to experience and be a part of Mike's brother Matt's (& his new wife Katie) wedding on Friday, July 1st. It was the most fun I've ever had at a wedding! The wedding ceremony was gorgeous, and the reception was a blast! Everything and everyone was stunning...the wedding party couldn't have looked and prettier. Gorgeous group of guys and gals capped off with a beautiful bride and groom. We have seriously the BEST group of friends anyone could ask for--& they really do make events like this 100 times better. Here are some pics from the night...& I'm sure I'll have more of my own wedding posts soon too...just gotta keep reminding myself that I can't put everything off to the last minute now that we have a date, church, and reception venue :)

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