Spanish Lessons

My lil'man got himself some bananas from my grandparents back yard in Puerto Rico

My lil’man got himself some bananas from my grandparents back yard in Puerto Rico

Today we start Spanish lessons. I tried to teach my children last year but they were very uninterested and had a really bad attitude about the entire thing. Since it was just an elective for us, I let it go.
Over the course of the year and after our trip to Puerto Rico this past Winter It occurred to me that my children were never going to learn Spanish if I didn’t make it more of a priority. It needed to stop being an elective and start being part of our core.
Think about it… I don’t give my kids the option to learn math or how to read. Those are non-negotiable..required whether they have a bad attitude about it or not. So this school year our core, the subjects that will be taught everyday no matter what are: Math, Language Arts (reading, spelling, and Handwriting) AND Spanish. Don’t worry about Social Studies, Science, Art and the other subjects… we always get those in and have much fun with them…but if I have a migraine and feel like death, those subjects can wait until tomorrow.

I have spent that last several months subtly teaching my kids about their latino heritage. Showing them many reasons they should learn Spanish.

Here is hoping that a priority change on my side and a new self identification as part Latino of my children will be enough change to get my kids speaking Spanish!!!
That and Calico Spanish that is.

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Most famous Brands from each state

Don’t know who made this or how accurate it is, but it is awesome.  I didn’t know Aol was from Virginia. I’ll have to look this up.1004028_10151651251939287_2090691319_n

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Words of Wisdom

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
~ John Lubbock -

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Dirty Shoes

The meaning of gestures are different from country to country.  If you’ve ever watched TV and asked yourself “Why are they making such a big deal about that person throwing a shoe at him”.  Or “Why did he take off his shoe to hit a poster of Saddam Hussein”.  The above link explains much of that.



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During the summer our family often travels to the Outer Banks, NC.  We especially enjoy taking the ferry to Ocracoke Island, and the boys like talking about the pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard.  I have spent many a summer there spending time in the water and have seen a few sand sharks, but I was surprised to hear that a 16 ft Great White named Mary Lee decided to check  out the area, and briefly swam into the brackish waters of the Pamlico Sound where I like to kayak.

An internet search led me to the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker, where the kids could see the last tracked location of Mary Lee.  By changing the options in the mapping legend, we were able to track her “pings” where her tracking device was located via satellite.   Clicking on one of the points of her track opened a description of the shark with pictures and details about size, when the shark was tagged, etc.

If your kids are interested in sharks, this is a great way to tie in geography.  For instance, based on the tracks you could ask your kids whether they think swimming off the coast of South Africa is a good idea.  Discussions of the sharks travel patterns relative to the migration patterns of seals could be an option, and the kids could identify locations where sharks like to visit.  For an older child you could challenge them to estimate how fast sharks cruise the ocean by looking at the distance of the pings relative to the time stamp (map scale, applied math, and even statistics if you have them calculate for multiple sharks and calculate the average, mean, standard dev, etc.).

That being said, after talking about the geography of shark travels the boys and I enjoyed some Great White videos on youtube.

OCEARHs Global Shark Tracker map of Great White Shark Mary Lee.

OCEARHs Global Shark Tracker map of Great White Shark Mary Lee.

Categories: Trivia, Unit Studies, Via Childs interest | Leave a comment

Random Geography Facts

So I’ve been thinking about there are some places that we hear of when reading books and just living out our lives that if asked we probably couldn’t tell you where it is. You know what?  I can do something about that.  For the next few days I’ll be posting a picture of place that you’ve probably heard of and then  I’ll tell you where it is.  Ha ha!!!! You’ll be that much smarter.


So lets start with: Stonehenge


English Heritage Stonehenge















Stonehenge is in the southern part of England.  I always pictured is in Ireland for some reason.  Silly me.

Here is a map from our friends at Google Maps so that you can see where it is.

Stone locations




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Learn Geography with you DS

Learn Geography with you DS

Fun way to learn geography! For grades 2-8

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Geography through Literature

I wish my students could all learn geography by getting on a plane or car and traveling.  But that just isn’t realistic for most of us.  Learning in class and by researching different countries is what most of have to do.  But you know how else we can learn geography?  Reading novels.  When reading you can be swept off into new lands and places and you can experience the places and people along with your main characters.  Armchair traveling at its best.

Below are links to the books my classes are reading!  Even if you are not in my class…I HIGHLY RECOMEND THESE BOOKS!  Travel around the world with Phileas in ‘Around the World in 80 days’ by Jules Verne.   Or how about discovering the Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of Lewis’s Dog in ‘The Captain’s Dog’ by Roland Smith. Jump into one of these books, go on an adventure without leaving your chair and learn a little while you are at it!

Here is a link to where you can get the book we are reading in my US Geography class.  Hopefully you all have it already and are well in it already!  and Here is a link to many possible editions to buy of the book we are reading in both the Middle and High School Geography classes.   the FREE edition of Around the World in 80 days.  For your e-reader (kindle and  the ipad with a kindle app)


For those that have a nook:  .99 cent e-reader book.


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Massachusetts Facts and Trivia Information | Massachusetts Symbols

Massachusetts Facts and Trivia Information | Massachusetts Symbols.

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Maine Facts and Trivia Information | Maine Symbols

Maine Facts and Trivia Information | Maine Symbols.

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