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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History of Halloween

Halloween is an international holiday celebrated on October 31. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories and watching horror movies. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is celebrated in several countries of the Western world, most commonly in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia. In Sweden the All Saints' official holiday takes place on the first Saturday of November.
Taken from Wikipedia or

See the following links for more history and resources on Halloween. Halloween Resources History of Halloween

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red Ribbon Week October 18-26, 2008

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Although the start end dates can vary slightly depending on the organization and source, Red Ribbon Week generally takes place the last full week in October, with the weekends before and following the last full week included as appropriate celebration dates. This year Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated October 18-26, 2008. Red Ribbon Week serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug free America.

Historically, the Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985 when Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique "KiKi" Camarena was tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico. The people of his hometown hung red ribbons in his memory and to bring attention to the impact drugs have on all of us. Since that time the red ribbon has come to symbolize a commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Raising children in a drug-free community is everybody's responsibility.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Honoring Our Veterans-November 11 is Veterans' Day

Honoring Our Veterans--November 11
On the 11th month, the 11th day, at the 11th hour, take a moment and stop for two minutes to remember those who served our country.
The following web sites will give us information for a theme unit, a newspaper, an article, a story, other projects, arts, crafts, books, links, resources, and activities:
VA Kids, K-5th (for children kindergarten through 5th grade; also contains games!)
Wikipedia: Veterans Day
Kids’ Turn Central: Remembering Those Who Served (facts for children)
DLTK’s Holiday Activities for Kids: Remembrance Day or Veterans Day Activities (crafts, games, printables, and more about Veterans Day) Veterans Day Activities (The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, poetry, word search, and reading suggestions)
Department of Veterans Affairs: Celebrating America’s Freedoms Ways to Celebrate Veteran’s Day with Your Children
Blackwell’s Best: Veterans Day / Memorial Day (tons of information!)
Kids Konnect: Veterans Day (lots of great facts and much more for children!!!!!)
Wikipedia: In Flanders Fields (poem written by John McCrae in 1915)
Web sites with how to write a newspaper paper (for kids), newspaper article template, and an example of a student newspaper:
Bedfordshire Libraries: How to write a newspaper article
Spencerville Adventist Academy: The Point newspaper (PDF file)
More Resources to teach about Veteran's Day Theme or Unit at:

Election News, Events, Issues, Projects, and Resources

There are many excellent election resources on the web to help your students understand and become involved in the electoral process whether it is a presidential year or an off-year election cycle. An election unit is a fabulous way to integrate all subjects and to use more math, government, and current events. You can use your lessons to discuss current events in politics. Have students discuss, debate, and write about the current issues and events. Browse through the election topics, lesson plans, links, activities, and other resources to keep your students informed of election news. With older students, create a class wiki to discuss presidential views and issues. You can have students conduct a school election and compare results using higher level thinking skills Use some of these websites to enlighten your students about the election process. Project some of these activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use them to review constitutional rights, civil rights, history of our founding fathers, and more. Incorporate current events into your lesson plans or use feature stories for comprehension practice on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these resources when teaching about how writing for a newspaper differs from essay or report writing.
You can find some great election resources at these sites so check them out at : .


This is an E-newsletter from the Texas State Teachers Association that I received and wanted to share with all of you.

Understanding Money
With the recent financial turmoil, it becomes more and more clear that students need to understand how money works. It really is never too early (or too late) to learn the major concepts of money. Money doesn’t just involve math. Money permeates every facet of our lives and your students’ lives, so here are a few ideas and sites to help you teach about it. As NEA member Joyce Higgs says, “An investment in your students’ financial education will prepare them for making a lifetime of responsible financial decisions.”
Here are some resources to help your students better understand both the concepts and the realities of money.
Starting from the TopThe U.S. Department of the Treasury offers some educational assistance. “Pocket Change,” as it’s called, offers students interactive games to teach them the history of the money they carry with them every day. Most games are pretty basic, so a teacher needs to make sure the games teach specific materials, but the method can be helpful.
The Treasury’s site links to the U.S. Mint’s website, too. This site is very developed, offering social studies lessons, as well. Complete lesson plans can be found here:
Comics and Common CentsAt the middle level, the New York Federal Reserve offers young people information that is geared toward their age. For example, the site offers a catalog that contains 12 different comic books that explain financial and economic subjects--from consumer credit to inflation.
One of the comics uses the story of two basketball-playing buddies to discuss the role of checks and electronic payments in the U.S. economy--including the role of the Fed in facilitating payments. The booklet also teaches personal finance skills such as writing a check and balancing a checking account.
The catalog includes a front cover picture and a plot synopsis for each comic. You can order a maximum of 35 copies for free.
Involving ParentsMoving financial lessons out of the classroom and into the kitchen can really help students learn to make good choices with their money.
The National PTA offers an article titled, “15 Ways to Teach Kids about Money.” The piece was written by Paul Richard. The article begins by telling parents to teach children about money as soon as they can count. Paul’s last suggestion is to establish a regular schedule for the family to talk about finances as children get older. The article can be found at the link below, and it could serve as a helpful communication piece.
Parents who are looking for advice on allowances can use this link, as well:
One-Stop is a site that can offer money lessons to every grade level. The site is very large and highly developed.
Basic skills are offered for the youngest students, complete with worksheets that you can create using their interactive options. To enhance logic and reasoning, you can use one of the site’s coin puzzle worksheets, where various amounts of coins and amounts are given, and students must answer what coins might make up the combinations. Older students, on the same site, can practice balancing a checking account, discover investment approaches, and learn to set financial goals.
The site offers money-related ideas to teachers and students at every level.
As Joyce says, “These resources teach kids to respect money, to earn money, to set money goals, to distinguish between needs and wants, to make wise decisions, to be charitable, to invest in the market, etc. A financial education will allow your students to reap the rewards of good money management."
By the way, Joyce’s insight came from NEA’s Works4Me:
Remember that you can always look to your fellow NEA members to make your teaching better!

You can find more money teaching ideas at .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fire Safety & Fire Prevention Month in October, Week of Oct. 9, and Day is October 9

October is National Fire Prevention Month. It provides a great opportunity to teach students about fire safety in their own homes, community, and the outside world. I have pulled together a variety of resources, links, activities, crafts, books, lessons, facts, and info to help you teach about this theme at . Support your local fire company in its efforts to promote fire safety education in your community all year and during Fire Prevention Week and Fire Prevention Month. Each person should examine your own home, both inside and out, and make it safe from fire.

Fire Safety week is the perfect time to teach Fire Safety or Community Helper themes. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association recognizes the calendar week in which October 9 falls as Fire Prevention Week. On October 9, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire started, killing 250 people and causing more than $160 million dollars in property and building damage. Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity to teach children about the dangers of fire and how to prevent fire and injuries.

On October 9, 1911, the Fire Marshals Association of North American, which became the National Fire Prevention Association(NFPA), started Fire Prevention Day. The date is the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Christopher Columbus Day October 12, 1492

Columbus Day commemorates the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who first landed in the New World on October 12, 1492. Throughout the nineteenth century, Italian-Americans organized celebrations in various cities to honor Columbus, and in 1905, Colorado became the first state to observe Columbus Day. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 to be officially celebrated as Columbus Day. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared it a federal public holiday, celebrated on the second Monday in October.
By North of Boston Library Exchange at .

"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." And his arrival in the West Indies led to enduring links between Europe and the Americas. In the early years of our nation's history, Christopher Columbus was raised to hero status by writers and historians wishing to create a common memory for our new nation. Five hundred years later, by the quincentennial of 1992, Columbus' name had become somewhat tarnished. Is Columbus a hero worth celebrating, or was he a cruel imperialist? Discover the debate, and decide for yourself.
By Barbara J. Feldman

For more Columbus Day resources, go to .


Once upon a time there was an Italian,
And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
But he wasn't offended,
Because other people thought he was splendid,
And he said the world was round,
And everybody made an uncomplimentary sound,
But he went and tried to borrow some money from Ferdinand
But Ferdinand said America was a bird in the bush and he'd rather have a birdinhand,
But Columbus' brain was fertile, it wasn't arid,
And he remembered that Ferdinand was married,
And he thought, there is no wife like a misunderstood one,
Because if her husband thinks something is a terrible idea she is bound to think it a good one,
So he perfumed his handkerchief with bay rum and citronella,
And he went to see Isabella,
And he looked wonderful but he had never felt sillier,
And she said, I can't place the face but the aroma is familiar,
And Columbus didn't say a word,
All he said was, I am Columbus, the fifteenth-century Admiral Byrd,
And, just as he thought, her disposition was very malleable,
And she said, Here are my jewels, and she wasn't penurious like Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi,
she wasn't referring to her children, no, she was referring to her jewels, which were very very valuable,
So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else,
So the sad fate of Columbus ought to be pointed out to every child and every voter,
Because it has a very important moral, which is, Don't be a discoverer, be a promoter.

By Ogden Nash

For more Columbus Day resources, go to .