Posted by: history591seventeen | June 21, 2010

New York Reflection

As I reflect over the two weeks I spent in New York and think about what was most important to me, I feel the need to write about some of the many things I experienced while there.  I really enjoyed learning about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park.  It helped to go to the site and I gained a better understanding of  not only the relationship between Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor; I also learned about Roosevelt’s relationship with his mother, but that was not the only lesson I learned there.  I gained a better understanding of the politics of the day.  It was significant to hear about how Roosevelt would greet his guests coming to see him at his home.  He would be seated somewhere when these visitors came and the guests would be none the wiser to the fact that Roosevelt could not walk.  I had wondered how he had kept his disability a secret.  At the same time, I knew the press just had the class at that time not to photograph him when he was moving from one place to another, using his wheelchair or crunches.  They waited until he was in place and ready to be photographed.  Times sure have changed in that regard.  The press loves to catch people unprepared.

I also enjoyed the Museum of the City of New York and the Gallery Tour: Cars, Culture, and the City. What I took away from that exhibit may not have been what they had planned, but I enjoyed looking at the car ads and thinking about how they had used propaganda to sell the cars.  I love teaching my students about how propaganda is used to get people, including them, to purchase items, and I think this exhibit is a great example that I will be able to use that will also be of interest to them.

The tours with Ed O’Donnell were very informative and I favorite day was when we went over the Brooklyn Bridge and then to Central Park.  After having read McCullough’s The Great Bridge, Ed was able to answer questions about where the Rollins’ lived and explain some of the details from the book that were a little unclear; going into Central Park was such a surprise. After looking down at the park from the Empire State building, I knew it was a large area, but once we got in there I had a better understanding of how vast this park really was.  I think the park would be one of my favorite places to hang out if I lived in New York.  It was very cool!

Ellis Island was also a must see on my list of places.  I enjoyed seeing places that others are not allowed to visit as of yet, but even without that, just the Ellis Island experience in itself was important to me.  I have taught about Ellis Island and I just came away with a much better understanding of what an immigrant might go through.  It was called “The Island of Hope and the Island of Tears” for very good reasons; yet after going there I feel that the inspectors did the best they could to get the immigrants into the country.  They really did not want to turn people away and send them home.  That was refreshing information to find out. 

Another site I am so glad we went to was the William Seward home.  I did not know he helped run-away slaves and his house was part of the Underground Railroad until we visited.  After this visit I feel like there is so much more I need to learn about him, and I plan to do that.

Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga National Historic Park were also important; for I have taught about these sites many times when covering the seven years war and the Revolution.  It is just easier to explain sites if you have experienced it yourself, and I now have photos to back up what I will be explaining to my students.  Saratoga reminded me of Gettysburg; I did not know that the battles took place in a nine mile area in a landscape that rolled somewhat like that of Gettysburg.  I am really glad I got to experience these locations, because seeing something just helps one make more sense of it.

However, the place I enjoyed the most actually surprised me and that place would be the Bowling Green.  By accident, we found it one evening, and I explained in my blog that this site was the subject of a DBQ I had worked on myself and also assigned to my students.  I find the history of this site fascinating.  I know this site has been the location of controversy and protest at different times, and I found the fact that it was still there amazing.  I think Ed said that the Sons of Liberty set up liberty poles there, and this was also the site where the statue of King George III was torn down by the Sons of Liberty after the Declaration of Independence was read.  I just find the Bowling Green very exciting.

Clearly, there was much to learn in New York and there are many new ideas and information I will be able to apply to my teaching after taking part in the New York Adventure.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 16, 2010

Ft. Ticonderoga and Saratoga

Today we went to many great sites today.  We went to Ft. Ticonderoga and the battle site for Saratoga.  At Ft. Ticonderoga I gained a better understanding of the purpose for this fort.  It was built by the French in 1775 and later became the place of the first American victory during the Revolutionary War. 

Then we went to the battle site for Saratoga.  This was a nine mile site which we experienced on our bus with our guide pointing and explaining the different strategic points.  I found both of these sites fascinating.  I took many pictures that I plan to make into a power point to show and then explain to my students.  Days like today demonstrate why it is important to visit sites like this.  I will be able to do a much better job at explaining these historical places to my students.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 15, 2010

Women’s Rights/ William Seward and the Erie Canal

We saw so many things today.  First we went to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York.  We were allowed to visit the homes of to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the M’Clintock House [Quaker activist; where Women’s Convention planned] and William Seward home in Auburn, NY.  At William Seward’s home we learned about the fact that he and his wife were abolitionists, which I did not know before. 

Our guide also told us about his daughter Fanny, who at the age of 14 had decided to be a writer and began keeping a diary of the family’s daily lives.  The guide said that is how they know so much about the family.  We also were reminded of the assassination attempt on Seward’s life, the same night Abe Lincoln was shot.  Fanny was a witness to this event and wrote about it in her diary, which is something I plan on using in the classroom.  Students would be interested in viewing this tragic event through the eyes of Fanny.

We then got back on the bus and went to the Harriett Tubman museum where we got to see the home that Tubman’s second husband built for her and then the home she used as an old folks home, which was another fact I did not know.

Then back to the bus; we then went to the Erie Canal and wrote on a boat up and down the river where we got to see the canal locks in action.  Our guide explained how important this canal was to trade in the area.  Things that had taken weeks to move across the country now only took a matter of days.  This was also a peaceful end to a hectic day.

After experiencing all of the these different places and people, I think I would like to put together a power point from my photos and show them to my students explaining to them how each one of these people and places impacted lives of Americans, kind of an informational lesson on New York State.  Maybe as an extension we could look at people and places that have impacted lives in our own area in Colorado.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 14, 2010

National Baseball Hall of Fame and much more…

Today we visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  I found out how Cooperstown’s Abner Doubleday had claimed and convinced others that the game of baseball was invented in Cooperstown in 1839; that is why the hall of fame is located here.  Our guide told us that the museum has not had to purchase any of the items on display; for they have all been donated.  They currently have 292 name plates and will be adding three more inductees in July.  They have a wealth of lesson plans on line that I plan to get into and use in my classroom.  I’m not sure which ones I will be using, but after the brief look we were given today, I am sure they are all very good.

We also went to the Fenimore Art Museum, which held some beautiful pieces from John Singer Sargent’s collection.  There was even information on one of the painting we saw in a different museum; the painting was called “Madame X”.  I found it weird to see information on a painting in one place and then view it at a different location.

Lastly, we went into the Farmers’ Museum where we saw a 19th Century village.  We rode on the merry-go-round (twice), saw some baby lambs, and watched the blacksmith make a nail, which was very cool; saw the pharmacist make pills and handle leeches, which was kind of scary. 

Ever heard of "King of the Kid. . . by a Kid"?

And as we were visiting the different sites today, we saw a lot of kids enjoying these same events with their families, which again emphasizes the importance of children getting see and experience the opportunities that are out there for them, no matter how old they are; for today I also saw many of the men that are on this trip being transformed into little boys as they entered the Hall of Fame.  I think it was an amazing experience for them and I’m glad they had the chance to go there.

Yes, that's Jonathan waving!

                       Oh and by the way, I’m not sure this “Rube” stuff is all that bad.  Here are two “Rubes” that made it into the Hall of Fame!


 So, in that case, maybe we all want to be “Rubes”!

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 13, 2010

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Wow, speak of how the other half lived; Theodore Roosevelt’s home was beyond words; yet he was sure to give back to society.  We went through the house and our tour guide told us about his personal life; we walked through his son’s house and read about Theodore Roosevelt’s personal and political career; then we took a walk to the bay.  The house was full of animal heads that for the most part, Roosevelt had hunted and killed himself; the grounds were beautiful and even had a working wind mill that was used to pump water into the house. 

While I was visiting the book store, I found a few books on Theodore Roosevelt that I purchased for my classroom and I think what I really want to do with my students is introduce them to Teddy Roosevelt.  He did so much for America and students need to hear and understand his story, and see how one person can make a difference for the betterment of mankind.  Who knows what would have happened to natural park land that he established, so future generations would have the opportunity to enjoy nature as it was long ago.  Without natural parks many people would not get the chance to see how and where animals of the wild live.  Without natural parks, many families may not have a place to vacation or a place to spend time together as a family.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 13, 2010

New York Historical Society

Going to the New York Historical Society was an enlightening experience. I enjoyed seeing the artifacts and I also enjoyed the activity they had us do in relating to the artifacts. They first showed us around the Luce collections and then gave us the assignment of finding an artifact of our own choosing. We were to decide what the object was and what it was used for and then come up with questions about our object. I choose a pair of boots that were labeled as being used at Gettysburg. After answering the list of questions we were given I came up with one additional question that could have changed the answer to all the other questions, and that was “Which side wore the boots, Union or Confederate?”

This could change everything because some Southern soldiers brought their slaves with them to care for the soldier’s things; whereas a Union soldier would have been caring for his own things, without the aid of a slave.
I would like to use this activity in my classroom because it was a great way to engage teachers and I think students would response pretty much the same. I think the most important hook to this was the fact that we were allowed to select our own items to interpret.

We also went to the Museum of Nature History, which housed some very cool things. I really liked some of the photographs of bird in flight. I took some pictures, but my camera does not do justice to what I saw. I took away from this museum the importance of getting our students into places like this. We have a very nice Nature History museum in Denver, and even though we face the hardship of getting fieldtrips approved and funded, we need to take on the challenge and talk to our parent organizations to help get our kids into places where they can see things they may not see anyplace else.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 11, 2010

Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty

I felt like everything I took part in today was part of an emotional rollercoaster. I felt excited, confused, energized and sad all in a matter of hours. First we sailed by the Statue of Liberty, which I found exciting and humbling at the same time. She is so beautiful and she makes one feel so full of promise. Next, we went to Ellis Island to take part in a behind the scenes tour, which showed me places where immigrants were cared for with what I felt would have been love and respect in a hospital setting. Then Chris and I took our time going through the rest of the Ellis Island exhibit. I tried to look at this as if I were an immigrant trying to get into this country, and I found it to be a very terrifying experience; but at the same time, I think the inspectors tried to alleviate the fears of the immigrants as much as they could.
Next we went to visit the Statue of Liberty, which was just an amazing thing to see up close. It is hard to imagine still how big she really is, yet I was right there. Chris and I left there looking for FOOD and we ended up at another Marriott that had a bar and grill where we were served to best, most juicy cheeseburger I have had so far on this trip and the pickles were to die for! After replenishing our bodies, we went to Liberty Street to see Ground Zero. This was a very emotional and heartbreaking experience. To me this is the site where our world changed forever, for we lost our innocence on 9/11. Yet, I am usually optimistic and I must say, even though over 3,000 people died on that day, looking at all of the construction, one can still feel the hope that continues to drive us Americans to be the best we can be at what we do. So there is a ray of hope on Liberty Street.
There are many things I will use in my classroom from Ellis Island. We were given all kinds of resources and at this time I’m not sure which ones I will use how, but boy did we get a lot in which to choose.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 9, 2010

Lower East Side/Tenement Housing

On our east side walking tour today we saw Mulberry Street, where tenements houses once stood and where writer/photographer Jacob Riis helped get them torn down and replaced by a much needed park. 

Riis understood the need for open space that these families living in tenement housing would not have had any other way.  We also walked past a Jewish cemetery that is actually located within Chinatown, and that information serves to remind us that the culture of a neighbor can change over time, which is absolutely the case in New York, and our guide explained to us that this occurred all over the place.

Ed, our guide, also showed us many examples of prime property.  There was one building he showed us that actually wrapped around another building, allowing another building to be built on the store front and corner site.

Lastly, we went to the Tenement Museum, which showed three different apartments that actual families lived in between 1890-1910.  I must say I was surprised by the amount of room there was in each apartment.  I know that may sound funny, knowing that each apartment was only 325 sq ft; but in the photos I have seen, taken by social reformists like Jacob Riis, I always felt the space was even smaller, which I know was truly his intention.  I plan to use much of what we saw today to teach about tenement housing, needs and space.  I think I will tape off an area of 325sq ft in my classroom and then allow student groups to set up house, after they have worked as a group to brain storm ideas about what they would need and want in their 1900 time-period apartment.  It will be interesting to see if everything they think they need would fit.  We can then look at some of the photos from the different books I picked up today.  There are so many discussions we can have; we can discuss everything the tenement people had in their homes and then we can compare what students now have in their homes; we can talk about why different items were found in the tenements and why other items were not, just to name a few ideas.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 9, 2010

Central Park/Brooklyn Bridge with Ed O’Donnell

  Today we toured the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.  After reading David McCullough’s book, being on the Bridge was an fascinating experience.  It was great to know the history and then our guide Ed O’Donnell made it make sense.  He pointed out the home of the Roeblings where Washington Roebling lived and conducted business for 11 years while building the bridge; we then walked through a small selection of Central Park, and our guide told us that 90% of the park was man-made. 

After visiting these two different sites, I began thinking about how I would relate this information to my students.  I started thinking about how the bridge and the park helped in developing and joining communities.  The bridge joined two different communities to each other and it helped with overcrowding, property values in Brooklyn went up and people had another way to get back and forth to work in New York.  Prior to building the bridge, Brooklyn was the 3rd largest city in the country; it was also a major manufacturing center and its sea ports were bigger than that of New York. In addition, Brooklyn had lower gas rates and taxes, schools were better than in New York and the local government was considered to be honest; Brooklyn also had little crime.  The bridge therefore made Brooklyn more accessible.

Next, the park provided a place for people to leave the city and enjoy a country side environment; in other words, they needed a place to play.  Living out in open spaces in Pueblo West, I think I take all of this open space stuff for granted, and I think my students do as well; I want to relate this kind of difference to my students.  I think I may use the crowdedness of our halls at passing periods as one example of the close proximity in which people live in cities like New York and discuss why people would need to get out in a park just breath the fresh air.

Posted by: history591seventeen | June 8, 2010

Lower Manhattan

Today we experienced quite the treat.  We were taken all over lower Manhattan and we were given the chance to see many of the historical sites of the day.  One of the first sites we visited today was the African Burial Ground. This site started out as many historical sites do; it was a site that was being prepared for the construction of a building.  Then after excavating the site to check to see if it was clear of anything, some 450 burials were found;  it was estimated that within this area there may have been some 20 thousand slaves buried at one time.  The statement used to explain the site fits it very well:  Rediscovery, Reinterment, Remembrance, for the site became a dig and then the bodies were reburied through the use of different ceremoniesThe site does a nice job of representing these slaves and remembering them, and our guide Ed O’Donnell reminded us that New York at one time in the 1700’s, had one of the highest number of slaves.

We went by Trinity Church and visited Alexander Hamilton’s grave, which will help me because I will use those photos in my classroom when I talk about his death after his duel with Burr, and I already have a picture of Burr’s grave taken from Princeton’s cemetery.

 We went into St.Paul’s Church to see George Washington’s pew, and while I was there I gained a new insight into 9/11.  Wow, that was a powerful experience.  I purchased a flag that contains all the names of those who died on September 11, 2001.  I plan to hang it in my classroom; I also purchased a book that I will use with my students when I teach about 9/11.

We also visited the Fraunces Tavern where George Washington gave his “Farewell Address” to his fellow soldiers.  This tavern reminded me of the City Tavern in Philadelphia.  It had the same homey feel as well as color scheme.  The pictures I took at this site will be helpful in demonstrating this place to my students, for “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

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