Article posted October 2, 2011 at 11:15 PM GMT-5 •
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Several classes using Classblogmeister are involved in the Seven Random Facts activity. It is a way to get the blogging ball rolling and reach out and comment to some blogging friends across the state, the country or across the ocean. Our fifth and sixth grade students are writing their own lists of facts (see the assignment at the left and their posts) and then working on commenting skills by searching out at least two other students and leaving well-written and respectful comments for them. Everyone likes to receive comments. It is a way to know that someone has read your blog post and found something they wanted to talk about, and they take a moment to communicate that with you.We will be posting comments for students in Lebanon, Rhode Island, New Zealand, Washington, New York, Georgia, Canada, Colorado, and maybe more. What do we have in common with students and teachers around the globe? Let's find out!
Seven Random Facts About Me
1. I have never lived in any state but Pennsylvania, although I have visited 12 others.
2. I am very fond of York Peppermint Patties!
3. Years ago I taught myself to play the guitar but now I have forgotten how.
4. I am very proud of my three children who are now all grown up.
5. Someday I would love to visit Ireland where many of my ancestors came from.
6. I would love to live at the beach and hear the sound of the waves every morning.
7. Every single day I learn something new about technology.
Article posted September 21, 2011 at 06:08 PM GMT-5 •
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It has been a very enriching and educational experience to follow the Alaskan adventures of MD and ED as their family traveled across America and lived for a short time in our largest state. How lucky we are to have heard about so many new places and traditions! But the adventure is coming to a close as they begin their journey back to the "lower 48" as MD says in Hand Trams and Aurora Borealis, My Last Blog Written in Alaska.
MD also shares a humorous account of her fears about crossing the Winner's Creek Gorge in a "hand tram". This 39 second video can give you an idea of what the experience may have felt like.
The final adventure, and a fitting conclusion, was viewing the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. MD describes her feeling at getting the opportunity to experience this phenomenon. The auroras are still being studied by scientists. They occur in the Arctic and also Antarctic region where they are known as the Southern Lights or "Aurora Australis". Learn more about the science behind the auroras and how Nasa is studying them in this article as well as the video.
We wish them all a safe journey home and many thanks for taking the time to share your awesome adventures. What a great trip and amazing learning experience!
Article posted September 11, 2011 at 02:44 PM GMT-5 •
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On this day ten years ago, the United States of America experienced a great tragedy. That tragedy took the lives of 2,977 individuals who are especially remembered and honored today, although they are remembered and honored by their families every day.
In their memory, let us stand tall and be the best students and teachers and global citizens we can be, always working toward peace and understanding on our beautiful planet. We are brothers and sisters in this global society. Let's use our learning projects, our blogging, and our use of technology to move us to become the best global society we can be.
At left, an image from a memorial service at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the scene of the Flight 93 crash. At right, members of the Fire Department of the City of New York present honors as they pass the World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial aboard USS New York, which carries 7.5 tons of steel from the twin towers in her bow.
Article posted September 4, 2011 at 02:52 PM GMT-5 •
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Denali, the "High One," is the name given by natives to the highest peak in the Alaska Range. It is also the name of the national park and preserve that began as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917. The park and the massif (a compact portion of a mountain range containing one or more summits) includes North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley. In 1980 the park land was increased by about 4 million acres and became known as Denali National Park and Preserve.
It is of this area that MD speaks in her August 23 post of visiting the very small town of Talkeetna at the base of Mount McKinley and trying (unsuccessfully) to catch a clear view of the summit. Hopefully they were able to get back and get a clear view. She offers a very interesting description of the picturesque town as well as the wealth of information gleaned from visiting the ranger station and learning about what is actually involved in undertaking a climb of one of the highest peaks in the world. She learned that Susan Butcher, famed Iditarod winner, actually made it to the summit with her sled dogs. Learn more about the amazing accomplishments of Susan Butcher here.
By the way, the 2012 Iditarod begins on March 3. Learn more about the Iditarod here. Now that we have been learning more about Alaska thanks to MD and her family, perhaps following the Iditarod this year would be a very exciting thing to do! It has been called the "Last Great Race on Earth" and covers 1150 miles from Anchorage in south central Alaska to Nome on the western Bering Sea. The teams of 12 to 16 dogs and their "mushers" cover this distance in 10 to 17 days. Thanks to technology we can follow a team from start to finish. Shall we do it?
Article posted August 20, 2011 at 03:57 PM GMT-5 •
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Our traveling sisters have been writing up a storm and I have fallen behind! MD wrote of her experiences performing with the Alaska Dance Theatre where she will be taking classes. Her next post, titled Our Adventures In and Out of Anchorage tells of her grueling climb up Flattop Mountain near Anchorage (seen at the right). They also panned for gold on the Kenai Peninsula and visited the Anchorage Museum. The featured exhibit at the museum is Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age, on display until October 9. Do you know the answers to these questions?
1. What is the difference between a mammoth and a mastodon?
2.Are elephants descended from mammmoths?
3. Did humans live at the same time as mammoths?
4. Why did mammoths and mastodons become extinct?
You can find the answers to these questions and more here. Be sure to read her description of the various glaciers she saw on her journey as well as her excitement at visiting the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. In addition they were able to watch the Bore Tide come in at Turnagain Arm. The science behind the Bore Tide (which you can watch in the video clip below, is clearly explained in a podcast here. There are only certain places in the world where the Bore Tide phenomenon occurs. There is also a terrific video of the region and some of the things MD has seen in this video. Turnagain Arm, as MD notes, was named by Captain Cook. An interesting account of his exploration of the region can be found here.
In her August 3 post Life in Anchorage and the Fort, ED tells of the cultural opportunities in the city as well as watching the Anchorage Pilots baseball team. You can learn about the other teams in the ABL (Alaska Baseball League) here. She also speaks of what life is like on a military base.
What do you know about the United States military? You can learn more about the branches of our armed forces at the sites below. We owe all the men and women serving in the military our gratitude for the responsibilities they undertake.
Article posted August 7, 2011 at 08:52 PM GMT-5 •
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In her two posts of July 25, MD ( here and here)relates crossing from Canada into Alaska at the 141st meridian and gives her very descriptive impression of Anchorage. Read an interesting article on how the border was determined. There was definitely controversy!
She comments on Anchorage's orderly streets, the lovely skyline, with very modern buildings, and the many stuffed bears. Not your teddy bear variety, but full size bears outside the stores. She also mentioned the "quicksand" beach of Anchorage. I was curious to learn more about this and found out the area is referred to as "mudflats". There are signs posted regarding the danger in walking on the "beach" and a number of people have died after becoming stuck in the mud. The video shows US Hovercraft on the mudflats and you can get an idea of what this "beach" is like.
You can learn a lot about Alaska and cities such as Anchorage and Tok as well as history and cultural traditions at the Alaska 101 website.
Article posted July 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM GMT-5 •
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MD's latest travel post tells about the Klondike Gold Rush and the town of Skagway. The Klondike River is a tributary of the Yukon River, which is the second longest in Canada.(The Mackenzie River is the longest.) Actually part of the Yukon flows in Canada and part in Alaska. MD tells of the miners or "stampeders" who headed north expecting to get rich, and that they had to carry thousands of pounds of supplies. At first I thought this had to be a mistake, but upon further investigation it seems that the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police required stampeders to have a year's worth of supplies with them before they were allowed to cross the border into Canada from Skagway. This is according to information posted by the Adventure Learning Foundation. Take a look at this list of supplies! How ever did they manage it all?
There was an old radio show and then a television series (sometime in the 1950s) called Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. They eventually came out with the series on DVD and it is available on Amazon. Or watch the opening of the tv show here. The description states:
Set in the frozen tundra of Canada's Yukon Territory in the late 1800s, Sergeant Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police rode alongside his trusted Husky sidekick, Yukon King. Preston could often be heard encouraging his sled dogs through the snow with cries of "On King. On, you Huskies!" Battling the elements and criminals alike, he single-handedly fought for peace and justice. Preston set out to protect settlers and gold miners who came to make their home in this frozen wilderness. Naturally, like all good Mounties, he always got his man.
Did you know there are 3 territories and 10 provinces in Canada? If you want to become better acquainted with Canadian geography, try the games at the Sheppard Software site. The territory known as Nunavut was once part of the Northwest Territories. Nunavut -- "our land" in the Inuktitut language - has been home to Inuit for millennia and part of Canada for more than a century. It officially became a territory in 1999.
Though most of the early gold seekers did not find the riches they hoped to find, they did find some very beautiful regions, both in what would become the state of Alaska, as well as in the Canadian territories. We have a few friends from Canada who visit our blog. It would be great to hear about this region from the people who live there.
Article posted July 15, 2011 at 09:41 AM GMT-5 •
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Our adventurers have added some lovely descriptions of their experiences. ED mentions the beauty of Wyoming with "plains of long-growing grass that ripple and wave like a green ocean in perfect unison". ED is a dog lover, and so seeing the herding dogs out on the prairie along with the cows and cowboys was very exciting! If you are a dog lover and want to know more about dog breeds involved in herding, Herding on the Web is a great site by Linda Rorem that is loaded with interesting information and photos. I never realized there were so many herding breeds!
MD has written two posts recently. In the first she recounts the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, which has actually been featured on ESPN and according to their website, is featured as one of the "Top 10 Things to See in Alaska" by the Travel Channel... Here you will see the world's best athletes in a sport pulled straight from the heart of American History." MD and family witnessed lumberjacks representing Team USA and Team Canada. (You will have to read her post Ketchikan Continued, Welcome to Juneau, to see who won.)
She also talks about seeing a whale and visiting Totem Bight. I mentioned totem poles in the previous post, but do you know the term "bight"? A bight is a bend in the coast forming an open bay, the water being shallower than in a sound. Besides Totem Bight, you may want to learn more about the Bight of Benin and its connection to the slave trade, and the Great Australian Bight. The Totem Bight Clan House is a replica of a community house that could have housed 30 to 50 people. The design is representative of the type built in the early 19th century. According to the description at the Totem Bight State Historical Park website,
Inside is one large room with a central fireplace surrounded by a planked platform. The walls and floors were hand-adzed to smooth the surface and remove splinters. The dwelling served as living quarters for several families of a particular lineage. Each was allotted its own space but shared a common fire. Housewares, treasured items, and blankets were stored under the removable floor boards, and food items were hung from the beams and rafters. The members belonging to the house would be headed by a house chief of the same lineage.
In her second post , Juneau, MD describes adventures in Alaska's capital, including the Mt. Roberts Tramway. This looks like an awesome adventure all by itself. According to the website, you can "ride the enclosed gondola through the rain forest to the 1,800-foot level of Mount Roberts for one of the most expansive views in Southeast Alaska". They also visited a 12 mile long glacier which is receding about two to five feet a day.
Article posted July 11, 2011 at 03:23 AM GMT-5 •
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In her latest post, Wild Wild West, ED gives a descriptive impression of traveling through Minnesota and South Dakota. She mentions visiting The Corn Palace. I had never heard of this attraction so I checked it out. According to the website, "The World's Only Corn Palace is an outstanding structure which stands as a tribute to the agricultural heritage of South Dakota." The wall murals are changed each year (the image at the left from the website shows the 2010 designs) and some big names in country music perform there. (Have you ever heard of Loretta Lynn?)
Mt. Rushmore at night was also part of the itinerary. What an awesome view. Click on the image at the right to see a very short video of the lighting ceremony.
MD's latest post recounts the ferry ride to Ketchikan, Alaska. The state of Alaska, as you know, is not part of the contiguous U.S. (The 48 connected states are "contiguous".) Alaska was purchased by Secretary of State William Seward in 1872 for $7.2 million, a steal at 2.5 cents per acre. It became a state in 1959. At the time of purchase, most people thought Seward had made a foolish purchase, and it became known as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox". It wasn't until gold was discovered in Alaska in the 1890's that opinion about Alaska began to change.
She also tells us that Ketchikan is the Salmon Capital of the World and that she saw many totem poles. I never realized there are six main types of totem poles (native legend or story poles, family lineage or house poles, memorial poles, shame poles, commemorative poles, and grave poles) and also that the four traditional paint colors used on a totem pole are red, black, turquoise, and white. You can read the interesting details about the carving, painting, and meanings here. The map at the right from the Back Country Safaris site shows the location of Ketchikan in the southeastern part, or panhandle, of Alaska. And speaking of salmon, here is an infographic that shows various species of fish and attempts to answer the question How do you know which fish are fine for your fork? referring to the issues of over-exploitation, destructive fishing techniques, and polluting fish farms.