Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thanksgiving Myth

1621 Harvest Fest
By LibraryDragon | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

This is a re-post from a post on

Today's Thanksgiving has been a series of myths and successful public relation moves. Somewhere a long the way it was dubbed the "first" thanksgiving.  The colonists had celebrated many "thanksgivings" in their homeland.  These celebrations usually consisted of prayer and fasting.  The Wampanoag Indians and other Native American Tribes had feasts of thanksgiving through out the year.
Part of the myth around our national holiday involves the colonists inviting the Indians to this feast.  When you read the surviving letter from Edward Winslow and listen to the re-tellings of the oral traditions of the Wampanoag you see this gathering in a different perspective.  The Wampanoag were not sure of their new neighbors and kept an eye on them.
During that first year many of the new colonists died.  They were buried at night to try and prevent the Indians from knowing the true number and strength of the colonists.  In March Somoset and Squanto pay the colonists a visit.
The autumn festival is surrounded by controversy about what really happened.  Did the colonists invite their new allies or did the Wampanoag invite themselves for some reason.  After reading the research and oral histories of the time I believe that autumn, the colonists chose to celebrate their survival and were shooting off muskets.  The Wampanoag were quick to respond.  Massasoit arrived with 90 men to see what all the shooting was about - figuring the newcomers were going to war.  When they arrive they realize they are not going to war but are having a party.  Massasoit sends out men to bring back food.  They stay for three days, during that time they feast and negotiate a military alliance.

Related Links for further investigation:
Oyate - Deconstructing the Myths of the "First Thanksgiving"
Plimoth Plantation

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Popplet - Request an invitation

BrainBoltz visual review.
I am taking a new technology class and we explored some great tools that many of you already know: Glogster, Smilebox, Dropbox, WallWisher and Storybird.  We also looked at a brand new tool still in Beta but with great potential Popplet .

You can stop by the site and request an invitation.  I am really excited about it.  It is collaborative.  I can see using it in the classroom to connect reading, writing and images.  What a powerful tool!

Lesson I am working on:  Books - Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, If You're Not From the Prairie by David Bouchard, and Mama, Where Are You From by Marie Bradby.  Having the students reflect on what connects these stories and how it connects to their life.

Popplet is a fluid program so when changes are made your link reflects current changes.  No going back to edit what has already been published.  I think this has so much potential.  The review at BrainBoltz says it well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Operation Military Kids

The deployment of American soldiers has affected many communities.  What we may not think about is the families - the children - of these service men and women.  Any time a parent is separated from their children can be emotionally difficult.  When you add risk factors and extended time it makes for a very turbulent time.

As a teacher I may see the stress from these students come out in many ways.  If I am not aware of the back story (Mom or Dad is deployed) I may not be able to offer this student the support they need.  Families of Active Duty soldiers are more aware of what resources are available to them.  Families of Reserve or National Guard Units may not initially know about Family Support Services that are available.

One resource that many people may not know about is "Operation: Military Kids".  OMK is the Army's program to support children and youth affected by deployment of their family members.  The military is partnering with community resources to support and enhance the life of these students.  They are encouraging schools and teachers and 4-H to be an active part in this program. Many states offer professional development through this program.

One of the programs offered is the Mobile Technology Lab - students learn about technology as they communicate with deployed family, learn to make podcasts and how to use other equipment.  In 2009 - this program was active in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  You can click on this link to find out about current events and contact information. The MTL (Mobile Tech Lab) is available for all OMK partners working with military children.  Our kids need support and with your involvement they can get it.