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January 26, 2013

Author Visit with H.J. Ralles


1.  H.J. Ralles shares her manuscript for her book, Darok 9.
2.  Looking through a magazine.
3. The Ghosts of Malhado 
4.  Adding titles to their "creativity box".
5.  H. J. Ralles talking to the kids about her books 
6.  Cutting pictures out of magazines
7.  Showing H.J. Ralles her finished "creativity box"
8.  Trimming pictures for his journal
9.  Sharing their ideas with H.J. Ralles

       Friday, we had our 2nd annual "Creativity Box" workshop with author, H.J. Ralles. She talked to the kids about her experiences as a writer, where she gets her ideas from, and how she collects ideas for her books. They got to see her first published book from when she was 10 and how her editor edits her manuscript. Then she walked them through creating their own "creativity box". The BEST part...it was all aligned to our Texas TEKS objectives and will help prepare them for the STAAR Writing test. 


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January 25, 2013

Texas Ho! (Colonization of Texas) Picture Update


"Texas Ho!"
1.  Loading up the wagon
2.  Designing her pioneer paper doll
3.  Using the PPT to draw items 
4.  Putting the paper doll together
5.  Setting the scene
6.  Drawing the family horse
7.  Notice one family member wanted to ride the horse.
8.  It is tiring traveling west. You might need to take a nap under your wagon.
9.  This family stopped for a picnic.

This is my favorite lesson. I love watching their "family" dynamics and listening to their conversations. These are by far the best examples that my students have ever created. Now, it is time to put our sign and go to Texas.

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January 16, 2013

Texas Ho! (Colonization of Texas) - Updated

Texas Ho! is my favorite Social Studies lesson. After reading about Moses and Stephen F. Austin, students fill out their application for colonization.

I remind my students that we are pretending that it is 1820, so when they choose their "current state of residence", they have to select one that was actually a state in 1820 and NOT Texas. For their date of birth, we subtracted their age from 1820, but used the same month and date. Their "country of origin" had to either be the United States or a European country. Although, I did allow one boy to choose Russia. I, also, explained that majority of colonists were going to be farmers, and that most women would be homemakers. (The girls were seriously upset by this news.)

The next question may be a touchy one, especially in public schools, but I approach it from a purely historical aspect. One of the goals of Spanish explorers was to spread the Roman Catholic religion. Even after Mexico won its independence from Spain, they still required their citizens to be Catholic. I, also, remind them that the Mexican governor is going to give them free land, so would they be willing to pretend. The same caveat goes for the question of would they renounce their U.S. citizenship. Almost all agree to both.

Finally, we discuss how Moses Austin wanted to establish a colony of Anglo American settlers. He was only allowed to bring 300 families, so he could choose the best. They must have good moral character and manners. One of the hardest parts of this application ~ signing their name in CURSIVE.

They submit their application to the "Land Grant office" [my turn in basket], then the "Mexican governor" [me] reviews their application and stamps it "APPROVED" or "DENIED". [Actually, I've never found an approved or denied stamp, so I stamp it "Received", initial it and date it.]

The next day, I return their applications, usually to a lot of chatter about whether they were approved or not. Students who were approved become "head of households". I put them into "family" groups. I ask them to choose a last name. Some years, they have even assigned themselves roles in their families [ie. dad, mom, baby, cousin, grandma, etc...]

Now that "We are family..." (Is that song in your head now? You're welcome!)

I show them a Powerpoint of household items a family in 1820 might have owned.


Then, I give them a copy of  "Texas Ho!".
Updated file on 1/17/13 - I forgot the sack of salt. 

They work with their family to decide what household items they should load on their wagon and bring to Texas. I let them use a calculator to make sure they do not exceed the 400 lb. weight limit.

The final step is to pack their wagon. I give them an outline of a wagon. They draw the items in the wagon, then cut it out, glue it onto construction paper, and draw a horse pulling their wagon. We post a "GTT" [Gone to Texas] sign on our classroom door, and we are off to Austin's colony.

Note: I am not sure where the original "Texas Ho!" idea came from, perhaps some curriculum guide. My original copy has no copyright information on it. I apologize if I have infringed on copyright. Please notify me and I will remove it from my blog.

The "Application for Colonization" is my idea, which is why I added a copyright tag.

Last, but not least! This is the first time I have shared files on my blog. Please let me know if you have any difficulty accessing them.
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January 4, 2013

Teaching with Moxie 200 Follower Giveaway


Let me introduce you to my friend and former teaching partner, Diane. She is an awesome 3rd grade Math teacher and teaches with a lot of moxie. Recently, she redesigned her blog and hit the 200 follower mark. Please visit her!

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January 1, 2013

January Currently & Thanks!

It's the first, so that means Farley's Currently!


I love listening to the rain. I just wish it wasn't so cold. The fireworks...well...I am not as thrilled about. My neighbors spend an outrageous fortune on them. They are still shooting them off tonight.

No alarm clock! My cats and dog have been unusually quiet in the morning. As a result, I've slept in until 7:30 - 8:00 every morning during break. It has been AWESOME! 5:00 Monday morning is going to be ROUGH!!!

I'd make a to do list, but I am a procrastinator. I probably wouldn't get anything done on it, even if I made one.

I did take down the Christmas tree, much to my husband's dismay. He suggested we keep it up year round. Ummm...NO! I need to finish putting away the snowmen and put it all in the attic, but I am a procrastinator and I have no energy. 

My one little word is HOME, because I love being home. I love taking care of my home. I would like to be a "home" wife someday. Home is where my heart is! 


Thanks to Christina! I won her second set of fonts yesterday. I used CB EvenPuffer on my January Currently.
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