The Journey of a Lifetime

Spices of the world
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: darwin Bell via Compfight

Have you ever heard the expression variety is the spice of life?  

The meaning behind that saying is one of the reasons I love teaching language arts.  We have so many different avenues to explore which keeps life interesting.  Every day we think about something different.  To begin with, the basic skills we develop are varied: reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, speaking, and listening.  All of those skills involve using language in some way.  Add to that the manner in which we approach the development of these skills: small groups, class discussions, games (a list of choices here: diagram races, Jeopardy, Bingo, baseball), dramatic readings with costumes, traditional note taking, technology (more options: the blog, QR code scavenger hunts, Educreations, Quizlet, Prezi, Powerpoint, Chictionary, iPads, iMovie, Skype, etc), simulations, field trips.  Finally, we have a myriad of materials at our disposal: myths, novels, informational text, poems, short stories, essays, and biographies and a plethora of topics: The Odyssey, Jason and the Argonauts, Antigone, Crispin, Beowulf, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Under the Blood Red Sun, Tangerine, The Wednesday Wars, a list too long to continue.

Is it any wonder I am constantly saying, “We need to spend the whole day in language arts!”?

This past week we used our speaking and listening skills to present oral reports about journeys we’d like to take.  We chose this topic as we completed our study of The Odyssey.  Odysseus’s voyage took ten years to complete.  He sailed to a multitude of locations around the Mediterranean.  He met strange people, ate unusual foods, and heard enchanting music.  In addition to ten years of his own life, the trip cost him the lives of his crew.  We thought about adventures we’d like to take: where would we go, how would we travel, what would it cost, and what would we see, hear, taste, and do.

Come fly with us around the world!



Here’s another student making an oral presentation that addresses some of the topics we’ve been thinking about in our class.

What road will you take on your journey in life?

Will you take the road less traveled by?


Click to play clip

Will your journey be one of thousands of miles or a hundred feet?

How will you add spice to your own life and by doing so enrich the lives of others?

Will you become a world-wide traveler?  A president?  A chef?  A language arts teacher?

What is your journey?

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Scavenger Hunt Success

Did you know that vending machines were invented by the Ancient Greeks?  The Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria developed a machine that dispensed holy water when a coin was inserted.   It is said that Plato invented the alarm clock and that Aeschylus is responsible for our system of trial by juryWhat do Ajax, Midas, Nike, Oracle, and Pandora have in common?   They are all products or companies named for characters in Greek mythology.  These are just a few of the interesting discoveries we made as we hunted in our modern lives for evidence of the legacy of Ancient Greece. 

Can you add any items to our list of legacies of Ancient Greece?

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Blogging Party #3!

We enjoyed our third blogging party this week as a result of our hard work all year.  Most students reached the 100 visitor mark on their student blogs.  Congratulations to Anthony Einhorn who received a shout out from the Student Blogging Challenge for having a Great Blogging Post.  You can read his post by clicking on the preceding link. 

In celebration of everyone’s accomplishments, we watched Night at the Museum with our own concession stand.  Afterwards, Mrs. Chonody, whom we met when she began commenting regularly on our blog, spoke to us about her travels around the world.  Her visit was so wonderful as it perfectly exemplified the goal of blogging to “flatten classroom walls”.  We learned of her adventures in Pakistan, India, Africa, and most recently the Vatican.  She shared many artifacts with us and also some delicious food!


Question for our class: What do you remember from Mrs. Chonody’s presentation?

Question for our blogging buddies and for our class: What country have you visited or would you like to visit?  What makes that country interesting to visit?


Mrs. Chonody Rocks on PhotoPeach

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Hey Kids! Wish you were here!

Hey Kids,
I am at Disney World now and am reading all of your Teddy comments. They are really nice, and I can see your writing progress. I have a balcony off my room that overlooks the Magic Kingdom. At 9:30 we saw a fireworks show in the sky above Cinderella’s castle and listened to music that was synchronized to the fireworks. Wish you were here!

Tomorrow I will present at the conference. I am a little nervous. It’s harder to talk to adults than to kids. Plus, I am little out of my element not being in my own classsroom. However, I am speaking about a topic I really like: writing, a.k.a. blogging!  This is like an oral report for me!

Have you ever done something that was exciting but a little nervewracking?  How did you overcome your nervousness?  Did your event go as planned?



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Christmas Oral Reports

Haul out the holly!  Today we shared stories about our family holiday traditions.  We heard about travels to visit family, matching pajamas for the family, Michael Buble Christmas music, Polish Oplatek, an Egg Nog chugging contest, the Filipino high jump,  an Advent Calendar and of course, cookies!   When presenting our reports, we remembered to SMILE Smile and make eye contact, Motivational aid, Interesting information, Length of two minutes, and Elocution.

You can see some of our favorite holiday traditions here.

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
Family Christmas Traditions on PhotoPeach





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We travel with Dr. Indiana Jones

This week our young archeologists journeyed half-way across the globe in search of artifacts for inclusion in a special exhibit at our museum.  Accompanying the world famous Dr. Indiana Jones, our students excavated the sites of ancient Greek myths and medieval Brittish legends.   After spending a week researching and digging, they returned to the States with their artifacts in hand.  The students presented these National Treasures  to our museum curator and board of directors, hoping that they might be of such significance as to be included in our most recent exhibit scheduled for tomorrow Night at the Museum.  See for yourself, and then let us know…

What is your favorite museum movie?


Oral Reports about Ancient Civilizations on PhotoPeach

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