Engage YOUR Mind!

Today, Ms. Walker came across an interesting website that is kind of like
Curious[St]George!

engagetheirminds

It’s called Engage Their Minds, and it’s written by Terri Eichholz, a teacher from San Antonio, Texas.  She has been teaching gifted students in grades K-5 for 14 years.  This website is meant to be a helpful resource to other teachers who want to customize students’ learning.  Even though it’s targeted towards educators, some of the content might be interesting for students as well.

Here’s an example of one of the cool things Ms. Eichholz posted about recently: MaKey MaKey.  Apparently this is “an invention kit for everyone,” and it allowed her students to use a banana as a keyboard space bar, or Play-Doh as piano keys.  Cool!  Click here to visit her post, or click here to visit the website for MaKey MaKey.  This could be something really cool to investigate further here at Saints.

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Filed under Enrichment, Fun

Class Differences on the Titanic

During Term 2, Ms. Walker did a research unit with her Grade 1 students that focused on the Titanic.  And now, some of the boys in 2DP are working on an investigation project that has to do with the same subject.  Today we were discussing 1st Class, 2nd Class, and 3rd Class on the ship, and what the differences were between them.  We talked about how Wikipedia can sometimes be a good source of information, but that we could probably find a better, more reliable website.  After a doing a Google search for classes on the Titanic, we found Titanic Stories: The Official Website of the Titanic!  That sounded perfect!

The article we read was called Titanic Passengers Classes, and discussed not only what life was like in the different parts of the ship, but what the people were like in each class and how they got there.  One of the most interesting things we discovered was that the class structure was not based on ability to pay as we would know today, but upon the social strata into which you were born.  That means that even if you had a lot of money, but were not considered part of the elite class, you couldn’t be in the 1st Class section of the boat.

Have a look at the following video, Titanic Millionaires, which talks about some of the people who were in the 1st Class section of the boat, and who were sort of like the movie stars of the time.

Click here to visit the videos part of the site, where you’ll find a whole bunch of other interesting videos about the Titanic!

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Filed under Enrichment, Grade 2

Overheard in the Library 40

In reference to Mr. Weber’s dice-themed Western shirt: “You look like a professional Yahtzee player!”

dice

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Filed under Fun, Grade 1, Overheard in the Library

Thursday’s Thought of the Day

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

~ Rebecca West

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First Editions

Today Mr. Weber overheard an interesting conversation between Ms. Walker and some Grade 6 students:  they were talking about the new Kenneth Oppel book (see post below), and what the term first edition means for a book.  The books that we received from Mr. Oppel are indeed first editions, as is noted inside the books by a special First edition keepsake!

The conversation then turned to how cool it would be to have a first edition of a Harry Potter book.  “How much would one of these be worth?” the student asked.  After a little research, Mr. Weber found a first softcover printing of HPATPS for sale on eBay for almost $5,200!  The original hard cover edition is far more rare – in fact, there are only about 200 collectible copies of this book, and they have sold for between $40,000-$55,000!  Check out this cool article from AbeBooks called The Holy Grail of Harry Potter Books to find out more.  Also check out this video to see if the Harry Potter book that YOU have might be valuable …

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Filed under Fun, Grade 6, New Books, Overheard in the Library, Really Good Questions

Mysteries of Ancient Language: Egyptian Edition

Some of the boys in 2JT have been investigating ancient languages.  Today we had a really interesting discussion about the Rosetta Stone.  “What is that?” you might ask.  Well here’s what we found out after doing some research …

The Rosetta Stone has 3 languages carved into the stone. One of them is written in hieroglyphs, another one is ancient demotic (everyday) Egyptian, and the last one is ancient Greek. This provided the key that unlocked the secrets of the hieroglyphic text, as well as the unknown demotic language (since most scholars at the time could read ancient Greek.)

image credit: British Museum

image credit: British Museum

It was found in 1799, in Rosetta, Egypt (near Alexandria) by French soldiers, half buried in mud, when they were invading Egypt.  Jean Francois Champollion (from France) was the first one to crack the code.  He discovered that the pictures in the hieroglyphs represented sounds.  Before this, nobody knew how to speak or understand ancient Egyptian languages – the knowledge of how to read and write them was lost around 400 AD.  But now, for the first time since then, people could understand it, and translate all the other ancient Egyptian texts.  The text of the Rosetta Stone (once it was translated) was found to celebrate the one year anniversary of Ptolemy V becoming the King during the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

If you’re interested in finding out more information, click here to have a look at the British Museum website (the Rosetta Stone has been exhibited at the British Museum, in London, since 1802.)

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Filed under Enrichment, Grade 2, Really Good Questions

Let’s Do Lunch

Today has been one of those kind of… icky… days, weather-wise. It’s not raining hard enough to justify an indoor lunch recess, but it’s just wet enough to make the idea of “fresh air” rather unappetizing.

Days like today mean the library is PACKED full of students. We had to turn latecomers away because every single chair was taken! If there had been an anthropologist here, he or she would have observed the following activities:

  • reading
  • creating posters
  • creating Minecraft civilizations
  • finishing assignments
  • working on Khan Academy modules
  • playing with Cubelets
  • playing with rats
  • playing cards
  • putting together a puzzle
  • playing Cat’s Cradle
  • wandering around aimlessly

If you wonder what a rainy lunchtime looks like, here’s a little snapshot:

Lunchtime @ the Library

Phew! It can be pretty crazy in here, but we’re glad to welcome kids who prefer indoor activities on a drizzly day.

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Filed under Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Library Studies