Thursday, July 4, 2013

Reflections for the 4th & Throwback Thursday

Happy 4th of July !!
I hope you are all taking time to enjoy the day with your friends & family, and we all take a little time to remember what this day is about - Independence.  I am so thankful to all the brave souls that have stood up, fought for, and died for my freedoms. 

I read this today and knew I had to share... it's a little long, but worth the read....

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before
they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred
honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were
farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships
swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton,
Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13
children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.

Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of
this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of
the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books
never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So,
take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: Freedom is never free!
(Shared from David Hill)

Wow, right??  That piece just really touched me, and I wanted to share. 

Now, on to Throwback Thursday....

    Here's another post that has been pinned a lot & I thought I'd revisit it..

*Originally posted October 25, 2012....

You know those days when everything kinda comes together and you're like "ahh... I think they're finally getting it!".  I love those days.  I often spend time wishing there were more of them. but I have to remind myself that my kiddies are just babies, and they are inundated with SO much stuff everyday.  So, with that in mind, when something finally clicks, it' awesome! :)Anyway, I had one of those days today & it was great. Top that off with a 3 hour dinner with one of my most favorite people in the world, and I'd call Thursday a WiN. 

Anyway, wanted to share a cute little activity that I did today . .. thanks to a great first grade team mate . . . that my kids loved.

How many of you have a bunch of these laying around?
We get so many in our mailbox, and unfortunately, not many parents order the books, so we send a couple home & do the online order thing . . . which leaves me with books of these.  I typically toss them, but then my colleague suggested a great activity for reinforcing our study on fiction vs. nonfiction.

We have been identifying & discussing non-fiction text features, and focusing on how we can compare and contrast the two.  So, today, we took out all these little flyers, and went to sorting.

I started with our Sorting Circles that we usually use for math.
Each student got two of them & labeled inside the circle either "fiction" or "nonfiction". ( Well, I labeled to save time and because I'm just slightly OCD!) Then, they started cutting pictures of books and sorting them inside their circles.

Then, they had to move their "stickies" to a divided piece of manilla paper and glue down their choices.

Lastly, because their choices seem to be only made my sight, they wrote in their Guided Reading notebooks answering these questions.
You can see the full text <HERE>. I just put them up & the kids wrote (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!).

Some responses were :
 I know my choices were fiction books because they:
* Had drawings instead of photos
* Were stories about things that couldn't really happen
* Had characters

I know my choices were non-fiction books because they:
* Had photographs of real animals or things
* Gave facts about a topic

I THINK the non-fiction books MIGHT have:
* a glossary
* a table of contents
* an index
* captions

....etc.. You get the point. Anyway, the kids did GREAT & loved the activity. Easy, cheap & successful.  Definitely a win :)

  It's a great way to use all those fliers & it was an easy way for me to assess who really "got it" and who might need more help with the concept.  Hope you like it ! 

Have a HAPPY 4th of July and an even better weekend !! :)


  1. What a great idea! I get a ton of those order catalogs too and what a waste of paper if you don't order. I love, love, love this idea! I'm doing this for sure! Thank you!

  2. Wow, I don't think I ever read that piece about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. It was very moving. Thank you for posting it.

    I have seen where teachers have used the book order forms for things like this, but I love the way you had your kids answer questions about their sort. That is a great idea, and I may just have to steal it for next year!

    Blooming In First

    1. I really like your sorting circles! I second having the kids answer questions about their sorts.

      The Sweetest Thing

  3. I never thought to save my extras. There are so many possibilities.....thanks for sharing!

  4. This is so funny, I had pined this on one of my reading boards back in the fall. It was such a good idea I had students "playing with leftover order forms" last year in a literacy center. I'm so glad I found your post this summer. Can't wait to see what else you blog about that I can use in my classes.

  5. OMG! Yes, I have a ton of these...always!!! This is such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing this again! I am definitely going to do this!!! Stop by for my Throwback Thursday post plus a FREEBIE!

    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox,

  6. Loved the piece you shared about the signers of the Declaration!! Great idea for our classrooms as well! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Love the idea with the sorting circles! I will def have to do those... Did I see Lakeshore on the label, perhaps? Love that place although my pocket and husband doesn't always.... Thanks for sharing! :-)

    First Grade and Flip Flops

  8. Thank you for sharing your post about our brave forefathers. Freedom is something that we may take for granted, but those brave men knew that they had to risk everything to have it.

    I did the lesson with the Scholastic book orders after reading your post in October. We had a walk-through of district personnel at our school that day and the lesson was a hit. I did add a category of ? for the sorting activity. If a group put a book cover picture in that column, I got out the real book to review whole group. Last year, the book was "What if People Had Animal Teeth." It turned out to be BOTH fiction and non-fiction. :) We had a terrific discussion. Great activity!

  9. Love the sorting circles. They can definitely be used cross curriculum. I found you through 24/7 teacher's give-away. I'm one of your newest followers. Just started my blog a week ago. Stop by sometime. Teaching with Giggles

  10. Thanks for sharing this activity. I always have TONS of those lying around! You sparked some more ideas!

  11. Hi Kelly! I'm your newest follower! That's a really good way to recycle the Scholastic book orders! The Declaration of Independence article was really touching! Thanks for sharing Kirsten


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