Educate, Writing

Transitions of Summer

Transitioning into summer has been very enjoyable this year in Sacramento.  The temperatures have risen but now seem to be staying mostly in the high 80s and low 90s.  Since school ended in early June I have spent much of my time working on re-creating curriculum for my 5th graders next year and teaching summer school.  But I am definitely going to get out into the Sierra’s this summer.  Plus I am heading to Mérida, Mexico in August – more on that later.

I am a geographer, and I really want to infuse more geography into my student’s learning.  So I have decided to take my history units global.  For instance, when they study the American Revolution, they will also be looking at what is happening during that same time frame around the world, seeing how events influence each other through trade, politics, religion etc.

So that the kids really see how events do not just happen in isolation, I’m going to use this 23 foot timeline map: Adams Synchronological Chart or Map of History – Historical Timeline Wall Panel.  I’m pretty excited about it, and my new thematic approach.  Lots of work to still do, but I have my year outlined and the first unit lessons complete.  Of course I will be weaving in reading and writing and lots of projects.  It’s going to be fun.

The first book my students will read for book club is MVP*: Magellan Voyage Project by Douglas Evans. It fits in nicely with not only the geography I will be introducing, but also our explorers unit. I just finished reading it last night and while it will be an easy read for them, I think they’ll really enjoy it as they ease into reading not only 5 books for Book Club but another 20 books independently for their Read Around the World project over the course of the year.

Also, after a month learning about 5 major issues in the world (endangered animals, climate change, poverty, plastic pollution, water insecurity), my students will start their year-long independent Impact project. This is basically a service learning project. The kiddos will decide on what they are passionate about, research the issue and then find ways to make change. Lots of benchmarks and check-ins along the way. During the start of this project they will begin reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader’s Editionby William Kamkwamba.

This is an amazing true story about a boy in Malawi that couldn’t go to school, yet found a way to engineer a windmill (from trash) to give electricity to his village.  I hope it will show the students that they too can make change if they really want to.

Now that the curriculum outline is done, I am turning my attention to being healthy, finishing the third book in the Treasure Chest Mysteries, and photographing my adventures to and fro.  I actually pulled out my camera – not my iPhone, but my actual camera (Canon SX500 IS) yesterday.  It is an awesome, small, lightweight, camera that has a great zoom.  I’m excited to reaquaint myself with it.

Oh and about Mérida, Mexico – I can’t wait to go.  My mom and I are heading down for 10 wonderful days.  We booked our awesome looking house through

Merida, Mx House

I’ll definitely be taking lots of photos of our adventures.  But for now, I’m off to Pure Barre to work out.

Any fun adventures or creative endeavors you are working on for this summer?

~ Gretchen


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