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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Social Studies Mentor Text and a Peek at My Week!

I am home after a week of camping fun and it is now the last hurrah of summer!  
The hubby was off for the week and it has been five days since I last blogged.  What?!?

We relaxed, enjoyed a day at an amusement park (that wore me out!), relaxed some more, (I read Defending Jacob and highly recommend it-keeps you guessing until the end!), the kids had a blast just riding their bikes, swimming, and just being kids playing in the dirt.  My 6 year old has mastered the two wheeler and my 3 year old scoots with his feet on a tricycle-will NOT pedal!  It was a nice surprise to have our camper "neighbors" there for most of the week.  They have two boys ages 7 and 9 and also had friends visiting with boys ages 7 and 4!  Don't worry, our 6 year old girl didn't let all those boys boss her around! :)  
It was quite the opposite. Haha!

So, it is back to reality and the to-do list is making me a little nervous!  I swear being a northern blogger has its disadvantages in terms of school year timing.  In May, my southern blogger friends are finishing up their school year and just starting summer vacation when I have well over a month left to still go.  Then, in August when southerners are heading back to school, you would think that I could enjoy knowing that I am on vacation while I am viewing your classrooms all ready?  No!  My vacation is coming to a close soon but I have so much left to do!  Seeing all your rooms ready gives me anxiety when I think about where my room is! Lol.  Anyone with me?

I had to link up with my girls at Collaboration Cuties with their amazing Mentor Text Linky!  
This week the topic is social studies.  
The social studies mentor text that I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties is Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Joseph Bruchac.  Since many teachers begin the year with Native Americans, I chose a book that can be used in any area of the United States since it covers legends from various geographic locations.  I used this book last year for the first time since it was one of the suggested texts for our NYS social studies nonfiction texts.  

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6:  Bruchac frames 11 legends of Native American sacred places with a conversation between Little Turtle and his uncle, Old Bear, who says, " 'There are sacred places all around us...They are found in the East and in the North, in the South and in the West, as well as Above, Below, and the place Within. Without those places we lose our balance.' " Bruchac writes in language that is dignified and almost poetic in its simplicity. The text is printed in stanzas, enhancing the image of prose poems. Each legend is related to one of the seven directions and is attributed to a specific people. There is a brief pronunciation guide and a map showing the general location of different Native American groups, but no other documentation is provided. Glossy, cream-yellow paper; clear, black type with the first letter on each page done in flowing, yet restrained, red calligraphy; and lush art make this a book that is pleasing to the eye. Locker's landscape paintings are done in the tradition of Constable's work, concentrating on conditions of sky, atmosphere, and light rather than physical details. His colors, veering toward the day-glow intensity of Maxfield Parrish's work, infuse the scenes with the intangible presence of the sacred. It is difficult to convey the beliefs of an entire people in one brief legend divorced from the rest of their tradition, yet these selections point to the richness possible in looking at the Earth in a spiritual way. Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY

This is a two-page sequence graphic organizer that I made to accompany two of the legends (Seneca and Cheyenne) from the book.  You can download them here!  We completed the first one together and I assigned the back side for independent work.  
It works great for practicing sequencing using a format similar to "the test"!

I am linking this post to the amazing Fifth in the Middle's Native American linky! Go check out the other ideas linked up for teaching Native Americans!  
Diane has link ups for other social studies topics too.
I also am excited to link up with a brand new linky from the wonderful Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!  It's a linky where you share what you have planned for the week ahead.
I thought about making some cute little "days of the week" pictures like some other bloggers did, and then I started thinking about what I would write for each day of the week.  Hmmm...I don't really know!  I have so many things on my to-do list that I can't even imagine trying to put a day on each one.   I just don't want to think about it yet...

One big item on my agenda this week is teaching Vacation Bible School on Monday thru Thursday night 6-8:30 (I get to do games-fun!).  I plan on spending Monday and Tuesday taking the kids to the beach and park, getting laundry caught up and the house back in order.  
I am going into school all day on Wednesday and Thursday to plan with my team (we are departmentalizing this year and have lots to discuss) and I hope to have my room "ready" so that next week I can finish last minute first day plans (students start September 5th).  Then, this weekend we are going out on our friend's boat and a family picnic another day.  I might have to sneak back to work also if I don't get enough done on Wed. and Thurs.!

Okay, that is all I can think about right now because it is now crunch time where I have to really prioritize what "needs" to be done before next Thursday versus what I would have "liked to" get done!

Have a great week and I hope to see you back for Tried It Tuesday this week! :)


  1. Would you consider linking this to my NA linky? http://fifthinthemiddle.blogspot.com/p/native-americans.html


  2. Those social studies resources look great - that subject is definitely not my forte so I appreciate any extra ideas to make it fun and engaging for my students. Also, if you get a chance, I encourage you to check out my blog for a flash giveaway going on now!
    your follower,
    Antonia @ forkin4th

  3. I'm exhausted for you after reading this. Do you think it would look bad if I took a camping trip the second week of school? I don't even like camping, but it sounds more fun than tackling a bunch of lists that will never get completed. I guess if I cut out my daily three hour naps I might get more done. Who am I kidding? Not gonna happen! Glad y'all had fun and I missed you! :)
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I will be passing on your suggestion to a former teaching mate! Sounds like a wonderful text. All the best for a great start to your year!

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  5. I am definitely with you on that northern/southern thing. Reading about all the great things everyone who is back in school is already doing is creating quite a bit of anxiety for me. I think I would rather start early and get out in May like they do.

    I can't believe you are teaching VBS right before school starts! You are Superwoman!! :v)

    I hope you have a great week, Holly! Thanks for linking up. I hope to see you again next Sunday!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  6. OK, I gotta know.......{and I feel silly asking this, but I don't know}.....what are "mentor texts"? I see this phrase being used all over blogs, but I'm unfamiliar with this phrase. Maybe it's a California thing.... My guess is that it's supplementary trade books used in the content areas. Am I right? Please educate me---I hate feeling left out. : (

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  7. Does it help that I imagine you dancing on the shores under a brilliant sunset without a care in the world right now? Yeah, I'm back in school already. Can you believe this is week FOUR?!?!?

  8. Oooooo, I need that book so bad! We are just finishing geography and moving into Native Americans! Perfect timing with this post my friend!

    Good for you for enjoying yourself camping! I just told my husband we should have planned a trip over Labor Day weekend!! I'm sure it's stressful reading everyone's posts when they are back in school...but enjoy yourself and don't stress (ha! that's easy for me to say but I know how it is!).

    Thanks so much for linking up!!
    Collaboration Cuties