Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hammurabi's Code and My Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Students had an interesting experience this week learning about the Babylonian king, Hammurabi and his code of laws. Hammurabi’s Code is considered history’s first real document of law. Students read an article and answered questions about the discovery of Hammurabi’s stele. (A stele is a slab of stone with information commemorating some important event.)  The article was challenging for some students, but good for reading/writing skill development.
In a related activity students (in groups) were faced with different legal situations and had to put themselves in Hammurabi’s shoes. They had to decide what kind of justice they would administer if they lived during Hammurabi’s time. They were actually quite creative in their decisions and discovered that some of the laws for Hammurabi’s time were really quite progressive.
This week we will continue our study of Mesopotamia, but I’m sure most students’ thoughts will be more on the upcoming holiday. So with Thanksgiving in mind I would like to say I am thankful for the opportunity to teach your children. They are a great group of kids and seem to enjoy learning about a bunch of “dead people.” May you be blessed with a restful, and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
The following pictures are of students deciding what kind of justice to administer based on Hammurabi’s Code.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Are Starting a New Term.

This week marks the beginning of new curriculum for students. We will be studying the “cradle of civilization,” Mesopotamia. These are the people who gave us the wheel, the 60-second minute, laws and the first written language. Yup, these “firsts” can all be traced back to the Mesopotamians. In case you don’t know where Mesopotamia is, we are talking about modern day Iraq. This will be our area of study for the next three weeks and then we will be on to Egypt. Students are usually very engaged when we learn about these early cultures because the curriculum in new and novel for them.  So be sure and talk to your child about the interesting things they are learning.
By the way, I have updated my background template so that parents can access the class assignment calendar from my blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

End of the First Term

Students completed curriculum for the first term Friday by taking the Geography Unit test. I was happy that they did well, with most students receiving B’s and A’s for their scores. This understanding of geography will help them as we study ancient civilizations for the next three terms. Next week we will look at how time is measured in history (B.C./A.D.) and then view the geography of Mesopotamia which is considered the “cradle of civilization” for western civilizations.
Since this is a very short week because of in-service, Veteran’s Day, and a grading workday, students will be full of anticipation and excitement as the holiday season nears. However, it seems our ancient world history holds their attention. It is new and novel for them. This term we will be studying ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and ancient Egypt. Sometime soon ask them what they are learning. I think it will surprise you what they will know.

Below are pictures of students hard at work thinking during the test.