Most Visited Memorials

A great way to learn about our presidents and other important political and historical figures and events in the U.S. is to study the places that memorialize them. I’ve been to many of these places and have pictures and brochures, so when we get to one of these events/people in our classroom learning, I make sure to pull out the relevant info so the kids can see what these people have left behind physically, as well as the significance of their actions and lives. I came across this slideshow on Forbes Traveler and figure that the kids should at least be familiar with the most popular memorial sites in the States. So here they are for you to enjoy as well!

  1. Arlington National Cemetery – Arlington, Virginia (4,000,000 visitors) – Commemorates the lives of 300,000 veterans from the American Revolution through the current war in Iraq.
  2. World War II Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,547,583 visitors) – Commemorates the sacrifice and celebrates the victory of the WWII generation.
  3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,538,479 visitors) – A memorial that honors the lives of Vietnam veterans and those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
  4. Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,208,690 visitors) – A memorial to those who fought and died in the Korean War.
  5. Gettysburg National Military Park – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1,702,764 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives during the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War.
  6. USS Arizona Memorial – Pearl Harbor (Honolulu), Hawaii (1,539,986 visitors) – A memorial to the sailors killed on the USS Arizona ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces.
  7. Valley Forge National Historic Park – King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (1,230,618 visitors) – Important military camp during the American Revolutionary War.
  8. Minuteman National Historic Park – Concord, Massachusetts (1,093,352 visitors) – The historic site of the shot heard around the world and memorial for those who fought in the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.
  9. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park – Georgia/Tennessee (923,061 visitors) – Commemorates the sites of two major Civil War battles.
  10. Fort Sumter National Monument – Sullivan’s Island – South Carolina (792,933 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives in the first battle of the Civil War.
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park – Vicksburg, Mississippi (787,831 visitors) – Site of the 47 day Battle of Vicksburg in the Civil War.
  12. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine – Baltimore, Maryland (610,599 visitors) – The birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner and an important military site during the War of 1812.
  13. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park – Virginia (478,109) – Burial ground and memorial for those who lost their lives in the Civil War.
  14. Guilford Courthouse, National Military Park – North Carolina (447,469 visitors) –A museum commemorating one of the most hotly contested battles of the Revolutionary War.
  15. Shiloh National Military Park – Tennessee (344,438 visitors) – Site of Civil War battle and burial ground.

Test your kids. See if they know why these places are important! (If they’re in my class now, they’ll know by the end of the year…)
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Best Aquariums in the U.S.

Long time no speak! I’ve had a crazy few months – girls in school, girls home schooled, one girl in, one girl out. I think the public school system wants to kill me. For now, both girls are in school and both are happy, so I’m happy. PHEW. The only thing now, is that I really miss them! I miss planning field trips and hanging out with other homeschool moms (and a few dads) and their kids who we’ve become so close with. So I’ve made a point of staying involved in the homeschool community and of still taking the girls on mini fieldtrips on Sundays and after school.

Last year we were all into zoos, and this year it seems like aquariums have stepped up to bat.

(Thank you Forbestraveler.com for the list!)

Enjoy these and have a whale of a time! (Katie just saw that and rolled her eyes.)
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A kid’s Brooklyn

I’m a teacher and a dad-to-be (!) so I’ve pretty much always got kids on the mind. I just put together a list of activities in Brooklyn that kids will enjoy for part of my “Explore New York” initiative.

These are great spots for field trips, family outings, and birthday parties. Let me know how it goes!
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Happy Thanksgiving Month!

In my classroom, November is Turkey Month. Why celebrate a fun and meaningful holiday for only one day when you can celebrate all month long? Besides spending a lot of time focusing on what we are thankful for, collecting charity for those less fortunate than we are, and learning about (and cooking) traditional American and Native American food, we spend a lot of time talking about the first settlers, American history, and early American geography. I simulate a Mayflower journey to America and we travel around the East Coast delving into all these subjects. Here are the highlights from our historical journey through New England. Ask your kids—they should be able to tell you the early significance of all these places (that is, if they have a teacher as good as I am!):

Happy Turkey Month!
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5 Ways to Celebrate going back to School

It’s not easy going back to school after a fun-filled summer. I remember from when I was a kid, but more, I see it every morning during these last few weeks as I try and drag my kids out of bed, into clothes, and to the bus. Here are a few ideas of how to make this transition time less miserable…maybe even fun!

  1. Remind your kids that they still have the weekends. Have them look forward to Saturdays and Sundays by having them help you plan little day trips. (Last week we went to Six Flags Over Georgia!
  2. On a particularly difficult morning, set out an ice cream sundae buffet on the kitchen table. Make it healthy with frozen yogurt, fruit toppings, and granola! (We did this on the first day of school, but it’s also great if a birthday fall out midweek.)
  3. “Forget” to pack your kids lunch and then swing by school later with fresh slices of pizza.
  4. The day doesn’t have to end at 2:30 when school is out—bring you kids (and even a few friends) to the mall for a few hours and let them roam around like they did in the summer. (Cumberland Mall and Lenox Square Mall (both in Atlanta) are great for roaming.)
  5. Help your kid’s class organize field trips, like to the local zoo or aquarium. Volunteer to chaperone if that will help the cause. (I’ve already volunteered for Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium—must start saving up my lunch hours…no one said back to school was easy for mom!)

And for mom—take advantage of the fact that your kids are going to bed a little earlier and take a bubble bath or catch up on your reading. Or, go to sleep early yourself!
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New York City Field Trips

The school year has finally begun and with it, curriculum finalizations and field trip bookings. Teaching in New York City should be every teacher’s dream—while one does need to be careful about crowds, the field trip possibilities are truly endless and the entire city becomes an extended classroom.

So for all you teachers out there (or just if you’re visiting NYC with kids), here is a list of great field trip locations in New York City:

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think parents are excited when they’re kids end up in my class because they know it’ll be a year on the go, both because of the “simulated U.S. travel itinerary” and the actual New York City traveling that goes on during the year. Looking forward to another great school year!
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A Kid’s Guide to L.A.

It’s been a while since I’ve put in my two cents on the California scene, and when my sister and her two little kids came for a visit, it inspired me to do a little research. So here’s a list of fun activities for kids in the Los Angeles area. Some are more obvious and some are a bit more obscure. Feel free to add to the list!

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