Interesting Educators’ Programs

I just came across a fascinating blog filled with information for teachers, and since I now am a teacher (homeschool), I found it extremely enlightening. The only thing is that I read it a little too late…

The National Endowment for the Humanities has summer workshops for teachers (including homeschool teachers) on Landmarks of American History and Culture, but the deadline for signing up was March 17! I’m bookmarking the site for next year.

Each week-long workshop explores a landmark of American history that teachers are then meant to “bring back” to their classrooms for further exploration. Ah—I’m really frustrated that I missed it! There’s a course on The Blue Ridge Parkway that I would love to take, and one on Mount Vernon, that I could probably give! There are also some more literary/historical workshops, like the one on Zora Neale Hurston and Eatonville and one on Eudora Welty. The one on Ellis Island looks particularly interesting.

The author of that teacher blog says that he went to Lowell two summers ago and since that one is offered again this year, I imagine there’s a chance that these workshops will also be repeated either next summer or the one following.

Something else mentioned of interest in the teacher blog is the National Park Service’s Teacher Ranger program. It looks as though it’s just for public school teachers, particularly those teaching in under-served districts. The program trains teachers as rangers during as 8-10 week program and provides teachers with the tools and knowledge they need to “bring national parks into the classroom throughout the school year.” Involved in the program are Acadia National Park in Maine, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in Colorado, Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.

I know that program’s not for me, but just thought I’d mention it while I’m on my National Park kick, and maybe you know someone who may appreciate it!

Meanwhile, thank you Jonathan (jd2718) for your post!

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Top Ten National Parks for Kids

The girls and I came across a page for kids on the National Park Service website. They spent hours exploring the Web Rangers activities, so we got to talking about national parks in general and different geographic and geologic features. We came across this list of kid-friendly national parks and we used it as a jumping off point to discuss U.S. national parks and earth science, geology and geography, and it ended up being quite a nice unit. The great thing about using these national parks as learning models is that each one really highlights a unique feature, whether it be glaciers, volcanoes, canyons, caverns, mountains, plateaus, or mesas. We looked at breathtaking pictures of these famous spots and gave examples of mountains or canyons, etc., that we’d all been to (for example, we’ve been to Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park).

Anyways, here’s the list of the Top 10 National Parks:

  1. Glacier National Park, Montana
  2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  4. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, California
  5. Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  7. Everglades National Park, Florida
  8. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  9. Olympic National Park, Washington
  10. Mesa Verde, Colorado

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Honeymoon in Hawaii

While it was still freezing in NYC, my new, spectacular wife and I escaped for 2 weeks (spring break plus some) to Hawaii for our belated honeymoon. We’re back already but if I close my eyes and concentrate just a little, I think I can take you back there…

Warmth is showered upon me as I peel off the layers of clothes that had kept me warm in the airports and the flight. I squinted my eyes with pleasure and splashed suntan lotion on Carrie’s (now bare) shoulders. We got in a cab that brought us to the Sea Mountain Resort, but not without giving us a tour of a most picturesque landscape. Our windows were open and we could see, feel, and smell Hawaii bursting with life around us. The sight of the waving trees and glistening sands drenched in heat and ocean winds was delectable and whispered our names, beckoning us to partake in its splendor.

The majestic sands of the Punaluu Black Sand Beach won us over for our first day trip. We dragged our feet along the lava granules (sand) lining the beach. Inspired by the natural foot massage, I treated Carrie to a full body Punaluu massage (created and carried out by me) where I took the coarse rocks mixed with warm water and spread them out on her body. We saw turtles and went snorkeling. We went swimming in the freshwater pond at the far end of the beach and saw ducks. We ate a romantic picnic lunch and lazed out in the sun for hours.

I had just finished a unit on volcanoes for my third graders and had promised to take pictures of some volcanoes in Hawaii; and what better place to do so than the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The biggest and most active volcanoes dot this park. The environmental features of this island are absolutely phenomenal. The hike we went on brought us to dramatic vistas that were surrounded by the looming heights of volcanic displays.

Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna Beach State Park demanded a few days of our time, and we broke up beach time with eating at fantastic restaurants and participating in (kinda cheesy, but fun) luaus. We also went to Mauna Kea Beach, which honestly, I can’t remember anything specific about—maybe that’s the one that we camped out at?

The Hawaiian palate is impossible to describe—it’s like someone threw some colors on a canvas and then swirled them magically into a beach sunset. The air is imbued with passion and chaos—it is only through these great forces that this sort of beauty exists.

We took fantastic pictures, but I’m not sure if I know how to post to this site. I’ll see if I can figure it out…
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