New York – Summing it all Up

24 06 2010

Being my first EAHI trip, I was not sure what to expect. I can tell you I was not disappointed.  My time in New York was an experience I will never forget.   We started off by catching our flight out of Denver.  As we began our descent into LaGuardia Airport, we flew right over Central Park. It is quite a sight to see a green rectangle surrounded by buildings reaching for the sky.

Franklin Roosevelt's HomeStanding in front of Franklin’s house.

The first day began at Hyde Park, touring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home, Val-Kill, and Top Cottage.  The homes were decorated modestly.  They were not extravagant in any way.  The family interactions interested me the most.  Sara Roosevelt, Franklin’s mother, was very influential in his everyday life.  Eleanor was a very independent woman, who worked hard to advance human rights.  The activity we did at Val-Kill made me think about how the things we purchase impact other people’s lives.  This activity provides a tool for class discussion about cause and effect.   The activities for the day concluded at the Culinary Institute of America.  This was an enjoyable experience.  After touring the grounds of the institute and smelling all the aromas, it was time for dinner.  The food was delicious and the staff at the institute was incredible.

Day two begins at The Museum of the City of New York.  EY Zipris did a great job providing us with a couple of activities using primary sources. She showed us a picture of how New York City evolved into the city it is today.  The urban planning activity helped explain how and why a city grows which answered and created new questions for New York City.  Using pictures was one way she pulled us into a conversation.  She asked questions like what is going on, how do you know. The Rags to Riches presentation was another example of how we can use pictures to enhance learning.  We viewed pictures by Jacob Riis while discussing what we saw in the picture.  Although we did not get to view the exhibits for the Gilded Age, viewing the Jacob Riis pictures did give a good idea of what the have nots did endure.  While there we did tour the Cars, Culture, and the City exhibit.  It showed how New Yorkers have a love hate relationship with the automobile.

Touring Harlem and the Bronx with Kenneth Jackson is day three.  Today was packed with a lot of information.  I enjoyed going through the different boroughs of New York.  The Morris Jumel  Mansion was interesting.  George Washington used this house as his headquarters during the American Revolution specifically when there was fighting in New York.  I enjoyed Kenneth’s thoughts of what was going on in George’s head during this time of the Revolution.  Eating lunch in the “real Little Italy” was a treat.  There were many different restaurants to choose from. The neighborhood still has businesses that have been around for a hundred years.  There are cheese markets as well as meat markets.

The next stop in New York was the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Seeing the progression of homes, and portraits by Gilbert Stuart and Trumbull was a treat.  I have read and seen pictures of the portraits, but to see them up close was exciting for me.   I wanted to stay longer in the holding room but time was not slowing down and we had other items to see.

Federal Hall

Brooklyn Bridge

The next three days were walking tours with Ed O’Donnell.  We walked all over lower Manhattan/ Colonial New York, Central Park , Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, lower east side, African Burial Grounds, and Ground Zero.  We saw so much it is impossible to write about.  The sight that surprised me the most was Ground Zero.   I remember watching the events on 9/11 and dropping a few tears then, but I did not anticipate the feelings I felt that day walking into that little chapel.  My intention was to see George Washington’s pew and get a few pictures for my students.  Upon entering the church there are banners sending good wishes to the rescue workers, pictures of missing family members, badges from different service people.  I will never forget the heartbreak and sorrow I felt that day.    Central Park is a beautiful man made park.  If you look at the park from the air, it looks like the city grew around the park but that is not the case.  The area was set aside and construction of the park began in 1858.  Federal Hall was another place on our three day walking tour that I enjoyed.  The hall was where George Washington took his oath to become the first president of the United States.  Finally, the tenement housing was an eye opening experience.  The space the people lived in was very small, yet they made due.  Most of the time family size was six or more. They not only lived but worked in the same space about the same size or smaller than my classroom.

After being on walking tours for three days it was a nice break to ride a ferry to Ellis Island.  We spent the day learning about life on Ellis Island.  When the immigrants arrived they were given a physical and mental inspection.  Those that passed were allowed to go on, while others who were sick were detained.  The doctors at the hospital were the best at the time, so the immigrants were taken care of.  We left with a flash drive loaded with resources, and reinforcement of how to use primary sources in our classroom.   The following day was spent at the New York Historical Society.  Although the presentation was good and the binder with resources will be beneficial, I would have liked to of spent more time looking at the different pieces they had.  Because of renovations in the building time and space was limited.

Spending nine days in the city was exciting, but all good things come to an end.  It was time to move up state.  We started by visiting Sagamore Hill. I must admit I did not expect to thoroughly enjoy visiting another President’s home but I was wrong.  The house filled with animal mounts and rugs was impressive, but what I liked the most was how he spent time with his family.  The stories our guide shared made me see the father side of him which sometimes gets lost when you are the President of the United States.

Moving north put us in Cooperstown.  This little town is not only home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it also has Fenimore Art Museum along with the Farmers Museum.  In the course of the day we learned how baseball has been a part of American History.  It showed how African Americans were part of the sport a long with the Hispanic people and women.  It gave a different perspective to the game of baseball.  After lunch we went to Fenimore Art museum.  There we viewed different pieces from different artists.  The progression of dresses was one of the exhibits.  It was interesting to see how clothes have changed over time.  Finally we finished the day at the Farmers Museum.  Here we witnessed a blacksmith and print shop in action.  They were very knowledgeable about their craft and eager to share their knowledge.      Along with baseball playing a part in American History, we cannot forget the women who helped in the women’s rights movement and slavery.

In Seneca Falls, we visited the homes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, M’Clintock , Harriet Tubman, and William Seward.  All of these people were very active in making sure people were treated equally.  William Seward is the one person whom I learned the most.  He was an interesting man.  The one point that intrigued me the most was he was an abolitionist and held a federal government position at the same time.  He and his wife helped Harriet Tubman get established and then she helped people escape slavery.  The Seward house was spectacular because the furnishings in the house belonged to them.  When you know that the items in the house were used by the family it gives the house a totally different feel.  We wrapped up the day riding on the Erie Canal.  This was a relaxing and interesting experience. Feeling and seeing the boat rise and sink in the lock was like being in a water elevator.

Our last day was spent visiting Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga National Historic Park.  These two places played a role in America’s fight for independence.  Our guide Jim Hughto  began the tour by explaining  the French and Indian War and showing us where the French lines were.  The ground still shows were they made trenches and had guns stationed.  The battlefield of Saratoga was much bigger than I expected, and we did not get the full tour because of time.  Seeing the memorial to Benedict Arnold was interesting.  It did not have any words on it.  Everything on the memorial was symbolic.   Today ended with our whole group eating at Salty’s Pub.  This restaurant provided the best service and the food was good.  This was a great way to end our trip together.

In addition to seeing museums and historical sites, I took in a few Broadway shows, shopping, and other tourists’ sites.  I learned how to use primary sources in my classroom, which I am excited to use and met some dedicated Pueblo teachers.  My first EAHI trip to New York is one that I will remember for years to come.

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16 06 2010

Surprise at Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga

The ride to Fort Ticonderoga was spectacular.  I still cannot get over how green all the vegetation is in this part of the country.  Fort Ticonderoga was used in both the French and Indian war and the American Revolution War.  During the American Revolutionary War, there was a small British garrison staying at the fort to protect cannons and ammunitions that were being housed at the fort.  Three weeks after the Lexington and Concord Battles, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and the Green Mountain Boys had their first victory.  They attacked Fort Ticonderoga early in the morning and demanded that the British surrender.  The British did surrender.  Henry Knox then began the task of moving the new cannons and ammunitions to Boston.  It took them two months to get the new supplies to George Washington in Boston.

Moving of Cannon

Looking at the painting depicting the move of the cannons, reminded me of the Harriet Tubman quote to keep going.  The lesson that I am sharing with my students is is you feel strongly enough you have to keep moving towards the goal.  If the men would have given up in bringing the new supplies into Boston the outcomes could have been much different.  In the picture by Tom Lovell shows the determination to complete their job.  The theme of “Keep Going” started yesterday and continued into today.

The Adirondack Mountains were on my right as we traveled to Saratoga.  The Adirondack Mountains  are still rising by ¼” a year, but they look like hills compared to the Rocky Mountain of home.  As we approach Saratoga we cross the Hudson.  The Battle of Saratoga was a turning point in the American Revolution.  I did not know that there were two battles fought on the grounds.  One happened in September 1777 and the second on October 1777.   As we stood on the battlefield, I tried to imagine how it was during the battles.  I know that the grounds itself have not been altered since the battles, but I wander who was standing here.  What were they feeling?  What I do know is that it took a lot of courage to face and fight the British Army.  The American showed that courage on Barber Wheatfield.  The British were very confident that the Americans would retreat, like they had done in the past, but that did not happen.  The Americans keep going. So what I take away from touring the battle grounds is to be courageous, and do not quit.  It may not turn out successfully the first time, but it may the second time. The Battles of Saratoga are a great example.

Our Guide on Barber Wheatfield

Seneca Falls

15 06 2010

We left our hotel early to arrive at Seneca Falls by nine o’clock, but we ran a little late.  The plus side is traveling by bus allows us to see the beautiful landscapes in upstate New York.  There is so much green everywhere.It is beautiful!

The first stop was at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls.  This is where the Declaration of Sentiments was declared.  The first part of the document reads the same of the Declaration of Independence except they included” that all men and women were created equal”.  There were 300 people in attendance that day with only 100 people signing the Declaration of Sentiments.  Among those in attendance were Frederick Douglas, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  From there we moved on to see where some of the women lived.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's home

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s house was a gift from her father.  In those days a woman could own property if it was gifted to her.  The house was run down and needed to be fixed up.  Her father gave her money and said since you think women are capable of doing many things, work on getting your house fixed up.  Elizabeth was successful in fixing up the house.  In the house they raised their children which included home schooling them.  The family moved out in 1862.

M'Clintock's house

The  M’Clintock house was next on our women’s rights trip.  The M’Clintock family were Quackers from Philadelphia, and they were abolitionists.  The women meet at the M’Clintock house and wrote the Declaration of Sentiments.  This was a result of hearing Elizabeth Cady Stanton express strong feelings about what women were allowed or not allowed to do.  Although  these women had strong opinions about women’s rights, they did not neglect their family.  They took care of the children and their home.

The next stop was the Seward Home.  After being at three different places and eating lunch on the bus, I was feeling information over load.  But that disappeared quickly when entering the house.  This family saved everything from receipts to expensive gifts.  The Diplomatic Gallery was my favorite.  The catalogue has 132 pictures listed.  I am not sure if all 132 pictures were on the wall, but there were many.  One reason we know so much about the Sewards is from diaries. The family stories were written by Anna, William Seward’s daughter.  She kept diaries, and wrote poems and stories. I did not know that the night that Lincoln was shot that another person tried to kill William Seward.  Anna witnessed it all and wrote about it.

Seward Home

William was a very busy man.  He was Secretary of State during the Lincoln administration, harbored fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad, and successfully acquired Alaska from Russia in 1867.  Those are just a few of his many hats.  He also helped write and sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Harriet Tubman was a friend of Frances Seward.  The Seward family gave Harriet 7 acres of land on which she build a house and continue to expand to help people.

Harriet Tubman was one eleven children.  In 1849 she escaped slavery by fleeing to Philadelphia then through New York, until she reached Canada.  After making the trip she began to take trips back to the south and brought people back with her. She helped them by using the Underground Railroad.  The Underground Railroad was a path with different hiding places.  The secret hiding places were so well kept, we still don’t know as much as we would like.  All our stops today were focused around civil rights.  I am going to use Harriet Tubman’s quote in my classroom.  It reads, “If you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going: if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going”  In other words do not give up, press toward your dreams even if it gets tough.  This is the new 4th grade motto.

On the Erie Canal waiting for it to fill

Finally we had a scenic and pleasant ride on the Erie Canal.  Building of the Erie Canal began in 1817 and finished in 1825.  It was the connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes area.  The canal is important because it linked different communities together and trade became easier.  The engineering is what is impressive.  The canal is a series of locks and lifts.  When we reached lock 32 the gate closed behind and in front.  The water began to come in and the boat began to rise.  Once it is full, the gate opens and you move forward.  In my mind it was like a water elevator.

The day was filled with many sites today and the most relaxing was the ride on the Erie Canal.


14 06 2010

Main Street in Cooperstown

I spent the day in Cooperstown which is home to 2000 people.  It is everything I envisioned a small town in upstate New York to look like. The streets were lined with trees and beautiful flower arrangements hung from the light posts

The first stop was the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I have enjoyed the game of baseball, but never linked it to history.  After meeting with our tour guide Anna, I have a different view point.  Baseball can be used to teach a geography lesson, by having the kids learn where the major league baseball teams are from and crossing the curriculum to include math, and reading.  This will be the hook for my boys and including how the women in baseball will hook my girls.  By incorporating the pictures I took , the concept of how real history can be will be more concrete for my students. Although I enjoyed the connection to the classroom, I truly enjoyed looking at all the different pictures and artifacts of people I have heard about.  As I left the museum, I stopped and took one more picture of the inductee for this year and hurried on my way to visit the rest of the downtown area.  I have never seen so many shops with baseball items.  Everything from baseball equipment to clothing and anything else you can think of.

Kept In

Empire Waists, Bustles and Lace Exhibit

The Fenimore Art Museum was the next stop.  Being perfectly honest, I did not think that I would enjoy this museum, but I was wrong.  There were a few pieces that truly caught my attention.  The first being the different way dress has changed over the years.  I enjoyed the Americana pieces as well.  There is one picture that gave me chuckle.  A little girl was sitting on her school chair staring out the window, and the caption was “Kept Out.”  It showed that kids have not changed that much.  She was being kept from recess and she gives the look of get me out of here.  I could see some of my former students’ faces in that picture.

The Farmer’s museum was a hands on museum which features a 19th century village.  The building are made of stone and some building were moved here to create the village.  The most enjoyable moment was the carousel.  It reminded me of the one in our city park.  The next thing I know someone asked our guide if we could ride the carousel. Before the word yes was out of his mouth a group of 33 adults were giggling and calling for the horse or goose they wanted.  We were giggling and smiling just like we were eight years old again. 

After our ride, we toured the buildings on site.  The first stop was the Blacksmith’s shop.  What a work of art.  In less than one minute, he had made a nail, and said that they make all the hardware for the buildings. Further down the road, we saw a garden that had vines growing on long sticks.  I learned that it was hops.  I thought that hops were only used to make beer, but I was wrong.  It is also a preservative, sedative, and used for flavoring.  As a teacher it is always fun to visit the old school house.  I have read that the stove was in the middle of the room and students took turns bringing wood to put in the stove.  Now that I have seen it and taken pictures, I can share with my students.  They always have so many questions about school in the olden days.

Inside schoolhouse

Nails made by Blacksmith

Seeing three different ways history was preserved in the Cooperstown, confirms that history is a very important part of curriculum and it can be presented in many different ways.

Sagamore Hill

13 06 2010

Our New York trip began with a tour of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home and today we toured Theodore Roosevelt’s home.  As we moved through the home I could not help but notice the difference between the two homes.  Franklin’s home was a square two story home with plain furnishings.  His house seemed to be in order all the time.  The kids’ behavior was expected to be a certain way.  The kids sat at the kids table until Grandma said they could move to the adult table.

Franklin Roosevlet's Home

Theodore Roosevelt's Home

Theodore’s home was very large with many animal mounts, dark woods, and many furniture pieces. The home is one that kids are welcomed which is a good thing because there were six children in the family. I can imagine the children running down the paths and playing on the shoreline.  The trees are spectacular and are great for climbing, which I could not resist.  One lesson from today is enjoy the scenery.  The beautiful, tranquil walk down to Oyster Boy was refreshing.  Again I could imagine the kids running down the path, or swinging on the vines.  When reaching the water, some took off their shoes and played in the water.  Listening to the tour guide, it was apparent the children were encouraged to play and experience life. That is one point I am going to stress to my students.  Go out and skin your knees, play in the water, climb a tree, and enjoy your childhood.

Theodore’s home was not all about play.  He was a public servant also,  He held different public offices which ranged from New York State Assembly man to President of the United States.  In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in negotiating a peace treaty.  On January 6, 1919 Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep.

New Historical Society

13 06 2010

Today we are visited the New York Historical Society.  It seemed very simple of how to get to the museum by taking the A or C train to 81st.  Jumped on the A train and watched as our stop passed by.  We ended on a hundred and something and had to turn around.  So my New York experience continues to be interesting.

Abraham Lincoln discussing war strategies

I would have liked to have had more time to look at the pieces in the holding area but with time constraints it was not at all possible.  The last two days I have paid close attention to how the presenters conducted the workshops.  They pose a question and wait for answers.  They entertain many answers and continue to ask the question “why” which forces us, the students, to dig deeper.  Many times they use a picture or one artifact to provoke the conversation. Then the conversation is carefully directed towards the information needed.  I need to improve this technique in my classroom.  Reflecting on my teaching, I tend to give them information up front and do not give the opportunity for my students to dig for their own answers.

The half day at the Museum of Natural History was enjoyable.  We took a different approach to this one.  Knowing that some of the scenes from Night at the Museum were filmed at this museum, we went on a treasure hunt. We got a map from the information desk along with list of exhibits featured in the movie and off we went.  Touring two museums before 2’oclock makes a person hungry.  Thank goodness there are food stands on every

Exhibit was featured in Night of the Museum movie

corner.  I know Sherri Ward was hungry because she ate another hot dog.

The Yankees game was so much fun.  Not only did we see the stadium, eat and take pictures, we witnessed a life changing moment.  I couple sitting two rows in front of us became engaged. While people a few rows back people were cheering and jeering the players.

Students protesting discontinuation of metro cards

I have witnessed many citizens exercising their freedom of speech in New York.  It has ranged from protests to engagements announced on the jumbo screen.  New York City truly is a melting pot.

Ellis Island

11 06 2010

Can you imagine leaving the comforts of your home and only taking the essentials to begin a new life in a foreign country?  I cannot.  Yet people did it by the hundreds.  Ellis Island was the goal for immigrants in the 1890’s -1935.  Most of the immigrants were of European descent and part of the lower class.  Upon reaching Ellis Island, they immediately began the process of being processed.  First was the legal exam.  Some of the questions that might be asked are: What is your occupation, who paid for your ticket, and do you have a job?  The medical exam was the second part of the process.  The immigrants were checked for disease, mental status, and physical disability. You might be given a puzzle to complete and timed to see how long it will take you to complete it.  If you were sick, you were detained and stayed in the hospital.  Lucky for you, the medical staff was top notch at the time.  I did not know that there was a hospital on grounds.  I was under the assumption that once the immigrants came through the gate and paperwork was checked, you were free to move about the country.   However, if you displayed a mental disability and were younger than 12 years old, then you and a parent were sent back to your home country.  While going though the processing procedure, if there was a problem, they would put a chalk mark on your clothes.  But that did not stop some of the immigrants.  One story in the Ellis Island museum told of a girl who had chalk marks on her coat and her family did not know what they were going to do.  Someone gave them the idea to turn the coat inside out and she made it through.  This is a lesson for my students.  There are times in life that you have to improvise and make decisions quickly.  Whatever the outcome, you must make the best of it.

Room in the hospital

While touring the unrenovated buildings on Ellis Island, again my mind tried to imagine how people felt.  There was one quote on a display that said the immigrants understood the medical staff was only trying to help, but I think I would have a hard time trusting strangers much  less have them poking and examining me.

The presentation today made me stop and think how I present information to my students.  Our presenters, did not give answers right away, they made us problem solve by gathering information for primary sources and using our prior knowledge. This is a strategy, I need to work on for my students.  Most of the time, I will show them a picture and tell them what I want them to gather instead of giving them time to work it out on their own.   I will work on this.

As the day ended we went for dinner and ended at Grimaldi’s.  We ordered two pizzas and they were ready in no time.  It took longer to get into the restaurant.  The pizza was made differently.  Here they do not put shredded mozzarella cheese, they just put on slices of cheese on the pizza.  After dinner we came upon a street party on Pier 17.  Everyone was having a great time.  I enjoyed watching the people dance and listening to the music.  Tonight I experienced another part of New York, and it was enjoyable.