What Is Culture?

Students have been busy learning about culture.

It’s the language you speak.

It’s the foods you eat.

It’s the clothes you wear.

It’s the beliefs and traditions you celebrate.

It’s about history.

It’s about music, art, dance and sports.

It’s how we live.

A kindergarten summed the lesson up with ” It’s life.”

Can you tell us about your culture?   

Student Leaders Share Learning with Younger Students

Once again our fourth and fifth grade students Country - Mexico take on leadership roles and go out into younger student’s classrooms with their laptops and presentations to demonstrate their learning.   During global studies students learned about different countries around the world by watching movies called Countries around the World, using Culture Grams and Britannica to research and digital books to learn more.  They then spent several weeks creating a Google Slideshow in Google Classroom about what they have learned.  They were able to add pictures and transitions to enhance their presentation, some groups learned about Tour Builder with google maps and will use this.

Some of the Countries studied were China, Japan, India (Asia), Peru and Brazil (SA),  Mexico (NA), Ireland, Italy, Greece, United Kingdom (Europe), Australia (Australia), Russia (Asia/Europe), South Africa and Kenya (Africa).   Students in each class had 5 or 6 countries to compare.

Third graders have also been working on a unit about Water around the World in ELA.  They will teach others about the importance of having water that is clean and accessible for everyone.

A few students created projects using their home language and then sharing it with younger students that spoke the same language.   Smiles could be seen around the classroom as they listened to a student presenting in their home language.

This is some of the things we learned…..

Japan- Shoes are not worn in homes.   They can rent a pet for an hour or day because they have small homes.  They are known to be very healthy people living a long time.

China- produces 2/3’s of the world’s toys.   They buy fresh meat and vegetables each morning.

India- Teachers are always called “Sir” or “Madam”.    The make a lot of movies.

Peru- They have two of the deepest canyons in the world even deeper than the Grand Canyon.  They are the birthplace of the potato and have lots of different kinds.

Brazil- Summer Olympics will be there in August and it will be winter time for them.  Brazil is known for the Amazon Rain Forest.

Mexico- They have the largest population of Spanish speaking people in the world. Many rural (countryside) families don’t have running water in their homes.

Ireland- They have no snakes.  They often learn to play an instrument as music is important in their country.

United Kingdom- Made of of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.  Their largest mammal is a red deer.  They had the first and largest subway system in the world called The Tube.

Greece- Earthquakes are common.  They grow lots of olives.

Italy- Is known for its fashion industry.  It has lots of good Italian foods like spaghetti and lasagna and pizza.

Australia-   Australia is a country and a continent and has many unique animals like the kangaroo and koala.  Australia has the “Outback” and Sydney Opera House.

Russia- Russia is located in Europe and Asia.  They had the Berlin Wall to separate the two countries but it was torn down.

South Africa- South Africa is on the tip of Africa.  They have lions, elephants, zebras, impalas, leopards, penguins, seals, and giraffes.  The great white Shark is found off the coast.   The world’s first successful heart transplant was there.

Kenya—Rhinos and elephants were hunted for their ivory tusks so they have made it illegal to hunt them.  The equator runs across Kenya.  It is known for its grasslands or savannas and the animals found there.

Water is important and many people do not have clean water.  It has to be carried a long way because there are no wells.  Everyone does not have access to clean healthy water.

Studying Water Collage

Comparing Our Lives- Around the World

We would like to compare your life to ours if you can answer some questions for us. We’ve answered a few for you!  We’ll do more later.

  1. What time does your school begin and end?   ( 7:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.)
  2. How many days do you go to school each year?  (185 days)
  3. When does your school start a new school year and end? August 25- June 10
  4. Do you set down to meals with your family (on weekends and when out of school)?  What time do you average doing this?   Do you talk or is everybody on cell phones or i-pads or watching TV?
  5. Do you have a dress code at school or wear uniforms?
  6. What are some activities you do with your families?
  7. How much homework do you have each night?
  8. Do most kids have computer access at home?
  9. What are some favorite games you play outside?
  10. Do you travel to other countries for vacation each year?  If so where?
  11. What are some places you like to visit near your home/school?
  12. Do you have pets?  If so what kind?   (We learned last week from a video that in Japan their homes are small and they can rent a pet for an hour or a day).  We found this interesting.
  13. Describe your community.   Rural, urban, suburban, homes, stores, open spaces, etc.
  14. We also found it interesting that in several countries people drive on the left side with the steering wheel on the right side.  We drive on the right with the steering wheel on the left.  We wondered why some countries are different and if it would be hard to adjust.   How do most people travel in your community?  (bus, train, walking, bike, car, truck)

 

What’s growing in Mettupalayam, India?

We had the opportunity to learn about water in India back in January 2014 when Mrs. Monaghan and a Room with a View students  introduced us to Francis who was helping in Mettupalayam.

So again he is helping us out learning about Agriculture and Farming around the world and this is what he had to share with us. He also shared a power point of slides for us to use.

We thank our friends around the globe that help us with our projects about the world.

Hello again, this is Francis, replying to your questions. I am still here in Mettupalayam, a small village near Utherimerur, in Tamil Nadu, South India. If you are able to look on Google Earth, you will find the town of Utherimerur, (Uttiramerur) then you need to travel westwards along the main road, and just after Karanimandapam, there is a road going south leading to our village. You can see our school buildings as a large rectangular block on the south  side of the village. The village consists of around 70 houses, mostly now built of concrete but some still built with mud walls and roofed with palm leaves. I will try to email some pictures to you later to illustrate the information which I give below.

Many of the villagers still live a traditional way of life, keeping sheep, goats and cattle, and there are now two large flocks of ducks also in the village. Each day, villagers and children, when they aren’t at school,take the livestock out into the countryside to graze. They will spend all day looking after their animals, bringing them back before dark. The goats, sheep and ducks are reared for meat, but as most of the people here are Hindus, they don’t eat beef and so the cattle are kept for their milk with the male calves being reared to become oxen for pulling carts. The villagers will also work in the fields, being paid a daily wage for rice planting, weeding, or harvesting crops.

Some villagers have small plots of land, mostly between 1-4 acres which they use to grow crops, mainly rice. This depends upon the monsoon rains, which come around October to November. The villagers are able to collect water in large wells and then pump the water into the paddy fields as the rice plants need to grow in wet fields. The rice takes around 120 days to grow and can then be harvested. This is still partly done by hand, using sickles, although if the fields are allowed to dry, then sometimes, the farmers will hire a combine harvester. Before planting the fields, they are ploughed, again often using a wooden single furrow plough pulled by two oxen, but sometimes by a hired tractor. After harvesting, if done by hand, the rice paddy needs to be threshed, to remove the grains of rice from the stalks, and this is sometimes done on the roads, allowing cars and buses to run over the paddy to help! Most of this rice will be sold through the Government Regulated market- the Government set the prices to control supply!

After the rice grains are collected, the paddy straw is kept as animal fodder for the livestock.

Other main crops grown in this area are groundnuts (peanuts) which grow well when there isn’t much rain, coconuts, tender coconuts grown for their milk, fruit trees such as mangoes, guavas, jackfruit etc. A few farmers grow pulses, and vegetable crops such as ocra, brinjal (aubergine), green chillies, pumpkin, watermelon, cluster beans etc.

Mainly root vegetables are grown in the much higher land where the temperature is cooler, so potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, and carrots whilst much is also grown in the north of India, again being cooler climate.

Most villagers will buy in all their vegetables from local markets, at least every week, although there is a market held everyday in villages and towns around Mettupalayam. There are also many shops selling fruit and vegetables, as well as eggs, chickens ( for meat) and fish which is brought in from the coast, about 40 miles away. In the nearby town of Utherimerur, there is one, western style, supermarket which sells mostly Indian foodstuffs, but also many small shops selling other goods. Many poor people in the rural areas still depend upon a monthly ration of poor quality rice provided free by the Government.

South Indian food is very different from northern Indian food, it is based around boiled rice and vegetables, spiced with garlic, chilli, Dahl, and spices such as cumin, cinnamon, coriander,  seeds, cardomon, bay leaves, pepper corns, curry leaves, and Garam Marsala powder-a mix of these ground spices. Most villagers can only afford to eat meat as a treat, on special occasions.

For breakfast, many times there is only left over boiled rice with possibly some vegetable korma or Sambhar- a runny sauce with spices and some vegetables. The main meal of the day will usually be at night, when the family have returned from the fields after their days work. This will be boiled rice with vegetables. During the dry season, the village women will cook their rice and sauces outside on a wood fuelled fire- they will have collected the wood earlier on their way back from the fields. When the monsoon comes, they have to try to cook indoors, which is very unhealthy, with the smoke filling their houses!

The villagers generally have very little furniture in their houses,but most now have a small television provided by the last Government. The keep their food in metal or plastic pots, but the raw vegetables are generally stored inside the house either on the floor or on a shelf. They don’t have refrigerators.

Some villagers now have work that pays more than they can earn working in the fields. At our primary  school, every child in the village has access to schooling and we also provide a substantial, nutritious mid-day meal, and morning and afternoon snacks. We also try to help them go on to secondary school. India is a very quickly developing country, and education is so important to enable them to enter better paid work.

Our primary school is a free school, so parents don’t have to pay for their children to attend. School is six days every week with Sunday’s as a rest day. The children arrive around 8.30 and clean the classrooms and the playground. Assembly is at 9.00, break time 11.00, lunchtime is 12.30 to 1.30, another break at 3pm and the last hour is often used for playing games etc. School ends at 4pm with another general assembly. Currently there are around 80 children at our school, from 4 villages around Mettupalayam. These also include children from a tribal village where there is a community of Kuruvi people. These people generally have a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place, putting up temporary shelters and finding food by hunting, fishing and looking for roots and berries to eat. They also sell beads, herbal medicines and other things on the roadside. Many of them now have small motorbikes to travel around on and it is common to see a whole family of 5 or 6 on one motorbike! This week, whilst I have been here,there have been  three new students from the Kuruvi community, all starting in the youngest group. One girl is called Arsini, she is the youngest in her family and she has ten brothers and sisters.this is unusual, but the Kuruvi families do tend to have far more children than villagers, it is now usual for parents only to have two children.

The Kuruvi tribal people have their own language and different customs to the villagers but they also speak Tamil, the local language. Many of them also now speak some English, as this is taught in schools.

Well, I think that is a lot of information for you to think about. I will try to email some photos to your teacher to share with you, and if you are able to access Facebook, we have a blog Friends of Mettupalayam which contains more pictures and stories.

Very best wishes and good luck with your studies

Francis

 

Do you like Chocolate? Do you eat Peanuts?

We investigated Chocolate and how it was first introduced to the world.

Do you like Chocolate?  We learned today that Europeans eat more pounds of Chocolate each year than the USA.   Even through when it was first delivered to Spain they did not like the bitter taste of the Cacao so they added sugar to make it taste better in their drinks.   They keep it a secret for a long time.  The Europeans did not learn about this secret until 100 years later when they hear about adding the sugar.   Do you know where cacao beans grow?  How many beans does it take to make a pound of Chocolate?  Do you know how much Chocolate is eaten at Valentine’s Day?

Some ways we like Chocolate are in candies, Chocolate ice cream, pudding, chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate chip cookies, hot cocoa, chocolate milk, Chocolate muffins.  What is your favorite type of Chocolate?

 

Where did the peanut originate?  How is it used?

We like Snickers candy bars which has chocolate and peanuts.

We like to eat roasted peanuts.

Some of us have allergies to peanuts.

Peanuts do not grow on trees like nuts do.  They are related to beans and peas.

Do you eat peanuts in your country?  How do you like them?

 

North Carolina – Agriculture All Around Us

Agriculture picture for consumers

Goodness Grows in NC

North Carolina is one of the 50 states in the USA. Asheville NC is in the blue NC is green.

North Carolina is one of the 50 states in the USA. Asheville NC is in the blue NC is green.

This emblem tells consumers the product is grown in North Carolina and encourages us to buy products locally grown.  You can find this a local farmer’s markets.

North Carolina grows many agriculture products because we are located in a diverse climate area with many different types of soil.  We have three regions in NC- the Appalachian Mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plains.  The coastal plain is next to the Atlantic Ocean.   We have growing seasons from 130 days in the very northern mountains to 270 days near the coast.

Those 3 regions vary with their topography, soils and climate.  About 2/5 of the state is called Coastal Plain and Tidewater.  Another 2/5 is the Piedmont (which is where we live in the Piedmont plateau).   To the west of that area is the rolling rugged hills and the areas of the Appalachian Mountains which is home to the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains and this makes up the last 1/5 of the regions. Asheville is a town in the mountain area and is shown in blue.   The highest point is Mount Mitchell at 6,648 feet above sea level.  The lowest is where NC meets the Atlantic Ocean sea level in the Coastal area.  There are large farms of many acres and smaller family farms across the state.  NC has small gardens to larger farms raising food for people to consume and sell.  The average farm size is 163 acres and there were 52,400 farms in 2009.

Did you know that NC ranks….

  •  1st  in the nation for production of flue-cured tobacco and sweet potatoes — there are less farmers growing tobacco these days than in past history when it was a popular product.  Sweet potatoes are growing in popularity so more are being harvested each year.
  •  2nd in production of Christmas trees.   The Fraser Fir is the most popular type grown.  1,300   NC growers produce about 19% of the real Christmas trees in US.  It was named for John Fraser,   a Scot botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century.  This is another product not for eating but with a great income potential for farmers. It is also second in the nation in production of pigs and hogs with pork as a popular meat dish.  NC is known for it’s barbecue pork and chicken dishes.
  •  3rd in the production of strawberries and cucumbers. We have a large pickle company called the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc., established in 1926, which produces a full line of quality pickles, peppers and relishes.  They sell their products in over 45 states making it the second bestselling brand of pickles in the country.  You can go to farms to pick your own strawberries and buy them at local markets.
  •  4th in product of upland cotton.  Cotton is one of the main crops not totally for eating.  Parts of it is used in salad dressings and oils.  Mostly it’s used for jeans, shirts and other clothing products.   Parts are used to feed animals.
  • 5th in peanut production and broilers (chickens for eating).   Some people are allergic to peanuts.  Many types of peanuts are produced but a large portion of those raised are used as peanuts in the shell.   Restaurants often have a bucket on the table for eating before the meal comes.

 

Other agriculture products in NC  include the greenhouse/nursery industry and crops of soybeans, corn, wheat, peanuts, blueberries, potatoes, and tomatoes.  We also raise hogs and pigs, turkeys, cattle and calves and chickens (broilers for meat).  It is 2nd in the nation in production of pigs and hogs, trout and turkeys and 5th for broilers.  We raise chickens for eggs.  North Carolina produces a large amounts of sweet potatoes, cucumbers to make pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, Chile peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apple, and grapes for millions of people in the United States and numerous other countries.  North Carolina has become a major producer of trout and catfish with the popularity of eating healthy and eating fish.   Throughout the state farmer’s markets set up for the various seasons and sell produce.   NC sends other produce to grocery stores and other states and countries.

blueberries for blog sweet potatoes for blog biltmore 3Gymanasticsschool october 119

Union County produces hay, corn, soybeans and wheat as top crops.  It is also a large producer of broilers, layers (chickens for eggs), turkeys and cattle. There are about 1,000 farms with about half the total acres being farm land.

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Goodness Grows in NC

Credits:  NCAgr.Gov/Ag is Cool

Why is agriculture important to everyone?

Do you know why agriculture is important to you?  Why is it important to others around the world?

Think about your day!  What did you have for breakfast?  Where did it originate?   Is it something grown in your country?

Think about what you are wearing?

What’s for lunch and dinner?

What agricultural products are in your home, school, business?

Each day we all use, eat, or wear something made from an agricultural product.

Many things do not resemble the original product because of the way things are processed.

Do the items you listed come from somewhere else?   If so what country did it come from?

Tell us what you had to eat today.   Did you have to import any of it?

We would also like to know what it would cost in US dollars to feed your family for the day and for a week?   Do you eat fresh foods, pre-packaged meals, lots of snack foods, meats?  What is special about meals at your location?   Tell us about a typical meal.

 

Agricultural Around the World

What can we learn about agriculture around the world and food production? If we produce so much of the  top commodities like wheat, corn, sugar cane, rice, why do some people go hungry?     Students will begin exploring and investigating these and other questions in our integrated unit of study.

What are the top foods produced in your location?

Do people face a shortage of food and go hungry where you live?

Students in my classes  (K-5th grade) are coming up with many questions as we begin our unit during the season of harvest festivals around the world and study of The First Thanksgiving in America.

If you can help answer our questions we’d love to have a comment from you.  We want to learn about agriculture around the world.

Greek Civilizations and Greek Gods and Goddess

Second grade students started a reading unit learning about Ancient Asian Civilizations then moved on to an introduction about Greek civilizations.   Students gathered together to view videos from Discovery Streaming to start the study about Greek civilizations.  They were able to see the architecture and buildings in ancient Greece and see buildings in the USA using the same architecture.  They learned that Democracy started in Greece before the Romans brought it to the New World.   During reading time they continued to learn about the civilizations and inventions they shared with the world.  As they became engaged in the unit they learned about the Gods and Goddess and their influences.

Greek Gods and Goddess As a culminating activity on October 29th, students were allowed to dress up as their favorite God or Goddess.  This is what some students said about the experience.

Stephanie G. and Chauncey in Ms. Dunleavy’s , Mrs. McNeill’s class told about their favorite character.  Students from other classrooms told how much they enjoyed the event.

Athena is a very important goddess of many things. She is goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.

Stephanie said she “picked Athena because she liked war and wisdom a lot.  She seemed really royal because she was Zeus’s daughter.  I really like dressing up as Athena and it made me feel like a real goddess.”

Chauncey said,” he liked being Zeus because he was the god of lighting and a leader.  I felt happy because everybody dressed up like their favorite God or Goddess.  I learned he was like a father to all the Gods because he was a leader.”

Kami said, “It was awesome.”

Diana said,” It was cool.”

Bryson said, “It was good.”  “It was fun dressing up.”

Faith said, “It was cool and exciting.”

Kendall said, “It was super fun and they had super powers.  She thought she looked awesome as Hera.”

Aiden said, “They were very powerful.  Zeus was the most powerful.  Zeus could throw thunder, lighting and rain.   There were 12 main Gods and Goddess.  I felt weird at first dressing up as Zeus then got used to it.  They have human looks and have super powers.”

Gods and Goddess Greek Civilizations Where are we from? Greece Which one are you? The Greek Gods and Goddess ThGreek Gods and Goddess e students will further increase their knowledge through Greek mythology in their next reading unit.  Greek myths tell about the adventures of the Gods and Goddess.   They explain beliefs and how things came to be.

Uniting the World with Learning and UNICEF

World Education Games learning with other students around the world. Rocky River students compete and earn points to help support students around the world through UNICEF during the week of October 12th in global studies classes. Several students at Rocky River had a chance to compete in the world’s largest on line educational competition with over 5 million students from around the world.  This is a three day event with literacy, math and science competitions.  Students can compete with students from many different countries that are on line at the same time.  The computer generates a group of 3-5 students for each game.    This live completion is called the World Education Games and begins in Australia in the southern hemisphere.

For the literacy competition a sentence will be read aloud and you must spell the missing word.  You will earn points for every correct answer.  To win the game, race to beat your opponent across the finishing line—but be careful!  Three incorrect answers and you are out of the game!  The points from the first 20 games will count as the official score on World Literacy Day.  In the event of a tie your average speed is important, so be sure to answer quickly!

For Math the game continues until the clock runs down to zero.  Continue answering questions to earn points as quickly as possible—but be careful!  World Maths Day is about speed and accuracy, three incorrect answers and you are out of the game!  The points from your first 20 games will be counted as your official World Maths Day score.   (Note: in some parts of the world the word Maths is used instead of Math).

Due to technical difficulties and time students were unable to compete in the science portion on the final day.

This is fun.  Wonder who we will play against next time. For every 5000 UNICEF points earned by students during the World Education Games, 3P Learning donates $1 towards the supported UNICEF education projects such as Schools in a Box which helps kids continue learning after a disaster (earthquake, flood, and tsunami).  This program can get them on track within 72 hours by providing materials for a teacher and her students.   The more points earned, the more students they can support!   The games are organized by the 3PLearning and sponsored by Microsoft, UNICEF, 3PLearning and MACQUARIE (Australian based).  At this time there were 169,474,201 points earned with a final count soon.

Overall top players was John G. and Sara C. (4th graders)  for literacy and math.   Three students received UNICEF certificates for Math points (Connor S. (4th grade) and Ezra B. and Joshua B. (3rd graders).  Congratulations to all these students!  Awesome job.

 

Global Recognition for Rocky River

We are excited to be recognized for the 3rd year as an International School in Union County Public Schools of North Carolina.   UCPS is considered a leader throughout North Carolina for its focus on global education.  For the past six years, the UCPS Global Schools Program has encouraged educators to bring global education into the classroom.

Schools are rated in five categories depending on points earned through its level of participation.  Schools document their growth through an electronic portfolio as we infuse globalization into the curriculum.  It shows our schools’ commitment to connecting our students to others around the world. We are proud of our work and accomplishments.  Documentation included work with our sister schools in England and Australia.  Our VIF teacher (Visiting International Faculty) also brought the English culture to our school through many lessons about her country of origin.  We learned about many countries of focus through each grade.  Kindergarten focuses on North America, First graders focus is Africa, Second graders focus on Australia/Oceania, Third graders focus on Europe, Fourth graders focus is Asia, and fifth graders focus is South America.   The whole school had a program about the Chinese culture and a focus about castles around the world especially in the United Kingdom.   Students collected money for a service learning project through Heifer International and was able to donate several animals to make life better for others around the world.  We participated in virtual field trips to the Great Barrier Reef and for Remembrance Day in England.  Second grade students learned about rugby, foods, and castles during International Club with Mrs. Harlow (VIF teacher) and Mrs. Todd (Global Teacher Leader).

During a principal’s meeting (October 1) 49 schools were recognized with a plaque.  Principals of schools designated International Schools received a banner to display at their schools in addition to the plaque.  Fifteen schools were classified as International Schools which is the top recognition having earned 85+ points.

At the next staff meeting the plaque and banner were presented to the global committee and staff.

AwardInternational School AwardSchool 2014 738

Rocky River Students Show Global Citizenship and Leadership

During the month of May all 43 classes from Pre-K to 5th grade (860 plus students) joined together with Heifer International to complete a service learning project.  During the year we had learned what it means to be a global citizen and that one part of being a global citizen is learning about problems and taking action to help solve them.   We focused on hunger and collected money for Heifer International.  The animals purchased will go to many places in the world to provide food, wool and money for the family.   The money from selling extra eggs, milk, wool, a baby animal will then help families pay for schooling, homes, and needed items in order to make their life better.

Rocky River Students Show Global Citizenship and Leadership

Students heard a story about young Beatrice from Uganda, Africa and how her family faced many challenges.  After hearing the story Beatrice’s Goat students came up with ways they could earn money to donate.  Some of their ideals included a lemonade stand, selling old toys they no longer wanted, doing chores, tooth fairy money, allowances, and gift money.   Students made posters to advertise the project and an announcement for our broadcast. Then they went out and found ways they could earn money to donate and take action against world hunger.

Along with individual student donations  Girl scout Troop 2906 consisting of Lia, Jada, Liani, Emma, Taylor, Tristan (all 2nd graders) and their leader Mrs. Zarger  made this a community project and collected a lot of money.

The student’s and their families were very generous when they donated $548.69 toward hunger and making a better life for others.  This extended their learning when they were able to use some of their 7 habits (Leader in Me) strategies and take action to help others around the world so they can show their global citizenship.

We donated an alpaca, goat, sheep, honeybees, ducks/geese, a share of a heifer and a hope basket with (rabbits and chicks).  Students discuss where they thought these animals would help out and what it means to have a sustainable living.  When you purchase a share of an animal then other money is put with it from other donations toward the purchase.

When it was all done and the money sent to Heifer the students said, “It made me feel really good to help someone out.”  “I felt proud of what I did.”  “I want to continue helping other people.”  “We helped a lot of families.”

We want to thank everyone in the community, students and families that helped with world hunger.

 

Our Second Visit- Blue Ridge Parkway

http://www.nps.gov/storage/images/blri/Webpages/originals/375.jpg

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Blue Ridge Parkway                                                           Katherine

The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Byson City, North Carolina and ends in Waynesboro, Virginia. The parkway is free to go to, but most people spend up to $3.00 dollars in hospitality and in the gift shops. Some activities you can do there are camping, shopping, golfing, hiking , bicycling, fishing, swimming & motorcycle touring all of these activities cost money to do which adds on to how much an average person spends. There are hiking trails in North Carolina & Virginia. The most popular in North Carolina is the Waterrock Knob trail, and the Cumberland Knob trail. When you go camping there are 9 camping grounds. The most popular are the Otter Creek campground or the Roanoke Mountain campground. While you are at the parkway there are many places to stay including bed & breakfast inn, cabins, cottages, rentals, hotels, motels, lodges, campgrounds, rv parks, resorts, and ranches.

 

“NC226A-Blue Ridge Parkway” by Washuotaku – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NC226A-Blue_Ridge_Parkway.JPG#/media/File:NC226A-Blue_Ridge_Parkway.JPG\

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Traveling North Carolina

As we begin our project to teach students in Ireland and Around the World about places to visit in North Carolina we look out our windows this week you’d see  lots of rain. So if you came now to visit you’d need a rain coat or umbrella and some rain boots. It’s probably like we think you are most of the time.  We have read that you get lots of rain.   We didn’t have rain on Saturday but it’s poured heavy rain much of today.   They are calling for some severe storms possible with tornado watches for late this afternoon and tonight.  Flooding is forecast in some low lying areas.   The temperature is 70 F or 21 C.  It’s warm so bring shorts and t-shirt along with the rain gear, hiking shoes, and jeans and sweatshirt for layering.    Tomorrow a cold front will arrive in the area.

The trees have gotten their new spring leaves and the grass is growing for the spring mowing season.   Azalea bushes are blooming now in whites, pinks, red, and purples.  There is a lot of pollen in the air and on everything.  If you have allergies bring tissue and allergy medicines.  We’ll travel there by car which will take between 1 1/2 and 2 hours.  If we are on a field trip we will go by a school bus and it may take longer.

Our first stop on our agenda…..

  • Have you ever wondered about minerals and gems?  
  • Where do you find them?
  •  What kinds are there?  
  • Do you like nature and wildlife?
  •  Then you’ll like our first stop!

Sophie July 2014 April 2012-mountain 002 Sophie 2014 David's camera july 2012 199

Credits:  Hiddenite Gem Mine – Emerald Hollow Mine, North Carolina

Emerald Hollow Mine   located  in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains is in a small town of Hiddenite, North Carolina.  It’s a unique and interesting geological location on the North American continent.  Emerald Hollow Mine is known as “The Gem Capital of the World,” and provides educational fun experience for everyone.  You can spend a day in the foothills digging, sluicing or creeking “ for gems.  They offer Earth Science and Field Trip programs to tour groups and teams.  There are more than 63 different types of naturally occurring gems and minerals.  Many are rare including emerald, aquamarine, sapphire, garnet, topaz, amethyst, rutile, tourmaline along with more abundant ones of the world like class smoky and clear quartz crystals.  It’s the only place on earth where you can find the rare gemstone “Hiddenite”.big hiddenite 08

Hours 8:30 am to sunset (ranging from 5:00 p.m. in mid-winter to 7:00 p.m. in mid summer).

Open every day except for Thanksgiving (Nov – fourth Thursday), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

You can bring your RV and park it nearby with complete hookups.  There are motels/bed and breakfast in nearby cities of Statesville, Hickory and Taylorsville.  You can bring a picnic lunch or stop in one of the nearby cities for a meal.

Staff will answer questions, offer instructions and help identify gems/minerals you find.

There is also a complete lapidary shop (where they turn your finds into jewelry and beautiful cut stones).

Other things to do-  DO NOT PICK THE WILD FLOWERS.

  • Breathtaking scenic views
  • Abundant wildlife
  • Walks/hiking and nature at it’s best.
  • Year round- Children’s activities
  • Free parking
  • Gift/retail shop
  • Picnic area
  • Rental equipment
  • Guided tours
  • Rustic mining town atmosphere
  • Splashing in the cool stream during the hot summer

Picture of sluicing from—   http://www.bestsmalltownamerica.com/

hiddenitegems02minerals and gems Emerald 65 carat Largest Emerald Found  (CBS news)

Sluicing, Creeking, and Digging

Sluicing Permit- $5.00- most popular and easiest.   Have a seat on covered sluiceway and wash buckets of ore to find gemstones.  Additional buckets range from $5.00 to $1000.00.  Variety of buckets to choose from such as the  “Super Bucket-  5 gallon enriched bucket for $15.00

 

Creeking- Sluicing/Creeking Permit)- $10.00  Cutting through the rich ridges of the mine there are sparkling clean, clear , mountain waters called creeks.

Digging:  Combination Permit- $20.00.   Digging is hard work but motherlode finds are made chasing veins.

Creek Screen and Hand Shovel- $2.00 more with a  $5.00 deposit for set $3.00 refunded upon return of tools.

Digging Tools- $5.00 set- $10.00 deposit- $5.00 refunded upon return of tools.

Check out their official website here for more details.

http://www.hiddenitegems.com

Travel Agents Coming Soon!

We are going on spring break Thursday and will return April 13th.  At that time we will be getting our newest project off to it’s first post about places in North Carolina and the United States to visit.

 We look forward to learning about places in Ireland at that time with students from – Greystones,  Wicklow County, Ireland and the class called If Only the Best Birds Sang   and teaching them about our country as we explore places to visit.

  •   If you were a travel agent for your country what places would you recommend to visitors.  If you’d like to join our project we’d love to hear from you too!  We’d like to hear from more classes around the world about a special place in your country.  

We will also be completing our castle projects during April.  The second grade international club is working on their castle challenge to complete their own castle out of recyclable materials by April 14th.  Look for their designs then.  The students in the rest of the school will learn about castles that week during Global Studies.

The International Club students also took a virtual field trip last week to Australia and the Outback thanks to Ross Mannell who prepared  extended comments for us to visit around Australia since a real trip was not possible.  We were amazed how flat and red it is there. We have  white-tailed deer but not kangaroos. The deer cross the road and get hit by cars, they come in our yards and run off when we appear and some people eat venison meat. We have possum not echinda.  We have ostrichs but not emu.   Where we live we have more green.  The trees are leafless during the winter other than evergreens and some grass is still green and many shrubs.  Now that it is spring everything is turning green.

 

April 2012-mountain 002Farm 2012

This week we went back to England, Scotland and Wales to learn about foods which was made possible through Project Britain by Mandy Barrow. The students were amazed about eating baked beans for breakfast.  We have a different kind of biscuit that is bread and used for breakfast a lot in the US.   Mrs. Todd had learned about foods in Mrs. Monaghan’s home a few years ago when she took time to share with her class items in her pantry.  Some were very different from ours like chips and fries.  Some cereal looked similar.   Mrs. Harlow lives in England and is here teaching some of us as a visiting teacher.   These teachers are helping us study about these two areas of the world.  We’d like your help too!!

We wonder if Ireland eats the same kind of foods as England, Scotland and Wales?

International Club lasted a few weeks for about 20 energetic seven and eight year old’s.  We did dot art painting of kangaroos and other animals, visited the Outback and saw life there, learned about the Aboriginal people in Australia , learned about Castles and foods from Europe.  Our focus country is Australia and our Visiting teacher is from England so we learn about both places which is interesting to compare.   Our last week after break will be learning a dance from England, learning about schools in Australia and sharing our castles.

We hope some of you can join us in learning about places in Greystones Ireland and North Carolina/USA.  Perhaps you’ll share some of your special places with us during this project.

HAPPY SPRING BREAK AND WE’LL SEE YOU IN APRIL!