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.


tra·di·tion       noun \trə-ˈdi-shən\

A way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time.  Pick one question to share an answer with us.   We’d love to hear from people around the world.  It’s exciting to us when we get a comment to read and compare to our life.

What are traditions at this time of year around your house?

What is the most important tradition to you and why?

What holiday do you celebrate and  what traditions in your home  go with that celebration?



Fifth Graders Want to Know about Biomes

Our fifth grade students are studying ecosystems and Biomes around the world.   Can you help us out by telling us about some Biomes in your area of the world?   What makes them unique?

Do you know the difference in the terms Ecosystems and Biomes?

  • Biomes-  a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, e.g., forest or tundra.
  • Ecosystems-a system made up of an ecological community of living things interacting with their environment especially under natural conditions.

North Carolina has three major areas– Coastal Plain, Piedmont (foot of the mountain) and Mountains.  What kinds of flora and fauna would we find here?   We live in the Piedmont area and that is where our school is located.

What would the top 5 biomes be in the world?

Mapping Tools

We are starting a project using mapping tools this week.    Our inquiry will be to see if different places around the world have the same natural resources and agricultural products as we have in North Carolina.   We have been learning all about maps this past week.   We learned about map keys, compass rose and grids.   We discussed latitude and longitude.   We looked at the seven continents and 4 oceans on the map.   We compared a model, map and globe.   We have also been learning about natural resources and agricultural products in the three regions of North Carolina so we thought we’d combine the maps with this and then compare places in Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand.

  • What natural resources and agricultural products do you have?
  • What is your favorite mapping tool to use?
  • How can you compare regions of the world using these maps? 
  • What other things could we show on maps?

Irish Dancers Visit Rocky River Elementary

“First the girls danced with soft shoes then they did some dances with hard shoes “, said Destiny.  McKenna thought they danced very fast.  Zachary said, “they kicked up their legs a lot.”  They criss cross their legs a lot when dancing.   “They have to keep their arms straight beside them when they are dancing”, said Adyson.  “They did this to keep balance and not fall because in olden days they took off the upper door and danced on it so they didn’t want to fall off” said Nicole.  They wore certain costumes depending on how long they had danced. Both boys and girls can do Irish dancing.  The beginners wore white shirts and black skirts if they were girls or boys would wear black pants and white shirts.  Another level dancer had a black embroided dress.  The upper levels got to pick their own colors and design their own costume.

Charlie said, the Irish Dance comes from Ireland.  The Irish celebrate an important day called St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  That is a busy month for the dancers.  They travel to different schools to dance and exhibit their talents. They also traveled around doing contests.  One of the girls was a champion level dancers.  They ranged in age from 6 – 24 years of age.

A few days after they performed we watched some other videos of Irish dancers from Liverpool, Sydney, Australia and the USA.  We decided if they dance in all these places that Irish dancing most be world wide.  Have you ever done Irish dancing?   Our state dancing is clogging and shagging.

Presenting our Cultural Resumes



Students  have been busy talking with their parents and finding out about their ancestors.   We are finding we come from many countries.  We watched a video about gestures (hand shakes, heads moving) and their meanings from around the world.   We learned a song about saying hello around the world.  We discussed why it’s important to understand different cultures.


Do you know where your ancestors came from?   Did they need to travel a long way from their country of origin to come to America?


Adventures into Global Learning

Union County Public Schools in Monroe, North Carolina are introducing students to a global society.   Each elementary school is part of the Global Gateway program.   Teacher’s work on modules learning how to bring globalization into their classrooms and lessons.  They will collaborate and learn about ways to incorporate global learning into their curriculum.

Students will do inquiry based learning by finding answers to questions about a specific region of study.  At Rocky River the second grade will focus on Australia and New Zealand and some smaller islands.

  •  How do Australia, New Zealand and North Carolina compare?
  • Do they have similar cultures?
  • Do they have similar traditions?
  • How are they different?

Connecting with 73 countries

This year we worked on being a part of a global world in our 2nd grade class room at Rocky River Elementary in Monroe, North Carolina.  We are 7 and 8 year olds that loved to explore and be curious about the world.

    • We blogged and Skyped with others around the world.
    • We made connections.
    • We had fun.
    • We learned about other people and places.
    • We collaborated.
    •  We communicated.
    • We were creative thinkers, problem solvers and users of web 2.0 tools.
    • We created Global notebooks to track our learning about the world.
    • We became more aware of maps and locations of countries around the globe.
    • We tracked visitors to our blog site.

We loved doing this each day and seeing how far away we were from goals we set.
 Our average this month is 30 with 23 in the past 24 hours.
We decided to try and draw the flags from the 73 countries that visited.
 With a piece of paper, ruler , pencil and crayons we created these flags to honor our visitors and to say THANK YOU for visiting.  We learned a lot from many of you about your country.

What is a Legend? Do you know one?

We have been studying fairy tales, myths , and legends and recently we had the opportunity to hear about a legend from some very enthusiastic third graders in Arizona.

What is a legend-–A legend is usually based on a true event in the past. However, the story may have changed over time to take on some special mystical feature.
Legends usually have a real hero at the center of the story and they are often set in fantastic places. The story will have been passed on from person to person, sometimes over a very long period of time.  The fact that so many people have taken the trouble to keep the story alive, usually tells you that it has some very important meaning for the culture or region in which the story was first told.

Sometimes things get changed over time with each retelling of the story.  We did a little research today and found some different versions of the story but we really like the one that the kids shared with us.

We recently skyped with our new friends in Arizona at Peralta Elementary School.  We eagerly listened as the tale unfolded.

They did a wonderful skit telling us about Superstition Mountain and the Legend of the Lost Dutchman.   They had made some really cool pictures of miners , gold and a skelton.   T he legend of the  Lost Dutchman Gold Mine centers around the Superstition Mountains. According to the legend, a German immigrant named Jacob Walzer discovered a mother lode.

Near the school is the Superstition Mountains.  This mountains are full of mystery and the legend of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.

People have died on Superstition Mountain.  There was a lady that was 65 years old hiking and she fell 50 feet and she died.  There was a plane crash that killed some children from their school.   Why did the Indians fear the mountain?

The first person to get gold was Don Miguel a very rich man from a wealthy family.  In 1845 he went home to get supplies and made the Apache angry so they attacked and killed over  400 men.   Others came after him trying to locate the lost mine.   Some had maps but many died trying to find the mine.  Jacob was said to have located the mine.  Then the maps were lost and everyone thought the mine was too.    Did it exist?

The Superstition Mountain gets it’s name because so many people die there and it’s like a mystery.  The Indians thought it was a place of death.   They don’t know if it’s a ghost or just a mystery with humans.

In 1910 they   found 10 golden nuggets.


We also learned about some animals found in the Sonora Desert.   We also learned about  Saguaro Cactus, the state flower of Arizona and how the cactus wren lives in the top of it.

Animals in the Sonoran Desert include:

They have lizards.  There was one that spit out blood from it’s eyes.  If it squirts them in the eyes they will be blind forever.  They have the Gila Monster.  If it gets on you it will not let you go.  It will poison you and you can died from it.

The state bird is a cactus wren.  They have real roadrunners there.  He runs really fast.  They have mountain lions that come looking for water.  They have bobcats and panthers.  They have skunk.  There is quail.  And rattlesnakes too.  They have lots of birds.  Some of the animals are the same in North Carolina like the cardinal , skunk, bobcat and rattlesnake.

It can get to 122 degrees in summer.  It gets very hot.

It can get as cold as in the 30’s.

They once  had a lockdown because the mountain lion was trying to find water.

Where is this mysterious place…….

It is close to Mexico.  It’s  next to California.  It’s in the hottest desert in the USA.

It’s Arizona.

We heard a legend from Australia called the Three Sisters Blue Mountains.   North Carolina has Blackbeard the Pirate, the Brown Mountain Lights and many others.  Do you have a favorite legend?


Here is a link for some North Carolina legends and ghost stories.


Flat Friends Traveling Around

A few weeks back we joined with 4 other classes on a Flat Friend journey.   Some of us got to travel to the desert area in Arizona, some to see a castle and history in England, some to Australia to visit the beach, and sites in  Sydney and Victoria .   We received some Flat Friends from Sydney Australia at Curl, Curl,   They’ve gotten a chance to go to some of our special area classes and go home with us.   We’ve had them two whole weeks staying busy as beavers.     Ours got sidetracked on their journey to Sydney in the postal system so we had to go to a back-up plan and send them through email.  We are hoping the originals  arrive soon in Sydney and will be waiting for them when they return to school from their holidays.   Ours came with these wonderful journals and we’ve enjoyed writing in them over their time at Rocky River.

We wonder what everyone has been getting into with their Flat Friends.  You can check out the adventures around the world at this site:

Teaching Peers About Other Places


Kia Ora, 


What do  second graders from Rocky River and New Town two schools in Union County, NC learn when they get  together for a Skype session ?   They teach each other about places miles and continents  away that they are learning about this year.    The students at Rocky River have  been learning about Australia  so they answered questions about animals, food, schools, sports and landmarks.  They shared pictures and a song  about a Kookaburra under a gum tree  with New Town students.  They shared  about the Great Barrier Reef,  Uluru/Ayers Rock and the Outback.  The students  had drawn  pictures of Kangaroos, dingoes, wombats and koalas  to share.   Ms. Lologa asked about the special package that had arrived from Australia.  We were  surprised they knew about our Flat Selves arriving from Sydney.   She mentioned they had looked at our Going Global blog site right before the skype.  We were excited they had been one of our visitors.    The second grade classes from New Town had several questions and shared a song and dance with us.  Their teacher, Ms. Lologa,   from New Zealand is a VIF teacher in Union County.     There were two classes  participating from New Town.  Although our connection was not the best we still enjoyed sharing with them. 


Ms. Lologa  answered questions about New Zealand.  Students counted in Maori for us.   We hope to Skype again and have some more time to ask questions about New Zealand.  Students asked about schools and volcanoes.    They heard about landforms and sports like cricket and rugby.

When the  Skype session ended one of the students mentioned he even saw a friend.  Connections new and old being made all in a short time.


World Education Games

This is our first year ever to participate in the World Education Games.  At first we were a little nervous because we are in second grade.  Some of us answered questions in the 4-7 age group and some of us had to do the  8-10 age group.      We’ve been busy practicing spelling, math and science the past few weeks.  Now it’s time to show what we can do for the games.  We are excited and love to see who we will compete against.  They come from all around the world.    The science questions were hard we discovered and we answered 731 during the warm-up.  We only did science one week because of difficulty getting on.  For the warm-up time in spelling we answered over 15,152 questions.  And in math 11, 726 questions.    It’s been a lot of fun just practicing.  

South Africa

This time Irene’s mom came to talk with us about South Africa.  Second grade students at Rocky River were lucky to hear all about Cape Town and South Africa.

These are things we learned…

  • There are the Big Five-  they are the rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard and lion.
  • Where the oceans meet at the end they are different colors because warm water and cold water don’t mix.
  • There are white sharks.
  • They have gold and diamonds.
  • They have the rand as currency = 100 cents
  • They like to barbeque.
  • They make many items- clothing, spears, shields, cravings, crafts.
  • They have two flags.
  • Their clothing is different from ours.

We think Tom should have encountered more of the big five to have more adventures in the book The Boy Who Biked the World.  His journal pages told us things about each place but we think it would have been good for the book to have more sensory details woven into the actual story line after we heard about South Africa.