How will you tell your students about YOU?

It’s August. Everywhere you look on education blogs or edu-Twitter, there are posts about going back to school. I know—I’ve written my fair share of them. Last year, I wrote about using centers for the first day of school and this year I wrote about relationships mattering more than content. But as you read about great ideas for the first day of school and building … Continue reading How will you tell your students about YOU?

What Continent Do You Think They Are From? Drawing Humans to Reveal Internalized Bias

When teaching geography (and every subject) we need diverse voices. We need to push back against dominant narratives that amplify some perspectives (usually of those in power) and erase or ignore others. With this in mind, my co-teacher and I created a new activity to shed light on who we focus on and where they tend to be from. We hoped to encourage students to … Continue reading What Continent Do You Think They Are From? Drawing Humans to Reveal Internalized Bias

Across the ‘Blackboard’, Explorer Magazine Sparks Curiosity

By Kristen Bednarz Director of Marketing, National Geographic Society When the yellow-framed student version of a National Geographic Society publication arrives in classrooms, it brings an eagerness to explore—and not just to its student readership. National Geographic’s Explorer magazine reminds us adults of the magic we felt as kids when we read (or, in my case, looked at photos) in the original magazine. I remember collecting … Continue reading Across the ‘Blackboard’, Explorer Magazine Sparks Curiosity

10 Ways to Take Your Classroom Outside!

Outdoor Classroom Day is May 18!  Get ready with these great ideas from Nat Geo Educators! 1. Gardening Becky Collins, a teacher at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, created a gardening program for her kindergarten students, teaching them about where food comes from and how it’s grown. Through this project, Becky has convinced her pickiest eaters to try broccoli, and in the process she has … Continue reading 10 Ways to Take Your Classroom Outside!

Marcy Prager: Studying the Hopi in a Second Grade Classroom

Marcy has been a teacher in the Town of Brookline for thirty-five years. Her passion has always been teaching geography and social studies to students in grades 1, 2, 3, and 4. Helping students to understand other cultures around the world is a first step towards understanding and peace in the 21st century. Many of her past students have become teachers, archaeologists, and have become part of many other professions that help other people. Knowing that she has been slightly responsible for students choosing “helpful” professions and working towards a peaceful future has been extremely gratifying for her! Her own children, now 26 and 21 years of age, have developed her beliefs in a better world to come.

Marcy_Prager_Pic.jpgMy second grade class is studying the Hopi, a Native American people who live in the northeastern region of Arizona.  I was lucky enough to receive a Brookline Education Foundation grant to visit Hopiland. I spent time among the Hopi and learned more deeply about their culture in order to impart my knowledge to my students.  The Hopi are a deeply religious people.  Their entire year is devoted to praying for rain, for their geography shows that rain is scarce in this desert land. 

One of the Hopi origin stories, the Magic Water Jug, tells how the Hopi migrated to four worlds, each world a more difficult place to live, to ensure that they would not forget to pray to their Creator, Taiowa. And what would force the Hopi to remember their Creator?  The lack of fresh water…which would result in a lack of food (corn being their leading crop). The lack of food would make certain that the Hopi would continue to pray to Taiowa.  If you look at a Hopi calendar, each month has celebrations when different Hopi groups dance and pray for rain, as the Hopi spectators look down upon them from the rooftops of their pueblo homes.  Some of the dances include the “Snake Dance,” “The Butterfly Dance,” “The Bean Dance,” “The Eagle Dance,” etc.  Here is a video from the early 20th century showing a Hopi rain dance. http://memory.loc.gov/mbrs/trmp/4121.mov

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