Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lord Shaftesbury and the young miners.


Ninth grade students are now learning about the early Industrial Revolution and the effect it had on children.  They have also viewed a film about a young girl, Lyddie, who lived and worked in an Industrial Revolution Cotton Mill town.

Students also learned about the good earl, Lord Shaftesbury, who chose to use his background of wealth and education to make conditions better for children and their families in England during the middle of the 19th century.  Lord Shaftesbury's tireless reforms changed history.

This etching shows Lord Shaftesbury going down into the mines himself.  He saw the young boys and their mistreatment and spoke about it in Parliament.  There, no one could question him about his information--for he had been in the mines and seen the abuse of young people with his own eyes.  His testimony helped to contribute to the passing of important reform legislation, including the Mines Act of 1842.

One of his biographers, Georgina Battiscombe, has claimed that "No man has in fact ever done more to lessen the extent of human misery or to add to the sum total of human happiness

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Welcome Students

Image result for nikko


Mrs. Olsen is back at Sprague, ready and willing to teach 189 Freshman students history.

Mrs. Olsen is a graduate of Sprague High School, and though she looks about 29, she can remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Moon landing.  That's a lot of history since then.

For the past several years, after teaching AP classes, she has been devoting herself to Freshman classes.   You will learn a lot of things this coming year and you should find the class very interesting.

This summer, she visited Japan for several weeks.  She was hoping to become a zombie, because she is fond of Japanese zombie films, but that did not happen.  No one bit her.  Instead, she visited several Japanese schools and went to Kyoto and Nikko where she saw the shrine in the picture above.  She also brought back a lot of incense, so her house now smells like a shrine and her two dogs and two cats think that she is worshiping them.

She at a lot of Sushi and other things like entire fish, eyeballs and all.  It was a great experience.  We are fortunate to live in Oregon and enjoy the beautiful Sprague campus, surrounded by trees and parks.

I will be emailing parents and students every week or so just to keep them informed about what we are doing.  I know this will be a great year as usual!


We will start this year reading a great book about a boy growing up in a New York tenement called Finn Reardon.  This will be one of many books we will read this year.  I'm looking forward having a great year in my room, Room 161.

Monday, June 11, 2018

End of the year and have a great summer



Well, it's a wrap for the summer, with students finishing their exams this week.  I hope that all my students have a great summer.  We finished with World War II and I warned all students to be careful if they run into any FUGO bombs while out hiking in the great Northwest Forests.   After learning about the people who were killed on May 7 1945 near Bly, Oregon, students are well aware that a FUGO bomb could still turn up...and if so, it would  be a remnant from when the Japanese sent over the bombs to start forest fires in the United States.

Mrs. Olsen will also be traveling this summer to Japan.  This has been on her bucket list for some time, so wish her luck.  If she doesn't come back, she could be killed by a bullet train, or a Japanese zombie, or better yet, she will get lost in the forests of Mt. Fuji, and her restless spirit will haunt the tourists who visit there.   Hopefully, though, she will come back in one piece.

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 Japanese culture has always been of high interest to her, including the beautiful temples and shrines.  She will also visit some Japanese schools and some of their major businesses.   Ask her what her trip was like when you come back in the fall.

Most of all, thank you students for being such great kids!  You were a delight to teach.  If you miss Mrs. Olsen, you might want to take a trip out to the goodwill bins on Portland Rd, where she will be looking for treasures to share with her students next year.  You can grab some things for yourself, and also say hi and see how her summer is going.

Most of all, she has great hopes for her pumpkins.   This is the year she is convinced she will have an abundance of large pumpkins because of the amount of horse manure she has been hauling into her pumpkin patch.  If you thought she stunk near the end of the year...this could be the reason.  She'll be posting her pumpkins on instagram.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Hoover Dam

Before President Roosevelt took office in 1933, President Herbert Hoover was President during the critical early years of the Great Depression.

When I was growing up, my parents revered President Roosevelt.  However, I did know that President Hoover had grown up in Oregon, and was raised in Newberg where his home is still a visitor's center. 

One of the projects that began in the Hoover administration was Hoover dam, which was, at the time, the largest dam in the world.  It remains an engineering marvel. There was a controversy about the name:  though the original name was Boulder Dam, it became referred to as Hoover dam, in honor of the president who was in office at that time.  It was only in 1947 that the name Hoover dam was officially assigned to the dam, at it remains Hoover dam to this day.

Most of my students have not had an opportunity to visit it...and I only remember seeing it when I was six years old!  However, I guess the fact I remember it must have been a big deal!  I do remember the terrific height of the dam.  I was always terrified of heights. 

We were able to watch a video clip of Hoover Dam from the air, and it still looks spectacular!


Monday, April 2, 2018

Josephine Baker in Paris in the 1920s


In 9th grade history, students are learning about the changes to society after World War I. They have seen some of the "Dada" creations and also the new dresses of Chanel. They have also seen this picture of the famous Josephine Baker in her banana skirt.  Josephine Baker was an American woman who traveled to Paris.  She lived there with other artists and writers who became known as part of the "lost generation," artists who were disenchanted and searching for meaning after the devastation of World War I.

She danced in a show called La Revue Nègre, it proved to be a turning point in her career. Amongst a compilation of acts, Josephine and dance partner Joe Alex captivated the audience with the Danse Sauvage. Everything about the routine was new and exotic, and Josephine, boldly dressed in nothing but a feather skirt, worked the audience into frenzy with her uninhibited movements. She was an overnight sensation.

Just as Picasso and cubism borrowed from African elements, Josephine also paid homage to her African roots. Though she will always be known for her iconic look during her 1920's dance revue years, her later years were just as interesting....she went on to adopt 12 children from different ethnicities.  She became a champion of human rights and opposed racism.  She continued to live in France, but her older years were filled with support for causes that addressed injustice in the world.  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

World War I Propaganda Posters

We are well under way in our study of World War I.   Students have learned about the start of the war, Trench warfare, and the various weapons that were created during the war.

We also discussed and looked at a variety of war posters from the era, including the one above.  Look carefully and you will see that the Germans have made their way to Kansas, killed the old man farmer, the grandma, and are about the kill the young farmer and sexually abuse his wife...yes it is all there, and men better enlist to stop the enemy.  Students will be copying a poster during some time in class while we continue to learn more about the course of the war.   We've taken a look at the distinctive German war helmet, the Picklehaube which is easily identifiable in many of the posters. 

When I was a child, the old timers still called the Germans "Huns" and yes, even the Japanese were sometimes called "Japs."  This was a different era, and many of my uncles had served in World War II and had bitter memories about the war that took so many of their comrades.

Also, the idea of going off to war in World War I was not that popular in America.  Many called it a "Britishman's war," and the nightmare of losing a son in a far off battlefield, when there wasn't universal support, foreshadowed similar conflicts during the Vietnam War.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Titanic and its role in history

Everyone is riveted by the story of the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic on April 15th, 1912.
Over 1500 passengers died.  The story has many gripping elements:  women and children were loaded into the life boats first, it was going too fast, and great changes in maritime law were a result of the tragedy.

When I was young, my grandfather, who was born in 1900, told me how he went to hear a fireman speak about the ordeal in Albany, Oregon.  The fireman had survived the ordeal by swimming in the ocean and wearing a fur coat.  My grandfather paid 25 cents to hear the man speak.  I was always intrigued by the picture of this man swimming around in a fur coat and wondering why he didn't sink!

The story is also much more:  there was a rivalry between Germany and England in the luxury ship lines.  Germany had the four fastest ships at the time, with the Deutschland ocean liner being the leader.  Countries supported the building of these ships, because, in case of war, they could always use them for troop transports.  A few of my students have been down to see the Queen Mary ocean liner, which is moored in Long Beach, California.  It was repainted and renamed the Grey Ghost, and took thousands of troops across the Atlantic to Europe in World War II.  Even during the Falklands war, the British government took the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner out of private service and had it re outfitted as a troop transport, then, after the war ended, it returned to service.

Historians also point out that the Titanic foreshadowed many events---the clash of Mother nature with technology, and the blind faith in man's hubris or pride in his achievements.  Of course, in a few years, Europe and many other parts of the world will face the upheaval of World War I, with millions dead and catastrophic destruction.