Friday, June 14, 2019

Have a great summer!

Hope all my students have a nice summer in beautiful Oregon.  Thanks for being such a nice group of students.  It was a pleasure to have you in class.

This summer, Mrs. Olsen will be traveling  and going to Colonial Williamsburg with other teachers to learn about American History.    She hopes that she will learn some more tips about teaching and looks forward to meeting with teachers from across the country. Colonial Williamsburg is a "real" town that closely resembles the way that early Americans lived during the time of the 13 colonies, in the 1700s.   She also hopes to go out to Jamestown and up to Yorktown.  

She will also spend the summer with her dogs, Winslow and Sophie.  Of course, the two cats Joey and Bumbles will only spend time with her if they feel like it.  Most of the time, they will ignore her.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Leaving the Depression---onto World War II


President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was raised in Oregon after his parents died. He is well-known as the president who presided over the first 3 years of the Great Depression. Hoover flags and Hoovervilles and Hoover blankets were all part of the popular criticisms of President Hoover.

However, Hoover had another reputation--and that was "Master of Emergencies." During the years after World War I, Hoover saved the lives of millions by overseeing the Belgium and Russian food relief program. When asked if he was not thus helping Bolshevism, Hoover retorted, "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!" His engineering background helped him oversee an unprecedented movement of food supplies to help people whose lives hung in the balance.

As part of a thank-you, Belgium women took the flour sacks and returned them to the United States, filled with beautiful embroidery, and yes, Belgium lace at the edges.

Years later, after World War II, President Hover was again called out of retirement. Even though President Truman was told to not have anything to do with Hoover, Truman invited Hoover to the White House and asked him to lead the relief effort. Again, President Hoover traveled the world tirelessly helping with food distribution to starving millions.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

FABERGE EGGS....and the Romanov Family

Students are learning about the fall of the Russian Royal family, and the beginning of the communist government in Russia...which would be renamed the Soviet Union.

The immediate members of the royal family were all killed at Ekaterinburg, Siberia, in the summer of 1918.   Their bodies were hidden in the ground, after the bones were dissolved.  Despite the imposter, Anna Anderson, who for decades claimed she was the lost princess Anastasia, it was known that the entire family had perished.   Their demise had been detailed by one of the assassins who bragged about his role to the American Haliburton.

Russian Royal culture continues to influence cultural and  fashion trends.  The imperial easter eggs, the richness of the traditional dress, and the beauty of the four royal sisters belongs to a different time.  Many of the Romanov jewels were sold abroad to raise money for Stalin's great industrialization of Russia:  the two five year plans.

A new imperial egg was rediscovered recently.  It's quite a story!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

World War 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.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The last Queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani

Image result for queen liliuokalani

Students in 9th grade history have been learning about imperialism.  They have learned how the United States annexed Hawaii.  Even today, there are many groups who seek Hawaiian Independence.

Queen Liliuokalani was the last queen of Hawaii.  She was born in 1838 into the Hawaiian royal family.  She took the throne in 1891.   The United States had earlier forced a constitution, which was nicknamed the "Bayonet Constitution."  When she attempted to write a new constitution, she was arrested and placed in Iolani Palace.  In 1895, she was forced to give up her throne. 

The memories of Queen Lil and Hawaiian independence are a bittersweet story.  She composed the Hawaiian anthem, Aloha "oe" which is a very popular song.  It originally means the goodbye of a sweetheart, but it is very symbolic of the loss of the Hawaiian islands to American influence. 

Queen Lil never forgot her country.   She is still considered "our Queen" in Hawaii.  She died in 1917, at the age of 79. 

Many 9th grade students have been been to Hawaii.  I even have a few students, from time to time, who have Hawaiian ancestry--which is a cool heritage to have.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

African Americans in the post Civil War South

Image result for emmett till coffinIn August of 1955, fourteen year old Emmett Till went to visit his uncle and cousins in Mississippi. He was warned before he went there to "behave." This meant, of course, behaving like a second class citizen in the segregated Southern states. He was told not to look at white people in the eye, or act forward, or draw attention to himself in any way.

The facts are unclear, but Emmett may have playfully whistled at a white woman in a grocery store while he shopped with his cousins. Two days later, he was pulled from his bed and taken away, where he was beaten, mutilated and shot. His body was pulled from the Tallahassee River a few days later, maimed beyond recognition.

Emmett Till's brutal murder is to the Civil Rights Movement as Pearl Harbor was to the start of World War II. His body was returned to Chicago for burial. His mother demanded that the coffin be open so she could see for herself what had been done to her son. She then said that she wanted the coffin that the 50,000 mourners would also see the truth of the segregated South.

A few months later, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. When asked, years later, what she was thinking at that moment, she said: I was thinking about that boy, Emmett Till, and I just couldn't go back.

Students in 9th grade and 10th grade cover the era after the Civil War, when lynching, murder and  terrorism of African Americans was not uncommon.