Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Tour of a Lifetime

Let's consider a few questions.
Would you like your home to display portraits of each of its past residents?
To keep most of your home decor aligned with someone else's vision?
And to open your home to the public at large to come visit and take pictures?

Welcome to the White House. (thus named officially by Theodore Roosevelt in 1901; prior to that it was always known as the Executive Mansion)

"This is really what the White House is all about. It’s the “People’s House.” It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome. And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can." – Michelle Obama
Part of the video greeting from The First Lady and President Obama.
We experienced  it today, and although I'd love to say we were special enough to have been invited, apparently 5,000+ visitors a day stream through its halls. (Wow!) A 90-minute slog through security in 5 degree temps wasn't enough to dim the desire today!

The South Lawn. 
My 93 year old partner in crime checked off yet another box
from her bucket list.
Thanks to secret service members posted in each room of the White House, folks can bone up on history they "had forgotten", or never knew.
Secret Service storyteller and historian. Who knew?
The White House has 6 levels, with a kitchen on each one. If one of your party members is in a wheelchair, you'll get to see the biggest one used for special events, AND you'll get to ride in one of 3 astonishingly tiny elevators to the State Floor to continue the tour.  We can thank Franklin D. Roosevelt's inspiration to accommodate wheelchairs in the White House with its ramps and elevators.
#FeelTheLove  #SilverLining

A bonus? For you history buffs on the wheelchair tour, you can even see an original stone doorway with its edges charred from the White House fire in 1814.
The charred stones, part of the original structure
that was burned in 1814.
55,000 square feet comprise the White House in its entirety, and the public tour is primarily on the State Floor. The 2 top floors are home to the private residency.

Notice in the photos below, that the carpets in each room are partially rolled up to provide a clear walkway for visitors, but my dear readers, these rugs are ready to roll out! The East room is the one you'll see most often in the media, the place where guests are entertained and the place that can morph into a fairytale ballroom. The first photo shows the red carpet frequently seen as the President approaches the East Room, and the second shows the length of the East Room. Washington's rescued portrait hangs in this room across from his wife's portrait. When you see Medal of Honor winners being honored or students visiting, this is where the media magic happens. Watch the media to see this room when the 2016 Super Bowl Champs are in town.


The East Room, frequent darling of the media.
Washington's portrait.
Not the East Room, but this shows the carpeting
rolled up and out of the way. 
Apparently, there's much more than a bowling alley in the basement--Presidents and their families can shop a little and even go to the dentist. There must be a heck of a postal sorting system, too, (personal conjecture--I forgot to ask the secret service fact spewers and storytellers), since the White House is known to receive about 65,000 pieces of mail each week. Emails number around 100,000/ week, which just makes my brain hurt.

Anyway, dear readers, here are a few photos from the inside. See if you can find the Red Room, the Green Room, and the Blue Room. Look for George Washington's portrait saved by Dolley Madison in 1814. See Teddy Roosevelt's signature china pattern. Guess which room houses Ben Franklin's pensive portrait. Find the dining room that can house 140 full-meal-deal diners in luxurious comfort.  The new official regulations for visitors. Eagles supporting tables and grand pianos. And, and, and....


That's all, friends! Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the White House!

Interested in finding out more, or would you like to go to the White House?
Click here for the Interactive White House Tour (the official one) :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Quick Way to Use Sketches in Class

My co-teachers and I all pretended we were unable to talk today, as our crew came pouring in giddily after lunch. We waved at them, and they looked at us with questioning glances, then unbelieving stares. What was going on? What was this?
We pointed to our throats.
Then pointed to the board.
And the whimsy was in full motion.

Students began talking to each other, navigating the process verbs underlined, interpreting for each other, clarifying understanding, and helping each other with the tasks. What one student didn't understand, someone else did, and several got up to point to the visuals on the board. It's the small things that can make a big difference in learning!

It was such a joy to watch our classroom community build, and we had quite a bit of fun with charades to help when needed. Students navigated our warm-up question (and all the new vocab above and in the prompt) using Padlet for the first time ever, and we didn't have to say a word.

How did we manage to continue with the rest of the class?
Well, all I can say is that my ESL partner in crime worked her mysterious Costa Rican ways with some very well-time "Magic Tea".

One sip, and all was well again. ;-)

Here is our Padlet. Follow us as we journey into the world of the UN's Global Goals and all about Human Rights in the weeks to come.