Smithsonian National Zoo

January 3, 2018


Smithsonian Zoo


Happy New Year!

December 30, 2017


January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days.

January begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Capricorn and ends in the sign of Aquarius. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Sagittarius and ends in the constellation of Capricornus.

January is named for Janus (Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, where the Latin word for door (ianua) comes from – January is the door to the year.

Traditionally, the original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months, totalling 304 days, winter being considered a monthless period. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (355 days). The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman Calendar, January assumed that position beginning in 153 BC when the two consuls, for whom the years were named, began to be chosen on January 1. The reason for this shift of the new year into the dead of winter was to allow the new consuls to complete the elections and ceremonies upon becoming consuls, and still reach their respective consular armies by the start of the campaigning.

Various Christian feast dates were used for the New Year in Europe in the Middle Ages, including March 25 and December 25. However, medieval calendars were displayed in the Roman fashion of twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1 the start of the New Year once again — sometimes called Circumcision Style because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the 8th day from December 25.

A Christmas Carol

December 14, 2017

What a great school trip!  Thanks to Miss Dogery, Miss Ida and Mr. Andrew for planning this wonderful trip.  In preparation, all the classes read A Christmas Carol.  Our students will do a character analysis, a sequential order, and a story mapping of the story.  Discussions will include the cause and effect that the spectres had on Scrooge’s outlook on Christmas.

Here are some websites that you can connect with the book and the movie.


Holidays Read the rest of this entry »


December 12, 2017


Compare and Contrast Countries

Home Page for ABC’s of China

Christmas in Italy

December 4, 2017


Class X01 is celebrating the December holidays by exploring different customs in the country of Italy.  The legend of the Befana has had an important role in the imagination of all children of the world.  Those who wish to relive the magic of the first wonders of infancy and understand the meaning and origins of this extraordinary figure, should be prepared to undertake a long voyage that will carry them back in time, to the origins of human’s history. We’ll discover what makes this personage so mysterious and arcane, because this little old lady so dear to children has continued to fascinate them for centuries, and they still await her arrival on the night of her holiday.

ceppo: The ceppo is a wooden frame several feet high designed in a pyramid shape. This frame supports several tiers of shelves, often with a manger scene on the bottom followed by small gifts of fruit, candy, and presents on the shelves above. The “Tree of Light,” as it is also know, is entirely decorated with colored paper, gilt pinecones, and miniature colored pennants. Small candles are fastened to the tapering sides and a star or small doll is hung at the apex.


Christmas in Italy

    The Christmas season in Italy goes for three weeks, starting 8 days before Christmas known as the Novena. During this period, children go from house to house reciting Christmas poems and singing.In some parts shepherds bring musical instruments into the villages, play and sing Christmas songs. 

    In the week before Christmas children go from house to house dressed as shepherds, playing pipes, singing and reciting Christmas poems. They are given money to buy presents.

    A strict feast is observed for 24 hours before Christmas Eve, and is followed by a celebration meal, in which a light Milanese cake called panettonefeatures as well as chocolate.

    Presents and empty boxes, are drawn from the Urn of Fate – lucky dip, which always contains one gift per person. By twilight, candles are lighted around the family crib known as the Presepio, prayers are said, and children recite poems.

    At noon on Christmas Day the pope gives his blessing to crowds gathered in the huge Vatican square.

    In Italy the children wait until Epiphany, January 6, for their presents. According to tradition, the presents are delivered by a kind ugly witch called Befana on a broomstick. It was said that she was told by the three kings that the baby Jesus was born, she was busy and delayed visiting the baby.

    She missed the Star lost her way and has been flying around ever since, leaving presents at every house with children in case he is there. She slides down chimneys, and fills stockings and shoes with good things for good children and it is said leaves coal for children who are not so good.


December 3, 2017



Turkey Lurkey

November 23, 2017


 Turkey Vulture Facts

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2017



The First Thanksgiving – You Are the Historian – Online Learning Center

13 Colonies Web Quest

November 17, 2017



A Journey Towards Freedom

13 Colonies Webquest

The 13 Colonies WebQuest

Congress for Kids

13 Colonies


El Boricua

November 9, 2017