Posts Tagged ‘Arizona History’

Arizona History has Ended. Period.

May 20, 2011

This week brought the close of my Arizona History class …. I’m happy and sad.  Teaching this class was the most fun of all the classes I’ve ever taught.  Let’s face it, Arizona History is a small blip on any timeline of history… we’re not even 100 years old until next Valentine’s Day!  So I was forced into my creative mode to keep these high schoolers learning!  We only had 18 classes and four of those were field trip days!  That is my kind of learning!

On Monday I finished writing the final exam and on Tuesday I packed all of my resources into a box… headed for the garage.  Yesterday was the last class and today I sat down and made a note to myself of all the things I need to fix and change when I teach it again in four years. Wondering all the while, why am I such a history-loving nerd???

This is a huge relief to not have any student papers sitting on my desk, staring at me, whilst awaiting grades.  I know how important it is for students to learn how to research and write a report, but by golly, I hate marking them!  It doesn’t even take that long, but I have a pre-report-grading phobia that causes me to procrastinate like my own high school days of old.

History is always more interesting when you can dig up the funny pictures and weird facts.  Here are just a few for your own Arizona-History-loving-heart: We studied two very influential men to Arizona… each one only had one arm.  Seriously, what other state can boast about that??  And where else can you find small towns with names like Bisbee, Bumble Bee, Globe, Tombstone, and Strawberry?  I know I’m probably underwhelming you, so I’ll end with my favorite picture… of my favorite General from the Civil War…. Gen. George Crook.  Imagine how seriously you would be taken sporting a beard like this?!?

BAM!  Believe it!

The History of Arizona has Begun!

January 21, 2011

That’s me in my yellow suit jacket, except my eyes are green.  I actually did have a very similar banana-yellow suit for my going-away outfit from our wedding in 1987… but I’m dating myself.  I found this cute picture while searching for pictures for the cover of my binder for the class I’m teaching… Arizona History.  It’s a one semester required-for-graduation course… that has the potential to be EXTREMELY boring.  Really.  Arizona History on a timeline of all history is about 3/4 of an inch long, well, not counting the Ancient Peoples.  So my job, as it has turns out, is to make the history of Arizona come alive and be remembered forevermore in the minds of these five high school homeschoolers.  No small task.

As I searched for quality curriculum…. the choices were about as small as the history itself.  So I ended up finding a somewhat interesting reader… not a text at all… written for the Bicentennial celebration of our great nation.  The book is short, yet stacked with quips from interesting individuals and not-so-familiar stories.  Perfect.  Add to that, a boatload of hands-on activities that will have the kids experiencing Arizona like never before. 

During the first class, I was breezing through the planned activities and projects, so the kids would have an idea of what to expect.  When I read, “Make ancient pottery replica” a hand shot up belonging to a former Ancient History student of mine.  “Are you going to smash them and bury them again?”  HAHA!  That was the BEST activity EVER for studying archaeology!  They painted their pots so carefully!  And then without them knowing, I smashed and buried the shards in my barren flower beds in the backyard.  When I sent them out with their tools for the dig, they were a bit surprised until the first painted pot part was uncovered.  I’ve never seen so many eye-rolls in my life!  And the eye-rolls continued when I told them for homework they had to glue them back together!  Anyway, I’m NOT smashing pots this time.

A large map of Arizona was also brought out to show them the route we will take for a two-day field trip to the southern end of our state.  Sarcastically, I pointed to a large pink Indian reservation and told them that there was a cool dude ranch located there that we could have stayed in, but that pink area is the part of Arizona that Obama gave to Mexico and it’s not safe.  (It’s only partially a joke… he had signs put up IN AMERICA that say the area is dangerous because of border jumpers INSTEAD of protecting our border and making any effort to stop the flow of illegals!) Anywho, the students responded with several amazed faces, “WHAT!?”  “He did?”  “Are you kidding!?”….. YES, I’m kidding!  Sheesh!  Kids these days will believe anything!

Currently, I’m knee-deep in maps and National Monument brochures.  Why am I such a nerd?  I’m not sure!  But without nerdy history lovers, where would we be?  Repeating all the same dumb mistakes of the ancient peoples ~ that’s where! 

Great teaching begins HERE! (fist pump!)


March 15, 2010

As previously mentioned, I’m working on a high school Arizona History curriculum, you know, in my free time.  Yeah, I’m a nerd.  But if you’ve been around My Sister’s Jar for any amount of time, you know that already.  History books make me salivate.  And old family photos, be still my heritage-loving heart.  Currently I’ve been reading about the pioneer folks who settled AZ… these were people with moxie, hardihood, pluck and mettle.  People of great strength and hardy stock.  Wow.  I read the stories of rivers flooding, houses burning, Indian attacks, unending water hauling and I realize it was an extremely difficult life… then I remember air conditioning wasn’t invented yet, adding another level of intrepidity.  Wow.

Above is a glimpse into my heritage… my Great-great Grandparents and their daughters.  GG Grandpa Bethel crossed the plains and settled in Oregon.  I know I’m partial to these attractive folks, but they seem a bit smarter than those who settled Arizona.  It’s relatively comfortable in Oregon in the summer!  Yes, it rains a lot, but then you don’t have to haul as much water and your vegetables grow into mammoth blue-ribbon-winning beauties.  And yes, there were Indians, but not the Apaches!  Mercy, they were a tough lot.

This picture isn’t dated, but my guess is 1890-something.  Both the daughters were married by 1901.  I’ve foolishly thought that I would have faired well in those times.  The more I read, I’m not so sure.  I love the outdoors, gardening and baking, sewing, being ingenuitive….. but not for survival purposes.  More like for a hobby.

Anyway, I’ll be reading AZ history books for the next nine months, so I’m sure you’ll get more thrilling information that you can pass on to others who don’t really care either.

A Photo Tribute to the Cave Creek Museum

March 7, 2010

High schoolers in Arizona need one semester of Arizona History on their transcripts.  I have been perusing AZ HIST curriculum for a time and what I have found is somewhat lacking…. ok, downright boring.  I realize the history of the Baby State is not that in-depth like, say Mass. or Virginia, but come on, there were people with the pioneer spirit here back in the day that are worth “meeting”.  I mean really!  Who in their right mind would sit in a covered wagon for months all across the plains and then decide that Arizona is worth settling?  This was before air conditioning!  My keen sense of intrigue was piqued, to say the least.  And, being the quality-curriculum-loving-homeschooling mom that I am, I decided to write my own curriculum for my kids (and interested others) for their required AZ HIST credit.  SOOOOOOOOOOO, I’ve been reading old, smelly books and looking at ancient maps and reading some more.  I decided a trip to the Cave Creek Museum was indeed mandatory last week for my boys and I.  I suspected their interest level might wane, so I assigned Chief Fieldtrip Photographer duties to my sons to keep their senses heightened.  With that, may I present to you, my faithful readers, a photo tribute to the not-highly-exciting Cave Creek Museum.

The first photo above is the back of my head walking into the museum.  See what I’m dealing with here?  Albeit, this was the view they witnessed most of the time in the museum.  This wasn’t one of those attractions that had them running ahead of their teacher/mother. I was thankful it was just the back of my head and not my backside.  I’ve trained them well.

Next we have a miner.  He is sitting in front of a reconstructed mine with real-life water running out of his pipe so he can pan for gold right in the museum. He also has ALL of his mining tools displayed at his feet, including, but not limited to his 5 foot long contraption to catch rattle snakes.  But you’ll just have to imagine all that good stuff.

Here is the aforementioned rattlesnake.  It is fictious and behind safety glass, so don’t worry.  Notice the little vertical stick by the tail.  As Keeve and I were admiring the lame plastic snake the tail rattled loudly and scared the beejeebeez out of us.  Austin had located the little step-on button while we were mesmerized by the snake.  The boys found this HILARIOUS!

This is how you know it is the mining exhibit….. MINING. In case you couldn’t figure it out from the miner, the mine, the gold panning equipment, the faux river, etc.

There was a lovely pioneer kitchen display with all the kitchen tools of old, pots and pans, washboards, large wash barrels, etc……. and a tin of Ritz crackers on the shelf that captured my son’s interest.  It was the only thing in the entire kitchen exhibit that was captured on Kodak.

Next we have something that said Enterprise on it.  I don’t remember seeing this.  However, there were several items that I didn’t exactly take the time to read thoroughly.  I’m aware that the only reason this was photographed is because of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. 

Here is a man……….. holding plans for something………… and pointing?  This was also a discovery that I missed in the museum.

Here is the lone picture that I took.  It’s my boys sitting calmly in the bandshell.  That was a new vocabulary word for me.  But it is now in my memory banks and I look forward to an opportunity when I can use it in the correct context.

There were other pictures that didn’t make the blog photo tribute to Cave Creek Museum.  Believe me when I say they were even less interesting than these.  Thanks for taking this stroll down Arizona’s history with us.  Please stay tuned for more titillating blogs on other museums I drag my children through.  Next week we are off to the AZ Museum of Natural History!  Dinosaurs in Arizona!  How exciting!  (Eye rolls from my children are predicted.)