Monday, September 29, 2008

Class Update...

I know It's been a few days since I last posted. In class we have been studying the feudal system. Last week we watched some short videos that gave the kids a feel for what life was like for nobles, knights and peasants. The students took notes on these videos using a two column format that they are also using in science and language arts. I collected the Europe Maps on Friday as well, and it looks like the students did a tremendous job. I'll be grading them over the next week or so. Finally, the chapter 2 quiz will be on Wednesday October 1st.

As far as some other odds and ends:

1. The first progresss report is this Friday 10/3. Most students are doing fine so will be the next progress report that really tells the tale.

2. I have created a class contest on the website <> so that students can see how they do in a virtual world of buying and selling stocks. Thanks to a parent for recommending this. I'll use the contest and site to teach students some economic lessons. It seems appropriate given the current economic woes on wall street. I'll be taking each class to the lab once a week to sign up and do thier trading, but they can also do it from home.

3. Lastly, I have created a podcast that students/parents can download onto their mp3 players. If you go to the Itunes store and search Mr. Talmadge, you should find the podcast(s).

That's it for now.

Mr. T

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Feudalism Simulation

Today in class we did a cool activity to teach the kids how the feudal system worked in Medieval Europe. I chose one student to be king or queen. They got to sit on a throne (see picture) and have some food or drink. That monarch then chose 4 lords who had to swear an oath (called homage) to the king or queen. These lords were the leader of 4 corners in the room. The lords then chose a couple of knights for protection and some serfs to work the land. For more on the feudal system, check out

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creative Economy

I have begun using our 7th grade team creative economy money in clas this week (see photo at left). I prefer to use it as an incentive for students. For example, this week I have been trying to "catch" students who are writing in their Eagle Book as well as doing things they should do without me telling them to. However, I will also use it as a way to gently remind students when they are not doing what they should. For example, I did a random Eagle Book check on Tuesday and one student had to give me a dollar because she hadn't been diligent about filling in her Eagle Book. As a social studies teacher, I like this idea (which was adapted for team use by Mrs. Peterson) because it will be a great way for me to teach about Economics (supply and demand, rational self-interest, competition, scarcity, etc.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First Quiz Tomorrow 9/17

I just wanted to let everyone know that we will be having our first quiz on The Legacy of the Romans tomorrow. It's an open book quiz, so hopefully that will reduce the stress level for students. We did a review activity in class today and will do some more reviewing in class tomorrow before the quiz. As with all assignments in my class, if students don't do well the first time, they are welcome to do a retake.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Romans, Picture Day and Curriculum Night

We have begun our study of world history by reviewing The Roman Empire. The students seemed to have some knowledge from their previous schooling about aspects of Roman life like chariot races, aquaducts, togas and the like. We will use what we learn about the Romans to inform our study of Europe during the middle ages.
Also, tomorrow is picture day, so make sure to be ready with a smile =)
Finally, this Thursday at 6 pm is a chance for parents to meet teachers and see what life is like at SMS. I look forward to seeing as many of you as is possible. If you can't make it, don't hesitate to call or email me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Parents, Send me Your Email Address...

Hello parents,

One of my jobs on the 7th grade team is to collect as many parent email addresses as possible and to create a distribution list for us to use when we want to convey information to you. I have instructed your students to have you go to this website and use the comment function at the bottom of this post. In your comment, please provide me with the following information:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Child's Name
  3. Your Email Address

Please know that your comment will not appear publicly on this website. It will only be viewable by me. Also, if you would prefer that I not have your email address, that is fine as well. Thanks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Worktime on Coat of Arms

I gave the students lots of time to get their Coat of Arms finished today. Many students did get done (see photo at left) and I have begun putting the finished products on the wall. They look great! I was really impressed by the focus and productivity displayed during worktime as well. Many thanks to all classes for their effort. I look forward to learning more about each student as they present thier work to the class.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The First Day!

We made it through the first day without any snafus! The students were well behaved and I tried my best not to bore them with rules and procedures. We talked about the fact that social studies is comprised of four main disciplines--history, civics, economics and geography. We also pretended we were archaeologists and examined an artifact (which was just a penny) to see what we could learn about the culture that produced it (the penny). Finally, we also were given an assignment to begin drafting out a Coat of Arms. If you click here you'll find a copy of the assignment sheet.