Eloyda's New York Blog

New York Summary
June 23, 2010, 10:01 pm
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Jonathan, Matt and Scott, I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience that you provided us all.  Again our trip was very well planned and really reflected all of the hard work that each of you put into it. 

I thought that I would complete my  of our trip to New York the way that I frequently have my students reflect on an event or field trip; by using their senses. 

I will begin with the many things I heard.   Before our trip I heard warnings from different people about how dangerous it is to move from place to place in New York City.  I also heard about the crime that spreads rampantly throughout the city.  Instead, I heard the friendly voices of strangers asking whether there was anything they could do to help us reach our destinations.  We also heard some wonderful presenters speak of all the things that make New York the amazing place that it is.  We learned more about the strong people who fought for equal rights for men, women, the poor, immigrant and the people of color.  What I didn’t hear was the sound of many horns honking, which was fantastic.  I think that maybe the traffic laws in Pueblo should reflect those of NYC. On the other hand, most of the smells of NY can be kept there. 

At times the smell of urine and filth that filled the subway stations would turn my stomach, especially at night.  It was at those times that I most appreciated the crisp, clean Colorado air.  Although the smells on the trains and the trash on the streets were disgusting, not all of the smells of NY were bad.  At times when I walked past a restaurant or a street vendor the aroma of the delicious treats waiting inside would make my stomach grumble even if I had recently finished eating.

Some days I ate so much that I felt surely I would not need to eat for the rest of the day until I smelled or saw something that I just had to try.  I had a list of things I wanted to try that took me until the last day to finally complete.  I had to have real New York pizza so that I could appropriately compare it to Chicago’s.  (New York wins hands down.)  I had to eat a hot dog at the original Nathan’s in Coney Island.  (It was very expensive and not any better than a hot dog anywhere else in the world.  They are all pretty bad but I was able to check it off my list.)  I ate a delicious pastrami sandwich from Katz’s, seafood at Salty’s and, of course, the most scrumptious cheese cake I have ever tasted.  I had to have cheese cake twice and take a taste of Matt’s to be satisfied. 

      The thing that touched me the most about New York was the different types of art that were visible throughout the city and its outskirts.  At the Museum of the city of New York we learned about the art of building a city in the sky while making it a comfortable yet efficient place to work, travel and enjoy numerous cultural experiences.   At the Metropolitan Museum of Art we discovered the fascinating works of Picasso and the Egyptians of long ago.  In Cooperstown we renewed our love of baseball and the heroes that graced the field with their art.  At the Fennimore Art Museum there was Magnum photography that caused many in our group to stand in awe at the powerful images.  We experienced the art of the statues, tributes and monuments dedicated to the men and women who founded the city and built our country.  Of course, the most powerful work of art and my personal favorite was the Statue of Liberty.  Her beauty and the reminder of all that she represents were very powerful for me personally.

I still can’t believe all that I got to see in the last fifteen days.  I saw Central Park on our walking tour as well as from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage.  I saw two Broadway shows; “Mary Poppins” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. (My goal was only one.)  I got to see The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square and Carnegie Hall.  I saw the Brighton Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.  I saw the kindness of people and, I saw shoes.  (Since I was told not to look into anyone’s face, I got in the habit of looking at people’s shoes instead.) The shoes that I saw were as diverse as the people who wore them.  They were a direct reflection of the wealthy, the poor, the fancy, the plain, the young and the old.  They represented for me not only how much walking is done on the streets of the city of New York each day but the differences in the culture and heritage that is foreign to people who grew up in Pueblo.   

While noticing shoes I also noticed how New Yorkers have a sort of sixth sense.  I saw this when they were on the subway or when they finished eating their lunch or were waiting for their food.  They closed their eyes.  Sometimes they looked like they were sleeping but I’m not sure they were.  They knew exactly when the train reached the right stop or when they needed to report back to work.  Maybe that’s why tourists annoy them so much.  We talked way too much to be mistaken as locals.

 Visiting New York was a great experience.  I learned so much and had a blast.  Thank you again.


Fort Ti
June 16, 2010, 2:51 pm
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Fort Ticonderoga was incredible.  Although the Revolutionary War and this time period isn’t something I teach, I found a lot that would interest my students.  We study George Washington and so I took some good pictures of him and some of his artifacts.  I also got some good shots of canons and the fort itself that would be of great interest to little boys. 

It was fun listening to Jim Hughto’s criticisms of the movie “The Patriot”.  I had watched this movie when it first came out and enjoyed it but didn’t really give it any thought historically.

I really had an emotional reaction to Jim’s comparison of Timothy McVey and Benedict Arnold.  I know that is what he was after and he probably affected all of us since most of us were adults at the time of the Oklahoma bombing.  I never have thought of him as a hero of any kind or of him representing our country well. 

Dinner at Salty’s was a fantastic experience.  I started with a cup of clam chowder, followed by the shrimp with crab stuffing.  I ended my meal by sharing some apple crisp with ice cream.   The whole meal was the best I had in New York.  I was very impressed by the fact that our chef graduated from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and was a classmate of Emeril Lagasse.

26 is our lucky number!
June 16, 2010, 9:16 am
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Our last day (26 – 10) and it makes me think about the great time and wonderful experiences that we have shared together.  I have been noticing quite a few very curious coincidences concerning the number 26.  Tell me what you think.  Is this weird, or what?

  • The West India Trading Company purchased Manhattan in 1626 for $26.
  • The address for Wall Street is 26 Wall Street.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was our 26th president.
  • There are 26 stairs up to T. Roosevelt’s gravesite.
  • Harriet Tubman acquired 26 acres of land which she donated to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Connection.
  • The record for the number of boats at one time in a lock on the Erie Canal is 26.

It’s All About The Girls
June 16, 2010, 8:54 am
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Our very busy day began with a much needed but uncomfortable nap on the bus followed by one of my very favorite subjects, women’s rights.  I felt great to be standing at a place where so many strong “sisters” joined together to fight for what they knew was right.  It’s hard to imagine a time when women couldn’t speak their mind or go and do exactly what they wanted.  The museum serves as a good reminder that we need to continue fighting for equality especially equal pay for equal work.  It also serves as a reminder that I need to keep talking to not only my female and male students but my own daughters about how they are just as good and just as smart as anyone else.

One concern I have. the longer I teach is, that the roles of boys and girls is reversing.  Many times I hear boys saying that the girls are smarter and a lot of times the girls do outperform the boys in written assessments.  I think this has a great deal to do with the fact that we are encouraging students to sit still in order to learn.  State assessments are also requiring wiggly boys to stay sitting still far too long.  I am constantly looking for alternative ways to present material to students and boys seem to perform better when they are up moving around.  It should be a goal of every teacher to teach equality and respect to every student who steps foot in their classroom.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton house was our next stop.  It had a very modest style.  The rooms were very small to be able to accommodate nine people.   Her house was not that impressive and that is what I found to be the most impressive.  Here was a woman who lived simply for someone who inherited her house from her father and had money.  She helped others and fought for what she believed. 

The ride down the Erie Canal was a fantastic use of our time.  Not only was it peaceful and the view beautiful but I learned a lot.  Being in a lock and seeing how it worked was great. 


The Roosevelts
June 16, 2010, 8:29 am
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Today we learned more about one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt.  We got to see where she lived with her husband, FD Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara.  We were able to see the home that Eleanor built for herself and her own family.  We discussed topics related to human rights and especially my favorite topic, human rights and education.  Although FDR was a great president and leader, his partnership with his wife is what impressed me more.   The park ranger who led us through their home talked with us about how she was his social and moral conscience.   It was that fact that I think made their relationship work even through the trying times.   While married, they built a legacy that included so many important contributions to American history including social security and WPA.  After his death, Eleanor went on to represent the country during at the birth of the United Nations.  It was that work along with her writings concerning human rights that impressed me the most.    It is also one of the things that I could use to pass on to my students.  We were able to see into the personal lives of FDR and Eleanor and share a part of their history and their family.  Through their pictures and writings we get a sense of who they were as people and exactly what was important to them.

Cooperstown – The birthplace of baseball
June 14, 2010, 9:38 pm
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If you ever find yourself in Cooperstown, NY, definitely take in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Even for someone like me who isn’t exactly a baseball fan, it was exciting. I actually never realized how many of the greats I knew. Seeing all of the Babe Ruth memorabilia was wonderful. The museum provided something for fans of all ages. I am anxious to really get on and search their website for the many ideas for lesson plans. The way that the site is set up is great and very easy to navigate. If I could get my kids half as excited as I was some of my colleagues get when they entered the museum it would be fantastic. Also, the videoconferences look great. I checked into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH and they also have a bunch of activities and videoconferences for students. It is a 251 page document and can be found at http://www.profootballhof.com/education/.

While visiting the area the Fennimore Art Museum is also a good place to visit. Their selection of art features an artist named Michele Harvey. I really enjoyed the pieces because they are all about nature. You can look at her painting and read a little bit of poetry at http://www.micheleharvey.com .

I am planning on using some of her paintings as vocabulary words. Her piece titled “Council” would be a good one to show students. The other display I really enjoyed was the one on magnum photography. If you didn’t get a chance to see them you can find them at http://www.magnumphotos.com or at http://www.eastmanhouse.org . At the Eastman sight you can also find lesson plans for beginning, intermediate and high levels. There is also one on the Civil War. The images really make you think and evoke a great deal of emotion. They are definitely worth taking a look at. The Farmers’ Museum is another interesting place to visit. The people there were very welcoming and informative. I got to learn about and see early printing presses, homemade medications (including leaching) and blacksmithing. Of course, the highlight for everyone was the carrousel ride. I loved how the kid in everyone came out and we got to enjoy just a few minutes together. It was great. Overall the whole day was enjoyable. We had a FREE continental breakfast and a delicious dinner; But…if anyone ever suggests going to Danny’s and having the “Slap ya Silly Chili” say, “no” and then slap them silly for suggesting it. It was not a good choice!



The Babe's uniform

Another Roosevelt, this time Teddy
June 14, 2010, 9:26 pm
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Although most of my colleagues liked Sagamore Hills better than Hyde Park, I would have to disagree.   While the house was big and the grounds were incredible, I hated the MANY animals that were mounted, stuffed or made into rugs in order to decorate his home.  I could never live at a place like this.  I thought that these Roosevelts seemed a little obsessive compulsive where the others’ home seemed warm and more welcoming.  I was disappointed that we could not take pictures in his home.  Franklin and Eleanor seem like someone’s nice, little grandparents where Theodore and Ethel were just… scary. 

I did learn a lot about Theodore Roosevelt and his dedication to preserving the natural habitat in the United States.  Since I love the outdoors and the beauty of our wildlife areas, I enjoyed hearing about how it all got started.  I think my students would also like this part of studying about Theodore Roosevelt.  Many of my students or their families are hunters and I think the boys especially would really like talking more about that side of him.  The girls always love the story of how the Teddy bear was named for him.  I bought a couple of great picture books about his life that I could use in class.  I was disappointed that we could not take pictures in his home.

The people at the café where we ate were so accommodating and friendly.  The scenery was beautiful and so peaceful.  It was such a contrast to New York City.