Friday, May 30, 2014

Lessons for WW2

Our study of 20th century history moved out of the Great Depression, when we finished reading The Grapes of Wrath, and moved on to the Second World War.

Even though all the local public schools are going on summer break, we are only about half-way through this subject and will continue to have at least 3 school days a week over the summer. 

We started with this book:

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We read the stories of the two families in the book and tried some of the recipes and games. The book inspired us to have a "game night", during which we listened to radio news reports from the beginning of the war and listened to "The Lone Ranger" radio show, while eating homemade soft pretzels, made using a recipe in the book.

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Blaze colored this Pearl Harbor coloring page to put in his logbook:

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More books we read:

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We've been learning about life on the home front by listening to music that was popular at the time, such as "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", which was mentioned in The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins



and the Andrew Sisters singing "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B".



We've also been listening to several Sherlock Holmes radio shows from the 1940's, which include the original commercials. 

We learned about war-time rationing, by reading about what foods were rationed and how much each family was permitted. We also watched these short films about rationing: 





Then I printed off this sheet of ration stamps.

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We didn't ration food in our house, because I wanted this project to make a real impact. I chose the two things that Blaze likes best, his Kindle and sweet tea, and for 5 days those were rationed. Each ration stamp could buy 15 minutes of Kindle usage or one cup of sweet tea. He had to budget the stamps so that they would last for 5 days, plus decide which things were most important to him. He did a great job. He had one cup of tea each day and still had stamps to use on the final day. He sure was happy when the experiment was over, though. 


On Memorial day we listened to this story about famous Hollywood film makers who filmed real-life military events during World War 2: http://www.npr.org/2014/05/26/314362055/during-world-war-ii-even-filmmakers-reported-for-duty. Then, two days later, we began watching Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series, which was made to show to American soldiers. 



Other movies we watched:

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YouTube has a wealth of short films that work well with a World War 2 history unit. 

Walt Disney made several short propaganda cartoons during the war:



My favorite comical way of learning history, Horrible Histories:






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Pilgrimage to the John Gorrie Museum

Part two of our Memorial Day road trip, was traveling to  Apalachicola to visit the John Gorrie Museum.

I just learned about Doctor Gorrie's work while we were touring Flagler College a couple weeks ago and when I saw that there was a museum and monument dedicated to him, I knew we had to go.


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It's a very small museum, just a single room, with displays along the walls and a 3/4-size model of the first ice machine in the middle. It is well put together, though. When the ranger asked us if we had any questions, I couldn't think of any, since everything was so self explanatory. I later regretted that I hadn't thought of anything to ask him, because we were the only visitors at that time and he must have been bored. 

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All hail the inventor of the ice machine and air conditioning!

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We ate a picnic lunch at one of the tables outside the Gorrie Museum and then went for a walk around the old-fashion downtown/ waterfront area Apalachicola.

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There are some fun, quirky stores to wander through.

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And, after wandering around in 95 degree heat, there is an air conditioned soda fountain.

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This still left time for us to stop at a beach on the way home.

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Even the stop at the beach turned out to be educational. I saw a man holding up what I though was a large snake skin to show his family. He dropped it onto the sand as they left and I went over to have a closer look. It wasn't a snake skin, but I had no idea what it was, so I took this picture and posted it to Facebook last night.

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My friend Andi has now informed me that it is whelk egg cases: http://matthewwills.com/2011/05/17/whelk-egg-cases/


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day at the Camp Gordon Johnston World War 2 Museum

While looking for places near Tallahassee that we could visit during the Memorial Day weekend, we discovered that there is a World War 2 museum in Carrabelle. Since Blaze is currently learning about World War 2, this was the perfect place for a road trip today.

It's not a very big museum, but it is very informative and does a good job of showing how important this part of Florida was to the war effort.

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Field hospital:
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On the home front:
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Blaze looking at gas masks in a display cabinet:
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A soldier's life:
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Training on Carrabelle Beach for the D-Day invasion:
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The live music was a nice surprise:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fifty-Five Fabulous Faces of Florida Steampunk

I was once told by someone who did not live in Florida, that steampunk wouldn't work well in Florida, because it was too hot here to wear elaborate costumes. This is not the case at all, we just schedule our events differently. There are more outings during the late autumn, winter, and early spring. Also, there are some beautiful places for indoor events (this is the state where air conditioning was invented).

Florida has a very vibrant steampunk community. Steampunk has brought people together from all over the state, into a big, extended family, where everyone can interpret the concept of steampunk their own way, feel acceptance, and share their talents. The community includes small children, retirees, and everybody in-between. Among our active members are artists, writers, filmmakers, leather workers, seamstresses, make-up artists, metal workers, photographers, prop makers, and musicians (such as the band, The Cog is Dead, from DeLand, Florida). Many of these people share their talents with the rest of us through convention panels and small classes.

Without further ado, Let me show you what Florida steampunk looks like.

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(photo by John Pena)

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(the above picture was taken by Sean Neumayer)

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(photo by Andrew Williams)

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(photo by Ken Smits)

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(photo by John Pena)

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(photo by John Pena)

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(photo by Ken Smits)

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(photo by Ken Smits)

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(photo by Tim Baker)

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(photo by Ken Smits)

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(photo by Ken Smits)

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(photo by John Pena)

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(photo by Curtis Frey)

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For more information about steampunk in Florida, please check out the following groups:

In the Orlando area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CFSteampunks/

In East Central Florida: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IRLSteampunkConsortium/

In the Jacksonville area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/54807605258/

In the Tampa area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TampaBaySteampunkSociety/

In the Tallahassee area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/362389590506821/

Crafty Crow