Representing Montana’s Students and Educators In Our Nation’s Capital!

The sculpture of President Lincoln as he sits looking over the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is a part of the Lincoln Memorial (4/24/2017).

BiCEP Team: Yesterday I flew into Washington D.C. for a week of training and meetings as the 2017 Montana Teacher of the Year. Once again, I find myself being asked to step to the plate for our state’s State of Education, for our students, for the professional educators I work with, and for the people of our state. Remember the lesson Henry and his group taught us a few weeks ago when the environmentalist was absent and not at his commission’s urban sprawl planning meeting. He and his group didn’t care about the environment, because the environmentalist wasn’t at the meeting. This week, I am taking a seat at the table!

There are a number of units and lessons I do with my students each year that are great fun, but I really love the one you’ll be doing this week. Bittersweet, this adventure that pulls me away from you is, that’s for sure.
During the unit, you’ll be studying Mexico City. Mexico City is much like Washington D.C. where I am. Both are federal districts, meaning that they are national capitals that stand on their own. They are not a part of any state (both the USA and Mexico have states, another similarity). After learning your Geoterms for the chapter, you’re going to get in a virtual taxi cab and go to four different neighborhoods of Mexico City. In each neighborhood, you will hear an interview from one of the people who lives there. Listen carefully, and write all the data you gather from the interview into your notes. After each interview, you’ll match the data you collected with maps of the area to figure out which neighborhood your person lives in.  This is an awesome unit I hate to miss, but I hope you know that I am working with the teachers I’m with to help improve our education system.

A sign on the lawn the day after the March for Science – a protest held on Earth Day by people wanting the new President to spend more money on science and research.

I started my day with a run this morning, class. I’m not a fan of running, but Washington D.C. is an amazing place to run. There are memorials to Americans who gave their lives  defending our freedoms, monuments to our greatest leaders and to change like the civil rights movement. The President’s home, the White House, is just off the Mall as well. With every step, my mind races as I take in the meaning of the sacred spaces around me.

“…THAT WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN – THAT THIS NATION UNDER GOD SHALL HAVE A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM – AND THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, SHALL NOT PERISH FROM EARTH.” – Abraham Lincoln, etched on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial from his 1863 Gettysburg Address.

As I run, everywhere I look brings to mind stories of the nation I love. Patriotism is everywhere – hundreds of flags blowing in the breeze. Reminders like the one I read this morning in the Lincoln Memorial (above), remind us that we American’s have an obligation to ensure that our government is a government of our own doing to continue its existence. These are the thoughts in my mind as I begin my week in Washington D.C.
I will be meeting with a number of people, both those who help form policy and policy-makers themselves, this week. I will be telling stories of our successes in the schools, of the gains we are making in developing critical thinking and communication skills within our rooms, and of your increased global awareness. I will work to make our schools better for not just me and you, but for all teachers and students in Montana.
So, students, please know that I am trusting Mr. Dudek to dive into the Mexico City Unit with you. He is an excellent guest teacher. I just received an Email from him, and I know he is excited to guide your investigation into the ideas surrounding Spatial Inequality this week (that will be your first Geoterm)! Give it your best in class, check back to this blog for possible updates throughout the week so you can join me (virtually) on my journey, and I look forward to seeing you on Monday, May 1.
Best of Luck, Class!  – Mr. Elder
#CCSSO #MrE2DC #MTtoy2017