Summertime, Summertime…

June 22nd, 2010

The middle of June and life is good. No school. No classes. No worries, right? But, wait a minute, not so fast. Although it is summertime and it is June and you don’t have to take any classes right now, your brain is still primed, eagerly awaiting for you to feed it new stuff. So yes, go to the pool, hang out with your friends, eat that pizza—but, don’t forget to feed your brain. It’s kind of hard to watch TV news sometimes, because it seems like there is never anything good happening in the world. My challenge for you is to find the good that is happening and feed that brain. Start at the library or by picking up the newspaper or by going online, but instead of just doing your normal stuff, why not take some time to find out a little more about any one of the great places we learned about in class this year? Why not do some research into someone from another country? Why not explore sports, foods, hobbies, celebrations from Canada or a Latin American country and try them as your own? How about learning a little Spanish or French or another language? There are a million sites on line where you can start with one word a day and build from there. This work is not “homework”, it’s all part of growing up and really finding out who you are. A great way to do that is by learning about others and keeping an open mind and heart to new experiences. Good luck and have fun, and if you’d like to share what you are doing or learning about, I am only a few clicks away. Happy Summer!

Famous Folks From the Western Hemisphere

June 21st, 2010

There are many well-known people that touch our lives from all areas of the world. Find someone who was born in the Western Hemisphere and tell us about that person. The person must have been born in Canada, Mexico, Central America, The Caribbean or South America. Again, your challenge is to give us an insight into this person in a paragraph or two.

Here’s mine…

Before Celine Dion, before Shania Twain, before Avril Lavigne—all famous Canadian singers—there was Anne Murray, Canada’s “Golden Girl.” Anne Murray was an international singing sensation in the 1970’s. She was on the country and pop charts and still sings today. She has won numerous American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, CMA awards and also Canada’s Juno awards. She’s sold close to 50 million albums. She’s worked with and known other famous people such as John Lennon of the Beatles, Alice Cooper, Bryan Adams, Jerry Seinfeld and Wayne Gretzky.

Anne was born in the small coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. She has five brothers. She started singing at the age of seven, but also loved sports. In fact, she went to college to be a physical education teacher and taught for a year on Prince Edward Island before making it big in the music industry. She married and has a family. She has managed to successfully juggle her career and family. She still finds time to help her community of Springhill, Nova Scotia and has opened the Anne Murray Center there to help promote tourism to the area as the mines have now closed. Anne’s most popular song was titled Snowbird, but she has done other songs, from tunes by the Monkees to country ballads. That’s Anne Murray, Canada’ s Golden Girl.

Everyone Has A Story To Tell

June 21st, 2010

How did you get to where you are now? That question may seem confusing, but think about it for a moment. How did your family end up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania? Were you born here? Were your parents born here? Were your grandparents born here? See where I’m going with this?

Here’s my story, the short version. I’d like you to think about my story and then ask your parents for details to fill in your own. We can all go on and on about our story. Your challenge will be to give highlights in only a paragraph or two. That’s it. Tell us your story of how you got here. Here’s mine…

My parents lived and met in a very rural area of Puerto Rico, outside the small town of Villalba. Neither parent ever dreamed of coming to the United States. My folks were married and my father had a good job working for his grandfather’s business. My oldest brother, Michael was born in Puerto Rico. All was just wonderful. Then, my grandfather died unexpectedly. All that he had promised to my father, all of the business, was gone in a heartbeat. My grandfather had not taken the time to make his wishes known in a legal document. My father’s half-brothers and sisters all wanted a piece of the business, which led to a lot of family strife. My father walked away from the business. He wanted peace in the family. He decided to start anew. My parents decided the fresh start would best happen in the United States, the land of opportunity. They moved to Florida and my father got whatever work he could. This was difficult as my father had only a 4th grade education. My grandfather had taken my father into the business early to train him and didn’t want him to be away at school. Understand, my father is an extremely intelligent man as is my mother. This was just the way things sometimes were when they were growing up in the 1930’s.

Life was hard in Florida. My parents were learning English, trying to adjust to a whole new culture, deciding where they wanted to settle. In order to save more money, my father sent my mother, brother and my new brother born in Florida back to Puerto Rico to live with my maternal grandparents. My mother was expecting me at the time. My father became a migrant worker and would work from Florida to New Jersey, farming whatever crop happened to be in season at the time. It was hard work and my father missed his family. I was born in Puerto Rico at my grandmother’s house while my father was away. Meanwhile, my father had saved enough to send for us to rejoin him here in the states and had also found a permanent job here in Lancaster County. I came as a baby, but there were many trips and long stays back and forth between Lancaster and Puerto Rico as my parents felt is was important for us to remember where we were from. Looking back, I realize what a gift they gave us. So, that’s the story of how I came to Lancaster County. Now, tell me yours…

Welcome, Neff 6 Students

April 17th, 2009

Welcome to Ms. Santiago’s Neff 6 Social Studies blog. This site was created to help you in your learning journey through the Western Hemisphere.  As the year progresses, we will learn about our neighbor, Canada. As we work our way through the five Canadian regions and the ten provinces and three territories found there, you will explore the geography, history and culture of this beautiful country. In addition, we will discover Latin America. Latin America covers a wide area, from Mexico to the Caribbean, as well as the countries of Central and South America. We will look at the geography, history and culture of Latin America.   You will be able to participate in this discussion in many ways. You will provide your opinion and thoughts, answer and ask questions, share your expertise! Let’s begin. Think carefully about where you live, yes the United States. Now picture our neighbors north and south.

Have you ever traveled outside of the United States to any of the countries found in the Western Hemisphere? Where have you been? What did you see/eat/visit/do there? Who did you travel with? How old were you? How long did you stay? Does anyone from your family live in one of our neighboring countries or travel there for business? Tell me about that as well.