Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

May 26, 2009

Memorial Musings

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 7:50 pm

Today, after the final three day weekend of the school year, we spent some time discussing the history and relevance of the holiday yesterday.  Did you know that the Memorial Day holiday actually dates back to the time of the Civil War?  In 1868, as per an order by General John A. Logan, Decoration Day, as it was originally called, was declared as a day of remembrance for soldiers who had died in the Civil War.   In a statement known as Order Number 11, he stated,

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Initially, the holiday was observed more in Northern States, but over time, and especially after World War I, Decoration Day became a more common tradition around the entire United States.  Memorial was officially declared a national holiday in 1971 through an act by Congress.

In class today we discussed some of the history around the holiday, watched a short video, and then read and shared out about different elements of Memorial Day, including important dates, famous symbols, alternative holidays, and protests associated with the day.  We also read several poems expressing very different emotions about the holiday, soldiers, and war from thankfulness, to sadness, to anger.  I encourage students to take a look at the rest of the poems relating to Memorial Day that we did not have the time to read in class.  They will be available to read for the rest of the week.

We also reflected on some numbers of casualties from wars and conflicts that the United States has been involved in. They truly are staggering.  Students shared some personal connections with Memorial Day and the ways that people remember, or call attention to those who die in war.  Follow the links to read more about the  history of Memorial Day or the history of Memorial Day in Waterloo, New York.

Or watch the following video from the History Channel for a brief overview:

In Writing, students continued to work on their persuasive essays, and most of them worked through a peer revision.  Tomorrow we will have the District Assessment on persuasive essays.  Make sure to get good rest tonight!

In Mathematics, students continued working on their Geometric Solid Cities.  In their cities, they folded centimeter grid paper into rectangular prisms and pyramids and then wrote down the properties of each shape, highlighting information such as the number of faces, vertices, edges, the volume, and the surface area.  I left my camera at home today, but I will try to get some shots up tomorrow.

In Art, we finished up some watercolor landscapes and began work on puppet play scenery backgrounds.  We discussed some about the use of color pallettes to create or support a specific mood, and then the students got to work sketching and starting to paint.


  1. Mathematics: Practice Set 65
  2. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and fill out weekly reading log.
  3. Other: Talk with a family member about Memorial Day and share what you learned in class.

Mr. Weis


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for that thoughtful essay and historical reference. We went to the 4,990 crosses in Lafayette over the weekend and introduced Tate to the lesson of Memorial Day. I would also highly recommend the podcast series “Winter Soldier” for deeply moving soldier’s perspectives on war.

    Comment by Vicki Simon — May 28, 2009 @ 8:12 am | Reply

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