How Religion Spread Around the World

16 Jul

Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths. Watch this short video from Alex Kuzoian that appeared in Business Insider this week.


10 Jul

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26 Ancient Ruins You Should Visit In Your Lifetime

23 Jun

It’s incredible that monuments built by ancient civilizations thousands of years ago still stand today. Seeing these sites is like stepping back in time and witnessing what life was like in a place that ceased to exist years ago. Check out this slideshow of 26 ancient ruins from Business Insider Australia. I am sure there are some places that are missing, but this is a nice list. I feel fortunate to have visited many of them (11, so far). Have you visited any of these ruins? Here are two photos I took of the Ellora Caves in India, one of my favorite places in India. – Mr. Martin

Ellora Caves, India (Photo by Rob Martin)

Ellora Caves, India (Photo by Rob Martin)

Ellora Caves  (Photo by Rob Martin)

Ellora Caves (Photo by Rob Martin)

Books, Reading, & Postcards

15 Jun

I can’t believe I have only been away from Chennai for one week. I hope you are all having a nice vacation…and reading some books. I just finished a book on Magellan, the explorer who sailed around the world seeking the Spice Islands. It was a really good book, and I learned a lot about him that I never learned in school or university. I’d love to get a post card from you of your travels or where you live. I emailed you my school and home address before school ended. If you send me a postcard, I promise to send you a postcard (email me your address before July 25th if you send it). :>) I am currently in Mexico and will be adding some photos to my Twitter feed. – Mr. Martin

Image source: Titlewave

Image source: Titlewave

Image source: TitleWave

Image source: TitleWave

Have a great summer!

4 Jun

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Celebrating Out of Eden Footstep #5

2 Jun

Traditional recipes, games, art and crafts, memories of places, and descriptions of processes were things that we focused on in Footstep #5, Documenting the Everyday. We were very impressed with the quality of your work and the effort you put into sharing the local culture or your own. We saw a wide range of ways you responded, including storytelling, photography, sketching, and the creation of videos similar to Paul Salopek’s Glances. We hope you enjoyed this activity and took the time to notice new things which might seem normal to you, but not to someone in our walking party.

There is one final footstep, #6. While we have run out of time in our school year, we encourage you to complete it for fun. You can also go on Out of Eden during the summer to explore what students are doing. You can also follow Paul’s walk through the RSS feed on our blog. While our school year ends Friday, some students are still going to school for a couple of more weeks. Check out some of the videos some students made for Footstep #5. Great work everyone.

Fantastic Book Trailers (Mrs. Hall’s Class)

2 Jun

Check out the great book trailers from Mrs. Hall’s students. Pick up a book and read this summer.

Awesome Book Trailers (Mr. Martin’s Class)

2 Jun

Check out all of the book trailers from Mr. Martin’s L.A. classes. There are some really good ones here. Continue to read during the summer, check out book reviews on the book blog, and use this link to find titles to new books. Read on!

Language Arts/Social Studies Classes (2014 – 2015)

1 Jun

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Sixth grade LA/SS classes – We’ll miss you next year!

Favorite Social Studies Unit

1 Jun



31 May

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Departing students. We'll miss you!

Departing students. We’ll miss you!

One more week!

One more week!

Some photos from Friday’s assembly. One more week to go! What was the highlight from your 6th grade experience? What will you do this summer? Enjoy your last week with your teachers and friends.

Organizing the Library, Adding New Books

31 May

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DSCN6515Thanks for your help! Let’s make sure we get all of our classroom library books back ASAP!

Summer Post Card Challenge, Free Rice, Word Games and More!

30 May

Three fun links or ideas for the summer:

1) Vocabulary Review: Free Rice – A vocabulary website that for every right answer donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Program to end hunger.

2) Word Games: Play some fun word games – many, many links!

3) Linking to Thinking’s Cool Links – recently updated with links for awesome books and more! Our book review blogs are available to find books and to share reading – 24/7. Use them…even next year.

Finally, the post card challenge! Send your teacher(s) a post card from your country or your travels and tell us about a book you are reading (title, author, I like this book because….). Keep it short, it’s just for fun! We’ll email you our school address!

June and July Birthdays!

29 May

The end of the year is approaching and we would like to wish the students celebrating a birthday during the summer months. The following students have a birthday in June and July. If we made any errors or left someone off the list, let us know. Happy birthday!

June: Daehyeon (4), Woon Ji (5), Rhea (13), and Yuto (30)

July: Kennedy (1), Guillaume (8), Perrine/Mr. Larson (9), Sai (25), Mrs. Hall (28), and Minki (29).

The Persian Wars

27 May

Defeating the Persians allowed the Greek democracy and culture to continue. The culture greatly influenced later world civilizations. Check out some of the videos in this playlist. Some are History Channel documentaries. Enjoy!

Image source:

Image source:

image source:

image source:

Image Source:

Image Source:

Returning books!

25 May

000b0eaf_mediumStudents,  You have been given a blue check-out form that is due on Friday, May 29th. Please make sure all library books, including books from our class library, have been returned by Friday, at the latest.

We will also be collecting the social studies textbooks this Thursday and Friday in class. Do NOT bring your book in before these days. Also, do NOT simply drop your book off on your teacher’s desk or on the shelf. You need to personally hand us the book and we need to check to make sure your name and book number matches our records.

The City-State and Democracy

19 May

The videos on this playlist feature information on the rise of democracy in ancient Greece. How did limited democracy develop in Athens?

Walking, Learning, Documenting – Out of Eden Learn

14 May

As you prepare to finish Footstep #4 – Listening to Neighbors’ Stories – this week, we have created a video celebrating some of the best photos taken from Footstep #3, Take a Walk in Your Neighborhood. We look forward to reading and sharing your stories on Out of Eden Learn.

World Wide Wilbur

12 May

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Our M.S. assembly today featured Wilbur Sargunaraj, India’s first Youtube superstar.  We danced, he told jokes, and he had some important messages – Be yourself, be first class!  Did you enjoy this assembly? What was some of the advice he gave to students? Vote on the poll question below and check out some of the articles and videos he made on National Public Radio (NPR) about village life in Tamil Nadu and India. Some of his comments made me think of the Out of Eden project and our next footstep, the importance of meeting people from other cultures and learning about other cultures. You might enjoy the video on this playlist about life in rural India. You’re a simple superstar!

Greek Gods, Myths, Movies, and Literature

12 May

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Much of what we know about ancient Greece comes from epic poems, myths, and stories from Homer, who wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad. These are two classic stories that some of you have readMany of you have also seen movies like Clash of the Titans, Troy, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson. Hollywood continues to make movies or use elements of Greek literature in their stories or characters. Check out the links on fables and myths on the right side of the blog under ‘Ancient Greece.’ These are great links:  heroes and gods and goddesses in ancient Greece.

Odyssey Online  See link for Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes (and Harry Potter!)

British Museum – see the explore, story, and challenge links

Please write a comment about any of the movies or books I mentioned, or the links.  Do you know any other books, series, or movies influenced by Greece?

Happy Mother’s Day

10 May


Today is Mother’s Day in many countries. Do something nice for your mom today. :>)

Out of Eden Footstep #4 – Listening to Neighbors’ Stories

6 May
Image source: Screen shot from the Out of Eden Learn website

Image source: Screen shot from the Out of Eden Learn website

You did a great job exploring your neighborhood and taking photos for Footstep #3. Now it’s your turn to try out your skills at listening and interviewing someone. You will share a neighbor’s story with your walking party:

  • Your task is to talk and listen to an adult who lives or works in your local area. This person could be someone you have never spoken to before or someone you already know. It does not need to be someone who has lived in the area for a long time. Some ideas: a cook, housekeeper, or a driver who works for your family; a school employee (local from Chennai); an Indian friend of your parents; Other ideas (let your teacher know)?

  • Ask the person for a story or memory about your local area or Chennai. For example, how did they come to be in this place or city? How have they seen the area (or Chennai) change over the years? What are some of their memories about the area? Do any particular events in the area stand out in their mind? BRAINSTORM SOME QUESTIONS BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW, but use good listening skills and think of other questions during the interview.

  • Write up the highlights of your conversation or recreate a story that they told you. Include a short description of the person you talked with – for example, how you know them, the setting where you talked, what they look like, and what they were wearing. Alternatively, you can upload an audio file (Garage Band -> Sound Cloud) of you retelling their story in your own words (Not the interview of the person). If you choose to use Sound Cloud, you will need to write a short introduction and add a URL to your interview; you cannot embed the podcast on Out of Eden Learn. For ideas, please look at some of the examples on Out of Eden to see what other students are doing.

Due Date: Thursday, May 14 (D Block, Martin & B Block, Hall) and Friday, May 15 (G Block Martin & H Block, Hall). Remember to use your Out of Eden Google Document to draft all of your work before copy and paste it on OOE Learn’s website.

May Birthdays

4 May


Happy birthday to the following students celebrating their birthday in May: Luis (3), Futa (21), Ji Hyeon (18), and Megan/Mekhi (23).  If we made any errors or forgot someone, let us know. We’ll post the June and July birthdays before the end of the of the year…don’t you worry now! :>)

China Promises $46 Billion To Pave The Way For A Brand New Silk Road (NPR)

3 May
Source: Xinhua Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR

Source: Xinhua
Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes that allowed the exchange of goods and ideas between Asia and Europe, including between the Roman Empire and China’s Han Dynasty, towards the end of the first century B.C. Now China wants to build a new network of roads, railways pipelines and shipping lanes connecting China to South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa and Europe. With this in mind, China’s President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan last month, promising $46 billion in infrastructure investment.

Introduction to Greece

3 May
Screen shot of Greece from Google Maps.

Screen shot of Greece from Google Maps.

Greece is a beautiful country and its geography shaped life there. Click on these links to learn more about how Greeks used their limited land resources and trade to prosper.

Odyssey Online – Click on the link ‘geography’ and then look at the map link and look at the British Museum to get an introduction to the geography of Greece. Click on this great link to see some maps of Greece.

Follow Odysseus’ travels to many fantastic lands with this story
Be an underwater archaeologist – take the challenge!
Enjoy these links and post a comment telling me something interesting you learned about Greece.


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