Sunday, June 26, 2016
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
Summer vacation time is so short! And vacations are so expensive!
I like the idea of families doing some small one-day and one-tank of gas vacation trips. One day together is a short-but-good bonding opportunity, and learning about local history as a family can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Although America does not have a history that goes back for thousands of years, the unique individuals who contributed to our country are important, and kids (and adults) should know about the history of their home area. I also like the idea that travel sparks the desire to learn more! Parents can help their children to avoid "summer slide", and a trip that is both fun and educational can initiate good conversation, and maybe even create the desire within the child to learn more about the topic, person, or place visited.
I fondly recall day trips as a child with my parents and brothers. My mother would pack a picnic lunch, and we would stop at a roadside rest for an enjoyable break. Discussions in the car on the drive home about what we had seen often resulted in my delving into our set of home encyclopedias or taking out a book at the local library. Indeed, the love of learning can be "helped along" by parents, and that is a good thing for kids!
I live in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, PA, in southwestern Pennsylvania, and our corner of the state has many historical venues that are perfect for a day trip. I am listing some of my local favorites, but wherever you live, thanks to the Internet, finding day trips for your family is just a mouse click away.
Fallingwater, the Kaufmann house designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is just a few hours drive from Pittsburgh. (http://www.fallingwater.org/38/fallingwater-facts ) Both children and adults will relish this one-of-a-kind house designed to be in harmony with the water and woods that surround it.
The Johnstown Flood Museum is one of my favorite picks for a family day trip. The tragic events of the May 31, 1889 flood which killed thousands of people in under an hour is a riveting story. The museum offers and Cannes film Festival award-winning film, and the artifacts are amazing. (http://www.jaha.org/FloodMuseum/history.html ) Additionally, the site of the dam and it's surroundings have now become a national park. This trip is a great learning experience for the entire family, ( https://www.nps.gov/jofl/index.htm )
Washington County is just an hour south of Pittsburgh, and that county has lots to see! A covered bridge tour, local museums, and more fun and interesting venues await families who have but a day to spend.(http://www.historyisfun.com/ )
The city of Pittsburgh is packed with many free or inexpensive attractions. From viewing buildings with spectacular architecture to a "Just Ducky" Boat Tour, the Carnegie Museum, Clayton (the Henry Clay Frick home), downtown walking tours, and meandering through the Strip District (not what is sounds like! http://neighborsinthestrip.com/ ), families can enjoy a full day in the city without spending a bundle of cash. ( http://www.visitpittsburgh.com/things-to-do/free-things-to-do/museums-attractions/ )
Hope you have time for a day trip or two with your children.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
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Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading.
Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.gradygetsglasses.com IS UP AND RUNNING!!!. Signed copies ARE available! Grady plush toys are ordered!
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