The 003 Blog (Fall 2006)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween 2

We had lots of little (and a few big) trick-or-treaters at our house tonight!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


E.S.T. stands for Eastern Standard Time, which is what we returned to at 2 a.m. this morning when we turned our clocks back one hour. We got an extra hour of sleep today! We continue on EST until April, when we turn the clocks ahead again for Eastern Daylight Time (otherwise known as Daylight Savings Time).

Why, you may ask, do we confuse ourselves this way? I thought it is to enable children to walk to school (or wait at bus stops) in daylight, rather than in darkness. After googling "daylight savings time history" I learned that it is also a way to save energy, and that the idea first came from U.S. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. For more information, see the sidebar for a link to an interesting Daylight Savings site.

Enjoy your extra hour, and don't be late for class on Tuesday!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Tuesday is Halloween, the strange American holiday when children dress up in costume and go door to door begging for sweets. They are given candy, which they collect in plastic pumpkins, special bags, or (older children especially) pillow cases. You can read about the origins of Halloween by clicking on the Wilstar Halloween page link in the sidebar.

What are the "rules" for Trick or Treat? Well, parents take the little kids around, often in groups. Older kids go by themselves. When I was a child, we sometimes got homemade treats, like cookies, or little boxes of raisins, or apples. No more--not since some crazy people gave out apples with razor blades in them! Now, candy must be commercially wrapped. Some people prefer to give pencils or stickers, but most people give candy.

If you think that children will be trick-or-treating on your street, you can buy inexpensive candy by the bagful at any supermarket. Give each child a handful of small candies or 2-3 little chocolate bars. Be sure to get something you will want to eat yourself, in case there are leftovers!

The children usually start trick-or-treating around nightfall; the exact time depends on the neighborhood, but usually 6:30 or 7 p.m. If you want trick-or-treaters, turn on your outside light, and maybe, leave your door open (if it's safe). You might want to put a pumpkin (or a carved jack-o'-lantern) in front of your door, or hang some Halloween decorations (ghosts, goblins, witches, and jack o' lanterns are all traditional) to make your place look more inviting. (If you don't want trick-or-treaters, keep your door closed and your light out; that should discourage them.)

If you live in a neighborhood without many children, you are not likely to get trick-or-treaters no matter what you do.

If little kids come to your door, you should compliment them on their costumes or ask them what they are (a ghost? a princess? a witch? a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?). They will say, "Trick or treat!" That means that if you don't give them candy, they will play a trick on you. But don't worry: if you opened your door to them, you probably have candy to give them.

When you run out of candy, turn out your light; Halloween is over until next year.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Foliage

Different kinds of trees turn different colors in the fall. Hickory trees turn yellow.

Pumpkins are a symbol of fall. Some people carve jack o' lanterns for Halloween by cutting out a face on the pumpkin. I like to leave mine whole!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Field Trip!

Today, the 003 and 004 classes, together with their teachers (Aaron, Harriet, and me), traveled to Washington, D.C. We first went to the Library of Congress, where we had a small tour of the Jefferson Building, which in my opinion is the most beautiful building in Washington. The docent who showed us around did a great job. He spoke loudly and clearly and did not use words that were too difficult. I think the students were impressed not only by the beauty of the Library's interior but also by the astonishing statistics, such as that the Library owns materials in 450 different languages and acquires new items at a rate of 10,000 per day!

Following our tour, we gave everyone half an hour to explore on their own. I went to the American Treasures exhibit. It was interesting; I need more time to go back and see more. At about 11:45, we took the metro to the National Building Museum. I wanted the 003s to see the Green House exhibit. We had read about it in class, and I hope they found it interesting.

At 1:00, a few students returned to College Park with Aaron, and the rest went with Harriet and me to H Street (Chinatown), where we all had lunch at Full Key Chinese restaurant; and then we returned to UM.

Goodbye to Fifty Nifty Turtles

Yesterday, the Fifty Nifty Turtles of the Fear the Turtle Sculpture Project were paraded through the campus and put on display at the Riggs Alumni Center prior to today's auction, where they were to be sold to the highest bidder(s). After class, I walked over to bid farewell to the statues that have given me such pleasure since they first appeared on campus in mid-April. Some of the students came with me. It was fun to see all the statues together for the first time. Of course, I took pictures:

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Field Trip

Despite the rainy forecast, today turned out to be a beautiful day for our trip to Harpers Ferry. I met the group at the park (unfortunately, I got lost in Frederick, so I was a little late.) and we split into groups for the scavenger hunt. We had to go to different places--such as the Provost Marshal's office, the Dry Goods Store, the John Brown Museum, and Jefferson Rock--and find the answers to some questions. For example, "On what date did John Brown attack the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry?" (October 16, 1859--almost exactly 137 years ago) and "What was John Brown's goal?" (to seize the Armory and the Arsenal and use the captured weapons to begin freeing the slaves) We didn't find the answers to all of the questions, but we answered many of them.

My group consisted of about twelve students. We stayed together (sort of) and had a good time. Everybody took pictures of everybody else. We went beyond Jefferson Rock as far as the cemetery, where we saw gravestones which were so old that we couldn't read the inscriptions on them (as well as some new ones). Some of us walked across the railroad bridge to the Maryland side of the Potomac, but we did not have enough time to hike up to Maryland Heights, because the students had to be back at the Visitors' Center by 2:30 to take the bus back to College Park. Anyway, I think everyone had a good time. I know I did!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ready for the Field Trip

Tomorrow, we will go on a field trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, so today we learned a little about this tiny restored town. We read a short reading about the history of Harpers Ferry. It was founded by Robert Harper; he was a millwright and had a ferry boat which took people across the river and back. Later, the United States arsenal (armory) was located there, and there was a lot of industry. In particular, weapons were manufactured there, using the water power from the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, which converge at Harpers Ferry).

The abolitionist John Brown took over the arsenal in 1859. He was captured and hanged for this crime. During the Civil War (1861-65), Harpers Ferry fell under the control of both the Union and Confederate armies at different times, and both armies burned its factories. It never recovered economically from this destruction, which was followed by devastating floods in the late 1800s.

Today, Harpers Ferry has been restored so that many of the buildings look as they did in the 19th century, and it has become a National Park. We are hoping that the weather will be nice so that we can make the most of this opportunity to visit it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A new link

Did you know that our classmate Nazanin is a painter? I have added a link on the sidebar to the blog where she has posted pictures of some of her paintings. I am sure you will enjoy a visit to Nazanin's gallery of art!

A Fine Fall Day

I took a walk today with my husband and daughter--just around our Gaithersburg neighborhood, West Riding. I took my first pictures with my brand-new digital camera (purchased just last week!). Here they are:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

003 Update

It's the middle of the fourth week of class. How are you doing? What have you been learning in your classes? What have you seen and done so far? What has happened since our class began?

Write a post for your blog that gives an update of your American experience. Use the verb forms that we studied in class.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Terps beat Blue Devils 1-0

On Friday, the UM Terrapins played arch-rival Duke University at Ludwig Field. I don't think soccer games are usually so well-attended, but this one was different--maybe because it was the same time as the Stamp Union All-Niter, or maybe just because it was Duke. Anyway, if you tried to attend the game and couldn't get a ticket, I am sorry.

I had gotten my tickets earlier in the afternoon, so my husband and I were at the game. However, there were so many people that we couldn't park near Ludwig Field; we had to go all the way back to Holzapfel! As a result, we missed seeing the goal, which happened early in the game. When we finally got in, there weren't any seats at all. People were standing on the grassy hills behind the bleachers. We finally found a place to stand and then sit on the steps of some bleachers.

Some of you won't believe this, but this was the first soccer game I had ever watched! It was really exciting--lots of action! Both teams played well, but no one scored again, although the Terps almost got another goal (it was offside, I think). The atmosphere was electric; the crowd got really excited!

There were many parents with small children there. These kids are the new soccer-loving generation of Americans. Soccer has never been very popular here compared to football, basketball, and baseball, but recently it has been gaining in popularity. I think most of those kids play soccer in PE (Physical Education) or after school. When they grow up, they will continue to play and watch soccer, making it more popular. Maybe someday, there will be a soccer stadium at UM as big as the football stadium!

Did any of you see the game? (It was also on TV.) Did anyone go to the All-Niter?

Today is October 1. I wish you all a good month! I'll see you on Tuesday.