California Educator

September 2015

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Page 49 of 63

We know what many of our members did this summer, thanks to the "Educators Are Everywhere!" contest, which invited you to send photos of yourself on vacation. (See winners and other entrants in our August issue, and online at Most entrants clearly had fun and learned something along the way. For some, the summer sojourn provided life-changing experiences that they'll be sharing with students in their lesson plans and curriculum. Here's a look at a few of our favorite days of summer. Vacations ranged from learning adventures to life-changing trips Discovering ROBERT MOSS, fifth-grade teacher at Rio Vista Elementary School, San Bernardino Teachers Association On the Underground Railroad tour from Kentucky, through Ohio, Detroit, Canada and New York, I was one of nearly 60 educators feasting on historical knowledge and great storytelling. Not only did we expand our cultural awareness, we also understood the long-term effects of slavery. The biggest impact on me was understanding how hard slaves fought for freedom and the importance of education in their struggle. It was mind-blowing to realize that educating a slave was against the law, and the education we take for granted may have cost a slave their finger, their eye, or even their life. I was aboard a recreated slave boat, wore bondage chains, and placed myself in a 2 × 2 crate, which fugitives used to mail themselves to other states. We analyzed spirituals. In the song "Wade the Water," slaves were not only reaffirming their belief in God's power, but instructing freedom seekers to "wade" and let the lake or river wash off the scent, to mislead the hounds. Now I have a stronger base to teach from, with pictures, books and museum materials. The tour motivated me to spread the word before this history is lost. THE MEANING OF FREEDOM this summer What we did 48 Learning

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