How Did George Washington Ever Survive?


Photo found at Washington Post


George Washington lived to be 67 years old.  In those 67 years, our first President had smallpox, bouts of malaria, multiple infections and abscesses, tuberculosis, dysentery and multiple common illnesses such as colds, the flu, etc.

But wait, there’s more!  By George Washington’s own account he survived “four Bullets through my Coat and two Horses shot under me”.

So what could possibly have killed the President?  Doctors think Washington had acute epiglottitis, a life-threatening condition, caused by injury or infection, that causes the epiglottis to swell, blocking the airways to the lungs.  Read the entire article here!


Battlefield Bible

If you were going into battle what would you take with you?  How about your bible?  Well, one soldier did just that.  A man named Francis Merrifield, who fought at Bunker Hill, one of the first battles of the American Revolution fought in 1775 carried his bible with him and later wrote about his experiences.  The bible was recently sold for $161,000.  Want to read the inscriptions click here!

DBQ’s At Sussman Middle School

It is incredibly important to be able to write well to get into college.

That is why Downey Unified School District has adopted the DBQ essay in their Social Studies classes.  All Social Studies classes from 6th grade through 12 grade practice the DBQ writing process numerous times throughout the school year.  What is a DBQ, you may be asking?  A Document-Based Question is a five paragraph essay that typically answers a question based on a number of readings.  The DBQ’s teach students how to develop an arguable thesis and create strong supporting sentences with evidence.

Another very important part of the writing process is mastering grammar.  It is critical that students continue to work on grammar.  Bad grammar is a distraction when reading essays and it takes away the writer’s credibility.  What reader will think a writer is an expert if he/she can not write a correct sentence?

Sussman Middle School has made a commitment to writing by making it our school-wide focus.  That means that students should be writing in all of their classes, including P.E., all of the time.

Remember learning to write well takes time and practice.  A student must learn to embrace every chance to practice to perfect the writing process.




September 17th is Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day!

Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, is the day Americans remember the adoption of the United States Constitution and the people who have become United States citizens.  The first time Constitution Day was celebrated was in Iowa in 1911.  September 17th is the day that the Constitution was signed by our Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1787.

Want to learn more?  Click on the links below.

Life as a Continental Soldier

We are currently learning about Valley Forge, here are a few quick facts about life as a soldier.

Life as a soldier was boring and difficult. When a soldier was not fighting, he was digging holes for lots of men to use the restroom, clearing fields, building forts or houses for the officers to stay in, guarding the camp, practicing loading their guns, shooting their guns and marching together every day.

Every morning soldiers stood in formation for roll call and every afternoon soldiers got to cook their one meal for the day.  Each man received 1 1/2 pounds of meat, a loaf of bread, and 2 ounces of alcohol (to kill bacteria in their water) per day.

Women and children often would follow a military camp. They were the families of soldiers.  George Washington would not allow unrelated women to follow a camp.

When traveling from battle field to battle field, a soldier carried forty-five pounds of gear.  Gear included a gun with a bayonet, a backpack, tin cup, bowl, spoon, a box of ammunition, canteen, maybe an extra blanket, shirt, or writing equipment.

If a soldier broke a rule he could be punished by being whipped, given more work, or even killed.


Who was the Marquis de Lafayette?

The Marquis de Lafayette was a good friend of General George Washington.  Quite a bit younger than Washington, Lafayette saw Washington as an adoptive father.  The Marquis de Lafayette helped persuade the French king to provide troops and resources to the Continental Army in 1780.  Many think if it had not been for the Marquis, America would have lost the American Revolution.

Lafayette was bored in France and wanted some adventure.  When he heard that America was rebelling against their British government in 1777 he left his pregnant, teenage wife and wealth to travel to America.  He wanted to join the fight for American independence.

With a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette and his companions joined the Continental Army with the promise they would fight without pay.  Lafayette was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, after being shot in the leg.  Stories of Lafayette’s heroism spread throughout the colonies.  Lafayette is considered a true friend to America as well as an American hero.  In fact, years later, after the war, Lafayette and his son traveled back to the United States where many grateful Americans welcomed him across the U.S.  Today, more than 40 cities and counties are named after the Marquis.

The Marquis de Lafayette is considered an American hero because his greatest passion was the idea that all people should be free.

George Washington’s Tent

screenshot-118If you think about it, it makes perfect sense!  Because George Washington had been the General in charge of the American Revolution he was not home much during the war.  So where did he stay?  In a tent.  Recently, the tent has been restored and will go up on display.  Read this article to learn more about this famous tent.