For several weeks now, we have been starting our morning with an artifact or primary source to analyze together as a class. I have been following the "See-Think-Wonder" strategy to promote students' observations and interpretations. I will say that I am really enjoying this morning routine, as I am seeing students that do not normally participate in class discussion engaged in learning.
My kids know that whatever I put up has some sort of connection to our current studies. In my room, this has many possibilities. Is it connected to the state we are studying? Our current social studies unit or a celebrated birthday?
Today, I placed the object above (courtesy of NPS Franklin D. Roosevelt Home) up for discussion as today is Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday. My students do really well with the "seeing and thinking". I love when we get to the "wonder". I have several students that I love watching think. One in particular sits and stares at our classroom timeline.
He is thinking and it makes me happy.
As our discussion continues, ideas come out. Was it Harriet Tubman's (we are studying the Civil War)? Could it be Helen Keller's (we learned about her recently while studying Georgia)? Another student chimes in about the hat. I left my students to continue to wonder and then showed one of my favorite series of presidential videos by Disney (see clip on the right). I prefer this clip for my purposes as it has an image of FDR in a wheelchair, which is uncommon. Once the students saw clip, they immediately knew that it belonged to FDR. This then opened the door to further conversations about the image that FDR worked very hard to uphold to the public so that he would not appear weak.
I love #MuseumMonday!
Tonight, I came home to look up more on the National Park Service as a museum. I hadn't given it much thought before I went looking for my daily artifact with the intent of finding FDR's wheelchair. The National Park Service is the guardian to SO many of our nation's treasures. In their charge, they oversee battlefields, natural treasures and historic sites. It only makes sense that their collection is immense. As I continued to explore further, I came across the Museum Collections department of the National Park Service. Definitely worth my while to continue to explore. I can predict that pieces will show up in the future on #MuseumMonday.
What a day! Due to crazy winds in the area, we were without power for all but an hour of our day. The artifact analysis was one of the scheduled things I got done today. Anyhow...
I have made it new goal for the year to start each day with the students either looking at a primary source or and artifact and discussing it using the "see-think-wonder" model. This was our artifact today.
Most often, I have my images connect to other studies going on (crazy idea, right?). This week we are studying Mississippi and Tennessee to give you a clue. This person's birthday is also coming up next week (my kids can see the birthdays on the calendar). Her image is also hanging in my classroom.
Guesses? These shoes belong to Dolly Parton when she joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. They are displayed along the with dress and the lyrics to Jolene in the same display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Along with the image of the artifact, we then watched the video of Dolly performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. I encouraged my students to note the styles of the hair and clothes, as well as the cameras, while they were watching the video as they are representative of change over time.
I have opened a new area in my classroom for thinking titled "What's In A Museum?" I want the kids to come to the understanding that museums can hold all kind of things. I am going to be providing sticky notes for them to add their thoughts and ideas along the way. Today's lesson is the beginning to some new thinking and I am looking forward to it!
Hmmm, a blue hippo? Museum Monday?
This summer, I was fortunate enough to listen and then present at a department meeting in the Colonial Williamsburg Education Department. One of the many energenic and young staff members had just returned from her recent visit to The Met to share about an new approach to museum tours called a "museum hack." I listened with great intrigue and then appreciated this small gift store momento she picked up along the way. The entire musuem hack idea sounds rather intriquing as these tours are very intimate, fast paced and chocked full of more obscure, yet engaging tidbits of information.
Ahh, one more adventure to add to the bucket list.
Anyhow, back to first grade. During the month of December we focus our studies around New York City. I do this for many reasons, including the diversity and festivities during the holiday season. The city also offers some wonderful mini studies including the Statue of Liberty and immigration, buildings and transportation and MUSEUMS!! Yes, it's museum week.
As I was gathering my books and other resources, remembered a fabulous video that I have used in the past. It took me way too long to find this gem, which is one of the main reasons that I wanted to share. My kids loved it today! The video is from the Met and is and introduction to some of the masters within the Met. PLEASE, PLEASE check out the video!
As my class began watching the video, I noticed that it began with the same blue hippo I had held in the meeting in Williamsburg. I needed to know more. It turns out that this little blue hippo is originally from Egypt (please see the museum information for a complete description). I then did more research and came across the #MetKidsBlog with further questions on William the Hippo. This letter to William from a child only reinforced that artifacts are an excellent teaching tool within the classroom.
Artifacts naturally prompt questions.
Questions create learning.
Learning opens doors.
It's #MuseumMonday, although I didn't have any kids to share my artifact with as it was a teacher work day.
I wanted to share my favorite camera from my vintage camera collection. I can't say why this one is my favorites, other than the fact that I love it's compact size. I used this photo during an online class through William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg for teaching with museum exhibits.
As a child, I could always tell where my mom was in a crowd as all I had to do was look for the first flash of a camera. Mind you, I grew up in the 70s and my mom used the sad Kodak 110 camera. It produced a large collection of grainy memories. I'm not complaining, the pictures exist, which is more than many people can say. I am thankful that my mom had to mindset to capture my childhood on film.
My grandpa, Andy (see above), was also a photographer and a traveler. I like to think that I am much like him. I am currently looking for a Bantam camera like he used to add to my collection.
When teaching with objects, there are several approaches to take for instruction. Most commonly, I find myself simply having my students describing the artifact, hypothesizing what it may have been used for and who used it, and then how has it changed.
This summer, during the application sessions held during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, we were introduced to two alternative strategies for object based learning. One approach is to take a type of object that has evolved through time and note how it has changed. Cameras are a great option to do this with. Toys, telephones/cell phones or countless other objects could be looked at from this view point. Our local history museum uses this approach in the local photography exhibit at a hands-on teaching cart. Children (and adults) are encouraged to look at a set of 5 cameras and put them in chronological order. The docent then asks how the participant came to that conclusion.
Another strategy is to look at the story of the object coming from the perspective of that object. I particularly think this would be fun with a camera. I think about my own cameras and the thousands of photos I have taken. What would it say about my perspective? The lighting? The subject? The settings? Would it have a favorite series of pictures and why?
For cameras that have captured tumultuous times, what would it have to say? Or the camera of a fashion designer or on a movie set? This type of approach challenges our students to look at an object through a different lens (no pun intended).
Challenge yourself to try some new strategies rather than falling into the same routine. Object based learning is powerful and has so many teaching opportunities to take advantage of.
wife, mom, teacher, author, history nerd and the lady that carries around a rabbit