Engaging students in stories through different perspectives is a key element when teaching history. It is important to help students understand that humans experience an event through different eyes and walks of life. I like to extend this teaching to photography and primary sources.
Most commonly, the images of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech are focusing on him as he is standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I like the image above as it encourages a different perspective. I am curious to see if my students can identify the location of the image based upon the Washington Monument in the background. Secondly, this view encourages a discussion around the overwhelming number of people gathered on this particular day. Why are they there? What event could draw such a large crowd?
Several years ago, I taught with a woman who is one of those little specks of a human in that overwhelming crowd. Her father had taken her and her brother on a bus from Philadelphia to see MLK's speech that day. She was very young and doesn't remember all that much aside from the large crowds. She does know that they were standing to MLK's left. I like to look at this photograph and think of my friend standing in this huge crowd witnessing this life altering speech.
Perspective is important, both for the stories and the images.
I have been wanting to start this segment of my blog for awhile. I incorporating a strong piece of literature with a Moffat photograph and a primary source document in as many of my lessons as I can. It's hard to go wrong when you have the primary source and a Moffat photograph!
As the National Park Service is celebrating their 100th birthday, we are just getting back to school. I can't think of a better way to kick off the new year with a grand celebration to open the door to new learning for my young students. We enjoyed S'More style birthday cupcakes to compliment the Junior Rangers we made in class.
Youtube is such a wonderful addition to the classroom as we were able to enjoy the very creative birthday song as well as an overview by Finley Holiday. Many of the students were familiar with some of the more prominent National Parks, which led to a very engaging conversation about the parks. One of my students even brought in her collection of Junior Ranger badges (I had mine to show off as well).
Over the years, I have grown to LOVE the National Parks (my husband thinks I am crazy for the Park Rangers). I was not exposed to the NPS as a child and feel like I am making up for it now. The diversity of the system leads to learning about science and social studies and can be differentiated for any grade level. Many of the parks have well developed lesson plans online that can be used for extended learning. My biggest challenge is going to be to limit the number of parks that I share with my students. I want to create a balance between the beauty and conservation efforts of the National Parks with the historic value of the memorials, battlefields and monuments. It is impossible to go wrong with any of my choices.
I am looking forward to the new year for many reasons. It excites me to bring the NPS into my classroom as an educational tool and I am looking forward to more travels to National Parks that I have yet to enjoy. Our studies will be a fun-filled adventure that I am excited to embark upon! More updates down the road!
This is one of my favorite times of the year (ok, I have many)! My first graders are now independent enough that we have projects going on all over the classroom. In honor of Poetry Month and National Haiku Poetry Day, we will begin our class book of Moffat USA haikus. Above is a sampling of some of the pages in years past created by the students.
I will be formatting the planning pages and accompanying Moffat images soon for my TeachersPayTeachers store so that others may join in in creating one in their classroom. For a very professional look, I then upload my images to Shutterfly and make the book available to my students' parents to purchase. It's a great end of year project! Enjoy!
It's that time of year when I look forward to the Annual Lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Oddly, Moffat has hitched a ride to see the amazing site THREE times and I have yet to go! It is very high on my bucket list. In 2011, The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel was published.. This is the story of 8-year-old Henry, who works alongside his father during the Depression selling Christmas trees. Henry dreams of living in a home other than the drafty shack they currently have and the kindness of others, brings Henry's wish to life.
David Rubel wrote this book in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. Today, deserving families now call the magical wood from a Rockefeller Christmas Tree their home! Enjoy the video links below to learn more about this wonderful partnership and giving back to the community!
It has been weeks since I have posted. Blame it on the start of school and my brain being on overload. I think about it daily, but never get there.
Interestingly, I joined my husband for a documentary this evening and it happened to be on John Denver. I have always loved John's songs with the stories he told and the melodies he carried on his guitar. I also remember how he tragically died at an early age in an airplane crash. As the documentary progressed, the date of his death came up and the anniversary happens to be today. He died in 1997 at the age of 53.
Several years ago, I remember walking along the beautiful, foggy beaches of Monterey, California. I can remember how shocked I was when my family and I came across a marker on a rock commemorating the sudden loss of John Denver. I don't recall that I knew where he had died until our morning walk.
As a Colorado native, his songs are calling card to the beauty of our state. He was a long time resident of Aspen, Colorado, long before it ever became the ski town it is today. Each time I hear one of his songs, I remember how much I enjoy his music. As I watched the documentary, I learned more about his interest in both space and NASA and the oceans with his time spent with Jacque Cousteau.
I am surprised that this commemorative rock is in my collection. It is an obscure location, but one worth remembering. My own personal travel lesson is to always be open to where the day might take you. There are surprises around every corner and many are worth reflecting upon!
After years teaching about Owney, the National Railway Postal Dog, it was a treat to finally get to visit the National Postal Museum and finally see Owney in person! The story of Owney is quite a delightful story for young children and a great way to integrate history and geography while analyzing primary sources.
The National Postal Museum has Owney on display and a fabulous railway exhibit demonstrating how mail was transported via train. Online, take the time to explore the Smithsonian's online offerings on Owney, including the large digitized set of images of the tags he collected along the way.
NPS Teaching Resources
The NPS is hosts a wealth of teacher resources. I know that I take the time to look at individual parks for lesson plans and ideas. Additionally, please take the time to look at Teaching with Historic Places sponsored by NPS.
For more fun for the kids, the NPS hosts Webrangers, a series of educational games and activities featuring the National parks.