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.
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!
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.
Jack and his family just returned from an amazing two week adventure ALL over Alaska. His parents love the great outdoors and both Jack and his brother, Simon, spend many hours in the exploring all that nature has to offer. Maybe the National Park Service has a future ranger-in-training on their hands! On their visit to Denali, the family was fortunate to have clear skies and the breathtaking view of Denali!
Jack says, "I like being a Junior Ranger
because I can help preserve parks and
nature for the future!"
Walking a bridge is one of my favorite things to do on any trip. Two years ago, our family was able to put the check mark on the bucket list for the Golden Gate Bridge. We had seen it several years earlier on a previous trip, but this was the year for the walk. Public transportation makes getting to the visitors center and entrance to the bridge very accessible. We visited in July, and the iconic International Orange columns were shrouded in the regular fog of the bay area. The details of the bridge were the most captivating to me followed by the view (although limited) of the city behind us. Fort Point lies directly below at the SF entrance. When the bridge opened in May of 1937, its 4,200 foot suspension span was the longest in the world. Today, it is the ninth longest suspension bridge. The bridge is an American icon and year after year my students love learning about it.
As an educator that values giving students experiences, virtual tours are a true treasure in my classroom. Virtual tours are the next best thing to a classroom field trip! I am always thrilled when there is a high quality tour that I can incorporate into our classroom studies. The kids love it!
Arches National Park Junior Ranger Book PDF