Social Studies Wednesdays
The best way, very often, for young kids to appreciate history is to expose them to hands on activities and artifacts which make history "come alive." But that is often easier said than done - it's not easy to get your teaching hands on historical artifacts, especially authentic seeming ones. Last year, I stumbled upon the Traveling Trunks program at Gettysburg National Park:
(National Park Service)
"The Life of the Civil War Soldier" Traveling TrunksIf your class cannot get to the battlefield, bring Gettysburg into your classroom. Gettysburg National Military Park is pleased to offer you and your students our Civil War Traveling Trunk. Through various clothing items, military accoutrements, pastime activities, photographs, literature and music, students will be able to appreciate what the daily life of a Civil War soldier was actually like.
One of the first things that I did when the school year began was to get the paper work in to reserve the trunk for June, when we have our annual 6th. grade Civil War Day. This morning, to my complete and delighted surprise - there it was, waiting for me in our front office! Since Civil War Day is this Friday, the timing could not have been more perfect. The trunk was heavy (a good sign - it must be full of goodies!) and comes with a booklet full of information and ready to go activities.
First thing tomorrow morning, I will will open up the trunk and begin planning how to use its contents on Friday. Isn't it wonderful to know that there are teacher/historians in museums out there who create such things for us to use in our classrooms?! I plan to take lots of pictures on Friday and blog about how we benefited from and enjoyed this Traveling Trunk for the next Social Studies Wednesday.
Linda at TeacherDance shares some thoughts about "learning about history from one who lived it" through student interviews and seeking "opportunities for students to meet elders to discover their lives when they were young."