Sunday, November 9, 2008

Historic Photos of Alexandria

Historic Photos of Alexandria and a second grade classroom

Students sit and work diligently from a workbook as part of their unit study of their hometown. And while the workbook is full of facts and activities, it's lacking the ability to really get twenty-four 7-year olds excited about learning their town's history. Enter the observant and responsive teacher who is disheartened by the lack of enthusiasm her pupils are showing for learning. She knows she has to do something to grab their attention and help make their history come alive for them. Growing up with a father who showed quite an interest himself in the revolutionary war and who took great pride in his collection of authentic artifacts and reading material from the time period, this teacher knew that there had to be another way to ignite that same sort of excitement and energy for historic learning as her father had taught her.

That night she sat in her father's favorite chair, the one that had been passed down to her after his death three years ago. She reached for the newest book in her ever growing historical collection, Historic Photos of Alexandria, and began thumbing the pages. Images of her ancestry flashed before her. So much of her family's history resided in the streets and soil of this city. Ghosts of past still lingered on street corners and around the cornerstones of buildings she passed by every day. How could she get her students to see what it was once like to walk in their same footsteps a hundred years ago?

And then it dawned on her. Why couldn't she share this book with her students? The photographs were unique and depicted life from the Civil War up to the 1950's with an erie sense of familiarity. The collection included significant landmarks as well as illustrated the commonality of every day life. An idea started to form. She could take her students on a walking field trip to identify some of the locations photographed and take current pictures to take back to the classroom to compare and contrast with those from the book. Her students could see how life has changed and how reflections of the past still existed today. This book was going to be the key to reaching her students. This was a real winner!

If you are interested in checking out this and other books published in the series from the Turner Publishing Company, check out their website to see if your town is in their collection.
day 9: check


KSee said...

What a wonderful idea. I have a book of NYC, 100 years 1850 to 1950.So much funn to see how muc is the same and what has changed.

look forward to the teachers reports

Channon said...

Good for her! I have a notion for a series of children's books about Virginia history, but haven't sorted out the details in my head yet...