Connecting youth to local history

Learning history from Elders of his community A group of fourth grade students is preparing for a visit to Leisure Village to interview the Elders using questions they have formulated in their class discussions. I visited the class last week.  Using a PowerPoint presentation, along with open discussion, the students were introduced to the Elder writers. Each student has a copy of the book to use during the project.

A great deal of planning and preparation goes into a project of this magnitude with much conversation between the teacher and the writing facilitator. The classroom teacher offers the following observations:

Student reading about local historyThe students enjoy reading the books together during our “silent” reading time, and now they are recommending the ones they want me to read aloud at “read aloud” time. One parent commented that she thinks the project is wonderful, to be able to forge those connections with the elders and knows the value in that. A couple of the staff will be purchasing copies of the book for gifts.

My students and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. It’s amazing to see a group of five fourth graders, all boys, sitting around a table with a copy of the book in hand, reading, laughing, and saying, “Wow! That’s really cool!”

I hope it lights some fires under their families, and themselves!

In a letter to the parents, the teacher quoted Glenna Johnson Smith’s forword:

In today’s fractured and frantic world, it helps children to know who they came from. It doesn’t matter how we write our history, as long as we do it.”

Student reading about A GIFT TO THE FUTUREI am anxious to visit other classrooms in the County and work with students of all ages. As a retired teacher with experiences from kindergarten to high school, I enjoy spending time with students and helping them to connect to their history in new ways.


Students learning about history from local Elders' writings