We went to the Burke Museum today, and it was fantastic! Not only was the lesson really interesting, but everything was perfectly appropriate and well-organized. The kids had a chance to touch First Nation artifacts, and everyone had great feedback. They adored the Carnaval exhibit, too.
Here are a few photos from our visit.
A million and a half thanks to EVERYONE at the Burke Museum. Everyone we encountered, including the patient gift shop cashier, treated us with enthusiasm and kindness.
Today I was catching up on our Letters to Ms. Houghton, a weekly homework assignment that I stole from Mrs. Chan where my students write to me on Tuesday and then I write back.
One student wrote, in response to my question of what teachers could do to become better at their jobs, that we should talk with our kids about their “deep, DEEP thoughts.” Rather sage advice from a well-spoken third grader.
I am fortunate enough to have learners who are willing and eager to tackle tough conversations that include their deep, deep thoughts. When I embarked on our first themed literature unit, I hoped we’d be able to just touch the surface of issues of civil rights and standing up for yourself. I had no clue that we’d be having discussions about
Why so much time passed between Lincoln and MLK — my students thought that they were contemporaries.
Why the North didn’t “need” slavery
Why it took so long for black public officials to be elected
How Chicano-Latino Americans and Asian Americans were being treated during all of this.
the Emmett Till murder and trial
the librarian of Basra, Iraq, shuttling 75% of the city’s library to safekeeping
Busing — When black kids wanted to go to traditionally white schools (circa Brown vs. Board of Education), did white kids want to come to black schools? (!!! X, thank you for your insight on this one!)
Who judges are, and what they do
How people of color were able to learn and be taken care of when they were sick if they weren’t allowed into certain schools and other public places. And then how black people became teachers and doctors if they couldn’t go to traditional colleges. (!!! This one blew my mind, my kids are SO SMART)
The role of power, money, and religion as being at the core of most conflicts.
My kids have been incredible. They are able to apply these questions to the text we’re reading and the activities we’re doing, so it’s not like we’re spending all our time going off on birdwalks. They are interested when we watch grown-up documentaries and talking-heavy historical footage.
They know that some parts of the past were awful, but they’ve been incredibly mature in not seeking out super-gory details. I firmly believe they understand that the intent of our work together is not merely to discover shocking facts, but to learn from our history and see how we can apply its lessons today.
There are a few more books we’ve related to our theme that I didn’t initially expect we’d use:
My kids also asked that I include this one, because Dan and Amy stand up for themselves even when other family members play dirty, and even when their own aunt gave up on them:
Who knows what else we’ll learn in the next week before the month is over! I can say that I’m definitely ready for something a little less heavy. So our theme for next month might be something along the lines of, “Curiosity leads to discovery.” Discussing inventors and scientists and nonfiction texts…
In the 3rd grade social studies curriculum, we study our communities and the 50 states. We’ve also been talking about the presidents in our study of the book So You Want to be President. What a perfect time to introduce the 44 Presidents rap I discovered. I don’t know if it’s the original version Ron Clark used, but it’s pretty awesome and kind of ridiculous.
You can watch a video of it here:
And I made a Powerpoint of the lyrics so we can have them to reference as we practice.