Tuesdays are for slicing about life. Join us at Two Writing Teachers!
Last week, 62 second-graders followed their teachers and chaperones along the trail that led from their school to the town center. Equipped with iPads and clipboards for documentation, they were on a quest to learn about people in the town who make a positive difference, as well as ways people are acknowledged and celebrated for their accomplishments and contributions. Their new social studies unit centers on people who make a difference and they'd been researching people right in and from their own community.
In the town hall, the town clerk greeted them and invited them to sit around the giant-sized table, as well as in the swivel chairs where the town's Board of Selectmen sit and deliberate. She pointed out the framed pictures of past politicians and volunteers, as well as the town seal and its meaning. As they filed out, she handed out goody bags with copies of the seal and small notebooks for more recording. "Wow," one child said. "This is as good as Halloween." High praise from an eight year-old.
We headed to a small park that borders the Town Hall, one that none of us except for the leader had ever been into, and the adults on the field trip, including me, kept shaking our heads.
"Who knew this was back here?" we kept asking.
Right along the main street is this park with a gazebo and hundreds of named trees, shrubs, and perennials, as well as a map of where to find them painted on the ceiling of the gazebo. Benches line the pathways, and the students photographed the dedication plaques that acknowledged the work people had done and continue to do on the park.
Our tour continued with stops at the firehouse where there's a memorial and bricks with names on them, at the cemetery where there are war memorials and special tributes to individuals who fought and died.
All along the short strip between their school and town library, adults and children were surprised and proud of the history, contributions, and acknowledgments that exist in town. The students' clipboards were full of noticings and questions, and they had many meaningful pictures in their iPad albums.
"I had no idea how this was going to be," one parent said, "but it was a really great field trip."
Sometimes we don't notice the great things to appreciate right in our own walking distance.