This week my grade began a unit of work called “The Way We Were” focusing on what life was like when the students’ grandparents were children. I am very excited about this unit of work and have been searching out useful resources.
YouTube has some segments and trailers from movies and television programs of this era: Shirley Temple, Little Rascals, Popeye, Bambi, Singing In The Rain, Lone Ranger, The Wizard of Oz...
I found a local seniors computer club that we will communicate with via email. I contacted the convenor, and they passed my details onto relevant people within the organisation. At least 6 people have replied, so we will have a couple of people for each class. We will brainstorm questions as a class, write the email, and then send it off. I'm hoping we will then be able to scan in student work and send it to say thank you. We're also getting word out to the kids' grandparents to see if any of them would like to communicate with us via mail, email or fax.
The principal has agreed to prepare and present “A Day in the Life of Me as a Child”. I think this will be great! And another teacher has offered to bring along a little suitcase of goodies she has kept from her childhood.
We are going to create a “Time Machine” in the classroom where we will store and label artifacts that we can find. (We have a lockable storeroom we will use for this in order to keep the items safe.) One of the teachers grew up in a house that is about to be heritage listed, and so has many items to share and ponder. I'm going to check out what I can find at my parents' place this weekend.
Early next term we will have a “Grandparents and Grandfriends Day” where students will get to ask their Grandperson about their childhood. We will do some singing and activities together in the morning and then share a picnic together.
Another day we will simulate a school day of the past. We will research, plan and timetable it with the students so that everyone knows what to expect. I've heard of other teachers doing this (and finding it exhausting!).
My desire for this unit of work is that it will be driven by the memoirs and stories of students’ grandparents and the email communication from the Seniors Club. I feel this would be much more valuable to the children than if I just do a bunch of research and spoon feed it to my class. I'll let you know how things progress.
UPDATE: Click here to see an overview of our program: Overview of The Way We Were Feel free to use it to help direct your own program on personal histories, and feel free to contact me for further details.