My Old School

You know that old song. Well Lou has been going back to "her old school" this week. Fourth grade at the Waldorf school (like almost any 4th grade, I think) is a time to expand the children's understanding of their own place in the world. One way this is done is by taking up the study of local geography, history, and maps.

I have been having a good time hunting about in the school's filing cabinets and at the local historical society for photos of the school at the time it was built. Here's the 4th grade classroom "now" (actually, this is Hels' class in 4th grade as I don't have one of Lou's):


And here is the 4th grade classroom "then."

The kids are FASCINATED by these old photos of the school and town (I'm also making large posters out of old photos from town). Lou has decided that she is going to become a "town historian".

In combination with their exploration of history and development of their sense of place, the children are being introduced to maps.

One of my favorite books is Mapmaking with Children. In this book, Sobel, takes a very developmental approach to teaching about maps and geography with children. He argues that often we introduce the world to young children at a scale that they are just not developmentally ready for. He argues that they need to begin their exploration of the world through what is closest to them. And so, Lou began by drawing a map of her desk. She will eventually go on and to explore her school, community, and state as she develops place, scope, and perspective.

I love local history and helping children to find a sense of place in their lives. I'm so grateful that Lou's teacher is open to exploring new ways of doing this using the real stuff of history.

Dawn  – (September 11, 2008 at 8:01 PM)  

I'm so grateful that you recommended that book to me a while back...it has been a wonderful resource. What a huge compliment to you that your daughter wants to have the same career as you. I enjoy seeing old photos and loved seeing the classroom photos. When was the school built?
The new header pic. is so pretty!

Maymomvt  – (September 11, 2008 at 8:07 PM)  

I'll have to ask Lou as to when the school was built :) I think it was around 1920.

Tammy  – (September 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM)  

I LOVE old photos. LOVE them.

Also, I'd love to be a fly on the wall for a day or two in a waldorf school. I try to keep my homeschooling "waldorfy" but it's hard for me to know EXACTLY what to do when I've never even seen a waldorf teacher working with her students.....

Tammy  – (September 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM)  

I LOVE old photos. LOVE them.

Also, I'd love to be a fly on the wall for a day or two in a waldorf school. I try to keep my homeschooling "waldorfy" but it's hard for me to know EXACTLY what to do when I've never even seen a waldorf teacher working with her students.....

Lisa Anne  – (September 11, 2008 at 9:37 PM)  

We home schooled Amelia for half of fourth grade because we spent Sept-Dec. in France. We did this block before we left, I loved the map Amelia drew of our house and how to get to the library and to the place where we bought smoothies and her friend's house nearby that shop. The scale was way off, but the things that were important to her were the biggest things on the map. I wish I had that book then; still, we had a great time exploring the local history and the discovering the world around us.

anthromama  – (September 11, 2008 at 10:14 PM)  

I usually say 3rd grade is my favorite Waldorf year, but I really like mapmaking too! I remember doing one in Foundation Year, of the route from my house to Rudolf Steiner College. It was a great practice in paying attention, and a great reminder that we really don't often do so!

How wonderful it must be for you to have Lou express such interest in your field.

I really like your new header!

Angela  – (September 12, 2008 at 5:14 AM)  

We enjoyed that books perspective as well. Girlie loved making relief maps of our favorite walking trails as well.
I love the idea of being a town historian!

Tara  – (September 12, 2008 at 10:09 AM)  

How neat. Are you schooling Lou at home too, or is her class using the book? Either way, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Anonymous –   – (September 12, 2008 at 12:27 PM)  

Here's another good map book: "How to Lie with Maps" at http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Maps-Mark-Monmonier/dp/0226534219. "explains the methods cartographers must use to distort reality in representing a complex, three-dimensional world on a flat sheet or screen, and how they exclude information and geographic features in order to create a readable and understandable map"

Wyldhare  – (September 12, 2008 at 10:12 PM)  

It is so fun to see then "then" and "now" photos of places, especially a familiar place like a school. How fun!

Jessica  – (September 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM)  

When I was in third grade my Grampie came to school and taught us what it was like to go to a one room school house. It was facinating...we got to use inkwell pens. The school sounds like it was an interesting experience!

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