Industrious Students

Danny Stock

First graders explored traditional industries of the Northeast U.S. 

The 1st grade social studies curriculum focuses on the history and geography of the states and DC. Their learning, now about the Northeast region, continues in a new distance-learning model. Last week, students explored Northeastern U.S. traditional industries and crafts as they do every year, this time via Zoom. The juxtaposition of traditional industries taught via modern technologies, while stark and fascinating, also illustrated the impressive ongoing work of our teachers to create community and meaningful learning experience for students. From their homes, students tuned in live to learn how to sew, mill flour, churn butter, and create scrimshaw carvings. The teachers also provided detailed directions for students not able to tune in and for students to have the chance to try all the different crafts offline.

First grade teacher Paula Young-Shelton explained, “In the good ol' days when school was at 4530 MacArthur, 1st grade was introduced to the industries of the Northeast U.S. through a rotation of activities. They visited each teacher and experienced some of the industries that built the Northeast, such as dairy farms, grain mills, whaling & scrimshaw, and textiles factories. First graders got to choose the activity, based on their interests and the necessary supplies that were available to them.”

In this video made by 1st grade teacher Kelly Harris, you can see students sewing during the live Zoom class (1:00 mark). 

We have no doubt that these amazing teachers will find a way to create more experiential learning experiences for students as they explore more of the United States. While they have ruled out attempting to teach about traditional sheep herding of the Southwest United States—younger siblings and pets, you’re welcome—they might just hatch a plan to recreate the experience of whitewater rafting. That lesson will certainly make a splash!


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