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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Kids Often Ask..."Why Do We Have to Learn History?"

Students have always asked me..."Why do we have to learn this stuff about ancient Greeks or the Middle Ages?" My answer: Much of what we have today was because of things developed by people who lived long ago.
I used to start the year by taking out of the attic a VERY sad-looking stuffed dog which I had as a girl and bringing it to class. Its button nose had been replaced several times over the years and it got run over when I dropped it in the street, so its stuffing was a bit lumpy. I still remember crying as my dad ran into the street to retrieve "Pinky" (which is far from having any coloring now). I told the students that we'd be covering history in class this school year but wanted the students to realize THEY had a history, too. I shared the history of my favorite childhood toy (stuffed animal). I then asked the students to take out a sheet of paper and I prompted them with questions to remember THEIR childhood toy. Where did they get it? What did it look like? Why was it special to them? What became of their childhood toy? Students were encouraged to share their paragraphs about their personal history of their childhood toy. HISTORY is all around us.
This reading resource is a great source of sharing some of the many things we have from other cultures of the past and a great beginning-of-the-year reading exercise.