We invite teachers and their students to explore the topic of school history using classic Dick and Jane and somepractical oral history interviewing skills. This lesson is designed for grades 3-5, but can be adapted for any grade level. Follow the links below for more teaching ideas and information to design other lessons around the theme.
See Dick and Jane. Oh oh oh.
Grade level: 3-5
Beginning in the 1930s, Dick and Jane readers taught generations of American children to read. Today, few schoolchildren may have heard of Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff, but chances are some of their older relatives and family friends feel a strong connection to the short cast of memorable characters. What other school memories can adults share with your students that can help them develop their sense of history?
Objective: Students will interview an older adult about early school memories.
Materials: A Dick and Jane reader, an old or new edition.
Where did you attend school as a child?
Be sure to include name, age, and contact information.
Show students the Dick and Jane reader. Read a few pages and show the pictures. Look at the copyright date and explain many people learned to read using this book. Ask if anyone has ever heard of it or the characters. Discuss the books in your classroom. How are some similar or different from Dick and Jane? What are other similarities or differences they can imagine in a classroom of 40-50 years ago?
Invite an older adult to your classroom to discuss his/her early school memories. Perhaps they can bring photographs, books, schoolwork samples, or other items to share. If time allows, have a panel of three or four people.
Prepare students to ask interview questions and record answers. Encourage discussion. Make a School Memories display for the classroom. Include quotes, photographs, books or other related items.
Each student chooses an older relative or friend to interview outside of school. Oral presentations may be shared with the class.
Using the writing process (writing, revising, editing, publishing), students compile the collection of classroom and individual interviews into a book for the classroom library.
Make a class time capsule for a future generation. Students can decide what items to include—which books, tools, photographs, etc. will tell future students a story of school now?
Schools in Early Idaho
Boise State University’s Kids Compass lesson and photographs
Read Across America