The Suitcase Lady


March 14, 2017, 11:36 pm

I walked into one of my favorite public school classrooms last week, and half the floor space was off limits. Since there are 42 children in this class, losing 50% of the floor is a big deal. But as soon as I saw why the floor had been repurposed, I was elated. The floor had become a giant map of the students’ town.

I am a firm believer that everyone should know where they live. This is not a ludicrous statement. These days, many children who are bused or driven to school are unable to find their way home via their own feet…..and this applies to some middle school and high school students as well.

Two amazing teachers masterminded this social studies project on community for their students ages six, seven and eight. They used Google Earth to map the streets and print photos of all the commercial and public buildings. Using the photos as reference, the students made 3D models. There is an ongoing emphasis on observational skills in this classroom, and it has paid off. The details and accuracy of these mini buildings is phenomenal. Then each child made an equally realistic model of his or her house.

I made a return trip to the school to see the completed project. Welcome to Shorewood, Wisconsin, a one square mile Village between the shores of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River.

Bravo to these creative teachers who have given their class a true understanding and love of their home town. Who knows, maybe someday one of these kids will be a city planner.

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