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What is History?

So, things are finally starting to settle down in my second year of teaching. This is going to be a crazy week, as one of the sixth grade teachers is going to be moving down to fifth grade, but at least that means we'll have smaller classes (Currently I have two classes of around 30. With the third teacher, it will be three classes of around 20).

Anyway, on the day of our first social studies lesson, I asked my students, "What is history? Why is it important?"  I laughed at almost all of the answers I got. Here are some of the highlights:
  • "It is in the 1800's"
  • "History is important because of learning the past it like when you were a baby that the past. History is the past and not the future it like George Washington and Abram Linelinon just like you are going to be in the past."
  • "History is important because History tells us of the past if it wasent for aberham linken we would not have a Presidant if it wasent for world war 1, 2, and 3 we would not have freedom and the Smithsonian."
  • "History is a story of what hapend in the past tense. without history there probly be no us"
  • "history is what happend in the past. Because, it help's you learn better. The Cristiffer found Oklahoma."
  • "History is like people who lived in the past. it is important because we can figure out how they did stuff like how they washed close."


Those are simultaneously amazing and distressing.
They are! Though it's the quality of the writing in the "paragraphs" that distresses me more than the knowledge of history. Up to this point, they haven't had a whole lot of history in the curriculum, but fifth graders should be writing better than my students are. But since it's not a tested subject until fifth grade, it mostly gets thrown by the wayside. So we certainly have a lot to cover, but it is pretty amazing to see how much they can learn and grow in just a year!
Awww! Some of those are almost poetic, and they all have a hint of truth in them (though I'm worried about World War III, and I don't know who The Cristiffer was).

I like the details. The Smithsonian. How people washed clothes :-)


But yeah, you have your work cut out for you, I'd say.
They are great, aren't they? And definitely some truth in each; I particularly liked the philosophical "just like you are going to be in the past".

(I'm thinking The Cristiffer is meant to be Christopher Colombus.)
I'm still wondering about the Cristiffer, too...
Can I share on my blog (referring people back to yours, of course)?
Of course! :)
Thank you! The entry is up now.
Hey, they are trying to think!
They are! I had several students whose answers were blank, or left off after "History is", but most of them did put some thought into their answer.