Family Stories Exhibit in the 3rd and 4th grade class

The third and fourth graders exhibited the Family Story projects they have been working on this semester. I enjoyed seeing the wide ranging learning that came out of this investigation. The idea was that through investigating their own families and sharing what they were finding out with each other, a bigger picture of immigration and migration would emerge. Learning varied from geography, military and British history, ideas about transportation and the beginnings of settlement in Virginia and the U.S., and what it was like to live as a farmer or be an immigrant in the early days of this country.
The biggest challenge was to decide how to represent an aspect of their family, a 'family story', that could show something integral to their research. I especially enjoyed supporting children in finding the symbols that could represent the main idea that they wanted to show about their family. The collaborative process was immediate -students shared surprises and wonderings from the beginning of the project in January.

However, after learning a lot of facts and stories about their family, information had to steep awhile until something important could emerge. This was a wonderful process to help these older children with, and it took time for me to figure out how to support it. In many ways it was the same thing I do with pre-schoolers or College students, but it was also very different and in some sense it was like starting over as a teacher.

In the end, we saw representations of the role of charity in one family, bravery and love of adventure in some others, representations of how individuals bind together into a family, and also what it means for a family to have a basis in a very long history.
  My favorite thing to see was how joyfully the students showed their work, and the audience of parents, siblings and teachers viewed it.


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