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Mary Chisholm

 Teaching Royal Oak History...
I began my Royal Oak teaching career at Whittier Elementary in 1989.
I am now a 3rd grade teacher at Keller Elementary. This is a brief description of how I have taught Royal Oak history to my students.

At Whittier we had a Royal Oak teaching kit. These kits were put together years ago. They contain slides, tapes, maps, and a notebook detailing information about

Royal Oak. Of course today we make use of the excellent Royal Oak website. We do a variety of reading, writing, and social studies activities. Eventually we usually have a Field Trip to

the John Almon Starr House,

the Orson Starr House

and the Royal Oak Cemetery.

In that original teaching kit I came across a brochure describing the
graves/history of Royal Oak and St. Mary's Cemetery.
As the students read the cemetery brochure they chose a pioneer that they would like to learn more about and present a short biography of that person at our presentation of Royal Oak History for parents.

At that presentation we usually have a Royal Oak Timeline displayed as well as a large mural depicting Royal Oak as the children envisioned it in the pioneer days based on what they have learned. We also do a series of "Did you Knows?", and the students state facts about Royal Oak History.

Our Social Studies Curriculum is constantly evolving as we meet the Benchmarks of the State Curriculum. Today, a large part of the 3rd grade curriculum involves the study of all of Michigan, with a focus on significant people in Royal Oak and Michigan history. The study of Royal Oak as a "community is now in 2nd grade.

I find the Royal Oak History unit so valuable in many ways, and every class I have ever done it with has loved it. They become so excited about history in general as it becomes very personal and familiar to them in terms of their community. They have a great time figuring out how many of them (as pioneers) are related,
for instance, the various Starr family members.

And in the course of examining those relationships, an interesting study of dates (great math opportunity) comes about. Putting "their people" into the timeline of events also brings about great discussions of how people made a living and the economic forces that influenced their lives.

All the strands of our Social Studies Curriculum (Geography, Civics,
History, and Economics) seem to find a happy home in Royal Oak studies!
Mary Chisholm
3rd Grade Teacher, Keller Elementary
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