Posts Tagged With: teacher’s guide

Primary Sources

This week Hilda and I will be part of a panel, Historical Literature: Wisconsin Authors Open Portals to the Past, at the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention. We look forward to sharing the love of books, reading, research, and writing with others.

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Use our new activity to explore primary sources with your students.

As part of our preparation for this event, we have a new resource to share with our readers and teachers. We had developed a primary source activity to use on school visits. It involves matching primary sources that shaped our writing with pages from Hattie’s War. We have just uploaded a PDF of the activity on our “Resources for Teachers” page. We hope that it can be a valuable tool for your classroom.

Categories: Hattie's War, On Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea Cart and Teacher Resources

I enjoy going to garage sales in the summer, and when I saw two sales happening just a couple blocks from home, I convinced my daughter to walk over with me.  We left the first sale with money in our pockets and empty hands. At the second sale, I walked around a table with an abundance of china and crystal dishes, and knick-knacks, which I admired and left on the table.

IMG_0470But then I spotted, covered in dust and grime, a tea cart. A traditional tea cart with beautifully spoked wheels and and drop leaves and everything. “It’s just like Hattie’s!” I squealed. Minutes later, we were rolling a tea cart down the bumpy sidewalk, with our other purchases precariously piled on top. Not quite the spectacle of Hattie and Teddy hauling an upside-down desk to the Soldiers’ Home through the busy streets of Milwaukee, but a sight nonetheless.

After a thorough cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap and elbow grease, I found a spot for it in the living room. And the next day, I rolled it across the room, with faint clinking of my grandmother’s china, laden with chocolate zucchini scones and mini-muffins, strawberries, and tea.

I imagined how many other times it may have been used, for women’s meetings or neighborhood card parties, holiday gatherings and family parties. And I look forward to making our own memories with it.

What does this have to to with Teacher Resources? That’s what else happened this summer. We added Teacher Resources for Hattie’s War to our Resource page.  Spread the word–it would make a great classroom read. And if someone needs to borrow a tea cart for a visual aid–I just might be able to help.

Categories: Hattie's War | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Way of the Road

Last week, I spoke at an adult forum at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, Illinois. I had led a discussion at the church when Plank Road Summer was published; in that book the moral dilemma of whether or not to break the law to help runaway slaves  provided a natural link to a discussion about how we make ethical decisions.

Until I sat down to prepare for this new presentation, I did not see any such obvious connection to faith issues in Plank Road Winter.  I began by considering the scenes involving disaster relief, since that is  a familiar topic to many churches. But as I delved further into the book, I discovered that the entire story is about stewardship, or managing one’s life with respect and regard for the needs of others. Though Hilda and I certainly instilled our own values into the characters and plot, only now do I understand how tightly the idea of serving others is woven into the fabric of the story.

From Papa going back to help the Kreuschers, to the community-wide disaster relief efforts, to a Pullman porter “loaning” money for train tickets home, Plank Road Winter is about using one’s time, resources, and abilities to serve the greater good of society. According to that Pullman porter, this is “Just friends helping friends. It’s the way of the road.” Summer readers will recognize “the way of the road” as the words of Gran Mather, first spoken when she instructed Florence to pull their light wagon off the planks onto the dirt lane to let a heavily-laden wagon go by. According to Gran Mather, “We are to ease the journey of those who are burdened.”

If your reading group or class would like to use “The Way of the Road: Lessons in Serving” or explore other aspects of the Plank Road books, take a look at our page of Resources for Teachers. The free, downloadable materials include a discussion guide on The Way of the Road and an eight-page Teacher’s Guide with discussion questions, classroom activities, and historical notes.  Other curriculum materials include spelling and vocabulary lists for both books and links to websites providing historical background and additional educational activities.

We would love to hear about how readers use these resources to dig deeper into our Plank Road Stories.

Categories: Plank Road Summer Teaching Ideas, Plank Road Winter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking the Plank Road to the Classroom

Thanks in part to museum educator Victoria Duhamell, who expressed her eagerness for curriculum materials today at the Westchester Township History Museum, the Plank Road Summer teacher’s guide is up and running.  You can find the guide and other educational links at our Resources for Teachers.

The eight-page PDF includes an overview of the themes and values in the novel, discussion questions, suggested activities in various subject areas, and brief explanations of the history of plank roads and the Underground Railroad in the Great Lakes region.

Many thanks to Wisconsin teacher Gretchen Demuth Hansen and Indiana educator Sherri Nord for their help in developing these materials.

This guide is a work in progress, and we look forward to hearing from educators in classrooms, home schools, museums, historic sites–from all of those who enjoy putting new materials to the test in their eagerness to share the adventure of learning.

Categories: Plank Road Summer Teaching Ideas | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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