Third grade experience at Vesterheim miraculous
Friday, October 05, 2012 7:38 AM
I'm writing to say thank you. I'm proud to say that I am a teacher. I'm privileged to witness miraculous events daily.
This last week third graders at Decorah's Carrie Lee Elementary traveled to the Vesterheim Museum grounds and went back in time about 100 years. Through a program developed in collaboration with Jennifer Kovarik and others from the Museum, and staffed by the most wonderful volunteers a town could hope for, the children were able to actually experience corn shelling and grinding, rope making, grain flailing and apple pressing (and juice drinking).
Watching the students puzzle out the meaning and procedures for activities they had never done (or heard of) would be miraculous enough for one day, but Vesterheim graciously allowed teachers to invite grandparents along for the event. We averaged about 20 grandparents for each class, quite a crowd.
I was fascinated by the conversations the grandparents had with the children about "the old days." This event was an opening for more cross-generational conversation. Miraculous.
Finally, this would not be possible without the help of other community members. Gundersen Lutheran provided substantial grant money to get the program up and running. We have used that money to purchase books and other history related supplies to use in our classrooms. Without their support, the program simply wouldn't exist.
Al Peake always provides the world's best apples for this event. The smiles and exclamations -- "That's the best apple juice I've ever tasted" -- are the best reviews an apple grower could find anywhere.
I'm a teacher. Educating children is a noble task that is my life's work. But this program shows that a good education truly does "take a village."
The third grade teachers at Carrie Lee wish to send a huge thank you to all community members whose support for children's learning, either through time or money, helped make this event possible. Miraculous.