1. Introduce the Historical Journals
- Have the class read the two journal excerpts out loud.
- Analyze the contents of the journals.
- Hand out the Retrieval Charts.
- Discuss how to use the chart.
- Ask for examples of present-day “chores,” “schoolwork,” “play activities,” food,” and “transportation.”
- Fill out the Retrieval Chart—one column for each journal.
- Make lists of the evidence on the board
- Have students make generalizations about transportation, chores, etc.
2. Continuity and change
- Compare the lists of past and present activities
- Discuss what has changed and what has remained the same
Questions to ask:
- Is the change for better or worse?
- What things have remained the same?
- What might stay the same for the next generation of school children?
- What things will be different for the next generation of school children?
- How are things different from what they are today?
3. Historical sources
- Now that students have a list of what they know about the diarists’ lives, make a list of what they don’t know.
- Brainstorm a list of sources from which they could find more information:
- photographs, letters, drawings, objects, gravestones, schoolbooks, children’s books
- Consider calling your local historical society and either arranging a visit to examine their collections relating to nineteenth-century childhood, schooling, and farming or having someone bring some artifacts to school. To find an historical society near you, browse through our Index to Local Historical Societies.
4. Write about it
Have students choose a perspective to tell a story about living in nineteenth-century Vermont. They could be:
- a time traveler coming from the present to a 19th-century farm or school.
- a time traveler coming from the 19th century to the present