Posted by: history591seventeen | June 19, 2009

Closing Thoughts on Chicago

Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago

Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago


     As I think back over the last 10 days in Illinois, my head just swims in the amount of new information I have gained.  Of course the fact that we had professors and guides that knew what they had talking about, with us at all times helped.  There was always someone there to try and answer our many questions, or lead us in the right direction to find the information. 

            Looking at the labor history in Chicago has enriched my understanding of the labor history in my own town.  The struggles in Chicago are some of the same struggles that were experienced and are still experienced right here in Pueblo, Colorado.  I have a better understanding of how and why unions have been formed and why they have been such an important part of the industrial history.     

            I really enjoyed learning what the Labor Statue really stood for; freedom of speech is such a fundamental right to most of us, and I have seen the statue, but never understood the symbolism.  This statue will be something that I share with my own students, for it does show the rebuilding of a wagon, which represents rebuilding or reclaiming that freedom of speech. 

            Another significant thing that happened to me from the labor tour was remembering how important it is to define terms, anarchy for example, with the definition of the time period in which the term is being used.  I plan on doing a better job of this for my students.  When people place modern day definitions on words, misunderstandings do occur. 

            Madison, Wisconsin offered me some much needed resources.  My students complete History Day projects and Wisconsin happens to be the home of “Mr. History”, so they have developed some great resources in the name of History Day that I can now use in my classroom.  The curator also shared some different ways to use primaries in the classroom; these ideas will also impact my students.

            I learned so much in Springfield, Illinois.  The Lincoln Library gave me a lot of new resources I can use when studying Lincoln.  Walking in the same areas as Abraham Lincoln will help me relate him to my students.  He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.  Students need to understand that great men and women are not born that way; they all have to work towards those types of goals.  In being able to remove all the celebrity from Lincoln, I will be able to show my students that they too can achieve much. 

            As I consider what I have gained from this Chicago Advantage, I must mention the fact that this has been a very emotional experience for me as a person and as a teacher.  To see and touch history is what makes my teaching come alive for my students, thereby affecting my instruction and presentation to my kids.

Abraham Lincoln the Surveyor

Abraham Lincoln the Surveyor

            Thank you for allowing me to continue learning more about our history and thank you also for providing me with new tools in which to deliver it!

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