May 11, 2010

Underground Railroad Activity

I'm going to admit something. I never planned out my slavery unit like I normally do--with each activity corresponding to one or more books and each activity carefully thought-out and prepared in advance. Nope. Right before the slavery unit I switched birth control and had a hormonal melt-down and was pleased with myself if the children were alive at the end of the day and something resembling school took place. Some days, I settled for the children being alive at the end of the day.

This unit won't ever have a nice outlined day-by-day plan. However, I am going to list a few more of my favorite ideas that we did (or didn't) do.

One of those ideas involved asking my homeschooling neighbor if she would allow her home to be a station on the underground railroad. She agreed. Yeah! Julie and I prepped the kids by reading numerous underground railroad books, and focusing heavily on Harriet Tubman over the course of several days. Then, for our weekly combined activity, we told the kids that Julie and I were slave catchers, Miriam was a conductor, and the rest of them were escaping slaves. Miriam was responsible for getting everyone to the next station on the underground railroad.

It was awesome. Even though we told Miriam she was responsible for getting everyone, including Emeline (age 3), to the station safely, Emeline was forgotten in the first 30 seconds and had to make her way across the street by herself. Good thing I checked the road before I allowed them out the door.

The shrieking, running, yelling that took place on the way to the station probably wouldn't have been a good idea back in slave days, but it made it easier for me and Julie to keep tabs on the kids' progress. When we knew they'd reached the station, we followed at a much more leisurely, and quieter, pace.

The whole thing went very well, except that I forgot to prep Miriam about the fact that Julie and I would eventually find her. When we did, Miriam was outraged and yelled about never returning to slavery and why did we find her and then ran outside and down to the street to hide at another neighbor's home. Grr.

Eventually I tracked her down and explained that she couldn't really escape me because I was her mother. The light went on, she calmed down, and the rest of the day was peaceful.

So . . . great idea. Next time, I'll have the snags worked out ahead of time.

No comments:

Post a Comment