Friday, February 18, 2005

Teaching Kids American History

The challenge in teaching kids history is that the people and places seem so anachronistic. Maybe what we need is to tap into the kids sense of fun and do the American thing and update history. So here is a look at my likely distant* cousin’s "Paul Revere‘s Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
You know how it was originally written and then modified by us kids when I was in grade school…

“Listen my children and you shall hear
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
He got in his car and stepped on the gas
The engine blew up and he fell on his…..
Now don’t get excited, don’t get alarmed!
The engine blew up and he fell on his arm.”
In passing this along to my young niece and nephew I added this bit...
“So onto his horse and off went a running
To tell all the world the Redcoats are coming!”
Someday in the 22nd Century a kid will substitute for “He got in his car…” something along the lines of...

“He tried to text message on his cell phone but…”
And the finish will still be “…the Redcoats are coming!”
* That distant cousin remark is due to the fact that there were Longfellows in Machias way back when. Since everyone is related to everyone else at this distant point, I am related to the Longfellows and that means Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. So while I have not bothered to count the generations, he is my distant cousin. Maybe this fact will encourage you to actually read the header of this blog and then follow its guidance to read about those other distant patriots to whom you owe so much!
Or read more Longfellow

28 Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
The Building of the Ship.

29 Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
—Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith trumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,
—are all with thee!
The Building of the Ship.


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