Author: Mary Bowers, Barre Town Elementary School, Barre, VT
Grade Level: Three
- Theme: Economic and Technical changes and their Relation to Society, Ideas, and the Environment
- Era: The Development of Modern America (1865 to 1920)
- Freedom and Unity Link: Butter is King!
Essential Question: What was life like for Vermont children in the late 1800s? How does it compare with childrenâ€™s lives today?
For an historical overview of 19th century Vermont, click on: Economic and technological changes and their relation to society, ideas, and the environment
I have adapted an activity from the Vermont Historical Societyâ€™s online resourceâ€™s website, http://vermonthistory.org. The primary source is a journal written by Porter Perrin, a boy who lived in Berlin, Vermont.
During my read-alouds this year, I focused on books that take place in the past, from the time of Native Americans to (most recently) the 1800s. Each book has generated discussions on differences and similarities between the charactersâ€™ and studentsâ€™ lives. I thought Porter Perrinâ€™s journal excerpts would be a great way to continue our study and literally bring it home to the students, as the author lived less than ten miles away from the location of our present day classroom.
- Porter Perrinâ€™s Diary (provided as a .pdf file, downloaded from the Vermont Historical Society website)
- Compare and Contrast Chart
- Scoring rubric for Compare and Contrast Chart
Teacher leads discussion on past chapter books read, such as Laura Ingalls Wilderâ€™s Little House on the Prairie and Michael Dorrisâ€™ Morning Girl, recapping ways of life for the characters, differences and similarities from todayâ€™s way of life.
Students and teacher read Porter Perrinâ€™s journal entries.
Teacher clarifies questions students have.
Discussion of journal entries; examples of questions include:
- What do you notice about each entry?
- What are differences in the work performed by Porter and his family members?
- Are there any places mentioned that you recognize?
- How different or similar is his life compared to your life today?
Students work on Compare and Contrast chart (go over chart with class).