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The Family Lives of 2nd/3rd Graders, Told Through Objects

Usually, we rely on books and people to tell us stories, but as 2nd/3rd Graders are beginning to learn, an object can actually tell a story as well. As part of their Social Studies work, students in Groups 203 and 205 were tasked with selecting one particular object from home that would provide an observer with insights into their family life. This week, students brought their object into school and spent time reflecting on their choice, writing about the reasons they chose their object, what the object makes them think and feel, what the object looks like and what they want others to know about their object.

Now that 2nd/3rd Graders have clarified their own feelings about and perceptions of their objects, they will begin working as a group to approach them as cultural artifacts. Next week, the objects will be stationed around the classroom to be observed and sketched by fellow students, who will generate questions for the object’s owner about the significance of the object to their family life and what makes it meaningful for them. Next, students will have an opportunity to ask each other the questions they’ve come up with, learning more about one another while also developing an appreciation of just how much information a single object can contain.

As the 2nd/3rd Grade Social Studies curriculum turns to an examination of the history of New York, this appreciation will widen the scope of students’ understanding of where historical information can be found – not only in history books, documentaries and first-hand accounts, but also in the objects and artifacts of the past.