Have You Thought about Teaching Preservation in Your Classroom?
Sometimes, It is All About a Question.
50 years ago the National Historic Preservation Act was passed. This act created a system of preservation initiatives (including education) and processes that help to protect and preserve our vital natural and built historic resources and landscapes in the United States. This act makes possible many of the things that we enjoy and teach about today including historic houses, landscapes, and parks. The act provides funding for preservation,interpretation, and protection for many of these locations, and ensures that these important places will be a lasting piece of our heritage in this country.
YET, how often do we ask the simple questions in the classroom that can not only support higher levels of thinking for our students, and at the same time create and environment for discussion of our historic places by our thoughtful future citizens and stewards of our country? Questions like:
Why is this place significant?
What are the benefits of historic preservation?
What happens if this place no longer exists?
What's special about the architecture of this place?
How is this historic place tied to this region?
Preservation is a challenging word. To some it means restriction, to others creativity, to even others opportunity. In any case, historic preservation is a national movement that is relatively unknown by students. Have you thought about introducing it to your students in the context of teaching? Take a moment and try one of these questions listed in this blog to engage your students in conversation about historic places. Then, how about taking a virtual jaunt over to the #Preservation50 website for some teaching resources as well?
In honor of this year's anniversary, how about making a simple pledge? Next time you talk about a historic place, shift the conversation to your students and "take 5."
Take 5 minutes to define what historic preservation means.
Take 5 minutes to identify why this historic place or landscape is significant in history.
Take 5 minutes to share a primary source from that historic place - and engage your visual learners.
Take 5 minutes to encourage your students to talk about their favorite historic place and share their connection to it.
Take 5 minutes to ask students what they can do to support the preservation of a historic place.