May 13, 2014

History through a modern lense

Last week I was privileged to give a short talk on the life of a Civil War soldier to my daughter's fourth grade class. We learned about the food, clothing, and life of a typical Union private in the western theater. We ended the discussion with a short lesson in the manual of arms and drill, using yardsticks as imaginary Springfield muskets. My daughter teaches the advanced class of students and they asked some good questions and seemed genuinely interested. I think I managed to get through the 45 minutes or so of class without mumbling and stuttering like an imbecile.

At one point I was discussing the uniforms of the Civil War when immediately two or three hands shot into the air. I was not giving a lecture and throughout the discussion we were doing give and take, to make sure the kids understood what I was presenting. I acknowledged one boy who stated in complete seriousness and with an earnestness and thirst for knowledge "I thought there was no color until the twentieth century. Weren't the uniforms grey and black?".  I looked at him in dumbfounded amazement and noticed several other kids nodding in agreement. Suddenly, my daughter started to laugh.  She explained that sure there was color, only the pictures were in black and white.

We laughed about it later and she said she had a similar experience a few months ago when a phone booth was referenced in a story the kids were reading. Not only did they never seen a phone booth, but the idea that there was no cell phone to use was beyond their understanding. We live in amazing times.


Anonymous said...

Had a similar experience a few years ago. My daughter was watching an episode of Good Luck Charlie. The kids' cell phones had died and they needed to make a call. Mom suggested the land line/phone on the wall. Kids had to ask how to dial. Then they realized the phone numbers they needed were in their cell phones. Gasp! What now?!! Mom showed them a "phone book". They were dumbfounded.


Joe said...

I used to have dozens of phone numbers stored in my brain Maybe even 100 or more. Now, they are all in my phone. I do not know hardly anyone's phone number any more.

Rita said...

I get not understanding phone booths, but what did these kids think? Did they think skin color was ash? That makes no sense whatsoever. Especially since some photos even now are black and white.

Boggles my mind.

Our granddaughter asked us a couple years ago what that thing was on the kitchen wall. She has never lived in a house with a land line.

CnC said...

I hope you didn't instruct the kids to point their fingers like a gun. You could get the whole class expelled

hey teacher... said...

Imagine teaching 6th graders about the Renaissance and they think the artists were named after those #%^*+€£¥! Ninja Turtles! It is cool to see their eyes bug out when you explain that before Guttenburg the Bible had to be written out by hand if you wanted a copy.

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