Saturday, June 6, 2015

Classroom Discoveries

Permanent Record got its start with a set of old vocational school report cards. Now I've gotten involved with another set of school-related artifacts.

The photos you see above are from the Instagram feed of Miriam Sicherman, a fourth grade teacher at the Children’s Workshop School in New York City. The artifacts shown in the photos — old coins, 1940s candy wrappers, tickets stubs from a theater that used to be next door to the school, a 1920s baseball card, a 1940s student assignment, and a lot more — were all excavated by her students from a gap in the floorboards of her classroom's closet. One of the students, a 10-year-old named Bobby Scotto, noticed that gap a few months ago, reached in, and began pulling out interesting finds. Soon the whole class was joining in, and Sicherman turned it into a way for the kids to learn about archaeology.

It's a great story, and I had fun writing about it in a recent New York Times article. Check it out here.

Meanwhile, as long as we're talking about schools: There was a great find a few days ago in Oklahoma City, where contractors renovating a high school removed some chalkboards from a classroom wall and found an older blackboard with lessons that had been written in 1917 and were still perfectly legible and intact, including this Thanksgiving scene:

Here's a video with further details (if the video isn't embedding properly, and/or if you want additional info, look here):

(Big thanks to reader Paul Deaver for letting me know about the Oklahoma City story.)

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