Maybe it’s just me, but autumn always gets me thinking about the past. Perhaps it’s the changing colors of the trees or the approach of Halloween and the dwelling on ghosts and ruins. Regardless, I can’t help thinking about how the world has changed in the last few months, years, decades, centuries. I wonder what my neighborhood looked like before the roads were expanded, what the river looked like before a city grew up around it. Have you ever wondered about the history around you? What your home looked like before you lived there? Or what your city looked like a century ago?
In Sally M. Walker’s Ghost Walls:The Story of a 17th-Century Colonial Homestead, a team of scientists and historians don’t just wonder, they dig. As the team works, they uncover the stories of men and women who lived and worked at St. John’s house, a homestead built in seventeenth-century Maryland. Through the eyes of these people, the team explores issues such as slavery, religious tolerance, the betrayal of native peoples, and the struggle for gender equality.
What I’m trying to say is that this book makes an excellent read. But it’s an excellent teaching resource too! Teaching materials aligned to Common Core standards for fifth – eighth grade are now available. A CCSS research project encourages students to dig into the history of their own communities while a living history project challenges readers to create an interactive exhibit. Both are completely FREE and available for download here. Look for the eSource Downloads on the right hand side of the page.