Friday, September 26, 2008

Of Runaways and Literacy

young girl came to my front door this morning. She couldn't have been more than eight years old--a cute little thing. She said she was a runaway slave and had seen the lantern on my hitching post. Was this a safe house?

Yes, it was.

She asked if she could stay a bit and get warm and rested. I invited her in, of course. Poor thing was breathless and shivering from cold and fright. Two big tracking dogs had been close on her heels.

She looked so bewildered and lost, and I suggested that perhaps learning to read and write would help her on her journey. I directed her into the living room to the makeshift school table and bade her look in my own daughter's Kitty Folder for a page of copywork. Pencils were already on the table. That would get her started.

Follow the Kitty Folder
Follow the Kitty Folder
For a page of copywork will help you read and write
If you follow the Kitty Folder


The little girl beamed and set about her work.

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If you haven't already guessed it, we enjoyed studying the Underground Railroad today and learning the traditional folk song, "Follow the Drinking Gourd." When Elli went outside for her break, she began to act out what she had learned, and brought it back to the house with her, hoping I would play along. She loves it when I do. Here are the links we used in our study:

National Geographic -- The Underground Railroad (an interactive simulated journey from plantation to freedom--very well done)

The Big Dipper, As Seen Through Other Cultures (a fun interactive look at the constellation, as it has been viewed in other times and places)

An overview of the meaning of the song and its lyrics

Teacher Tube -- Underground Railroad (an eight minute video overview)

Some guy singing the song with a guitar (a three minute video)

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