Some of my favorite memories of childhood are of my Grandpa Joe telling me stories. Most of them were true, and more were interesting, but I always enjoyed listening to my Grandpa. Even if a story is silly or a joke, something can be gained from the story. You can learn about how people lived, family relations, the situations we’ve survived through, and so on. There’s just something special about hearing people tell their stories. Especially old guys!
Storytelling is like having a book read to you. Stories told by another person can be rich in detail and excitement. You also have a special kind of engagement that a book cannot.
The Chicago History Museum has put together a series of stories online. They may not be Grandpa’s but they’re pretty cool. You can find them organized by age group here: http://www.greatchicagostories.com/elementary.php I recommend the “elementary” ones for many 7th graders, though some may certainly enjoy (and comprehend) the “high school” stories.
I’d like students to read one of these today, then leave a comment on this post. Which story is your favorite? Why?
And when you’re done, check out this article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-29/news/ct-edit-grantpark-0129-20120129_1_museum-move-navy-pier-forever-open We’ll discuss this question later, but ponder it for now… What are the benefits to Chicago having a place like Grant Park being “forever clear, open, and free?”