Tuesday, May 22, 2007
No pictures though, I was too busy trying to get everything to his school to remember the camera. Besides his Great-Great-Great Grandfathers artifacts and the five notebooks full of thousands of pages of transcribed documents dealing with the 18th, Stephen also wanted to bring along about 30 books on the Civil War. I had to pull out a huge gym bag from my days of Karate, along with two other large bags to fit it all in. They were quite heavy and I am surprised I didn’t hurt my back with it all. I also must have looked quite strange carrying them in, although no one mentioned it.
When I got to his class, his teacher had a table that he could lay it all out on to show off as he talked. When it was his turn, we loaded up the PowerPoint presentation and he started to speak on the unit.
As he finished up his speaking role, he then answered questions – with the images of the soldiers and gravestones rolling in the background. This was the hardest part for me, as I wanted to help answer them. His teacher prodded me too at one point and I was amazed at how interested these fourth graders were in this little unit.
Question after question came and it was nice to hear them and see the children ask them. Too be honest, living in South Carolina, I was afraid of getting into the Politics of the war or worse, the whole “Lost Cause” but I ended up not having to worry about it. They wanted to know what the soldiers’ life was like, what they did when not in battle and what they did after the war. Of course there was the mandatory few questions about the battles and weapons used but they did not overwhelm the presentation.
Although I am a bit sad to say it, it was probably more refreshing, reinvigorating and more intelligent than 90% of the Civil War related conversations I have with adults.
Stephen ended up receiving a 95 for his presentation, which we were both happy with. As I left, his teacher asked if I would be willing to come in next year even though she wouldn’t be Stephen’s teacher. I, of course agreed. That was when I knew the presentation was a success – his teacher didn’t think I was a complete Civil War fruit cake – just someone who could be considered slightly off.