One of my favorite activities in the fall is the annual visit of the second grade classes to the Archives. They visit various places all over the campus to see the buildings and spaces that make up their school, as well as learn about jobs that people do. There are four classes, with approximately 21 students and two teachers per class.
In my brief time with each class, we discussed the history of the school as well as general information about archives and what has been collected. A tour of the archives and selected materials on display follows the short classroom presentation. At this age, most of the children like to handle items, so I always try to have out a couple of objects they can handle. The letterman jackets are always popular, as well as the shovels used in groundbreaking projects. One year the students got to pass around a leather wrestling helmet and declared that it was “cool.” This year, in my new space, one student remarked that “Oh! It smells good in here!” 🙂
I like have something to reinforce the information for the students, so I decided to try a word search puzzle. The puzzle included names of people from the school’s history as well as a few “archives” terms, such as “textiles” (new word for them). This was very easy to create, and the students were excited to take them back to the classroom for later. Hopefully the teachers will give me some feedback on the puzzles and I can adjust for next year.
My follow-up will be in the next couple of weeks when I visit the second graders in the Lower School library and can answer more questions about the job itself. Some students had asked me questions then, such as what is my favorite part of the job or what’s the hardest part. Unfortunately yesterday’s schedule didn’t allow for more questions from the students, because they had so many places to visit that day. I’m looking forward to being able to talk about being an archivist, and hopefully planting some seeds for the future.