The image above was taken before our walking field trip on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 in which students learned more about their urban environment.
In my fourth grade classroom students use their My Baltimore Book as a tool to learn more about their community. My Baltimore Books are written by a former MICA student, Becky Slogeris, and provides a digestible urban planning prospective of our city.
My Baltimore Books build students knowledge of the injustice in our city and their ability to create informed opinions about urban processes. The book inspires students to know that their voice and action in our city has value. Additionally, throughout the read students receive actionable steps to make our city a better place.
There are many pieces of advocacy for My Baltimore Book because it provides kid friendly text to allow elementary students to access the different processes, which compose our city. Examples of different forms of advocacy correlated with My Baltimore Books are highlighted in my portfolio. For evidence of Advocacy Conversation and Advocacy Action, I specifically featured the work students participated in for the My Baltimore Book exploration Health and Safety Unit. In this Unit for Advocacy Conservation students learn that they can use individual or collective assets to increase pride in cultural identity as citizens in Baltimore City. For Advocacy Action, students demonstrate the ability to speak, write, think about the real-world problem of declining water quality in our inner harbor and more broadly the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Following the unit, students are given the tools to become advocates for a healthy and clean harbor.
This fall, in tandem with students learning in Unit 3: Development, Mr. Carroll, a local african-american contractor, visited our classroom to speak with students.
In Unit 3: Development, students learned about development. In addition to other key vocabulary words: city planner, developer, tourist, zoning, mix-used, factories, goods, post, trade, and historic preservation. For our lessons students were charged to think as a planner answering the prompt(s):
If you were a city planner, what would you change about the way Baltimore is built?/ If you could choose any area of Baltimore to tear down to make something new, what would you create instead?
Two answers to highlight from our fourth-grade scholars, include:
(1.) Tear down vacant houses and build a homeless shelter to care for less fortunate residents.
(2.) Build a motorbike park for the Baltimore Dirt Bikers in Baltimore's streets to reduce policy brutality and provide a space for Dirt Bikers to ride around freely. The student made a connection that many police brutality cases are connected to Dirt Bikers riding in Baltimore City streets. He believes by creating a space in our city for Dirt Bikers we can help eliminate the problem of police brutality.
Parent/guardian permission is granted for each student displayed in the image.
Made in Baltimore
On pages 66 - 67 students learn about Baltimore's industrial past and are able to answer the question, "Why is Baltimore on the water?" Students learn Baltimore is port city, a city "built beside the water so that Baltimore could trade goods with people all over the world" (Slogeris, 2015, p.67). Students learn about the various factories, which have shaped Baltimore's urban landscape and the Domino Sugar factory, which still stands today.
In tandem with students learning, students attended a field trip at the Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI). The students further explored Baltimore's industrial past, as it relates to the importance of oysters with a hands on activity titled, "Kids' Cannery." For the activity students become the workers in Mr. Platt's 1883 oyster cannery learning the value of a day's work in Baltimore. At the end, "all students take home a can of "oysters" that they helped to create" (BMI Education Brochure, 2017). The field trip provides students with access to knowledge of Baltimore's past and increase pride in cultural identity as persons from an industrial port city with an emphasis on oysters.
References: Field Trip. (2017). National Aquarium. Retrieved November 11, 2017 from https://aqua.org/learn/baltimore-field-trips
Slogeris, B. (2015). My Baltimore Book.
2017-2018 BMI Education Brochure [PDF]. (2017) Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Industry