Living History-An Intergenerational Philanthropy Project
Students will develop sharing and learning relationships with senior friends from a local senior center or retirement home as they volunteer to write the Living History of that person. Both generations will discuss how they have been philanthropists in their lives. They will write, illustrate and publish their books.
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the Living History Project The sensitivity training will raise their understanding of the possible needs, disabilities and attitudes of people with whom they will be working. The training should lead students to understand the importance of showing respect for their senior friend. Through this friendship, the lives of both the student and the senior friend will be enriched.
In this lesson the students prepare for their visit to the retirement home. First the students create and use a personal timeline and questionnaire to write their autobiographies to be used as the author page in the Living History Book. The class will work together to come up with questions to ask their senior friends. Finally, they will begin the interview process with their senior friends.
Students will meet their Senior Friend at the local museum to discuss the state/local history. Students will “report to” the senior citizens about our very early past, and students will learn from their Senior Friends as they explore more recent history. They will focus on reasons that people came to this area.
Teacher Note: Arrange the date and time with the museum and the care facility and then arrange for transportation. It is helpful if additional adults can accompany the class. Remind students of using respect at the museum as well as for their Senior Friend. It helps to get to the museum about fifteen minutes earlier than the seniors so they can do a quick rehearsal at each display.
With a partner, students will use interview notes to write and illustrate a biography and name poem about their senior friend. They will use appropriate English-language-arts and visual-arts skills. They will publish this book in the computer lab, put it in order and bind it. ( Books and poems may also be hand written.)
This lesson is a celebration to culminate this intergenerational project. The students make a final visit to the senior center or retirement home where all the participants gather for a snack and a farewell celebration. Students give their published Living History Books to their senior friends. Each pair of students reads their book aloud to their senior. Back in the classroom, students debrief the entire project through journal entries, reflections, Venn diagrams, etc.