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Back Early Rochester History

Classroom discussion

Students in Mrs. Waugh's blended second grade classroom had an opportunity to learn about life in early Rochester and compare it to present-day life. This is the year that Council Rock Primary School celebrates its fiftieth birthday. The unit of study was designed to help develop the children's conceptual understanding of the passage of time with hands-on experiences using artifacts from the early 1800's.

First, a timeline that was the length of the classroom was constructed. Current dates, the children's birthdays, Council Rock's birthday, and events in early Rochester history were placed on the timeline.

At High Falls

Next, Paul DiStefano, the school psychologist, brought in his personal collection of artifacts from the early 1800's. The children saw and touched early lighting devices like a whale oil lamp, a hogscraper candleholder, and a rush reed quick-light device. The children passed around a warming box, a "toaster," hand carved butter paddles, and an early handmade basket. They heard the story of how Sam Patch jumped into the High Falls in 1829! Venn diagrams were used to compare and contrast life then with our lives in the areas of village life, home life and food, and schools.

With support from the Brighton Education Fund, the students were able to go on a field trip to see the High Falls and visit the Stone Tolan house and the original Seneca Council Rock on East Avenue, where that branch of the Iroquois met and made decisions. We are very grateful for the learning opportunities we had with support from this grant!

Don't miss the photo album that accompanies this story:

Click here for photos of our classroom work and our field trip.

story and photos by Betsy Waugh

November 30, 2006

Brighton Education Fund
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BHS Clock Tower