Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lift Popular Culture's Curtain to Help Students Find Their America

Recently, my wife and I tuned into a broadcast of the Grammy Awards that are given to top musical artists.  While not expecting it to feature my favorite music, staying socially literate does have its value, and you never know when there might be a new song to like.

"This is the Grammy Awards?" my wife asked in an astonished voice, at the visual of the stage performers dodging flames in costumes that concealed their humanity.

 "Yep, this is America-- important to know what's out there," I replied.

"It may be your America," she responded. "But it's not my America."

A person's country can be a lot of things. Without getting too philosophical here, that is especially true of free countries.  Thank God ours is the most free of 'em all.  But it is also plausible that we often allow culture to be defined by a celebrity-based media having little relationship to value in our country.

Okay, enough from the pulpit-- the opening entry of this blog promised resources, so resources you will get.  How might a person help a student acquire a set of  "Only in America" knowledge, experience and skills?

One approach is to turn off all the household boxes once in awhile & get out in the field.

If you know an adult student interested in a blend of historical mystery, natural wonder, and a learning experience second to none, you might consider an archaeological expedition at the estate of one of America's founding families:

Montpelier's Archaeology Field School    (For Seniors or College-Aged)

Montpelier Expedition Programs                (For Adults of Any Age)

Perhaps you heard about the discovery of chess pieces possibly used by two founding fathers.  This archaeological program of 15 years is where that occurred.  Now, not every expedition yields pieces so interesting.  But even the discovery of horseshoes with people trained to interpret them, is amazing, as I learned during a 2010 school ...

Montpelier (the home) was reopened to visitors in 2008, after a major project restored it to the "Madison era"
of our fourth U.S. president.

The Montpelier Estate is near Camp McGowan, a Civil War encampment used in the winter of 1863.

What's really fantastic about this travel experience is getting to sleep in camps like this one--- wink wink! Volunteers
stay instead at a nearby house that had a new addition put on to it for this year's programs.  Let me know if you would like additional information about this alternative cultural experience :)

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