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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking at Lincoln

The second graders surprised me with their intense interest over the past week. I read aloud from Honk and then started them on a mini-research project that lasted for the rest of the time. Inspired by Alexander Graham's portrait of Abraham Lincoln taken on February 5, 1865, they shared what they already know about him and then made observations about the photograph. While I explained some things, they attempted to sit for three whole minutes in the same pose as Lincoln (we stopped at 90 seconds). They noted things like the light and shadows, his blurry hands, the glasses and pen in his hands, his crooked bow tie, and his watch fob. I read aloud Maira Kalman's new book Looking at Lincoln (from the F & G as I just got the actual hardcover this week), and they listened intently. Then they went off in groups of 3 or 4 with other books about Lincoln and recorded facts they learned. All this time, every single person was completely focused! 


  1. I love imagining those students sitting for their "portraits"!

  2. how wonderful to know they are learning to observe the details of an image. beautifully taught. i heard a story about lincoln the other day. someone accused him of being two-faced. if i were two faced, he said, would i be wearing this one?

  3. I love that story, Brattcat! Maira Kalman's book has a few stories like that and a great glossary of facts to support them. I was surprised, Joyce, that the children could sit so still. They took it quite seriously.