In early June, Brooklyn Connections had the pleasure of welcoming 24 educators from throughout the city for a teacher workshop on local history in partnership with Green-Wood Cemetery.
Green-Wood Cemetery gates in an 1894 photograph taken by Edgar S. Thompson.
The day started with an introduction to the Brooklyn Collection and the resources it can offer to teachers who are interested in creating lessons and units about Brooklyn. We developed a set of worksheets, lesson plans and examples of primary sources that teachers could use to help them devise a unit about any neighborhood they might be interested in studying with their students. The Collection has a great selection of primary source documents (photographs, letters, oral histories, etc.) that can be used in a variety of creative ways in the classroom. Educators were shown various websites and catalogs where they can find documents on their own.
After being given a chance to look materials over, our wonderful librarian Ben Gocker took all of the teachers on a tour of the Collection, including our small but impressive map room and a trip down to the "Morgue" - the archived newspaper clippings from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Following the library tour, everyone grabbed a packed lunch and followed Green-Wood Cemetery Education Manager, Steve Estroff, out to the historic Green-Wood Trolley. A short drive later, we were on the beautiful Cemetery grounds. The tour started at the historic entrance, followed by a lovely lunch near the "Family Tree" (a dramatic weeping willow). For the next three hours, Mr. Estroff entertained and educated the teachers with stories of the famous people buried on the grounds. Highlights include Clarence McKenzie (the little drummer boy), George C. Tilyou, Charles Feldman, Dr. Susan Mckinney Stewart and the Green-Wood Chapel. If you don't know who these people are, you're clearly due a visit to the Cemetery!
The tour was a great example of experiential learning, as Mr. Estroff demonstrated many wasy to create learning moments for students. Given that the wide variety of monuments we were shown was but a fraction of what the the Cemetery has to offer, it was also very clear that the Cemetery could easily adapt to suit many class units.
Feedback from the event was extremely positive, and many of the educators felt that they had learnt a lot throughout the day, from the library and from the cemetery tour.
We had a wonderful day with everyone, and really appreciated the highly dynamic group of educators who came together for the day. We'd like to extend a hearty thank you to everyone involved and hope to see them again for another workshop in the near future!