On Mondays we like to take a few minutes to visit one or two notable museums or monuments, all as part of our comfortable philosophy of teaching with-out the curriculum. Explore a new place with your students, find it in your atlas, learn a new name or a new date, and you’re done.
The sidebar on the River Houses website (riverhouses.org) has links to the excellent America’s Parks website (americasparks.com), and since our state-of-the-week is Tennessee, I browsed through the list of dozens of state and national parks and historic sites listed for Tennessee and came across the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville. There’s a wonderful five-minute lesson for your students: Who was Andrew Johnson? (Abraham Lincoln’s vice president, who became the 17th president when Lincoln was assassinated.) From the riverhouses.org sidebar you can also search the wonderful Google Arts & Culture Collections (www.google.com/culturalinstitute) and find some virtual tours of the Andrew Johnson Historic Site:
In your recommended River Houses reference library (riverhouses.org/books) you’ll find a capsule biography of Johnson on page 524 of your almanac, just right for a five-minute reading-aloud lesson, and to drive Johnson’s historical context home, you can see his name right under Lincoln’s on the 1864 campaign poster shown on page 316 of your River Houses historical encyclopedia. And to practice some first-rate researching skills, find the Tennessee location of the Johnson Historic Site in your atlas—not by randomly hunting around for Greeneville (with four e’s), but by using the atlas’s comprehensive index, which will tell you that it’s in section A-15 of plate 42 … and sure enough there it is!