Just Add Water: Making the City of Chicago - softcover book
Imagine state curriculum requirements mandating the teaching of local history to third or fourth graders, but not having a text book or educator resources to assist in accomplishing that. For years. For decades. Such is the case with Chicago history and the Chicago Public School system and other school systems in the region.
Enter a devoted and innovative educator with an evolving passion for the subject of Chicago history and a desire to solve this lack of materials problem so that she can do her job well.
Solved. A book on Chicago history written at the 3rd-grade level (give or take a couple years) that takes a creative, investigative approach to the topic and encourages further exploration of Chicago history out and about in the city itself. It also happens to fill a gaping hole in local public education, giving educators a much-needed text (none exists at the moment) to help them meet state-mandated curriculum requirements for this age level.
Author and Educator Renee Kreczmer: "I embarked on this project 18 years ago, when I taught my first group of third grade students the exciting history of Chicago. I didn't know much at first, but the more I learned, the more I hungered to know more! Stored in my memory banks is information from countless tours of historic city sites and museums, books, articles, dusty old volumes from the Chicago History Museum's Research Center, classes, videos, movies, exploration trips with parents, friends, and students, e-mails to historians, and many, many hours surfing the web.
The book. Fifteen investigations make up the chapters of Just Add Water, exploring the prairies of various Illinois tribes and early settlement through Chicago politics and A Century of Progress. Following Kreczmer's classroom strategy, each investigation asks questions that lead students to draw their own conclusions. By reading the rest of the chapter, students discover whether or not their conclusions are correct. In this way, students learn not only Chicago history but age-appropriate social studies skills, and vocabulary, as well. Along the way, students collect a star for each correct conclusion.
Each chapter concludes with suggestions for related historic outings and further exploring in Chicago.
Just Add Water is richly illustrated with maps, drawings, color photographs, and historic artifacts. While designed primarily to meet a real need of Chicago's elementary school social studies teachers, Just Add Water is not strictly a textbook and can be enjoyed by all school-aged children living in or visiting Chicago.
Page Count: 181 pp.
Pub Date: June 2012
Format: Trade paperback, 5.5" x 8.4"
Features: Written at 3rd–4th grade level; bibliography; index; 150+ historic and contemporary photos, artifacts, illustrations, tables, and maps. Classroom-tested and revised over several years. Full color interior.