As part of their study of the 50 states, third-graders reached out to small towns across America – and they received a tremendous response. Each student is researching a specific state, from its geography and culture to its history and industries. But rather than limit their research to books and websites, students are gathering information from actual residents of their state.
Third-graders identified local, small-town newspapers in their state and wrote letters to the editor asking local residents to send items to help them learn more about the state. Letters from our students have appeared in nearly 200 newspapers across the country, and America is responding. Countless envelopes and boxes from the generous people of Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Michigan, Wyoming, Alaska, West Virginia, and more have arrived at Langley filled with letters, postcards, maps, flags, pictures, and souvenirs. Some of the most unique items include a drum from a native Eskimo tribe in Alaska, personal letters from a city mayor, a district court judge, a state representative, and a governor, a box of Spam items from Minnesota, and every imaginable item that can be made from potatoes from Idaho.
The project so impressed one Idaho resident when she saw The Langley School's letter to the editor in her local newspaper that she asked her sister, who now lives in Virginia, to visit our third-graders. Elizabeth Foster came to Langley last week to share her experiences growing up in Idaho, her favorite things about the state, and some Idaho souvenirs.
As our third-graders continue to study the 50 states – a unit that will culminate with a State Fair in which students will display facts about the state they researched – they will have a more in-depth understanding of our country thanks to the tremendous response of its citizens.