When I was in first grade, my class studied Africa. I still remember learning about all of the animals, as well as Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya, and Tanzania. It’s weird the things that vividly stick in your mind from 27 years ago. So, when my nephew’s class invited me to share photos and stories about my 2010 trip to South Africa and Botswana, I welcomed the opportunity to return to the same first grade classroom. They are just finishing an intensive study of Africa and I was impressed by all that they knew. Amazingly, my first grade teacher is still teaching there as well…maybe I’m not so old after all! Being back in my elementary school was definitely a trip–everything seemed smaller and the hallways (with the same maroon tile floor) still smelled the same. I saw the blacktop where I played hours of kickball and hopscotch, the field where I demanded to play soccer with all of the boys, and the flagpole where we began every school year by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
As you can imagine, I have a million photos from Cape Town and safaris in both Botswana and South Africa, but I pared down my presentation to focus on the animals that we saw, explain what a daily safari schedule is like, and include some fun stories and videos. Happily, all 42 students (huddled together on the rug while sitting “criss-cross applesauce”) seemed to love it. There were lots of oohs and ahhs for baby zebras, giant snakes, hippos, rhinos, crocs, wildebeests, leopards, and more. They had plenty to say too–first graders are known for their love of sharing verbose comments or stories–but they also had some great questions as well. I also shared a few photos from my visit to a preschool in a rural South African village, and we compared some similarities and differences between the it and their school. Overall, it was a great way to spend a Monday morning! Here are a few (I showed them about 100!) photos from my slideshow.
Do have any vivid memories from elementary school? Share them with us!