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NPR’s Robert Krulwich Provides Another Excellent Idea For A History Lesson

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Last month, I shared a column written by Robert Krulwich at NPR about talking about history “as lists” and how I was planning on using his idea in class.

Today, Krulwich wrote another fascinating column titled ‘Rasputin Was My Neighbor’ And Other True Tales Of Time Travel about how because of age and circumstances there have been some extraordinary connections made between eras. I think it’s a “must-read.”

However, he referred to an earlier column in today’s piece, and that’s what really caught my attention.

In The Junkman And The Madonna, he talks about an:

observation from neuroscientist David Eagleman: “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

It’s in the context of stories — snapshots in time, memories — that we have and why some might last longer than others.

I’m thinking of having my Theory of Knowledge students read the column when we are discussing history and the job of an historian. What if I asked them to think about a story of their own, or a story or image that their parents might share with them, that they would like to last for a longtime? What could they do to enhance the possibility of it being long-lasting? What might be a criteria for a successfully remembered story?

If you get a chance, read “The Junkman…” piece and let me know what you think — do you have any ideas on how to use it?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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