A class of Fair Oaks Elementary School students was able to connect first-hand accounts of modern day travel to their studies about an ancient culture thanks to a visiting speaker.
“The students are currently learning about ancient Egypt, mummies found in Egypt and Peru, archeological digs, and more,” said Letha McLaurin, a fourth through sixth grade special day class and English Language Arts (ELA) learning lab teacher.
McLaurin’s daughter, Lyndsay, who is an Education Specialist for United Nations/UNICEF Sudan and currently lives in Khartoum, Sudan, Africa, recently made a stop in her mom’s classroom to share about her own experiences in traveling through Egypt and other countries in the region.
“Lyndsay’s world-wide travels have allowed her to talk first-hand of her myriad of experiences,” McLaurin noted.
She added that she tries to incorporate life events with the curriculum for her students. Therefore, over the years she’s shown her students on the global map where her daughter was living at the time and now Lyndsay lives just below the country of Egypt.
The students have been doing the ELA workshop and reading about ancient Egypt in their texts, and McLaurin had them prepare some questions for their guest speaker prior to her visit so they’d be ready to ask her about her visit to Egypt. They asked her if she’d been inside a pyramid, which she had, and she told them that she saw hieroglyphics in the tombs and that she had to be careful not to touch them, McLaurin shared. She also helped dispel a myth about if one walked into a tomb, they’d never come out. The kids also asked if she’d ridden on a camel, and she had, or if she’d touched a mummy, which she had not.
McLaurin said that her students, aside from being well behaved and attentive, were very excited to have Lyndsay visit. They’ve heard a lot about her and her travels and it was an opportunity for them to meet this person who’s been to so many places abroad and has seen first-hand the things that they are reading about. McLaurin added that she frequently reminds her students that they, too, can do and be what they want in life.
The ELA unit that the kids have been learning about on ancient Egyptian culture, the belief system, and mummification, also crosses over into Social Studies curriculum, McLaurin noted.
Different from the ancient history aspect, but a relevant modern-day topic, Lyndsay also touched on her experiences working with children in Sudan who are displaced from war zone areas and helping to ensure they receive education and school supplies. She talked to McLaurin’s students about their similarities and differences to the students there. McLaurin noted that some children in Sudan have to go to school outside; they don’t have a room or building.
At the end of an eight-day visit, Lyndsay headed back to Khartoum with stops in Frankfurt, Germany and Cairo, Egypt along the way, McLaurin said.