Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Using Genealogical Societies to Help Kids Learn About Other Cultures

My daughter posted on Facebook about two weeks ago, saying:

"Lucas is studying Italy this year, and is currently working on the culture and daily life of Italians. Do you know someone who lives (has lived) in Italy, who may be willing to take a simple 5 question survey? This would help him immensely. Thank you!"

The five survey questions were fairly general:

"1.  What activities did you do in your free time?

2. What are 3 dishes you enjoyed while living in Italy (other that pizza and pasta, please)?

3. What does a typical day in Italy look like?

4. What type of houses are there in Italy?  What do they look like?

5. What does an Italian family look like, and what are each person’s roles and responsibilities?"

Wanting to do my part, but not knowing someone living in Italy at present, or having lived there in the recent past, I eventually thought about the local San Diego Italian Genealogical Society.  Maybe they have members with relatives living in Italy that would answer the five questions.

I emailed my friend Leila who chairs the Italian group, and asked her to ask her membership to help out.  Several persons volunteered, and I emailed them the questions.  I had one response right away from a professor who was born and raised in Italy, but spent his career in the USA, and he responded quickly and I sent the response to my daughter.

Another contact was Isabella, a friend (maybe a relative?) of Leila's, who said she would have her son, Giacomo, answer the questions.  Then it became a class project for the son's 4th grade class in Bergamo for their English lessons.  Their response, along with 13 photos, came today, in English, via email.  The children wrote it, captioned the photos, etc. The description of Salame del Bosco sounds yummy!  There are photos of the food, the city, the school, and the children in the class.  It is wonderful!  It answers all of the questions and contains a note to Lucas saying:

"Please tell your teacher that we would love to correspond with your class as a sort of exchange program!"

I transferred the text and photos from the email to a word processing document and then into a PDF so it can be printed out and saved.  Then I sent it all to my daughter and my grandson.  His report is due next week, and I'm sure it will be interesting for the children in his class.

This was a fun project, and I hope that it instills a sense of wonder and curiosity for Lucas and his classmates.  I look forward to seeing what the class response is to the invitation from the class in Bergamo.

I probably should have posted something here on Genea-Musings about the survey - I might have received several more responses.  

Who knows, this may spark an interest in genealogy and family history with Lucas - he and his brother have Italian ancestry, with three grandparents with Italian heritage.  That's my hope, anyway! 

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/03/using-genealogical-societies-to-help.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

That's a wonderful tale of Social Media & Education!