Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Founding Fathers: George Washington

A friend of mine is starting some American history kindergarten curriculum for her son this coming fall and was looking for ideas.  Browsing in the library one day, I came across this book and decided it would be a great learning tool:
George Washington's Teeth by Deborah Chandra

This delightful book is told in rhyme and is the story of George Washington's teeth and their loss.  Almost everyone knows some kind of story about Washington and his teeth, but I tell you what -- I learned something!

After the story is finished, there is a timeline of events for Washington's life that is taken from his own letters, diaries, and accounts.  And there is quite a bit about losing his teeth, teeth pain, or calling the dentist (which at that time pretty much meant removal).  In fact, did you know that the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington included padding in his face because of lack of teeth?  I had to laugh at that one -- I would think that a painter could just paint as if they were there!

The whole timeline is actually very fascinating and would make a great jumping off point for talking about Washington's contributions to American history as it spans from his birth until death.  For kindergartners, it would also be fun to keep track of how he loses his teeth and count them down.

Actually, I wished that I had had this book to read to my 9th graders.  Even they love a good story and all that "gee whiz" information.  In fact, a lot of times they prefer that to major historical events!