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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Ridgewood, New York – Now and Then

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/ps88/ps88/ridgewd/ 

How it works:

The students will be learning about the history of our town, located in the borough of Queens in New York. We will be writing narrative accounts on postcards about our town and sending them to classrooms around the United States. We will be looking at what Ridgewood was like in the past, and comparing it to Ridgewood as it is today. We will be referring to a series of articles published by the Ridgewood Times (the local newspaper) that highlight Ridgewood’s past. Students will be taking facts from these articles and writing about them.


We will be talking walking trips around our town to see many of the changes that have been taking place over the years. We will be sketching and photographing buildings and comparing them to old photos.


In addition, we have decided to make a three-dimensional model of a Ridgewood street using the photos and sketches.

We will be interviewing some longtime residents and teachers from the area. The students will gain experience in collecting data and appreciating the value of oral history. Each of these lessons will be used to construct our website.

Standards addressed:

English Language Arts

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening:

Language for Information and Understanding

Language for Literary Response and  Expression

Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation

Language for Social Interaction

Social Studies:

History of the United States and New York



Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts

Knowing and Using Arts Materials Resources.


Using Internet resources to find relevant information

Creating a web page with text, digital photos, and scanned artifacts

Software or materials used:

Student Writing Center, Apple Works, scanner, digital camera, Internet connection, back issues of the Ridgewood Times.

The students:

This project is being completed by a group of thirty-five fourth grade students, of average ability. The entire class will be learning the history of Ridgewood, writing narrative accounts, touring Ridgewood to sketch architectural features, and creating a model of a Ridgewood street.

Pairs of students will be conducting the oral history interviews, while others will be searching the Internet for sources of information about Ridgewood. The last group will be reading and summarizing the historical articles from our local newspaper.    

All the students will work together on the web site design.

Overall value:

The students will learn to appreciate the town in which they live. They will learn how their town has changed and has become the place it is today. The students will learn to use reliable sources to do their research. The students will be using primary sources when they interview longtime residents of Ridgewood, who have experienced the town’s growth first-hand. The culminating art project will bring this subject alive for the children. It will stimulate great interest and creativity.

Tips for the teacher:

Consider checking with your local senior citizen center for longtime residents to interview.


Maureen Wolf is a fourth grade teacher at PS 88 – The Seneca School, in Ridgewood, NY. She has been teaching for two years and is in the process of completing her masters degree in Special Education and Reading. Maureen is a member of The Long Island Council of Teachers of Social Studies. Maureen is co-advising a law related education club for fourth and fifth grade students, as well as integrating law related education in her fourth grade social studies curriculum.

E-mail: kmw27@aol.com

Subject Area:              Social Studies

Second Subject Area:  Language Arts

Starting Grade Level:   3

Ending Grade Level:   6

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