Monday, September 15, 2014

Lessons From The Grave PLUS A List of Georgia Cemeteries

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Have you ever taken your children on a fieldtrip to a cemetery? I know what your thinking...and yes I am crazy. But bare with me for a few minutes and you will find out exactly what a cemetery can teach you and your children. We have been visiting local cemeteries for the last 4 years and you may be surprised to find out that there are many lessons that can be learned by a visit to a local cemetery, especially a historic one.

Cemeteries are fabulous teaching tools which are easily accessible and FREE to visit. They are an outdoor history museum, a wildlife sanctuary, a botanical garden and an art gallery all rolled into one. They exist in every single community all over the world and provide many educational opportunities for families. Children and adults can learn about history, science, math, social studies, language arts and more on a cemetery fieldtrip. Did you know that many cemeteries even provide FREE tours?

Cemeteries "bring history to life" and drive children and adults to appreciate its unique historical significance. There is no better lesson in life than digging into the past and learning how the people who came before you lived and the impacts they in their community during their life.

Make sure you follow these important rules: ask permission if it's a privately owned cemetery, provide adult supervision, dress appropriately, never move a gravestone, never lean or sit on gravestones, use only water to clean off a gravestone, use caution when doing rubbings, be quiet and respectful.

10 Lessons A Cemetery Can Teach Children:

  1. Science - Discuss the different types of stones that were used to create the gravestone and how the various stone types hold up against the weather over the years. Discuss the topography of the cemetery. Discuss why gravestones begin to tilt over time. Discuss flora and fauna that you can find at a cemetery.
  2. Geography - Draw an aerial view of the cemetery and label various gravestones (famous, oldest, newest etc). Discuss why that particular location may have been chosen for the cemetery.
  3. Math - Calculate the age at the time of death. Find the oldest and most recent grave. Find the geometric shapes of stones (spheres, cylinders, pyramids, etc). Discuss the cost of an average funeral. Gather specific data (such as date of birth, names) and graph findings. Find the perimeter of gravestones.
  4. Art - Make gravestone rubbings (be very careful not to knock over gravestones or get crayon/chalk on them). Sketch or photograph gravestones/monuments/sculptures and discuss the designs, etc. Discuss symmetry.  Discuss how monuments and sculptures are made. Discuss  the importance of cemetery restoration. Discuss the iconography of the gravestone symbols, statues and monuments. Design your own gravestone using clay or plaster. 
  5. History - Research famous people you discover at the cemetery. Research various time periods that you discover at the cemetery. Find the graves of veterans and discuss the wars they fought in. Make a family tree of persons buried in a family plot. Discuss the types of gravestones used throughout history (such as Slot-and-tab, Gothic, Tablet, etc)
  6. Language Arts - Discuss epitaphs...what is their significance, unusual ones, famous ones, etc. Write a story about a whose family plot you select in the cemetery. Discuss vocab words like epitaph, casket, crypt, engraving, obituary, etc).
  7. Health - Discuss average lifespans through the years and how they have changed over time. Walking around a cemetery is great exercise for your body and soul. Sit down, relax and just contemplate and/or pray.
  8. Social Studies - Discuss burial customs both local and other cultures. Discuss the community where the cemetery is located. Discuss social classes (rich, poor middle) and how you can possible tell a persons class by their gravestone. Discuss the community's ethnic, cultural, religious and historical background by examining ages, names, symbols and epitaphs . 
  9. Technology - Before or after the trip research the history of the cemetery, burial records for the cemetery,gravestone types, etc. Gather names of people that are buried in the cemetery and try to find their obituaries online.
  10. Civics - Discuss how you can be a responsible citizen in the community. Discuss respect for beliefs and feelings. Clean up litter around the cemetery. Adopt a plot (with permission). 

Cemetery Journal Page:
Here is a FREE cemetery fieldtrip journal page I created to assist you with your cemetery fieldtrip.

Cemetery lesson resources:

Georgia Cemeteries:
(As we discover more cemeteries I will add them to the list)

Georgia cemeteries provide you with a look into the past especially the Civil War and slavery.You can also learn about the lives of many notable Americans.

Oakland Cemetery
  1. Oakview Cemetery - Albany
  2. Andersonville National Cemetery - Andersonville
  3. Oconee Hill - Athens 
  4. Historic Oakland Cemetery - Atlanta - City Cemetery with the graves of Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones, and many Atlanta notables.
  5. King Center - Atlanta - Martin Luther King's resting place.
  6. Westview Cemetery - Atlanta
  7. Sardis Church & Cemetery - Atlanta
  8. Sylvester Cemetery - Atlanta
  9. The Gilbert Memorial Cemetery - Atlanta - the final resting place for African Americans before the beginning of the Civil War.
  10. Historic Utoy Cemetery - Atlanta
  11. Magnolia Cemetery - Augusta
  12. Cedar Grove Cemetery - Augusta 
  13. Georgia National Cemetery - Canton
  14. Oak Hill Cemetery - Cartersville
  15. Cassville Cemetery - Cassville - Confederate Cemetery home to 300 Unknown soldiers.
  16. Linwood Cemetery - Columbus
  17. Honey Creek Woodlands - Conyers - I am not 100% sure if you can actually visit call ahead - however this cemetery certainly makes for great discussion.
  18. Mount Hope Cemetery - Dahlonega - Pre-Civil War cemetery. There is even a marker for two Revolutionary War soldiers. Also Contains rare slot-and-tab tombstones.
  19.  - Dahlonega - This pile of stones marks the grave of a Cherokee Indian named, Trahlyta.
  20. West Hill Cemetery - Dalton
  21. Cedar Hill Cemetery - Dawson
  22. Decatur Cemetery - Decatur -  resting place of three veterans of the American Revolution, a monument standing over a field where numerous orphans are buried, and the final resting place of Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, who abandoned his medical training for poetry and was described by Edgar Allen Poe as “one of the best and one of the worst poets in America.”
  23. Crestlawn Memorial Gardens - Eatonton 
  24. Evergreen Cemetery - Fitzgerald
  25. Forsyth Cemetery - Forsyth
  26. Old Pioneer Cemetery - Fort Gaines
  27. New Park Cemetery - Fort Gaines
  28. Alta Vista Cemetery - Gainesville - cemetery with James Longstreet, Astronaut Sonny Carter, and 2 governors.
  29. Memorial Park - Gainesville 
  30. Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery - Glennville
  31. Gordon City Cemetery - Gordon
  32. Greensboro Cemetery - Greensboro
  33. Stonewall Cemetery - Griffin
  34. Hamilton City Cemetery - Hamilton - there is a very interesting article regarding the upkeep of the slave side of this cemetery 
  35. Orange Hill - Hawkinsville          
  36. Woodbine Cemetery - Jefferson
  37. Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery - Jonesboro - small Confederate Cemetery with the grave of a Confederate Medal of Honor recipient.
  38. Flat Rock Cemetery - Lithonia
  39. Rose Hill Cemetery - Macon
  40. Riverside Cemetery - Macon - It is the final resting place of over 18,000 people including Civil War veterans, esteemed civic and business leaders, renowned educators, religious leaders of several faiths, members of the Military, and prominent Macon families.
  41. Old Madison Cemetery - Madison
  42. Marietta National Cemetery - Marietta
  43. Marietta Confederate Cemetery - Marietta
  44. Midway Cemetery - Midway - cemetery dating all the way back to 1754.
  45. Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery - Milledgeville 
  46. Memory Hill - Milledgeville
  47. Rest Haven Cemetery - Monroe
  48. Wahoo Baptist - Murrayville
  49. Oak Hill - Newnan
  50. Farmer Street Cemetery - Newnan
  51. Lebanon Cemetery - Plains - Carter family is buried here.
  52. Resaca Cemetery - Resaca - Confederate Cemetery begun by two young girls after the Battle of Resaca.
  53. Myrtle Hill Cemetery - Rome - Rome’s Historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery has become the permanent home of more than 20,000 Romans since 1857 (App of cemetery available on the website)
  54. Founders’ Cemetery - Roswell
  55. Presbyterian Cemetery - Roswell
  56. Old Roswell Cemetery - Roswell
  57. Bonaventure Cemetery - Savannah - final resting place for many of Georgia's founders and politicians.
  58. Colonial Park Cemetery - Savannah
  59. Laurel Grove Cemetery - Savannah
  60. Christ Church (Christ Episcopal Church) - St. Simons Island
  61. Toccoa City Cemetery - Toccoa
  62. Sunset Hill Cemetery - Valdosta
  63. Resthaven Cemetery - Washington 
  64. Rose Hill Cemetery - Winder
Mount Hope Cemetery

If you know of a great Georgia cemetery that I did not include please leave a comment below so I can add it to the list.

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