Ezra’s California Project

Ezra’s fourth grade curriculum is focusing a lot on California, and their first big project was a “passport” project where they researched and presented a relative who came to California. I think it was supposed to be their nearest relative, but a) Ezra wanted to do male relative (that leaves out Jamma who would have made the research much easier since she was visiting!) and b) we had some very interesting German documents for Bruce’s maternal great-grandfather, Paul Meyer, who came to California from Germany in 1874.


So, we looked back at the documents we had, and, more importantly, at the translations of them at Jokke had done for us a few years ago (thanks, Jokke!) and tried to piece some information together. I also found some interesting information on the interwebs. For example, he sailed on the steamship Columbia and there was someone else from his town with the last name Meyer that they presume was a relative. We even found a map of the routes taken at that time. Ezra used all of this to fill out his passport booklet:

In addition to the booklet, he had to prepare a presentation to the class as if he were his relative. He was even supposed to dress the part, so he wore his suit coat, shirt and tie with his usual shorts. The shorts were, perhaps, a little unorthodox for 1874, but it was too warm for long pants. He was also supposed to pack a suitcase and luckily we had kept Bruce’s great-grandmother’s suitcase instead of getting rid of it in the Palo Alto panic purge (how’s that for alliteration?).


He wouldn’t let me in to watch his speech, so I surreptitiously took some photos from the doorway.


Bruce wrote out his speech for him — here it is.



He did great! And, more importantly, as much as he complained about the project, I think in the end he enjoyed himself and learned a lot. Here’s his teacher’s evaluation.


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