“can we buy shoes at the mall?”

I had the pleasure of accompanying 100 eighth graders to Washington, D.C. last week.  I’ve been to D.C. and even lived in D.C. for a short while, but I have never experienced Washington’s City like that before.

As we rode into the city on our charter bus, several students asked about our itinerary for the day.  I explained that our first stop would be the National Mall. 

“Oooh!  Can we buy shoes at the mall?!”

They were so innocent.  I calmly explained what the mall really was, and they were a little less excited.  We picked up a tour guide and made our way to the new Martin Luther King Memorial.  Along the way the guide quizzed my students on everything from colonial history to civic knowledge, and I was so proud of their knowledge!  Except for the kid who still thinks the Supreme Court makes laws…

After the MLK Memorial, we walked to the Lincoln Memorial.  As I walked around with several students, they began asking about the Civil Rights March and wondered where Martin Luther King, Jr. stood when he spoke.  We hunted for a few minutes and found the tile.  They stood around it and took pictures and marveled at the vastness of the space that was filled with supporters of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.  One student spoke up:

“If we had been alive, we would have been here.  We would have let you come too, Mrs. Russ.”

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