LEARN FROM HOME
My New York: Changing Everyday
By reading The Little House (or watching our video storytime), you learn how buildings and communities change together over time. In many ways, the story of the Little House is remarkably similar to the story of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Built in 1887, the Eldridge Street Synagogue was part of a vibrant Eastern European Jewish immigrant neighborhood. Back then, the Lower East Side was the most crowded neighborhood in the world! Tenement apartment buildings, sweatshops, pushcarts and horses were common sites outside. But just as the little house’s farms and orchards were gradually replaced by subways and skyscrapers, the neighborhood around the synagogue changed and became home to new immigrant communities. The little house and the Eldridge Street Synagogue are both remnants of an older type of community. While we couldn’t move our synagogue, a dedicated group of people did carefully restore it. (Learn more about our remarkable story of renewal in the history section of our website.)
First, read The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, or watch our video storytime featuring the book. Use our glossary of terms to make sure you’re up to speed on all the city-centric vocabulary in the story.
Now that you’re an expert on how cities grow and change, it’s time to dive in a few activities! Click on each activity below to get started – you can print the pages out or do the activities digitally. In the first activity, you’ll look at then-and-now photos of New York City and decide what’s changed in 100 years. In the second activity, you’ll become a photo sleuth by using Urban Archive‘s map to find real-life historic photos of New York!
These activities were designed to correspond with the New York State Social Studies Scope & Sequence: Grade 2. Activities can also be adapted for other grade levels.
2.6: Identifying continuities and changes over time can help understand historical developments.
2.1: A community is a population of various individuals in a common location. It can be characterized as urban, suburban, or rural. Population density and use of the land are some characteristics that define and distinguish types of communities.
Social Studies Practices:
Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence
Chronological Reasoning and Causation
Comparison and Contextualization