The Crossing Guard Chronicles: The Facts, Just the Facts… ‘Did You Know Abe Lincoln Had A Sense of Humor’?

The ‘Curbside Classroom’ is back! When a child said “We miss your facts”, that was all it took for Steve the Crossing Guard to jump into teacher-mode with both feet. Read on…


‘We miss your facts’, a student at my school crossing post offered. ‘Well, here’s something, did you know that President Abraham Lincoln had a great sense of humor?’ No, she didn’t and neither did other students. I didn’t, either, until I recently read* more about Lincoln.

‘His pictures always show him looking sad or serious’, another commented. ‘Well, he was often sad and serious. He had much to be both sad and serious about in his life’.

One can get a potpourri of facts by reading.

This is the stuff we talk about at the Curbside Classroom. Facts. But there’s more. And the kids love the ‘more’.

He changed the world for the better. Dr. Jonas Salk did that. I was working on March 26th and reminded the kids about Dr. Salk and his successful research into developing a polio vaccine on this date in 1953. We discussed what we…

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About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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40 Responses to The Crossing Guard Chronicles: The Facts, Just the Facts… ‘Did You Know Abe Lincoln Had A Sense of Humor’?

  1. beetleypete says:

    Steve’s facts are always topical, and on point. I bet they love to see him back.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I bet they were thrilled. 🙂

    • srbottch says:

      And did you know, Pete, that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, yesterday, in 1865, and he died on this day in 1865.

      • beetleypete says:

        I knew it was at the Ford Theatre, in 1865, but wouldn’t have remembered the date, Steve. 🙂
        Best wishes, Pete.

      • srbottch says:

        If it interests you at all, there are two good books, MANHUNT (James Swanson) and KILLING LINCOLN (Bill O’Reilly). The former regards the hunt for Lincoln’s killer & his associates. The latter is about everything leading up to and after the assassination. Did you know that a room in the White House was turned into a mortuary and they actually removed part of his skull to get the bullet? Fascinating stuff. But the best book on his presidency is TEAM OF RIVALS. Thanks for commenting, Pete.

      • beetleypete says:

        Yes, I read about the surgery, and the hunt for Booth and his fellow conspirators. I have around 40 books on the US Civil War, and over a dozen DVD Civil War films as well as some documentaries on DVD. It has been a big interest in my life, Steve. Despite all that, I didn’t remember that Lincoln was killed in April though. 🙂
        Best wishes, Pete.

      • srbottch says:

        Wow, Pete, I’m very impressed. That’s the risk of telling ‘facts’ to others, sometimes you end up ‘preaching to the choir’. But, that’s okay. Pete, then surely you’ve been to Gettysburg. Isn’t that a fantastic site? Our son went to school in Fredericksburg and there’s so much history there, as well. But history is everywhere. Thanks for your feedback, Pete.

      • beetleypete says:

        Steve, I have never visited the USA. My interest in the Civil War started with the TV show ‘The Grey Ghost’, and collecting the cards in Bazooka Joe bubble gum. (I still have those, mounted in the album you could buy to store them.) I do have souvenirs from the Gettysburg battlefield that my cousin bought for me when he visited. The US Civil War is of great interest here, we even have re-enactment groups! Like this one. I am also interested in the Englsh Civil War, and I am a member of The Cromwell Association. And the Spanish Civil War, when many British people fought for The Republic in The International Brigades. I have many books on both those wars,, and almost every film made about them on DVD. 🙂

  2. beth says:

    I’m sure everyone was so happy

  3. I was very happy to see a return of the Curbside Classroom! It’s a favorite.

    • srbottch says:

      And did you know, Liz, that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, yesterday, in 1865, and he died on this day in 1865.

      • No, I didn’t know that.

      • srbottch says:

        Well, how soon can you come to the Curbside Classroom to learn more?

      • I’ll be there for the next post!

      • srbottch says:

        That would be fun. And here’s why. It’s a great school district with smart kids. More than that, they’re polite and receptive to what I throw at them. When it’s corny, they recognize that and laugh. When it’s real stuff, facts or observations or challenges, they act interested because they seem to understand that I’m actually teaching them something. Not all of them, but a high percentage. And it’s fast pace because they’re waiting to cross and when that light changes, we’re moving. I’m often chattering across the four lanes of road, then scouting back before the clock hits -0-. When the 40 minutes is up and I head home, I feel the adrenaline drain. I do miss the daily routine but an occasional sub is better than none. Yes, you’d have fun, as I do.

      • It just occurred to me reading your comments that when the kids enter the Curbside Classroom, they must look up from their phones!

      • srbottch says:

        Interesting comment and as I think about it, only a couple of kids have their phones out, then, in the morning. And, if they do, I lean over and ask what they’re viewing, trying to make a conversation about it. Then, I hit them with, “did you know that the processing system on your tiny phone is much, much , much more powerful than the computer systems on The space mission that landed men on the moon? Let’s see, which Apollo mission was that and when? Hmmm, help me out by researching it at school today and give me the answer this afternoon.” That usually gets their attention and sometimes I get the answer. It’s just too much fun at the ‘CC’. Of course, there’s always one or two who have the answers, and more. Then I’m in a fix. 🤓

      • I love your response to my comment, Steve! What a teacher you are!! The reason I made the comment is that when I used to drive through Exeter, NH to visit my mother, the road led through the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, and the kids walked around never looking up from their phones, including when they crossed the street.

      • srbottch says:

        Oh, I agree, it’s a problem, especially when you see friends walking together and ignoring each other for the phone. In the afternoon, when the younger kids are coming by and staring at their phone, I’ll move over a bit to block their path and, you guessed it, I’ve had them walk into me. The scary thought is that these kids will be driving in a few years and where I stand , I see people driving by and on their phones. Have a great weekend, Liz, I have to go look ups one more facts…in my phone. By the way, i picked up a couple of good ones about Andrew Jackson. Amazing personality. Reading American Lion by Jon Meacham.

      • Happy reading and fact-finding, Steve!

      • Jennie says:

        Liz and Steve, I could listen to you two all day. Delightful!

      • srbottch says:

        Jennie, you can tell that I like to gab and Liz is a willing listener (thank you, Liz)but I had to break away to get some painting done. Touching up baseboards. Finished room, anyway😂

    • Jennie says:

      I was as excited, too! He is my teacher hero. I love his Curbside Classroom posts!

  4. Yay! He’s back! Here’s what I wrote on his site:
    “Thank you, mr crossing guard, for your steadfast fact conversations! I know you are making an impact and difference in the lives of individuals…
    At hubby’s first Pfizer shot, the pharmacist commented on his small pox vax scar and that he’d seen a lot of ‘those’ scars – amazed that they were still visible…
    I remember the oral sugar cube polio vax as a kid in elementary school as well as a few classmates who were in braces due to the polio. Made it obvious that the true message of science is not malicious – ya know?
    Stay safe!”

  5. He’s back. I visited his site, Jennie. Thanks for sharing here.

  6. petespringerauthor says:

    I think you may have introduced me to Steve, Jennie. It just goes to show that a classroom can be anywhere—even on a curb. It isn’t where; it’s who. Kids gravitate to people who are interesting and make them feel good about themselves. I’ll bet that person is Steve.

  7. Thats it! A second branch of teaching; teaching “to go”. 😉 Steve is a great example for pure enthusiasm. Michael

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