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Schools get revised city history guide from landmarks group

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Schools get revised city history guide from landmarks group

PORTLAND — A new edition of "The City is a Classroom," published by Greater Portland Landmarks, gives third-grade teachers a new way to explore the city for their Portland teaching units.

Jen Pollick, the education program manager for Landmarks, said the organization worked with a graphic designer to create a full-color text book that outlines the social, architectural and everyday life histories of Portland.

"The main text is a linear history of Portland, and the whole back section of the book is a site-specific history page, so it becomes a pre-visit package for each and every one of the sites," she said. "One of the comments we have gotten from teachers is that they aren't having to go out and find the information, we brought it all to them."

The latest edition is the third iteration of the "City is a Classroom" series. Executive Director Hillary Bassett said Landmarks decided to revamp the book to offer students a more colorful and vibrant text book, with more information on Portland historic sites.

"We really wanted to tie in Portland's social history and some of the architecture, so that kids can realize that history really happened here," Bassett said.

Marilyn Philbrook, a teacher at Lyseth Elementary School, said she uses the book as a part of her Portland unit every year.

"We make a time-line of Portland's history in our classroom," Philbrook said. "We use "City as a Classroom" as our guide and then each student chooses a landmark to research and presents to the class. Allowing them to take the "City as a Classroom" home allows them to share their knowledge with their families."

Bassett said in addition to making the textbook more aesthetically pleasing, Landmarks also updated it so that it could serve as a window to the city for classrooms that cannot afford to take a trip to Portland.

"School budgets now are tight, and this workbook was foundation funded, so we are able to offer it at no charge to children in Portland," she said. "If they can't go to all the sites for whatever reason, it's too far away or budgets don't allow it, the sites can come to them (through the workbook)."

Pollick said that since the book was printed last week she has already delivered more than 600 to classrooms around the city.