About the Grant
Project LOCAL offers history teachers (grades 3-12) the opportunity to learn and practice the skills of historical inquiry so that they can help their students
"do history" in the classroom. Through hands-on workshops, teachers learn how to examine and interpret primary sources from their own communities. Working alongside academic historians, teachers learn how to situate these local documents within the larger context of American history. Teachers then design their own
"doing history" projects, ranging from a 5th grade investigation of
Winthrop, to a middle school documentary project on the
Blizzard of 1978, to an 11th grade museum exhibit on
Somerville's experience during the Vietnam War.
The work of this three-year, federally-funded initiative takes place during the academic year. Teachers attend 2 fall workshops through the
Tufts University Department of
Education, where they learn the
"doing history" methodology through direct experiences such as conducting
oral history interviews with local community members or participating in
Civil War re-enactments. In the winter/spring, teachers conduct 4 district-based workshops with support from Project LOCAL staff and faculty, during which they work individually or in teams to apply the methodology to the local history of their own community at the appropriate elementary, middle or high school grade level. The work of the teachers is documented by a film crew from Tufts, which visits teachers a minimum of two times: once as a practice exercise in the fall before the teachers attend their first workshop, and again in the spring when the teachers implement their own curriculum. Unedited copies of the videos are shared with the teachers immediately following filming. Working in consultation with individual teachers, the Tufts team edits, annotates, and publishes the project footage as a
videocase on the Project LOCAL website.