Everett     Medford     Revere     Somerville     Winthrop    

 Learning Our Community's American Lore

Findings: Impact On Students

The following is a sample of the examples teachers provided in response to the evaluation question: Please provide an example that demonstrates the best/ greatest impact that a "Doing History" lesson had on your class or a student.  A wide range of examples was shared. They fell into five broad categories.

Engaged students

  • (Kid who loved using podcast technology) ...whether he knew it or not, he was reviewing the content over and over.
  • Doing the podcast, students who took little pride or care in their work became obsessed with making every detail perfect.
  • A student with many learning disabilities was very excited about analyzing historic paintings. Student was attentive, made good observations and connections, even late in day when his attention is usually diminished.

Increased student understanding or knowledge

  • When the mayor met them (students on historic walking tour), he asked them questions about the history of the city and they knew...they were experts.
  • Story of fifth grader who had experience "doing history" in third grade classroom...when they began a lesson in 5th grade she told other fifth graders " you have to think differently"...showed them how to work with primary sources.
  • Overheard at the library: A student looked at the time capsule and noted that "someday people will look at today's stuff the same way we look at the Indians' things". This was an epiphany of understanding that history is about people and the connections between them.

Expanded student curiosity

  • Use of old maps led to fascination with changes in community which I was then able to address with Google Earth, leading to more, deeper discussion.
  • Reading the original Belinda Royall petition (i.e., former slave petition for compensation) led to discussions of language, the geography of where she came from, her inability to read, who received education at the time, and also the idea of reparations.
  • A group of students who had decided to participate in the History Day competition on the Vietnam War chose to include a local component by doing oral histories, interviewing Winthrop residents who served or were involved in anti-war activism.

Made the textbook real

  • Immigrant students could see the similarities between current immigrants they interviewed and what they read about immigration in the text.
  • When they learned about slaves in Medford, in their community, it became their history not someone else's history.
  • Students really enjoyed getting out and talking to members of the community and taking pictures of locations where events occurred.

Got students excited about "Doing History"

  • One student was so excited by her elementary school experience "Doing History' that she enrolled in Sturbridge Village summer program with history role playing, etc.
  • We had 100% attendance (at the community event)...middle school kids excitement...they didn't want to go (home). One kid was overheard saying "I didn't know History could be such fun".
  • A few students chose to write about their projects for their college application essays!!

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