Everett     Medford     Revere     Somerville     Winthrop    

 Learning Our Community's American Lore

Findings: Impact On Teaching

The following are samples of the impact that "Doing History" with local primary sources has had on their teaching. They shared these insights or examples when they met as a group with the evaluator. Their comments fall into three themes.

General approach

  • (Doing History approach) is very doable…can be part of teaching most any day.
  • You can't predetermine where you will land…the kids and the documents will take you.
  • (As a teacher) I value the connections I have made with community members.
  • Teachers noted that when working with primary sources: third graders note physical similarities; fifth graders notice changes, high school students can identify trends in data or gather info thru oral histories.
  • I became more comfortable finding and using primary sources which made my classes more interesting

Specific ideas and tactics

  • (Before a site visit everyone had background work to do) so they could ask intelligent questions.
  • Everyone had a job, that's important.
  • Love seeing the kids be historians. When they ask, I say "I don't know". Not knowing makes some students step up.
  • Adding photography to the lesson helped students see the community in a new way.
  • If a historical document is difficult to read or understand, just a few excerpts will often work.
  • Using poetry or literature is one way to do this; it takes it out of the dry history text.

Applicability to other contexts

  • I use primary sources in all history units…newspaper articles, journals, letters, political cartoons. Students interpret and share thoughts and discuss.
  • I use this approach now with lots of other topics…maps, artwork…what are people's biases? Get kids to think critically.
  • AP courses at HS have used primary sources for some time…this project opened me (teacher) up to use the approach with other levels.

Overall, how has participation in Project LOCAL affected your teaching style?

Rating Scale 1 = little or no impact
5 = very significant positive impact


Participation in Project LOCAL has had an impact on:
Rating   Rating  
3.9 How I think about historical events 4.5 How actively engaged students are
4.0 How I construct lessons 4.0 What I expect students to learn
4.2 What materials I use 3.6 How I assess student understanding


Shore Collaborative  •   Department of Education at Tufts  •   TAH Grant Program
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