Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Teaching with Historic Places

Teaching with Historic Places. This is an excellent ERIC Digest by Kathleen Hunter from 1994. It deals with teaching K-12 students about history using the local community as a classroom.

Eleven years later, this program stills seems to be in place at the National Parks Service. I am glad to see that. History is boring to most students. Why not make it relevant by connecting the past to the place where students live?

I was bored by history as a student. I vividly remember when I first got interested in the past. My elementary school class went on a trip to see Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio. I was impressed by both the fort and the old fashioned guns they showed off! And it made me realize that I lived in a historic place that was not that far removed from the frontier days.

From the site:

Our communities are classrooms waiting to be explored; they offer places that are continually shaped and reshaped by our historical experiences and cultural expressions. Some of these places document dramatic events, heroic deeds, creative and technical inventiveness, and the lives of extraordinary men and women. Others reflect the everyday events and patterns of ordinary people over time. Both types of places--the extraordinary and the ordinary--become a part of our local, state, and national heritage.

These kinds of historic places are focal points of a new curriculum project for schools sponsored by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. These agencies have formed a partnership to offer a program of educational materials and professional training and development for teachers, museum educators, and site interpreters. This ERIC Digest discusses the TEACHING WITH HISTORIC PLACES program, its products, and how they can be used in classrooms and communities by students, teachers, and other interested groups.

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