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First Place

9-12 | Social Studies | Student-created media projects

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My Classroom Innovation

My curriculum approaches United States history thematically and includes a large degree of collaboration with the Language Arts teacher at the school. One of the themes that students explore, entitled “The Struggle for Equality,” is broken up into several smaller themes that focus on the experiences of various marginalized groups (“The Experience of Women,” “The Experience of African Americans,” etc.). Each of the smaller themes seeks to provide students with information concerning the experiences of marginalized groups throughout the history of the United States. Utilizing The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago as inspiration, my students each created a place setting, with each setting celebrating the accomplishments of an individual from the local community who represents a particular marginalized group. While students may not agree with the beliefs, tactics or agendas uncovered, the goal is to move students toward a sense of understanding those experiences, a sense of tolerance. This project visually represents that journey.

How Students were Engaged

There is a need for students, and the community at large, to recognize and understand the contributions that individuals from the local community have made to the greater United States history. While the disconnect students see between the present day and historical events is a widely recognized obstacle for teachers of history, the disconnect between national history and local history is largely ignored. This project exposes both and emphasizes the connections between contemporary and historical events as well as local and national events. Additionally, having students' plates on display at local art gallery truly engages the students, making their work public.

PBS Program/Content Used