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Showing Hollis Taylor

First Place

9-12 | Social Studies | Hands on activities

Station None in None

My Classroom Innovation

The class is researching the fact or fiction nature of the Underground Railroad Signal Quilt. After analyzing the information students will write journal entries describing life in the antebellum years in America in a first person format. They will design a secret code. An attached essay will accompany the journal, drawing a conclusion about the validity of oral histories. The hands-on project will be making a paper quilt using the symbols thought to be used in the quilts. Critical-thinking skills and problem-solving abilities are foremost objectives along with research techniques.

How Students were Engaged

My students tell me they "understand better" when we do hands-on projects. I began to "understand better" how my student learn and retain historical information. This all comes down to making history personal. If a student were to gather information about Thomas Jefferson, then be given a writing assignment titled "Mr. Jefferson, my next door neighbor" the student would retain much more information than reading from a textbook about the third president of the U.S..This is because students know about next door neighbors. Being innovative is simply taking historical events and tying them to personal experiences of the students. We are all connected across the world and across time. In my world it is an all consuming passion.

PBS Program/Content Used