Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Institute 2011

After this past weeks summer institute I plan to incorporate two of our trips to a course that I am slowly but surely putting together for my history department at my high school. The course that I have been putting together is a local history course. In this course we will be examining our immediate local history in Wilmington and then expanding to outer cities like Lowell, Boston, Lawrence, etc. I also would eventually like to incorporate other New England states like New Hampshire and maybe even Maine someday.

The two trips that we were able to take advantage of during our History Connected Summer Institute have provided me with great resources and information that I plan to incorporate into this course. Beginning with the trip to the city of Lowell, it was so fascinating to see all of the war memorials and history that was in the city. I immediately focus on industry when I teach about Lowell, but another angle of history we could incorporate would be how the city/society dealt with American conflict/wars over time.

The other trip that I would love to include in this course was to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I believe that our students would gain a great deal (military history) if they were able to visit the Naval Shipyard. The history that has taken place in that Naval Shipyard alone is such an intriguing story, I am positive that our students would be engaged. Starting in 1800 and continuing today, this shipyard is so rich in history, it defines our country and how it has faired throughout our times of success and struggle.

The last portion of our trip was to Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH., which provides us with social history and views during the events that have taken place in our country beginning in 1630 up until present day. We were able to take a tour of Fitz John Porter: Civil War Hero or Coward? and trace the life and military career of Porter. This activity is something our students would engage themselves in and take a great deal away from it. We were also able to witness the construction of a wooden vessel (gundalow) at the Puddle Dock which is part of the history of the Piscataqua shipbuilding process over the past 300 years. Also, Strawbery Banke provided us with some great social history from the World War I and II time period. The experience that we had in the Rationing Store and the Victory Gardens were great hands on experiences. Our students would be amazed at the sacrifices that took place during these times and how much war really did impact society at that time. I am optimistic that I will be able to share these experiences with my student someday through a local history course.

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