Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Introducing Project to Students

Jill Fornadley
Harpers Ferry Middle School (WV)
2015 TTEC Cohort

September 15, 2015

Despite lofty expectations in terms of what is to be taught in 8th grade WV History classes, I decided to attempt to inject my TTEC project right into the middle of it all. In a nutshell, my project is introducing students to the concept of prejudice by way of pointing out a type that they are all exposed to: the reaction they often get when they tell people that they’re from West Virginia. I would like to build an appreciation of their state and their location in Harpers Ferry as a point of pride, so that they can educate would-be bullies about the finer points of their hometown. I will also (obviously) extend this to other cultures and peoples who are maligned for their religion, skin tone, birthplace etc. I will foray this into my Civics unit when talking about bias, prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes.

I began the year discussing the different regions of the state, the surrounding states, as well as landforms and waterways. I also took a day and a half of class in order to introduce the Appalachian Trail (history, location, distance, culture, proximity to us in Harpers Ferry etc) to the students. Most of them had heard of it, but it seemed as though few realized how close it was to them.

I discussed all of the aforementioned topics with them, and then I had them create pictures of themselves as hikers, complete with trail names that they gave themselves (I know it was supposed to be given out by classmates, but as my kids are middle schoolers, I was afraid someone would use it as a chance to offend another). Using the map of the A.T. that we were given this summer, I plan on using it as a means of rewarding good behavior (ie: 100’s on tests or quizzes, straight A’s for a marking period, reaching their reading goal, perfect attendance etc). I wasn’t sure how they were going to take it, especially since my SmartBoard was down and I had to do the presentation without pictures, but they got really into it. Several asked me a few days later if they were going to learn more about the A.T. 

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