Thursday, October 8, 2015

Step #1, plus an overview of my project

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

September 25, 2015
My first step will be taking my 8th grade classes to Lower Town, Harpers Ferry in order to silently observe it on their own. After about ten minutes of roaming through town silently together, I will give them time to keep journals of things that they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I will also have them draw the favorite thing they saw that day. Inevitably, their lists will be different from the others. The point to drive home here will be, “even though we are exposed to the same things, we bring different experiences to them, and so take away different messages”. This doesn’t make anyone wrong, just different.

I wasn’t able to take this hike with the students before the last TTEC meeting, as we have to align our hikes with the National Park Service, and the earliest date up for grabs was November 6. I decided that I would only take my Honors 8th graders through all the steps of this project for several reasons: 1) I have a really good group this year, who are easy to manage and all seem interested and 2) I have them for a longer period than most, so that will be helpful too.

The second step will be taking the students on a John Brown themed hike in January, guided by an NPS park ranger. I will begin my Civil War lessons about a week before, so that it is fresh in their minds, and so that they can see where this all actually happened. The point of this is to instill an appreciation for the history that most of them know about, but few fully understand.
Finally, towards the end of the year, after a school year’s worth of familiarization with the trail by way of the reward system that is tied to the map, and sporadic video clips and/or stories read in class, I will take them on an actual hike on the A.T., as well as a visit to the A.T.C. Headquarters. Once this has been completed, I will revisit the question of why they should be proud of their town/state. Maybe not this year, but eventually I would like them to create postcards to be sold at the A.T.C. Headquarters, in order to make money for the school. 

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