The Importance of Place in the Classroom: Local, State and Global Understandings by Using Online Resources for Research
Place in the classroom can encompass many things, and cross-curricular ideas can easily emerge using simple technology tools in conjunction with a connection to a place in our world. For educators and students alike, place can be a hard thing to define yet it plays a role in almost all content areas depending on the lens we employ as teacher or student.
Think about moving your students up the ladder of critical thinking by concentrating on all levels of Depths of Knowledge or Blooms Taxonomy using key questions. How about asking your students to consider:
What role does this historic site have in the shaping of local, state, or national history?
How does this place play a role in the transfer of of goods and services across the region?
How is this place illuminated in the stories and literature written about this region?
How did the architects and engineers consider the environment when designing the building which is now here?
How can we preserve this place for future generations? (or maybe open the debate of if it should be preserved at all?)
Research Resources for Learning About Historic Places
This is by far not an exhaustive list of resources but it gives some simple ideas on how to bring the study of place to your students through simple analyzation strategies and project-based learning.
Local and State History:
Explore your local historic sites and community resources. These small museums are often much more flexible in their learning resources and many offer the chance to get hands-on experiences with primary sources. In Colorado we have several resources available to explore historic sites and use in research:
You can explore historic sites which played a role in these decisions by researching them in the COMPASS system.(http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/compass) By requesting free educator access to this historic preservation database, teachers can find little known information on landmarks, access photos and deep background on historic sites through the national register nomination forms that is often not available elsewhere
State and National Landmarks Listing:
Local, State, and National Landmarks in Colorado: Local, State, and National Historic Landmarks exist across the state of Colorado in our communities. Many are unknown to students. Share with students the local landmarks in your area and what makes them important to your community. (Resources to find your local landmarks can be found at: http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/listed-properties) Consider including the story of one of the landmarks in your local area in your history studies by having students research and explore the places which surround them or that they are interested in across the state.
For other states consider using...
Check out the National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Website and Teaching Page:http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/
Another option is to have younger students check out the Web Ranger Program. You can find and explore our well known and smaller parks and historic sites online:
Look for regional consortiums. One of the best places to start is your state tourism department, (or one in another state you are studying). Check out your state office of historic preservation or your state landmarks program.
Regional museums and local historic sites work together to make history come alive. Some nice examples include:
National Underground Railroad Trail:
Local List of Lincoln Sites:
Civil War Trust:
Teaching with Primary Sources- The Library of Congress ( Check out maps, photos, and Building America Collections! )
The National Park Service
The National Archives
The White House Historical Association
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Flat Classroom Project:
UNESCO World Heritage Sites