Category Archives: Project-based Learning

Telling the Story of Dinah, Manumitted Slave

Top line notes Genny, Dinah, and Titus were manumitted in 1812

While many in town know the story of Old Ti, who was a slave for the Gay family and then manumitted with his two sisters in 1812. Legend, lore, and history tell his story well in town including Joseph Pease’s account book that lists the 5 dollar fee for his coffin in Old Center Cemetery. Because this year’s class focussed on women’s history, classmates discovered a great deal of information about Old Ti’s sisters. We discovered great information about Jenny who lived and worked at the Parson’s Tavern in Springfield, MA. Now we just recently discovered potential pieces of her narrative puzzle in documents from the Watkinson family history. Again, our starting source was this blog post from the winter: https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/african-slavery-in-suffield/

If anyone knows another angle of this narrative, please share by commenting below or reaching out to us on Twitter. Thx!

Interview Planning and Oral History Methods

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Interview Planning

In the future to help create history and gain more insight into women’s history and Suffield history, I would like to interview Elaine Sarsynski and keep a record of our interview. I have made a list of questions which I will double check with Mr. Yuan again to make sure they are all ok. I plan on asking her about many questions related Suffield, Women’s history, and maybe a bit of her personal life to shed some further detail on the whole topic. I will make a detailed list of questions and go through them with Mr. Sullivan, the class, and Mr. Yuan before the interview. The main question that I want to answer is what hardships did she encounter on her journey to the top. First, I want to know what hardships she faced because she was a woman when she was young, and in high school and college. Then I want to know if it was harder for her to make her way in the workforce because she was a woman. Then if being a mother complicated her career path more. Then, I want to know why she made the decision to leave the corporate life to make her attempt at politics, did this have anything to do with promoting women’s rights? When she was running for First Selectwoman, what challenges did she face. What challenges did she face just because she was a woman? After winning the position of First Selectperson, what initiatives did she implement were any of them aimed at promoting women’s rights? Are the political parties in local politics much different than the political parties in national politics?

Oral History Methods

Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them, and place them in an accurate historical context.

Process:

  1. Formulate a central question or issue.
  2. Plan the project. Consider such things as end products, budget, publicity, evaluation, personnel, equipment, and time frames.
  3. Conduct background research.
  4. Prepare questions for interviews
  5. Review questions with classmates and teacher
  6. Interview.
  7. Process interviews.
  8. Evaluate research and interviews and cycle back to
    step 1 or go on to step 7.
  9. Organize and present results.
  10. Store materials archivally.

Why Teens Deserve More Credit for Their Humanity

Laura Kastner, one of the biggest influences in Screenagers explains why teens are not as bad as we make them out to be in her TedTalk “Why Teens Deserve More Credit for Their Humanity”. In Screenagers it is harder for the viewer to see her point of view because her side is highlighted as much. Dr. Kastner explains that teens have always been targeted as trouble makes even as much as 20-30 years ago. Dr. Kastner takes the science route to explain how teens are not to blame. She goes from talking about the science to the social media aspect of how teens are affected. Her main point is that parents tend to stress out and always think of the worst that could happen when it comes to teens, whenever they are in a situation that the parents are worried about. When people hear about teens in the news doing something that affects the community in a positive way,  they become overwhelmed. The reality is that teens are constantly acting in a positive way to help the community. ” Parents don’t have access to the goodness that teens show all day, if only”. This is the strongest line that Dr. Kastner states which sums up her studies of the past years.

Photo Link: https://makingfuturespossible.weebly.com/about.html

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/laurakastnerphd/

 

 

 

What’s News? Our Thoughts…

Spreading the word

Our “What’s News” cycle is a great conversation starter for our A period Project Based Learning class. For this process, everyone in our class prepares a news story to tell to the class summarized. The story could be from any source and could be about a current affairs topic that the student finds interesting and important. When we share a “What’s News” cycle, our class typically feels refreshed and ready to start the day. It wakes us up, helps with our learning for the rest of the day, and keeps us up to date with what’s happening in the world. This is a very engaging way to start class because everyone has to have summarized a news story to tell to the class, and everyone has their computer screen down, which creates more real conversations. The process not only allows us to interact with my classmates but it also gives everyone a voice in the class. While it’s entertaining and interesting it’s also an educational exercise. Ultimately, this activity is interactive, exciting, and beneficial to starting the day off on the right note.

Image Source:

https://www.chstrategies.com.au/whats-news-in-your-world-of-finance/


History of Women’s Athletics

women

When searching the archives for information on women in sports at Suffield Academy, I came across a 1974 issue of The Bell. Dennis Kinne, the athletic director at the time, reached out to the female students, offering them opportunities to participate in male teams such as track & field and cross country.  This is very interesting, especially when comparing this historical moment to Suffield Academy’s athletics today. With women very integrated in our culture today, both athletically and academically. I am interested in finding out more about how women integrated into the athletic aspects of life at Suffield Academy. There must have been certain issues and challenges that Suffield Academy had to overcome involving athletic integration that would be very cool to discover and bring to light. Researching this topic will also bring to light the issues of gender equality present during the 1970’s, and I am very interested in comparing that to Suffield today. Another aspect of Suffield Academy’s history that I am interested in learning about is title IX and how it affected the athletics teams. Did Suffield lose any teams or gain any teams after title IX was enacted? This is an aspect I am hoping to learn about along with co-educational teams becoming competitive on campus.

Connecticut Women’s Organizations

Many people have heard of the big international women’s groups like the National Organization for Women. I would like to investigate women’s organizations here in Connecticut. Through my preliminary research I have come upon local chapters of the big women’s organizations. I want to know who started them and if anyone of interest joined any of these organizations. The organizations I would like to look into are: Daughters of the American Revolution, The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, Connecticut Branch of the Housewives League, and Connecticut Women Suffrage Association.

 

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Newspaper article from the Hartford Courant talking about the different Woman’s Organizations meeting and the different women who head them up.

 

Driving Question:

How much did women organizations do to improve the life and rights of women?

Skills Required:

Researching and precise reading of sources.

Source:

“WOMAN ORGANIZE DEFENSE COMMITTEE.” The Hartford Courant (1887-1922), Jun 02, 1917, pp. 8. ProQuest, https://search.proquest.com/docview/556481481?accountid=46995.

How we can Help our future

Teens and millennials in today’s world face numerous issues but one the biggest issues they face is depression. In today’s fast-moving world social media plays a big part in the life of millennials. Since millennials spend large amounts of time on their phones it affects the way they live their life. Millennials go on social media and see how well other people are doing, how pretty someone is, how strong someone is or even how smart someone is. This causes millennials to look down on themselves for not being as good as what they see. The reality is that nobody is ever going to stop posting just because of how it makes others feel. So, what are we going to do about it? In our PBL class we are finding a problem and a solution for adolesence. The first step is to help millennials facing this issue, and not to ignoring it. A lot of times because of social media millennials don’t admit when they are depressed but if we let them know that people are willing to help the that is the first step in the right direction.

Image: https://www.erikaslighthouse.org

Women’s History: #PD Launch for #PBL Among #CAISCT Ts & Ss

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 1.07.33 PMWhat famous Connecticut women made history in your community? Who is making history now? What significant woman’s contributions to your community history has been overlooked? Forgotten? Undervalued? Start researching and writing about your local history. We will plan to do the same research and share research methods when we published our discoveries on this CAISCT PBL blog. Bill Sullivan’s class will also be putting on a community presentation to the town’s historical society in April of 2019 where the students will share what they learn and show how they learned it. In some ways, CAISCT students and teachers can find their own venues to add more depth of authenticity to the way they share their local history discoveries with their community. Perhaps it is best to consider this work as another form of service learning.

Curious about using a classroom blog and student-operated Twitter account to accommodate project-based learning? Plan to join our day hike for the 2018-19 academic year and dive into this authentic, local history challenge. Any CAISCT learner is welcome to collaborate on the CAISCT-PBL blog and Twitter account. So provide your students the opportunity to write history and appreciate the discipline form another perspective. They will soon learn that Connecticut’s history is complex, and one ingredient of our historic inquiries acknowledges that a local history perspective will CAISCT learners shed a new light in the historiography of Connecticut’s narratives. Lisa Leveque from Rectory School and Bill Sullivan from Suffield Academy will share their students’ learning experiences while working on one blog during the 2016-17 academic year in which they investigated freedom and slavery in the pivotal year of 1774 as well as the 2017-18 academic year, which pursued homefront issues of WWI.

Bring your day hike bag and learn about next year’s inquiry into Women’s history and set your students on an adventure course where they explore possible nominees for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in their community. http://cwhf.org/induction-ceremony/induction-process#.WvxbmNMvzaYWomen’s History: PD Launch for #PBL #CAISCT Teachers.

Got HOT Log? A Great #PBL Assessment

Higher.order.thinkingSimply stated, a HOT Log (Higher Order Thinking Log [log = systematic record, journal of one’s intellectual expeditions) explains what you have learned, what you want to learn next, and what skill(s) you will apply for your discovery. Because we will categorize each HOT Log on the blog, we will be able to access anyone’s discovery when we begin to synthesize our information before our final presentation. As a class we will assign students to compose individual HOT Logs ritualistically (every 7 or 10 days) or sometimes the research process prompts us to do so sooner or in groups. Sometimes when the student(s) discovers an interesting collection of sources, primary or secondary, it is best dive into the source and upon. Likewise, when students make discoveries together or when the class makes multiple important building block moments, students can team up and compose these HOT Logs together. The most important feature of the HOT Log process occurs when students follow up with the PQP peer review process.

Another way to describe this Project Based Learning writing assignment is to think of this task as an intellectual reflection on your next step towards our goal of finding more information about members of the Connecticut 20th Regiment. You should explain what skill you will use to learn this next topic or research step.

In 500 words, make a claim about the necessity to explore one, specific resource (article, book, periodical, web site, historical society, historian (even better if we can Skype him/her}, historical library [I am a member of The Connecticut Historical Society), movie, technology or other research tool, learning lens, such as Place Based Learning, etc). Your short paper will evaluate the potential importance of this source for our investigation as well as building upon our research story.

In terms of skills, click here (http://www.pinterest.com/bill0353/ } to reflect on the possible skills you will need for your next steps.

Be sure to include an informative and pithy (concise and forcefully expressive) title and embed complementing media (video if possible, clear and interesting image, audio link, etc).

Citation standard. Let’s have a list of sources at the bottom. You can type “source:” with a colon after it. Then create a hyperlink to your actual source. If it is a book, create an interesting link associated with that book. You can be creative as long as the reader knows exactly what source you used. If it is an image, let’s type “photo credit” and then paste a hyperlink for the image.

A range: lucid, logical, sequential, includes a valuable source or resource. Well-written following rules of Standard English. 500 word range achieved in a concise and fluent manner. You also articulate well the skill you will require for your next intellectual step.

B range: there is a missing ingredient or prose contains issues of Standard English. Overall logic or sequence of ideas may need to be addressed.

C range: Length and other significant issues.

Final Class Work on Hello Girls

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Signal Corps class, 1918 Hartford

Throughout the early part of our research when we were learning different stories in the commemoration process of WWI, the term “Hello Girls” story did not dominate the historic landscape.  We then looked back at our serious and insightful sources such so far but did not find a mention of these heroes. We first discovered these heroic young women through a book titled The Hello Girls by Elizabeth Cobbs. It was a great book and we furthered that research by trying to discover more information online. We reached out to the twittersphere to see if anyone had any lists of the members from Connecticut. No one had anything, and the UCONN archives reached out and gave us an image of a training class for these female operators. We then pooled all of our information together and added it to our presentation. After our presentation, we found a whole newspaper full of these brave women’s stories. We also discovered that the WWI Musuem curated a presentation that Elizabeth Cobbs delivered. Viewing her lecture became a homework assignment the next night: https://www.theworldwar.org/visit/upcoming-events/women-at-war-hello-girls

We primarily focused on three Connecticut girls; however, we first wanted to understand the conditions and what it was like to be a Hello Girl. Usually the majority of the French speaking Volunteers went to France, which meant they all had to speak the language fluently. Women did not have prior experience with telephones and only had one month to train; however, many felt they would need three months to be fully prepared. The idea of the Hello Girls was to connect people as quickly as possible. Many women also had to learn the abbreviation language Taylorism, which was a quick and snappy way to get messages relayed quickly. Taylorism was also used in the U.S at factories to speed up manufacturing and labor. WWI first time women had a large role in war. Men who held these jobs were seen as rude and impatient with people, while women were more caring and understanding.

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Aurelie Austen, a “Hello Girl”, standing in uniform.

We also learned some valuable information from The New York Times. These impressive women had much more vigorous duties and responsibilities than we originally had thought. Some things that the women had to do were wear a standard uniform that was approved by the War College at all times. When they were fighting for their recognition as veterans in the 1970’s they used this argument. Also, if they were captured while in uniform they would become prisoners of war and were not just considered civilians.  They also had to understand French well and translate messages correctly and quickly, and finally sleep in cramped conditions and sometimes even on the roofs of buildings. A common argument was that women were still civilians, but since they wore uniforms at all times Mark Hough said these women were called prisoners of war, which means they were technically soldiers and should have been recognized a lot earlier.

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Image of Beatrice Savard in a special ceremony from the Hartford Courant

Our first Hello girl was Beatrice P. Savard or maiden name Bourneuf was born on March 11, 1891, in Haverhill, MA and was a Signal Corps Telephone Operator in WWI. In the departure papers that we observed, Beatrice was shown as a supervisor in the Signal Corps and residing in New London, CT. Beatrice and a select group of other women were also a special Signal Corps operator in France during WWI. Sixty-two years after the war on May 29, 1980, Beatrice was given a victory pin, honorable discharge papers, and officially became Connecticut’s first female veteran from WWI in a special ceremony. “They told us within a year or two after it was signed [the armistice] we would be getting discharges,” Beatrice said, “It finally happened. It was a great affair.” Beatrice died two years later on June 11, 1982, in Waterford, CT.
Our next Hello Girl was Mildred Wakefield, a resident of Connecticut who joined the signal corps. She was a graduate of Wellesley College class of 1913. While at Wellesley she learned about the Hello Girls through the school newspaper. Before joining the Hello Girls, she was an english teacher at East Hartford High School. She was 23 when she joined the Signal Corps, and that made her the youngest girl in the unit. To enter the Signal Corps she had to pass a rigorous examination which was impressive for her to do at such a young age. She then became a cadet in the signal corps. After the war she went back to teaching at East Hartford High School. It was very interesting to learn about someone that was so close to Suffield that was involved in this unit. Through this information we took the bare minimum that we knew and we tweeted out to Connecticut Historical Society and Wellesley College to see if they had any more information about Mildred Wakefield. To confirm our information before tweeting out to these organizations, we looked Mildred Wakefield up on Ancestry.com, which is a very valuable resource. Through Ancestry we found that her father was from Maine, which contradicted some other information that had said he was from Canada. Due to finding that all other family members matched up with our information, we concluded that due to people taking a census during this time, people might lie about some of their information to avoid any conflict with the government. This is why a lot of information from the census is not completely accurate. She was a very interesting person to learn more about considering we found so much information instantly on her through ancestry.

Out last Hello Girl was Elizabeth Roby. We could only find a single document that contained information on Elizabeth Roby and her life as well as her role in the company. Although we could only attain a single source in an old newspaper bulletin, we found out she had the role of the assistant to the head of the department in Chicago and was an instructor for the telephone company, as well as being a Smith College graduate with a specialization in French. This would have meant she was very useful for the Hello Girls and might have had a higher position and duty with her knowledge of French.

Source: http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A199708048

For more on Taylorism, see a Tweet from the UConn Archives: https://twitter.com/caisct_pbl/status/993831353966911490

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