I would second, third and fourth all of the praise of the American Memory
Institute and Fellows Program. The week in D.C. was the BEST! It was
well-organized, rich and incredible. I still can't believe it was only one
week. Thanks to those who facilitated and adapted the program to our unique
personalities and desires. And, yes, the food was GREAT; the people were
GREAT. Do Network with the rich people resources. Try the Tapas on
I'd also like to put in a plug for the on-line orientation. Although it was
time consuming, I found it enlightening. I wanted to meet all of the
colleagues I'd talked with on-line. It was a fun way to meet by "twin,"
Carol Kohnen (we discovered many, many similarities in our lives-- from our
initials CK to our interest in drama).
I was a little disappointed with the follow-up group. Perhaps if the
follow-up groups had had the same type of format for on-line communications,
we would have been more interactive. E-mail is great but doesn't allow for
the threading that was available in the orientation format. Also, email gets
clogged with so many messages from so many sources that I sometimes lost
focus or deleted a message with a lesson update URL.
I would echo the repeated comment about keeping the lesson small. We knew
from the beginning that our "lesson" was a curriculum. And, although we
worked to narrow our lesson, we still held onto our original proposal. We
did create a mini-unit which we have used successfully but we still wanted to
do the full curriculum for our students. I think new Fellows should be
informed early that the AMF requires only a lesson or at most a unit,
something that can be repeated and used by others. If we had known/learned
this early, we probably would not have tried to develop the full curriculum
for AMF. Instead we would have continued to work on the curriculum for our
students but fully executed for the AMF web publication only the mini-unit.
The American Memory collection is so rich that one wants to use it
all--which, of course, is impossible. Focus. Focus. Focus should be the
mantra that is sung. Fellows should do what they, in their schools, tell
their students to do when doing research. Focus.
I don't regret all the work. In revising and reworking the Grandparent/Elder
Project, the curriculum has become stronger. But it's still hanging out
there unfinished. Each time Judy or Peter sends us comments and questions,
we reassess and rework the curriculum. Each time we work with students, we
reassess and rework. It seems unending. I would like to have had more
feedback from other fellows but I realize that everyone is very busy during
the school year. I myself did not comment on other projects as much as I
might have. I did keep checking the Update page to see the changes in lesson
plans but did not find many with dates after 7/31/98 until just recently. If
the fellows were not in our small group, we had no idea what was happening to
their lessons. Looking at other lessons, such as those in the 97 class helped
to give me ideas and possible models. And, very few people seemed to add
comments. Perhaps, there could be a way to indicate when comments were added
so that one doesn't have to click through all of the Comments listings.
I would urge the new fellows (despite school year work demands) to try to be
more interactive after the Institute. And Focus.
Thanks Judy for all of your help and comments. Deborah and I are still
working and trying to focus more now that school is out.
Urban School of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
[log in to unmask]