Laura Mitchell wrote:
> Dear Fellows,
> Laura Mitchell here from Washington, D.C. Special hello to the 98 group
> -- seems like ages since we were all together in July.
> I wanted to report that I had a chance a few weeks ago to share
> information about our various projects and our July symposium with a
> group of museum educators here in town. They offered some interesting
> feedback which I found useful and hope you will, too.
> The group was enthusiastic about the many creative approaches to using
> primary sources in the classroom in progress among the AMFs. They
> wondered, though, if other teachers would be able to easily replicate
> our lesson plans without the benefit of being an AMF and without having
> a content expert to consult. They asked the following types of
> Will teachers who find lesson plans at the LOC's web site be able to
> search the collections effectively?
> Will they have sufficient contextual knowledge to help students
> understand and interpret the primary sources?
> Will they know where to go for help?
> Several constructive suggestions came out of those questions. The group
> I met with said that they would like each finished lesson plan to
> include annotated bibilographies, fully developed "walk-you-through-it"
> examples, and cheat sheets about specific pitfalls.
> Overall, I thought these were good suggestions, and so I pass them on to
> the group.
As 1997 AMFs Eric Powell and I have had the advantage of testing our
lessons on students in a live setting. We found that WE had trouble
replicating the lessons as they are written. We made many changes that
simplified the lesson and gave more complete instructions. However, I
think that good teachers everywhere are able to look at lessons and
determine what part or parts of the lessons they can use in the
classroom. This is particularly true if they use technology. Each
school has different equipment and reliablility of the network, etc. Not
all teachers are ready to use the type of technology intensive lessons
we have written. Yet, when they are ready, they will find a wealth of
suggestions. They will be able to try to use such lessons well before
they are able to design they.
I think the suggestions of your group are good ones. We will try to
incorporate them into our almost-ready new and improved version of our
I agree that student samples help teachers see what is to be done. Eric
and I put together our student work into a final product that we think
will help teachers replicate our project. I look forward to working
with the 1998 AMF lessons!
Stafford County, Va.
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