Using Local History in K-12

The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development
The Catskill Center’s Education Program provides NYC and Catskill children and educators the tools they need to become stewards of our land, water, and cultural heritage. The Catskill Center Education Program seeks to continually reinvent itself by reinvigorating our strong, tried-and-true programs while simultaneously innovating new, relevant and cutting edge experiences for people. The Catskill Center offers K-12 teachers curriculum modules on sustainability, environmental sciences, and Catskills history and culture (including Sense of Place, with lesson plans in water resources, geography & geology, ecosystems, human history, and culture & arts).

Cobleskill-Richmondville’s Joseph B. Radez Elementary School won first prize in the 2009 Student Research Award using local history to tell the story of the battle of Cobleskill during the American Revolution. Not only did students learn a lot about their local history, they loved to write, act, narrate, make maps, and even record the sound track. School Library Media Specialist, Laura Gagnon, and Library Assistant, Pam Pratt, along with 5th grade teachers have spoken at the Schoharie County History Fair, local education conferences, and the School Library Media Specialists’ conference for NYS to encourage other educators to persue project based learning and involving students in local history. They also received the enthusiastic support of the Richmondville, Cobleskill, and Schoharie County Historical Societies. They are currently working on a documentary that explores the history of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad and its impact on the town of Richmondville.
Links: to participate in the Student Research Contest; Battle of Cobleskill lesson plan, and Battle of Cobleskill (in Powerpoint format, 23MB download).

The Use of a One-Room School with the Students of Today
In 1978, Carol Barber and Ann Pettingell were teaching third and sixth grades at the Stamford Central School and decided to use the Forks-in-the-Road Schoolhouse as a venue for their students. Their goals were:

  • to integrate traditional grade levels to form a family group with students ranging from 8 to 13 years old
  • have the younger children work co-operatively with individuals older and more capable than themselves, while ask older children to mentor younger individuals and actively help them with their lessons
  • provide background knowledge about the curriculum developed for the one-room school
  • provide the children with the first-hand experience of the one-room school’s customs, chores, and costumes
  • introduce the students to a one-room school, and, by comparison, show them the value of central school facilities

Objective: to create a vibrant link to the past in the education of children of today.

Possible Forthcoming Topics

  • Using Art in the K-12 Classroom
  • Using Local History to Teach Research Techniques in the Secondary School
  • Using Local History in a Secondary School Journalism Course
  • Local History in the Primary Grades: A Quilt in Time

Feedback from you needed!