Saturday, May 12, 2012

Teaching American History Grant Art in History

I was invited to join the current members of the Teaching American History Grant for this month's training.  It was from our fabulous friends at Art in History.  They write awesome curriculum for various time periods and wrap it up with an authentic replica of an artifact from the era.  It's a blast to go to the trainings, and then when I take back to the kids, they love it!

The grant is currently up to the Civil War, so this lesson was about using newspapers as primary sources and the artifact was face jugs.

We spent the morning perusing real editions of Harper's Weekly from 1860-1865.  We each were given our own edition to read.  I had September 28, 1861.  It was about Captain Strong's capture and escape from the 'rebels', the rumors of a battle on the Potomac and how if the Nation loses, they must rally or be ashamed of themselves, the debate on whether state sovereignty declared in the Declaration of Independence truly meant to allow for states to separate, and lots and lots of gossip.  There was an engraving from the Niagara River with the Canadian border in the background.  I especially enjoyed that since so many of us had traveled there last summer for the grant.  The 'humor of the day' section was great fun.   No one was worried about being politically correct.  No one was worried about stepping on toes or being offended.  It just was what it was, and folks moved on.  How nice!  We shared our papers and laughed and laughed and laughed.  Don't ever say history teachers are boring.  This group especially lives by the quote, "Well behaved women rarely make history."  Granted, none of us are truly ill-behaved, but we know how to have fun!

The face jugs are hideous, but they were used by the slaves as grave markers.  Slaves weren't allowed to mark their graves with their names, but they made these jugs individual to the person to serve two purposes: to identify the grave and to ward off evil spirits.  One of these would at least ward off me!   My goodness!  I can see a room of 8th graders getting a huge kick out of this though!
How the face jug looks straight out of the box.
The base coat is on.
Making it look aged and dirty
Final product.  Pretty cool!
The best part of the day was after training.  The grant coordinator called to ask me if I could fill a spot on this summer's trip!  I'm not even officially a member of this new round of the grant, but she wants me any way.  WHOOP!  I'll spend half of July exploring colonial and Civil War America from Jamestown up to Boston.  TWO summers in a row with time in DC??!  I'm there!  I'm so excited I've been making Isaac crazy the past few hours, but that's ok!  God has given me an unbelievable gift to continue filling my brain with knowledge, and I am grateful.

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