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Dwight Harrison Barnett

Teacher Bio
Harrison Barnett teaches History at Charlestown High, a School to Career School. Teacher and administrator in Boston for over 20 years, this former department head and Guilder-Lehrman scholar, has taught in both private and public, suburban and urban schools. Harrison began his studies at Iowa Wesleyan with graduate work at Temple University. His passion for history has carried him to New England's preeminent history departments. He has studied with: Gordon Wood at Brown; John Gaddis at Yale; Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Charles Willie at Harvard; and Barbara Brown at Boston University. It's obvious that this well trained educator believes in the power of professional development.

Subject Areas
American History, English Language Arts

Grade Levels
10- 12




The Not Forgotten ~
Sharing History & Archaeology


Key Question How can high schoolers conduct an ongoing research and preservation project of a neighboring historic landmark?

Overview Every community has at least one historic burial ground. For the past few years, freshmen in this American History class capitalize on their legacy by caring for a cemetery adjacent to their school in historic Charlestown, Massachusetts. At first, they learn to appreciate and identify the site as a primary repository for studying men and women who served the nation since Revolutionary times. Learning about conserving and stabilizing aging tombstones, they beautify and maintain these hallowed grounds. As the high schoolers complete the major task of documenting and photographing 495 gravestones, they use another discipline to study their past. Partnering with the city archeology lab, they record and help identify locally excavated artifacts, some dating from the sixteenth century when Native Americans lived on the land. Always students, neighbors, and leaders from the entire community join students for their annual Memorial Day tribute to The Not Forgotten.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Identify neighboring Bunker Hill Burying Grounds as historic site worthy of study & needing care.s
Research online accounts of Battle of Bunker Hill.
Maintain checklist of projected cemetery research & beautification plan.
Record reflections in journals.
Assign students to teams or commissions: research, inventory, technology, beautification, education.
Conduct survey of each stone.
Photograph each stone.
Research cemetery records.
Create poems & art remembering The Not Forgotten.
Prepare bulletin boards & flyers inviting community to Memorial Day tribute.
Contact local park officials, community leaders, veterans & younger students about supporting project.
Agree to collaborate on documentation & beautification plan.
Assemble statistics & material to be used by public for searchable database.
Maintain litter free grounds.
Advertise The Not Forgotten Memorial Day tribute throughout school & on central bulletin board.
Publish compact disk that catalogs stones for park department.
Collaborate with veterans to place flags & flowers at gravesites.
Host The Not Forgotten Memorial Day event for entire community.
Share final project reflections with school newsletter.
Visit local historical society to examine photos, letters & journals.
Interview librarian about working with primary sources.
Research Historic Burying Grounds Initiative of Boston Parks & Recreation Department.
Visit City Archaeology Laboratory & interview urban archaeologist.
Volunteer at lab to learn more about artifacts found in Charlestown.
Investigate careers as archivists, curators & museum technicians.
Conduct online search for volunteer & after school program opportunities.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards History
Order events and construct timelines.
Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect, and the relations between events.
Make connections between key people and events.
Compare and contrast ideas, rituals, customs, and concerns.
Maintain a system (e.g., history notebooks) for collecting, referring to, and sharing notes, thoughts, and writings, including formal writing products.

English Language Arts

Facilitate discussion groups independent from the teacher.
Organize and present ideas in a logical order.
Use information to inform or change their perspectives.
Conduct interviews for research projects and writing.
Collect information for writing from different texts and sources.
Maintain a process for recording, collecting, referring to, and sharing ideas and information for writing.
Select appropriate strategies for developing ideas into drafts.
Select appropriate strategies for revising work.
Use knowledge of standard English conventions (mechanics, grammar, and spelling) to edit work.

School to Career Competencies

Communicate and understand ideas and information.
Collect, analyze and organize information.
Identify and solve problems.
Use technology.
Initiate and complete entire activities.
Act professionally.
Take responsibility for career and life choices.


Assessing such a monumental program must be done regularly. Students keep journals, commission updates, and word books that teacher reviews. Finally, end of project summaries are graded and discussed in summing up conferences.

Software or Materials Used For technology: digital camera, digital cam corder, CD and CD burner, scanner, printer, Internet access; for grounds beautification: lots of ribbon for decorations, American flags; for literature: A Graveyard Preservation Primer (American Association for State and Local History Book Series) by Lynette Strangstad, 1995: Altamira Press.

Teacher Developed Materials Commission assignments and guidelines, checklists of responsibilities, Flyer announcing Memorial Day tribute, Compact Disk catalog of stones.

Student Developed Materials Photos of tombstones, surveys of tombstones, bulletin boards, poems, art, reflections, project summaries, photos of event.

Web Sites Association of Gravestone Studies, Charlestown Online.net, City of Boston Archaeology Program, Exploring the Community The Charlestown Lacrosse Learning Center, Massachusetts Historical Society Web Exhibition Battle of Bunker Hill, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Digital Classroom Teaching with Documents lesson plans.

Final Words Partners, both from school and community, continue to serve this ongoing project. We have successfully collaborated with John Deyab and his students. Rangers from Boston's Parks and Recreation Department and, of course, Boston's Urban Archeologist Ellen Berkland have been invaluable resources.

Teacher Tip Try to choose grounds that provide easy access and can be visited during school time. We are fortunate to be so close to our site. It is visible from our classroom and just a step away from school.

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