TOURS R US ~ History Comes Alive

Overview How can students visualize the past? When they explore historic places. Tours R US promotes U.S. history in middle schoolers' own backyard. As they train to become junior tour guides for the Loring-Greenough House, they learn why this Jamaica Plain neighbor appears in the Registry of Historic Houses and on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail. Researching its eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century background and learning about other historic sites, these young researchers become comfortable with terms like Georgian and Victorian, Tory and Patriot, Union and Confederacy. Note taking and public speaking become second nature as they prepare to share the stories behind the doors of a colonial mansion. Come dress rehearsal and their first tour presentation, students impress visiting community members - including senior citizens, parents and school visitors - by making history come alive.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Read Johnny Tremain for colonial & revolutionary background.
Use Unknown Hands curriculum to prepare for visit to Harrison-Grey Otis House & Loring-Greenough (LG) House.
Answer questions about LG house & begin reflections journal.
Read about Civil War in Across Five Aprils.
Write essays on families divided by Civil War.
Develop tour narratives & hints.
Create computer slide show & advertise TOURS R Us.
Choose tour partner & write partners' feedback survey.
Take notes during visits to historic houses & send thank you letters to guides.
Continue visits to LG House & plant bulbs, perennials during spring & fall.
Publish Civil War essays in school paper.
Distribute flyers on upcoming tour throughout neighborhood.
Coordinate practice of tour narratives with other classes.
Invite Parent Council to dress rehearsal at LG House.
Share computer slide show with other classrooms.
Conduct tour for seniors, local church members & parents.
Address partner's feedback & suggestions in journals.
Hold round table discussion on how future tours can be improved.
Use Unknown Hands curriculum to compare & role play past & present crafts people & artisans.
Observe & take notes on curators, guides & personnel at historic sites.
Discuss role of volunteer docents in local museums & historic sites.
Read & conduct Internet research on architecture from colonial, Victorian & contemporary eras.
Interview curator at school & LG House about work in historic preservation.
Research & make oral reports on careers in history (writers, teachers, consultants, documentary producers, curators, etc.).
Define primary source material & discuss how technology has helped historians access it.
Brainstorm local historic sites & museums where junior tour guides may apply to serve.

Learning Standards English Language Art

Understand and use the writing process effectively.
Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work.
Make effective presentations.
Understand, analyze, evaluate & respond effectively to oral presentations.

Learning Standards Social Studies

Obtain information from a variety of sources.
Make connections between past and present.
Engage in historical & social issues analysis & decision making.
Collaborate in project that applies learning to educate others.

School to Career Competencies

Employ Communication and Literacy Skills.
Act Professionally.
Interact with Others.
Use Technology.
Take Responsibility for Career and Life Choices.
Initiate and Complete Projects.

Assessment Teacher and students schedule conferences to evaluate journal progress and tour narratives. Results of quizzes and answers to literature study questions are discussed and recorded. Feedback results and observations assess junior tour guides' mastery of technique and information.

Software or Materials Used For narratives and computer slide presentations: Microsoft Office; for research software: Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000; for background on U.S. history: Cobblestones magazines; Unknown Hands Everyday Life of Bostonians in 1800 published by Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities SPNEA; for books on Revolution, Civil War and period architecture: Book List for TOURS R US.

Web Sites Web Sites for TOURS R US

Keywords American Revolution, Architecture, Boston, Boston Women's Heritage Trail, BWHT, Civil War, American Colonial Period, Jamaica Plain, Loring-Greenough House, Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities, SPNEA, U. S. History, School to Career, Tory, Victorian Period

Final Words TOURS R US lets children take ownership of their communities and feel a sense of belonging and contributing. If you're looking for ways to relate history to students' lives, this is it. Long after our junior guides forget the dates of the battles, they'll remember how Tories and Patriots lived and thought during the Revolution.

Teacher Tip At last. A way to get kids doing things out in the neighborhood. Every neighborhood has some special place that is just dying for help. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it all done the first year. Build on the curriculum and the historic site partnership every year. What a great way for kids to show off their skills and service to the community!

Contact Marilyn Hyder

Teacher Bio Marilyn Hyder teaches history at the Mary E. Curley Middle School, a School to Career School. She has written curriculum for the Boston Ballet, PBS Dance Curriculum, BPS AIDS Curriculum, and the Harbor Connections Curriculum Model. Currently a Lead Teacher, she has also been an Instructional Support teacher, coordinator for AIDS, drug and violence prevention education programs, and recipient of several Massachusetts Cultural Council PASS Program grants. As a longtime Boston IMPACT II member, she has presented workshops for the Bostonian Society, We the People and Boston Ballet. Marilyn's recent appointment to the Boston Women's Memorial Curriculum advisory board confirms her dedication to American history.

Subject Areas U.S, History, English Language Arts, Art, Technology

Grade Levels 7 & 8 adaptable to high school

Students Inclusive

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