The Bath MCHP team decided to have an introductory kickoff day for the students working on the project. In this case, the kids are 7th graders from the Black House team at Bath Middle (for those of us outside of the school world: kids are broken up into teams with groups and they cycle through all of their classes with this group). Since BMS uses expeditionary learning, the kids will approach the year as an investigation into local history. Groups of four kids will study one downtown building and look at the architecture, business use, the people there and any events related to that structure. In the process they will learn about local history while developing research and writing skills.
This orientation day was designed by the local MCHP group made up of Historical Society staff, Patten Free Library staff and the BMS teachers. The Kickoff was October first and 45 students arrived at Patten Free Library at 9 a.m. After introductions, they divided into three groups and cycled through three activities:
1. A walking tour and scavenger hunt.
2. An introduction to the MCHP and the Maine Memory Network.
3. Learning about historical collections at the Historical Society and how they can be used to investigate history.
The day went off without a hitch – well, it rained which always makes a walking tour much more fun. Still, the kids asked questions, participated in discussion and quickly associated information learned in one session with things they heard in the next. They had worked with their teachers earlier in the week to brainstorm what they already knew about Bath and what they wondered about but don’t yet know. That will serve as their benchmark and they’ll revisit those questions and assumptions throughout the year. In addition, they created their own maps of downtown Bath and designated the places of importance to them. The day was made all the stronger because the team (teachers and library & historical society staff) got together several times to plan the event. They even went on a dry run of the tour so that the teachers would know what the kids would learn and could better prepare them. All in all, a really impressive event. The Brunswick Times Record and the Coastal Journal joined us so we’re hoping to see ourselves in the paper, too.
The students were interested in the idea that they are one of only 8 towns in the state (in the country!) to be doing this and that they are the first to have access to the new Maine Memory Network tools to build web pages. But they were just as interested to learn that Maine’s first governor was from Bath and quickly remembered having seen the monument near Domino’s Pizza, – hey, we all have different landmarks in our towns. Maybe now they can say, it’s the Domino’s next to the Governor King monument.