Emerging America Blog: A voice for quality history education

Exploring Emerging America’s Windows on History Program

Since 2006, Emerging America’s Windows on History program has mobilized more than 30 research teams of K-12 students with their teachers and in partnership with historical societies, museums, town and college libraries, expert individuals, and other very local resources. Students learn to think historically as they track down primary sources to tell the story of their communities and their place in the world. This is the sixth in our series of close-ups on these sites.

Cross-Grade Immigration Project in Easthampton
By Rebecca Rideout

In a multidisciplinary, multi-school teaching approach, Easthampton teachers Ryan Pickard and Jared Orne combined art history, culinary techniques, arts and craft projects, and oral history to explore the immigration stories of this industrial mill town in their unit entitled Immigration in our Community

Ms. Pickard’s fourth graders and Mr. Orne’s tenth grade US History II students started by studying the fundamentals of immigration history: What pushed people to leave their country? What pulled them to America? What did they bring with them? How did they adapt in the new environment? Students created displays, showing what immigrants from different countries valued and brought to America. Then both classes brought their work to a delicious community event: a cultural potluck. Families, including first generation immigrants, brought a wide range of foods native to their homelands. The offerings included French meat pie, shepard’s pie, flan, roasted rabbit, and even Ecuadorian stuffed guinea pig.

The fourth grade class visited the Smith College Museum of Art, where Smith students and museum staff had designed a personalized tour of their collection that focused on immigration. Students were given time to write about and interpret a specific painting of an immigrant woman.

The students drafted letters to loved ones in which they imagined the experience of a cross-oceanic voyage. The results brought depth and emotion to their understanding of the struggles faced by early immigrants, as found in this edited excerpt:

Dear Aunt Ellis,
I miss you terribly. I wish you had come with us. I feel lonely without you, and cold without your warm hugs.
I didn’t bring enough money, so they sent me to steerage. It smells like old potatoes down here. Plus, the food is awful!
Mom and dad told me that it will be worth it when we get to America. I hope so.
Sincerely,
Amber, your loving niece

Ms. Pickard’s fourth graders also expanded their research at Northampton’s Forbes library, where a local historian and reference librarian helped students inspect primary sources. The class studied maps, searched for their family name in town documents, and perused a 1900 census report to discover the types of jobs immigrants and residents might have had. Important questions arose that led to more research, such as “Why did they stop using the railroads?” “What used to be in the Eastworks mill building?” and “Who named all the streets in Easthampton?”

To further understand the hardships that early immigrants faced, both the fourth and tenth grade classes were asked to pack belongings that they would bring with them for a journey to a new country. Fourth graders created and packed “culture boxes” that they decorated with emblems of their own countries of heritage. This activity encouraged students to interview their parents about their family’s heritage; moreover, students learned about the diverse backgrounds of their classmates’ families, whether they had recently immigrated or had been Easthampton residents for centuries.

High school students packed a suitcase as if embarking on a voyage – and then traveled to the elementary school, where they shared their chosen objects with their fourth grade buddies. “The assignment was to think about what you would bring if you moved to a new country and could only bring one suitcase, to understand what it must have been like to leave their home and start a new life,” explains teacher Jared Orne. When the two classes got together, the two age groups learned a lot from each other. “The purpose was to compare what is important to a fourth and tenth grader.”

Mr. Orne’s tenth graders also conducted oral histories with several teenage ELL (English Language Learners) program members. The questions, written by students, helped them understand why families from all over the planet relocate to Easthampton, and how it feels to be a new resident of the United States.

Overall, two age groups learned about the variety of reasons that immigrants have moved to Easthampton through a variety of non-traditional learning experiences. Teachers advise that although it was challenging to fit a longer unit like this into the school year, students got more out of it than a basic textbook-oriented course and encourage other teachers to work with their school to create similarly engaging programs.

“I learned that people get to America many ways and for many different reasons, one being to have a better life than they had where they came from.”

“I thought it was cool to work with the fourth graders. This project helped me learn what it was really like to make the decision to immigrate.”

Collaborations between the Easthampton High School, Maple Elementary School, Smith College Museum of Art, Forbes Library, and the ELL Program at Easthampton High School made this project possible.

Balancing Three Vital Components in Professional Development

Triangle shows components of professional development.

The Common Core will be a game-changer in the teaching of content and in the skills of verbal-oral and visual literacy, including writing. Teaching ELA teachers should incorporate thinking about science, history, and other disciplines as well as literature. At the same time, social studies and science teachers must convey not just content knowledge, but the skills to analyze texts, data, images – anything really – and to write well about them: explanations, descriptions, arguments, and research studies.




Every Emerging America workshop therefore connects three components:

  1. Critical Thinking about Historical Content – which could be on any topic from patterns of Native American settlement or the Emancipation Proclamation to the history and science of flight.

  2. Practice in the analysis of a particular body of primary sources, including the very local (such as a series of studies of the local mills) to the national (featuring work with the 30 million items in the Library of Congress online collections).
  3. Focus on a small number of Common Core standards, usually one from reading and one from writing. Every workshop also helps teachers learn to match appropriate primary sources to each standard.

During each workshop, teachers practice multiple times with tools of analysis, featuring approaches from each of the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Stanford History Education Group. Teachers incorporate the three components in the writing of a lesson. In more substantial workshops, they teach the lesson, and then they bring student work and observations for discussion on how to improve instruction.

Topics, grade levels and subject areas, scholar interest, site, and other factors shift the balance of time, sources, and particular skills in any given workshop.

Spring Flowers by Currier and Ives from the Library of Congress

Spring is here and with it comes an array of workshops across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of our Teaching with Primary Sources program. Each workshop focuses on an inquiry-based strategy for using the rich resources available for free on the Library of Congress website to teach critical thinking skills based in the Common Core State Standards. Here is a look at what we’ll be up to in the coming months:

Lessons in Motion: Using Audio, Video and Images from the Library of Congress (K-12 Teachers)

This workshop focuses on highlighting the wide array of multimedia gems available online at the Library of Congress and developing strategies for using them in the classroom to advance content area literacy and Common Core skills.

  • April 8 (9am to 3pm) at NERC in Sturbridge (Massachusetts). There is still time to register for the NERC Conference, April 8-10, 2013
  • August 9 (8:30am to 3pm) at the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton (Massachusetts)
  • Self-Evident Truths: Persuasive Writing and the Common Core

    This workshop focuses on using primary sources from the Revolutionary and Constitutional Period in American History to teach persuasive writing in Grades 3-8, providing proven practical strategies, resources and tools to make this difficult topic engaging and interesting.

  • May 4 (9am-3:30pm) and May 14 and 16 (4-7pm) at The Educational Collaborative, Dedham, MA
  • August 7 (8:30am to 3pm) at the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton (Massachusetts)
  • Resistance and Rebellion in American History

    We welcome four outstanding scholars to our program this year to look at the tension between a dominant authority and those who would resist the blanket of oppression over them. At the Kickoff session for this program, we will look at primary sources available through the Library of Congress relating to the weekly topics: slave resistance and rebellion; Native American resistance; the Women’s Movement; and the tense relationship between the U.S. and Cuba over the past 100 years. We will look at using these primary sources to teach critical thinking and Common Core skills.

  • June 27 through August 1 (9am to 3:30pm)
  • Email us if you have any questions, are interested in any of these workshops, or if you would like to have us develop a workshop for your school or district!

    In today’s world, technology moves at the speed of light. There are programs and websites created every day that promise to make your life easier/faster/more entertaining. But how can you tell what’s out there when everything is moving at the speed of light?

    “Digital Friday” is a new feature on the EmergingAmerica.org blog. One Friday a month, we will introduce a free online tool that is being used by history and social studies teachers to deepen students understanding of primary sources. Of course, we all understand that it’s not the tool that is most important – it’s the teaching. The tools we feature are carefully selected, tested and recommended by teachers to provide fun new ways to engage with primary sources.

    This week, we’re talking about ThingLink. This web-based online tool allows you to upload your own images and make them interactive. Are you familiar with how one might go to Google Maps when you want to find a restaurant in a new area, and as the cursor hovers over a spot on the map, a small information window will pop up? ThingLink allows you to create the same kind of pop-up windows on images that you upload to their website.

    You could use the windows to ask students critical questions about a particular part of a document. You could draw students’ attention to a particular point on a map. Or you could provide additional background information about someone who appears in a historic photograph. The possibilities are endless.

    Here is a ThingLink we created of an image we often use in our workshops. Move your cursor over the image and see what pops up.

    How might you use ThingLink in YOUR classroom?

    Want to know more about how to use ThingLink? Check out this video on YouTube.

    By Rich Cairn, Director Emerging America

    Colorful YMCA poster Women of the World.

    Emerging America emphasizes use of primary sources, including from the Library of Congress.

    Beginning February 25, 2013, Emerging America will offer an outstanding course for Teachers in Alternative Settings (including detention centers and high security facilities as well as in-school alternative programs). We would like to take this opportunity to explain why we think this course carries great import.

    Over 35 years, the Collaborative for Educational Services has gained tremendous expertise in helping the most vulnerable students in society. Like many such front line service organizations, we typically stay so busy with our own students and teachers that we fail to share our hard-won insights and experience. This course marks a new effort to spread our understanding to a larger world of history educators, especially those who also work with students in diverse and often challenging settings. See more for details and registration form.

    Why and How? – A Word on Our Approach

    Culturally Responsive Teaching is at the heart of the Collaborative’s work in institutional settings. So what is it?

    “Culturally responsive teaching involves learning about specific elements of our students’ lives, and using what we learn to guide curriculum and instruction.”

    Cultural responsiveness depends upon examining…

    • The prior experiences, backgrounds and cultural norms of our students.
    • Ways to understand and use students’ experiences as important and highly valuable resources.
    • How students from diverse backgrounds learn best. How our own experiences, backgrounds and cultural norms (in and out of the classroom) influence or impact our work with youth.

    – U.S. History II Instructional Guide: Teaching Social Studies in Massachusetts Department of Youth Services Schools
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Collaborative for Educational Services, Commonwealth Corporation.

    Immigration in America begins with a high interest topic for students and integrates many strategies to successfully engage the diverse communities of students in institutional settings.

    Why This Course? – A Word from Kelley Brown, Course Facilitator

    Immigration in America combines content and pedagogical support to integrate content into the institutional and alternative school classroom. Fully taking into account the specific needs of such classrooms, this course offers a useful and engaging way to gain content knowledge and content PDPs.

    Last year the course provided a great experience for me as instructor as well as for the participating teachers. It offers a unique opportunity to gain content knowledge from an outstanding scholar–Jennifer Fronc, Associate Professor of History, UMass Amherst–on a core topic in high school history. The course includes Professor Fronc’s pre-recorded lectures on current scholarship in immigration history and three synchronous Q & A sessions with her–all tailored to the teachers in our particular audience. Erin O’Connor-Silverman and I will facilitate the course. Erin teaches in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). I teach at Easthampton High School.

    Over the years (since 2006), I’ve worked with many DYS teachers in professional development, and they know that I put my all into making the work applicable to the DYS classroom. The same will be true of this course through work with Erin, fellow DYS teachers, and me.

    I look forward to working with some of you this spring!

    - Kelley Brown, History Teacher Easthampton High School, Collaborative for Educational Services DYS Professional Development Specialist, and Emerging America Teaching American History High School Leader

    Why This Speaker? – A Word on Prof. Jennifer Fronc, Course Lecturer

    “BEST PROF EVER !!! I’m taking another class with her she is soo hilarious and informative.”

    Clear, interesting–and funny, is the consensus of students* on Prof. Jennifer Fronc, UMass Amherst, speaker for Immigration in America. Prof. Fronc brings to bear her own keen interest and scholarship in social activism in the Progressive Era as she weaves together the legal, social, economic, cultural threads of America’s immigration story. Prof. Fronc teams with two outstanding classroom teachers, to lead a course that will be intellectually stimulating, useful, and relevant to teachers’ daily work.

    *(Comments from RateMyProfessors.com. Having heard Prof. Fronc give three different talks, I can personally vouch for the ratings. – Rich Cairn)

    Exploring Emerging America’s Windows on History Program

    Since 2006, Emerging America’s Windows on History program has mobilized more than 30 research teams of K-12 students with their teachers and in partnership with historical societies, museums, town and college libraries, expert individuals, and other very local resources. Students learn to think historically as they track down primary sources to tell the story of their communities and their place in the world. This is the fifth in our series of close-ups on these sites.

    Photo by Jennifer Huberdeau, The Transcript, North Adams.

    Immigration and Industrialization in North Adams
    By Rebecca Rideout

    The web project Windows to History: Immigration and Industrialization in North Adams provides a thorough, well-documented account of this small town’s growth and demonstrates the impact students can have on their community. Teachers Stephanie Kopala and Krista Pinsonneault oversaw its creation as their high school Honors U.S. History classes dug deep into North Adams’ historical records to create this unique local resource.

    Student teams of juniors and seniors researched many subtopics under the two main themes of immigration and industrialization. They uncovered little-known gems from North Adams history, from family stories of Chinese and Lebanese immigrants, to accounts of the shoe mill, biscuit company, wool mill, and clothing factory that expanded the town.

    “The students were the driving force,” Ms. Pinsonneault concludes. To raise the stakes of quality work, “Each student was held accountable for designing a website that would be used by the public.” A culminating event introduced the new site to the community (see photo).

    Using the town’s historical society, public library, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, students selected nearly forty primary sources, including photographs, articles, and speeches. Some teams complemented these documents with family photos and interviews that they gathered personally from local residents.

    Student’s pages summarize their topics and often provide a timeline, visual materials, links to additional information, and a list of supporting documents. WebQuest.org helped frame the students’ research by organizing notes, assisting in the creation of timelines, and providing storyboard assistance. Students were given three weeks to perform preliminary research and locate their primary sources; the bulk of the work was done outside of class.

    While some group members performed research, others acted as web designers. Pinsonneault suggests assigning the technical aspects of the project to a specific group of students. The groups used Google Pages to convey a complex web of information within a simple template. All students built their technical skills by scanning and uploading photos, posting to the website, and employing hyperlinks within their pages.

    In addition to thoroughly documenting the town’s history, the teachers provide a detailed explanation of their process from initial research to technical challenges. In this assessment, Kopala and Pinsonneault acknowledge the extent of the work: “We did not anticipate the amount of effort and dedication that went into the development of these sites.” Kopala and Pinsonneault advise that the project benefited from an Emerging America Teaching American History mini-grant. They note that the project took place over the course of an entire school year.

    The end result seems worth the trouble. Immigration and Industrialization in North Adams provides an accessible resource to town residents and far-flung researchers, while illustrating the goal of local research – to connect the present to the past. As one student stated, “Learning about local history is important to the community, because it allows us to be informed citizens.”

    Campaign banner for Lincoln and Johnson from 1864.

    Students can have success choosing from within a pool of primary sources where they are certain to find intriguing yet understandable sources. The Library of Congress American Memories collections offer many such pools, such as this set of Lincoln artifacts.

    Teachers Matt Brown and Ann Pember first posted these ideas as part of the 2012 Emerging America Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Training of Trainers program.

    Motivating Students to Question Sources

    Early on, I provide the documents, and I set the questions. But eventually, I like students to choose their own documents for projects. I also like the documents to become part of the product itself. That gets students to ask, “Can I use this document to express a historical truth? How can it help me develop a narrative or theme in my product?”

    I like to give students wide latitude in their choices, because the products then become their own. Students become much more motivated. It takes longer, and it’s sometimes frustrating for students who simply want to follow a recipe. They think I’m withholding or being opaque. Yet when I keep turning students back to their research with comments designed to help them find their own answers, rather than mine, they learn much more. Not only about history, but about themselves and their own work of trying to make sense of the past.

    • Matt Brown, Monomoy Regional School District

    Matt, I like your idea of approaching the documents with a more general question and having students develop their questions. This is inquiry, and it is a great way to differentiate. Students can explore what they want to learn more about. They can explore larger themes, make deeper connections, while still learning an overall transferable skill.

    Yet it is certainly true that students only want knowledge-based questions. They want to be able to find the correct answer and be done. They need a push to think at a higher level, which is difficult and time-consuming. These skills require practice. Yet even before students can practice inquiry skills, they need to practice discerning what makes a good or a bad question. Learning how to properly question something is a skill and a process.

    One way to help students learn this is to provide open-ended questions that are provocative and do not have a simple or correct answer. At Malden, we help students with this by using a form of two-column note-taking, also called Cornell notes. Students first list the main idea and details from a reading–the basic facts. Then they re-read their list. Using a list of coding symbols, they mark next to each fact what they think of it: whether they think it is surprising, interesting, whether they agree or disagree, if they have a connection to it, or if they have a comment or questions. Then, next to the symbol, they flesh out their response and explain what they think about that fact: Why do they find it interesting? What is your connection to the fact? and so on. This can take awhile to learn and then perfect, but it enables students to go through the thinking process at a high level.

    • Ann Pember, Teacher, Malden High School

    Exploring Emerging America’s Windows on History Program

    Since 2006, Emerging America’s Windows on History program has mobilized more than 30 research teams of K-12 students with their teachers and in partnership with historical societies, museums, town and college libraries, expert individuals, and other very local resources. Students learn to think historically as they track down primary sources to tell the story of their communities and their place in the world. This is the third in our series of close-ups on these sites.

    Bridgman Block

    The Bridgman Block building in Belchertown, MA. Photo courtesy of the Stone House Museum.

    The Bridgmans of Belchertown: An American Family
    By Rebecca Rideout

    George and Sophia were early followers of a nineteenth century health “nut,” Dr. Sylvester Graham, who preached the benefits of a natural diet similar to that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden… They only served meat on special occasions, and chicken was the only option. This was a stark contrast with most diets during this time period; the average amount of meat a person consumed in the 1830s was 178 pounds.
    -Sarah Minney

    In order to explore their town history, students from Belchertown High School examined the Bridgman family, a clan of diverse and accomplished individuals that contributed heavily to local and international progress. The resulting project The Bridgmans of Belchertown: An American Family was made possible through the knowledgeable staff and comprehensive archives of the town’s Stone House Museum.

    Teachers Lawrence O’Brien and Bob Hansbury surveyed the primary sources and planned the project with Stone House docents before presenting the curriculum to the students in their U.S. History and Massachusetts History classes. Student groups were each assigned a Bridgman family member and began investigating the archives; research tasks included interviewing docents, reading letters and archival documents, and finding the remaining buildings owned by their individual.

    By and large, all of the research used for the website came from the town’s vast collection of primary sources, although one student ventured to the Umass/Amherst Microfilm Department for more information on her subject, Elijah Bridgman. Once the young historians had a clear idea of their family member’s life story, they wrote short essays for the website. The teachers organized the site by categories determined by the themes found in student research: The Civil War, Missionary Work, Commerce, Social Reform, and Politics & Government.

    Nine family members were profiled on the final website; they represent a broad cross section of nineteenth century life, ranging from Civil War heroes to Chinese missionaries to local proprietors caught up in the newest health fads. The resulting student essays reveal this vast range of personalities. Some reports focus on basic facts, while others consider the person’s life story within a broader context. Teacher Lawrence O’Brien reports that if he did it again, he’d prefer to “start the process by researching and writing more extensive, traditional historical research papers.” Then he’d ask the students to edit their work into shorter web essays. “Doing that would be an effective way to teach students about the differences in writing for different modes of publishing.”

    The site was created with Google Pages. Introducing the classes to simple web design principles was an unexpected advantage to the program. The project was made possible by a collaboration between the Belchertown High School Social Studies Department and the Belchertown Historical Association / Stone House Museum.

    Elijah Coleman Bridgman is best known for being the first American missionary to China and for translating the Bible into Chinese… Elijah’s importance has not diminished. He is still the subject of much research today, in both the United States and China. Elijah Bridgman had a significant impact on two very different cultures.
    -Heather Minot

    George Washington in boat with flag and Continental soldiers.

    “What is the dog doing there? It really would run away when it heard the guns fire. So why did Paul Revere put it in the picture? Well, most people like dogs. So we think he wanted people to take the side of the Americans by thinking, ‘Those mean British are shooting at a dog!’”
    - Fifth graders, Morgan Elementary School, Holyoke, Massachusetts

    Famous images deeply influence ideas about history, typically from a particular political position, and more profoundly than a much larger body of information from texts, teacher lecture, and class discussion. Yet partly because they are so influential–and typically loaded with details–analysis of these iconic images offers an engaging and useful means to investigate what the evidence says about what really happened. At the same time, such images offer insights into the beliefs, purposes, and era (often much later than the events pictured) of the artists who made them.

    This week’s post offers a rich set of resources for classroom use of four iconic images from early American history.

    As elementary teachers brainstormed at a recent Emerging America Teaching with Primary Sources program lesson study, one fifth grade teacher volunteered, “I would love to have my students examine the famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. How closely does it match the facts of the event? When was it painted? What was the artist trying to communicate?” To my delight, later that week, the ever useful Library of Congress Teacher blog happened to post on–Washington Crossing the Delaware! The blog post offers comparison of a less familiar painting of the same event. Of even greater interest, the blog links to Washington’s own descriptions of the engagements at Trenton and Princeton.

    The question of picture versus reality came up in the workshop because we had been looking at Emerging America’s online activity on the[permalink href="5863"] Boston Massacre[/permalink], in which students compare Paul Revere’s engraving with written accounts by eyewitnesses. (Revere published the image at the time.) As the student comments above demonstrate, the exercise is particularly useful for analysis and practice of persuasive writing.

    The Stanford History Education Group published yet another in-depth comparison from the Revolution, in this case images of the Battle of Lexington. This activity includes a recording of a scholar thinking aloud about the image. (Watch the “Why historical thinking matters” video, and advance to scene “3″.)

    An earlier post in this blog referenced another activity from the Stanford History Education Group’s Beyond the Bubble website. This activity uses the 1932 painting of the [permalink href="6428"] First Thanksgiving[/permalink].

    Questions

    What questions would be meaningful to students about these comparisons? Questions might be not just content-specific about each event, but also generalizable about questions of the importance of history and cultural understanding.

    • How is this comparison of iconic painting of 100-300 years later similar and/or different from the eyewitness narrative?
    • First Thanksgiving, Boston Massacre, Battle of Lexington, and Crossing the Delaware–how are they all similar and how different?
    • Why do we seem to want and need icons?
    • What more recent icons do we have? The steel beams from 9-11, for example. Or photos and video of President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.
    • How “true” to the event in question are the icons?
    • How do the cases where we have images from the time of the event differ from those where we have only written accounts? How do these media differ?

    Exploring Emerging America’s Windows on History Program

    Since 2006, Emerging America’s Windows on History program has mobilized more than 30 research teams of K-12 students with their teachers and in partnership with historical societies, museums, town and college libraries, expert individuals, and other very local resources. Students learn to think historically as they track down primary sources to tell the story of their communities and their place in the world. This is the third in our series of close-ups on these sites.

    Photo of products from Ludlow Manfucturing Company.

    Jute Yarn, Fine and Coarse Twine, Cotton Bagging and Jute Webbing produced at Ludlow Manufacturing Company in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Ludlow Manufacturing Associates.

    Ludlow: From Small Village to Industrial Town
    By Rebecca Rideout

    Fifth and eighth grade classes in Ludlow teamed up to study the town’s history and create the detailed website: “Ludlow: From Small Village to Industrial Town.” Teachers, Laura O’Keefe, Paul R. Baird Middle School and Jackie Zima, Chapin Street Elementary School, led the project. Indeed, this site is a model of a student and teacher-developed, web-based town history.

    The website’s thorough exploration touches on many parts of Ludlow’s history, from Native American hunting practices to the Ludlow Manufacturing Company’s array of jute products produced in the 1920s. Each report is prefaced by questions that were answered by the primary sources, encouraging the reader to delve deeper into the students’ research.

    The young historians used an array of primary sources such as farm tools employed by early settlers, Native American artifacts, gravestones, and documents including a 1790 census, letters between citizens, and an agricultural profile summarizing farm statistics from 1801-1974. By reading and inspecting these sources, students uncovered a story about an era and found details that helped explain the lives of Ludlow’s earlier residents.

    The classes learned that Springfield was founded for beaver hunting, while the region that is now Ludlow served as a hunting and wood-gathering outpost. Research at the town’s cemetery shed light on serious diseases and accidents that were common to early Americans. Reports of the town’s largest cider mill taught students about the importance of apple cider to the residents of Ludlow (“it was pretty much all they drank”).

    Some of the best learning moments, however, occurred when students realized that historical research cannot answer every question. Some mysteries remain unsolved. For example, the origin of the town’s name is unknown, though students explored several possible answers to this common inquiry.

    The huge amount of information collected and assimilated by the two classes is organized into eight categories, from Early Settlement to Agriculture, Legends, and Maps & Bridges. The website holds an impressive fifty-three pages of information, each with at least one corresponding photo.

    From the production of palm leaf hats to the influx of immigrant families and the host of fascinating legends, the students revealed a vibrant history of Ludlow that is thorough and readable.

    The teachers and students received additional assistance from the Center for Educational Software Development at UMass, with support from the Teaching American History program of the U.S. Department of Education. Historical material was provided by the Ludlow Historical Commission and Ludlow Manufacturing Associates; additional books and photographs were contributed by town residents.