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[THVInstitute13] Sea captain, soldier and slave
 

[THVInstitute13] Sea captain, soldier and slave

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Presentation given by Danielle Funiciello at Teaching the Hudson Valley's 2013 Summer Institute, "Placed-Based Learning & Common Core"

Presentation given by Danielle Funiciello at Teaching the Hudson Valley's 2013 Summer Institute, "Placed-Based Learning & Common Core"

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  • Our intention today is to analyze our outreach program, “Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave”, which was created in 2001, and to use that program as practice for turning an old program into something new within the context of the Common Core Standards. While Michelle and I will be introducing you to the program and leading the activity portion of this workshop, we hope you will take an active role in dissecting and discussing the program with us. But first, let us get started with some background information on Schuyler Mansion to put us all on the same page. Schuyler Mansion is a historical site in Albany, NY. It is run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Presented in the format of a house museum, the Georgian style home was built between 1761 and 1765 by Philip Schuyler- a wealthy and influential Albany resident as well as a Major General in Washington’s army during the American Revolution. It was his, and his family’s, primary residence from 1766 until Philip Schuyler’s death in 1804. In addition to Schuyler’s Revolutionary War career, the site staff interprets Philip Schuyler’s business ventures and political activities; the lives and experiences of family members, slaves and 18th century visitors to the home; and the 18th century art, architecture and material culture associated with the site. We also include, in our focus, the changes in Albany’s South End- portions of which were once part of Schuyler’s eighty acre farm estate, the post-Schuyler ownership of the property, and the acquisition and restoration of the house and property by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, which purchased the site in 1911 and opened it to the public in 1917.
  • Schuyler Mansion’s total attendance is a combination of individual house tours, scheduled group tours, special events and off-site or outreach programs. With 2008’s economic downturn, Schuyler Mansion, like many sites in both the public and private sector, saw a decrease in all categories of attendance, but school group tours and offsite/outreach took the hardest hits. (See Graph) It should be noted that, “Off-Site” numbers also include conferences and other non-classroom programs which include additional adult attendees; perhaps that only amplifies the fact that Schuyler Mansion is not reaching school age people. Now, I will admit that I did not have these figures in hand when I began my internship, and ‘we’- the full time staff and myself- identified youth attendance as only one amongst a number of reasons to revamp Schuyler Mansion’s Outreach Programs. Other problems that the year-round staff identified were; that they had a handful of programs that they were unfamiliar with; that were outdated; that may have been missing pieces; that sometimes caused confusion when they were taken out to classrooms… And most importantly; that no one had been able to comb over to determine their relevance to our community or how they worked alongside Schuyler Mansion’s current programming. So… I dug these numbers up after a fourth grade teacher expressed that she had visited Schuyler Mansion with her older family members and loved it, but she didn’t really think that it was “for kids”. You can imagine that stung a bit, even for a newer employee, but she had a point. With a mixed visitor-ship that sometimes includes furniture aficionados, Alexander Hamilton buffs and vacationing family groups all on the same tour, children sometimes do get neglected in the mix on these daily tours. My observation is that Schuyler Mansion’s best opportunity to reach school-age people, therefore, has always been through programming specifically designed for students. Group tours of the Mansion can be a powerful tool for turning stories and lessons into concrete imagery, but, teachers who I spoke with made it clear that bussing fees on top of the activity fees associated with such field trips often made this difficult. With all of these things in mind, my first step was to review the existing programs- there were four (with a few other fragmented programs laying around), and in the end we will have four again. Since “outreach” can refer to different types of programs at different sites, it is probably useful to clarify. Each SM Outreach Programs is a lesson plan and activity that our staff brings to the classroom. Since 4th and 7th or 8th graders deal with local, Colonial and Revolutionary histories, they are most often the target of these programs. As I have been designing programs, my focus has been on fourth grade, since, as historians who work with adults on a day-to-day basis, it’s easier to add more depth and complexity to a program with a young audience than it is to try to edit out difficult concepts on a moments notice.
  • In their final form, all of these programs will consist of: [bulleted in slides and then expanded upon] an introduction and one to three short pre-visit activities to be sent to the teacher a week or so ahead of our visit. These activities introduce students to the Mansion and the historical subject they will be learning and they also sometimes ask questions that act as a jumping off point or identify where extra attention will need to be paid. An approximately one hour presentation and activity led by Schuyler Mansion staff . Each program tells about a different part of Schuyler Mansion history and challenges kids to use different “historian skills”, so the activities vary. A packet of post-visit materials . Although these are still in development, they will include a few questions and an hands-on activity like a craft project to help students reflect on the subject they learned about, and a reading list of books related to the subject. I am trying to make this list interdisciplinary- so, to include, for instance: historical fiction novels, biographies, activity books and even books about science and technology- as examples, I have included a book on germs for the program where we discuss hygiene and a book on hot air balloons, trains and other “post-Schuyler” transportation when we talk about the postal system and travel technology. The programs needed varying levels of work- I’m going to go over each of them briefly, to put “Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave” in context for you. One program hasn’t been changed at all.*
  • Called “Playing in the Past”, it is exactly what it sounds like- students learn about the different games and toys 18th century children would have played with. This program is short and sweet and leaves a lot of time for play. Teachers that have used it in the past sometimes thought of it as a reward program for their students, but it also allows children to learn kinesthetically, to put themselves in the Schuyler children’s shoes and to consider a world without modern technology.
  • A second program, “Coping With Life’s ‘Necessaries’: Washing and Wellness through 18th Century Artifacts” reworks a program that was originally part of an in-house exhibit and lecture series. Students in this program learn about 18th Century hygiene practices by handling and observing reproduction objects and materials like tooth powder and an early style toothbrush, a chamber pot, and a shirt and shift as 18th Century undergarments. The hands on activity helps children understand how historians can use objects as another type of primary source by allowing them to interpret the objects for themselves.
  • Our fourth is the program we are going to discuss today. “Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave” was originally designed in 2001 by Glenn Griffith, with assistance from Stefan Bielinski of The Colonial Albany Project. Despite some organizational and damage related issues, the program was well researched and contained a lot of good, though sometimes complex information. Although this program was designed with NY State curriculum in mind, it was designed well before the Common Core Standards were implemented. Because we were accepted to run this workshop, I have made very little content revision to this program. Instead, my work on it so far has been making clean copies, transcriptions and digital backups for all of the materials used, while focusing the bulk of my work on the aforementioned two programs. Before I get further into the details of “Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave”, let me share with you a couple of goals I maintain for all of these programs. Of course, making our Outreach fit into the Common Core Standards is pretty high on the list- that’s why we’re here! There has been quite a bit of criticism of the Common Core in relation to history and other subjects that are neglected by these Standards. Obviously, as a historian I do feel that Social Studies, especially at the elementary school level is important, and has really been down played… which actually just makes it seem more important, to me, to really integrate these Standards into history programs. If we create programs that support the skills that the Common Core Standards are trying to get at, but do so through the lens of history, we get to stay relevant to the educational system, while exposing students to a subject that we think is really important. So, covering a range of Common Core Standards across multiple disciplines is one of my goals. Another goal of mine is introducing students to a set of skills that are used in the history profession. Ideally, we get students to think like historians and even to think of themselves as historians while participating in these activities. Maybe this will trigger student interest in history, which is great! Maybe it won’t. And that’s OK too, because even though these skills are related to history- skills like: being able to read objects as primary sources, being able to discern viewpoints in a conflict, looking for signs of bias in a text, or even being able to read receipts or maps… These are all skills that are used every day by historians, but they obviously have applications in science, math, technology and everyday life too. c. So, let’s turn our attention to the “Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave” program. The original program included pre-visit, though not post-visit, materials in addition to the hour to hour and a half long program. We have provided some of the pre-visit materials as pages in the material packet we have provided. They include 1) “Cracking the Code”- a guide to reading 18th Century documents including abbreviations and symbols. 2) Three example documents to practice with and their transcriptions , one of which is copied in your packet. A post-it note attached to the master copy elaborates: “Make a list of things in your room like this list from a barn”, so perhaps this could be used by teachers as a take-home activity. 3) A vocabulary list . 4) Recipes to make your own Nut and Berry Ink – craft activity either at home or in the classroom. No further instructions for teachers or site staff were provided about these materials that I could find. We are, however, provided with an outline for the core activity. We are going to go through that activity now, with you as the participants. As we go through, it may be helpful to jot down things that are not made clear, words or concepts that seem difficult for students of various ages, parts of the program that are already appropriate for the Common Core Standards, and other pros and cons for our discussion later on. There are also, at the back of your packet, a few of the questions to think about for our discussion at the end.
  • B. Based on student outline: [ Divide participants into groups of 4-6 people, if they are not already seated in small groups. ] In just a moment, we are going to give each table a packet [use Catherine’s as an example packet]. Each packet contains information on a real person who lived in Albany during the Revolutionary War period. Their name is on the outside of the packet. Inside, you will find a set of reproduction documents based on that person’s life. Please make sure to keep all the materials from your packet together at your group’s table. You are going to work together, reading the documents and filling-in-the-blanks on a biography of that person which we are also passing around. Sometimes you will have to use some thinking to get your answers. For example: my packet contains information about Catherine Schuyler who lived at Schuyler Mansion. One of the things I found in my packet is a Bible. Now, in the 1700s, a Bible had blank pages where families would write their family history- the dates of important events like births, deaths and marriages. So here I have a hand written entry in the Bible that says “ September 7, 1755 I Philip Johannes Schuyler aged 21 years, 9 months and 17 days entered into the estate of matrimony with Catherine Van Rensselaer aged 20 years, 9 months, 27 days” Now, my biography worksheet wants to know what year Catherine was born. There is a lot of extra information here that I don’t need to know, but… How would I know what year Catherine was born? Since I know that she is 20 years old in 1755, I subtract 20 from 1755 and now I know that Catherine was born in 1735. You don’t need to worry about months or days. Another document most of you will find in your packets is this big table that says “Assessment Roll of the Real and Personal Estates in the city of Albany”. This document looks very complicated, but it can be very useful, like the Bible records. Does anyone remember what the word “estate” means? [ if no, explain/read definition ] So, this document was used to know how much money people would have to pay to the government based on the value of their house and property- their estate . It shows the name of the Estate owner, the address of their house, what type of house it was and what the property was worth. You will need to know the address, so this will come in handy. [ use Catherine as example again ] Catherine, because she is a married woman, her property would be under her husband’s name. So, to find her address, I would first have to know that Catherine was married to Philip Schuyler – I can find his name on this table. When everyone has finished filling out their biographies, we will have one person from each group read them aloud. Some of the names that you read will be hard to pronounce. Don’t worry too much about pronunciation. We will help you when we get there. ~ The outline reminds us, at this point, that there are pre-visit materials which included a vocabulary list. If the teacher did not review these, we are to go over some of the harder words. That vocabulary list has already been provided for you. The original program did not provide transcriptions of the documents enclosed in these envelopes. I am including typed transcriptions today because we already know that we intend to in the future of this program. Recently, elementary teachers informed us that not all students learn cursive by fourth grade, and so it would be difficult and time consuming for some students in that age group to glean answers out of the documents. This leaves very little time to discuss the biographies. I intend to include the word “transcription” in the vocabulary list with this new addition and to explain that historians make and use transcriptions so that it is easier to read documents and so that we do not damage the originals. I think it is legitimate to make the students feel that they are not “cheating” by using the transcriptions, but instead learning another skill in the historian toolbox, as it were. We will, of course, encourage them, as we will you today, to use the handwritten documents as much as possible and refer to the transcriptions when you are stumped (there are probably times that even us grown-ups will have trouble with the handwriting). ~ So, to continue… You will also find, in your packets, a vocabulary list with words that you have already learned, as well as new words that you might find difficult. You will also find a token representing your character’s house. When you present your biographies, you will place the token on the map, using the address you will find somewhere in your documents. For now, you can set this in the middle of the table. You will not need it until we are finished with the biographies. Please be gentle with all of the documents in your folder. Everyone at your table should work together to answer the biography worksheet. However, each group should pick one person to write your answers, one person to read the biography at the end and one person to place the house on the map of Albany. Do that now. Once you have picked who gets what job, you can get started. Let Michelle or I know if you have any questions.
  • [ Put questions back on slideshow. Activity time! Insert elevator music here. ] [Have groups read their biographies out loud. Remind participants to listen carefully as other groups read for things that the ‘characters’ have in common- this is where the stories pull together. Keep this question in mind: Do you think that the person in your packet might have known the people in the other packets? Why or why not? One person (not the reader or writer), places their house token at the correct location on the map.] Discussion questions for Map and Biography Presentation. These questions are to be covered briefly, given the time to do so. If not, they should be left with the teacher to discuss afterwards.

[THVInstitute13] Sea captain, soldier and slave [THVInstitute13] Sea captain, soldier and slave Presentation Transcript

  • Sea Captain, Soldier and Slave Schuyler Mansion Danielle Funiciello Michelle Mavigliano
  • Each Program Will Include: • An introduction and one to three short Pre-Visit Activities • An approximately one hour presentation and activity led by Schuyler Mansion staff • A packet of Post-Visit Materials
  • Playing in the Past(Images are from our annual July 4th Celebration; visitors using the toys and games.)
  • Coping With Life’s Necessaries
  • Exploring Colonial Life Through Documents Schuyler Sends: How to Mail a Letter in the Year 1800
  • “September 7, 1755 I Philip Johannes Schuyler aged 21 years, 9 months and 17 days entered into the estate of matrimony with Catherine Van Rensselaer aged 20 years, 9 months, 27 days” 1755 - 20 1735
  • 1 ) W h o d o y o u th in k w e r e th e w e a lth ie s t o f th e p e o p le y o u h a v e h e a r d a b o u t in th e s e b io g r a p h ie s ? 2 ) W h a t w a y s c a n w e te ll w h o is w e a lth y a n d w h o is n o t? – h o u s e s , o w n s la v e s , ta x a s s e s s m e n ts te ll v a lu e s o f p r o p e r ty v s . a r e s la v e s , p o o r r o lls , e tc . 3 ) W h e r e d o th e w e a lth ie r p e o p le liv e v s . th e p o o r p e o p le ? 4 ) B y s h o w o f h a n d s , w a s th e p e r s o n in y o u r p a c k e t a p a tr io t ( s o m e o n e o n th e A m e r ic a n s id e o f th e R e v o lu tio n a r y W a r ) ? A L o y a lis t ( s o m e o n e o n th e B r itis h s id e ) ? N e ith e r? 5 ) D o y o u th in k it w a s e a s y to d e c id e w h ic h s id e to b e o n ? W h y o r w h y n o t? 6 ) D o y o u th in k th a t th e p e r s o n in y o u r p a c k e t k n e w s o m e o f th e p e o p le th e o th e r g r o u p s ta lk e d a b o u t? If s o , h o w ? – C o m m itte e o f C o r r e s p o n d e n c e / s a m e / o p p o s ite s id e s o f th e w a r , o w n e d a s s la v e s , liv e d c lo s e to e a c h o th e r , h a d le tte r s b e tw e e n th e m , e tc . Sample Questions:
  • 1 . W h a t’ s w o r k i n g ? H o w d o e s t h e p r o g r a m a l r e a d y t o u c h u p o n C o m m o n C o r e S t a n d a r d s a n d f o r w h a t a g e g r o u p s ? 2 . W h e r e is t h e r e r o o m f o r i m p r o v e m e n t ? W h a t g e t s l e f t o u t ? I s t h e r e a n y t h i n g c o u n te r - p r o d u c t i v e a b o u t t h e p r o g r a m s t r u c t u r e ? 3 . W o u l d t h i s p r o g r a m b e a u s e f u l t o o l t o t h o s e o f y o u w h o a r e t e a c h e r s ? H o w d o e s i t , o r c o u l d i t b e a d a p t e d , t o s u it y o u r s t u d e n t ’ s a g e g r o u p a n d t h e C o m m o n C o r e 4 . H o w w o u l d y o u i n c o r p o r a te s ta n d a r d s n o t r e a c h e d b y th e e x i s ti n g p r o g r a m ? 5 . W h e r e d o e s it f it i n t h e c u r r i c u l u m c a l e n d a r f o r e a c h g r a d e ? 6 . O n c e d e v e l o p e d , w h a t i s th e b e s t w a y t o g e t t h e s e p r o g r a m s i n t o t h e h a n d s o f t e a c h e r s ? C o n t a c t t e a c h e r te a m s ? P r i n c i p a l s ? 7 . D o y o u s e e it b e i n g u s e d a s a c r o s s d i s c i p l i n a r y t o o l ( l a n g u a g e a r t s , s o c ia l s t u d i e s ) ? S c i e n c e a n d te c h n o l o g y ? M a t h ? Discussion Questions:
  • 1 . W h a t’ s w o r k i n g ? H o w d o e s t h e p r o g r a m a l r e a d y t o u c h u p o n C o m m o n C o r e S t a n d a r d s a n d f o r w h a t a g e g r o u p s ? 2 . W h e r e is t h e r e r o o m f o r i m p r o v e m e n t ? W h a t g e t s l e f t o u t ? I s t h e r e a n y t h i n g c o u n te r - p r o d u c t i v e a b o u t t h e p r o g r a m s t r u c t u r e ? 3 . W o u l d t h i s p r o g r a m b e a u s e f u l t o o l t o t h o s e o f y o u w h o a r e t e a c h e r s ? H o w d o e s i t , o r c o u l d i t b e a d a p t e d , t o s u it y o u r s t u d e n t ’ s a g e g r o u p a n d t h e C o m m o n C o r e 4 . H o w w o u l d y o u i n c o r p o r a te s ta n d a r d s n o t r e a c h e d b y th e e x i s ti n g p r o g r a m ? 5 . W h e r e d o e s it f it i n t h e c u r r i c u l u m c a l e n d a r f o r e a c h g r a d e ? 6 . O n c e d e v e l o p e d , w h a t i s th e b e s t w a y t o g e t t h e s e p r o g r a m s i n t o t h e h a n d s o f t e a c h e r s ? C o n t a c t t e a c h e r te a m s ? P r i n c i p a l s ? 7 . D o y o u s e e it b e i n g u s e d a s a c r o s s d i s c i p l i n a r y t o o l ( l a n g u a g e a r t s , s o c ia l s t u d i e s ) ? S c i e n c e a n d te c h n o l o g y ? M a t h ? Discussion Questions: