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Historical Research and Writing Seminar for Middle and High School Teachers

  • Museum of Old Newbury 98 High Street Newburyport, MA, 01950 United States (map)
 Lia Swiniarski, Governor's Academy class of 2017, presenting her research paper to the MOON about Masonic influence on the Constitution of the U.S.

Lia Swiniarski, Governor's Academy class of 2017, presenting her research paper to the MOON about Masonic influence on the Constitution of the U.S.

This half-day educators’ symposium will explore the relevance and educational benefits of primary historical research for middle and high school students.  The day's three sessions offer perspectives from teachers, students, and museum professionals about the value of historical research and writing, as well as practical tips for how to implement a research project in your classroom.

A registration fee of $75 covers session costs and a catered luncheon.  Participants will receive a certificate of attendance at the conclusion of the seminar.

Schedule at a Glance:

9:00-10:15 am – Research & Writing Skills Need Teaching
10:15-10:30 am – coffee/tea break
10:30-11:15 am – Prospecting in Our Attics & Backyards: The Educational Riches of Local History
11:15-noon – Treasures of the MOON & Beyond: Archived Resources Awaiting Discovery
noon-1:00 pm – catered luncheon
1:00-2:00 pm – docent-guided tours of the MOON (optional)

Session Descriptions

Research and Writing Skills Need Teaching
9:00-10:15am

Research papers by middle & high school students have become endangered by their demands on teachers’ time, by resource constraints while demands on schools are expanding, by the rising tide of standards-based education, and by the facility of digital technology. So marginalized are they that their vitality in American schools hasn’t been measured since 2002, when a nationwide survey found that 62% of high school history teachers didn’t assign papers longer than 3,000 words (and 81% assigned nothing longer than 5,000 words), even though 95% of them said that research papers are important.

 Will Fitzhugh, founding publisher of  The Concord Review

Will Fitzhugh, founding publisher of The Concord Review

Will Fitzhugh explains why research papers remain important to children’s learning and why teachers should consider such assignments and lengthening them. Fitzhugh is the founding publisher of The Concord Review, for 30 years the only quarterly journal in the world to publish the research papers of high school students. Several of those students, now at Harvard College, will testify to the value of their research and writing in high school.

Prospecting in Our Attics and Backyards: The Educational Riches of Local History
10:30-11:15am

 Bill Quigley, history teacher and director of the Writing Center at the Governor's Academy

Bill Quigley, history teacher and director of the Writing Center at the Governor's Academy

Bill Quigley, history teacher & director of the Writing Center at The Governor’s Academy (Byfield, MA), speaks about merits of the research paper in his own 30-year teaching experience. Quigley will present exemplary papers on local histories by some of his students, focusing on the unusual learning opportunities that local subjects present for working with original sources and for studying subjects that have been barely examined, if at all. Quigley’s book on the American Civil War, Pure Heart: The Faith of a Father and Son in the War for a More Perfect Union (Kent State U. Press, 2016), received honorable mention in the 2016 INDIES Awards for adult nonfiction concerning war & the military.

Treasures of the MOON and Beyond: Archived Resources Awaiting Discovery
11:15-noon

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Susan C.S. Edwards, Executive Director of the Museum of Old Newbury (MOON), and Sharon Spieldenner, archivist at the Newburyport Public Library and the MOON, speak about the wealth of repositories of local histories available to teachers and students.

Susan C.S. Edwards, Executive Director of the Museum of Old Newbury

Catered Luncheon
Noon-1:00pm

Enjoy a catered meal with other seminar participants and speakers--a wonderful opportunity to swap stories and brainstorm ideas with fellow educators!

Docent-Led Tour of the Museum of Old Newbury (optional)
1:00-2:00pm

Learn about Newburyport's history and the Museum of Old Newbury's resources from experienced docents.

Seminar sponsored in part by the Institution for Savings.