Overview of Archives Project
Putting Yourself Into History
Students examine their own huistory and the history of “pioneers” in their community.
Note: Each of the following activities is a unit. Each may be used on its own or in conjunction with others. All together they make a strong statement for our students about their place in a continuum of human life and activity: our collective history.
Note: the starred items make use of the Salt Spring Archives website at www.saltspringarchives.ca
*1. Timelines- Students can begin to put themselves into history by constructing three timelines: 1. a timeline of their life 2. a timeline of the history of their community, including native history and early settlers 3. a timeline of the history of the world.
Timelines are devices which integrate math and research skills. In order to make a timeline students must learn graphing skills since each increment on the line will represent a certain number of years. Choosing the information for the line means researching, with family and in the community, the main events in the life of the student, the community and the world and making choices about the most important items to be included on the line.
*2. Family tree- Students are curious about their family roots.
When they produce a visual representation of their connections to people and
places in other parts of the world they are often impressed with the interconnectedness
of themselves and others on the ‘small’ planet we live on. They
can be open to other cultures of the world on a less superficial, more inclusive
level. By the end of this unit students may also have had more personal contact
with their own family members as they search for relevant information.
After making their own family tree students will use the Slt Spring archive site to research the family tree of one of the following Salt Spring settlers: Reverend Wilson, Bittancourt, Ruckle.
*3. Interviewing older people in the area- Students make a connection with an elderly resident of the area and, over the course of the school year, or at least a few months, they write down a previously oral history together. This integrated project involves social skills as well as research and writing. Students and their subjects check the archives website to add to the information recalled by the elder. Students can also add to their community timeline after these discussions. The results of the interviews are published in a limited edition book involving photos and drawings and comments by the students and elderly people, in the Foxfire tradition.
*4. Mapping- Older maps of the area are interesting way to show change over time. As well, learning how to read maps is an important skill. Understanding a little about perspective suggests how challenging it is to make a map in the first place. In this unit we look at older and newer maps of our community.
5. Biking- In our rural setting, and with school bus costs
at a premium, biking is one way to get students around at a low cost. The bonus
of having them be exercing outside makes the event an even more valuable, integrated
experience. Thus biking becomes not only an activity on its own but a tool to
assist in transpotation. Of course this will depend on your setting and the
The unit on biking involves talking with the local biking group and the RCMP about biking laws, procedures, accidents and successes; research about the physics (mechanical advantage) of the bicycle; and learning basic bike repair.
*6. Graveyard research-
a) For Students and teachers on Salt Spring: After obtaining permission from churches whose graveyards you will visit, students bike (or bus or carpool) to the graveyards in search of a variety of information including: causes of death, ages of early people, earliest contact with the native land, interesting inscriptions, and information to confirm (or deny) the research they have previously done on the community timeline. Back in the school they check the Saltspring archives website for additional information. If possible this research could be compiled and submitted to the website.
Students will also do a grave rubbing with charcoal.
b) For students and teachers from out of the area: Using the Salt Spring Island
archives website students can do the same research as above. Internet research
could also possibly be submitted to the website so the site becomes and interactive
*7. Dramatization of an early scene- Either do the obvious development of a scene or do a ‘playbuilding’ series of activities to help students develop a small skit or play, a culmianating activity for this unit.