Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice
7. The Rose Creek Oral History Project: Elementary Cross-Grade Social Studies Curriculum in Review
This chapter is an analysis and reflection of a two-year oral history project at Rose Creek, a suburban elementary school where I currently teach. Our school has about 1,000 students in grades K–6. In 2008, five teachers met together to see how we could utilize community knowledge in our classroom instruction. At the time, three of us were teaching third grade and two were teaching fifth grade. Third-grade social studies curriculum focuses on communities, and the fifth-grade curriculum has a focus on United States History. As teachers, our goal was to align with grade-level curricula, and we believed we could coordinate efforts to have students learn from each other and from community members in order to supplement their educational experience and increase student knowledge about historical events. While we decided to implement this oral history project as a pedagogical practice to tell detailed stories about historical events, we did not realize that the oral history project would also be a liberating pedagogical practice to make counterstories visible. This chapter will introduce the project, discuss teachers’ goals to extend students’ understanding of history through oral history practice and community knowledge building, and explore the tensions and possibilities for counterstorytelling within an elementary school history curriculum. I argue that creating a space for history allows teachers to engage in critical pedagogies by utilizing community knowledge to investigate how men, women, and children were involved in or directly affected by local, state, national, and world events.
The first year...
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