Ms. Heather Travels to Lexington and Concord
Swannanoa, NC August 30, 2015 — After completing her first year as ArtSpace’s 5th grade language arts and social studies teacher Ms. Heather journeyed to Massachusetts for a workshop that focused on the beginning of the American Revolution. Ms. Heather and I recently took some time to talk about this fantastic experience and how it came to happen.
Erin: What was the workshop you attended and who hosted it?
Heather: I attended a workshop in Concord, Massachusetts called “At the Crossroads of a Revolution”. It was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of their Landmarks series, and hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society. Over 200 people applied, and I was honored to be one of about 60 that were chosen. The workshop focused around April 19, 1775, the night Paul Revere made his famous ride from Boston to Lexington and Concord to warn the Minutemen and the Sons of Liberty that the Redcoats had left Boston by land to seize weapons and other provisions.
Statue of Paul Revere
Erin: How did you find out about the workshop?
Heather: Well, Ms. Lori did a NEH workshop in the Summer of 2014 in Mesa Verde, studying Ancient Pueblo culture, and she brought back some of that rich knowledge she gained to my 5th graders last year. She also informed the ArtSpace staff of the programs that the NEH offers each summer, and encouraged us to take a look at their offerings. I love learning, and welcome any opportunity to find quality professional development, so of course, I went to the website and made a list of all of the workshops that interested me, were related to my curriculum, and worked for my family, time-wise. I narrowed it down to the Crossroads workshop, and thankfully, was accepted!
Erin: What was the most exciting or intriguing aspect of the workshop?
The Old North Bridge
Heather: So many things!! We spent the week at various places along the Old Battle Road, the road that runs from Boston to Concord. Much of the road is preserved, so we were literally in places where soldiers marched and history was made. I would say that my favorite place was the Old North Bridge, the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War, and “the shot heard ’round the world.” I remember standing there during a moment of reflection, and just imagining what it must have been like, Minutemen on one side, Redcoats on the other, about to battle for a cause that meant so much, and changed the course of our country so greatly. Aside from the bridge, we visited many other historical landmarks and museums that really enriched the experience. I really tried to soak it all in, because it was just so interesting to me. History is definitely the most exciting subject, in my opinion- everything is a story! Speaking of stories, another really exciting aspect of visiting Concord, Massachusetts, is it is where many famous transcendentalist authors resided, including Henry David Thorough, one of my favorites. I visited Walden Pond, and the site where he lived in the woods and wrote Walden Pond! We also spent a day in Boston, which is one of my favorite cities, and I was treated to a real Italian cannoli from Mike’s Pastry Shop! Yum!!
Erin: How will you use this experience to inform your teaching in 5th grade this year?
Heather: I’m really excited to teach the Revolutionary War this year, and every year going forward, thanks to this incredible experience. Visiting landmarks gives you a new perspective and appreciation for events marked in history, and I hope to be able to share that enthusiasm and deeper knowledge and understanding with my 5th graders. I took millions of pictures, and many videos, so that will help to inform my teaching, and collaborating with other 5th grade teachers from around the country definitely inspired me as well. I look forward to relaying what I learned through arts-integration and collaboration with my teaching partner, as well as our Arts Integration Team!
ArtSpace Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school serving approximately 400 elementary and middle school students in the Asheville and Buncombe County areas of North Carolina. The ArtSpace vision is to be “a national benchmark in educational excellence through integration of the arts.”