A student and I made a whirlwind trip from Nebraska to the Annandale (Virginia) area this weekend. The purpose of our trip was to introduce student-made documentary-type films about our local community. My student presented her film along with several other students from other states. Our involvement started last year by a simple Google search! I manage to “fall into” the most amazing experiences sometimes. This was one of those experiences.
A year and a half ago, I was informed that I would not only be teaching my normal Spanish classes, but also 7th grade world history. I take my job seriously, and it sounded like fun, so I spent a lot of time looking for resources. I found the most amazing idea for a history project when I found Martha Barnes’ brainchild, American History Film Project. I was intrigued, and we spent the school year emailing about projects. Three of “my” kids participated making two short films.
Martha (I can call her that because she is now a friend!) has a true passion for history, and she encourages students (and adults) to be proud of their communities. It’s a grassroots movement to give students a voice. It’s quite empowering for them to see that others are interested in their communities when they share their films.
Martha’s brochure sums it up best: “Everyone needs to feel important as an individual, yet connected to something larger. As students learn about and take pride in their local history, the American History Film Project helps them realize their importance as members of a community, while being connected to our nation. When children across the country create a short film about the local history and share their films with children in other states, they become the teachers. There is so much to learn from one another!”
Head on over to Facebook (link below) and give Martha’s page a “like.” Share the link with your friends and family, and make plans to participate! The American History Film Project is also searching for sponsors, so if you or someone you know can help, please get in touch with Martha!