Publishing the history & culture
of Southeastern New England  •  Since 1981


History Spoken Here, Vol. I

Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council

History Spoken Here is a local history curriculum for middle or high school students in which students and teachers learn community history through participation in the process of creating community history. Students are asked to interview a family member, guardian, or elderly friend, and are guided by methods developed by Spinner staff, school administrators, and teachers. Students learn how to transcribe and edit the interview into a concise oral history document. In the process, they make a personal connection between their own heritage, their physical environment, and the community. As they develop their own verbal and nonverbal communication skills, the preparation of their work for publication develops their literary, artistic and organizational skills. The project stresses experiential learning techniques or “learning by doing,” and the end product is creation of a magazine entitled History Spoken Here, which will be distributed publicly and commercially throughout the region.

The curriculum includes taking a series of field trips to the workplace; several multi-media classroom presentations on local history; and interaction with guests from the community who come to the classroom to be interviewed. Also, a series of teacher workshops are planned where staff, administrators and teachers can organize classroom activities and review techniques.

History Spoken Here is a compilation of the students’ work, illustrated with images collected or created by the students, and designed and manufactured during class. Students learn how to build a publication, immersing themselves in the disciplines of the visual arts and electronic imaging, and make tough editorial decisions on content, design, artwork and photography.

In the classroom, Spinner staff and the teachers complement what students are learning firsthand. A multi-media presentation on New Bedford’s cultural history informs students about the people who have built their city, its industries and institutions, and how individuals are related to that process. They see how the population evolved into the diverse ethnic makeup that exists today, and how different cultures have shaped our lives, individually and collectively. Students discover the part of history which is closest to them—family, the neighborhood, immigration, working, and growing up—and realize their connection to it. They learn that history is not just something that happens at a distance, or in a bygone era, but is shaped everyday by the lives of individuals, including themselves.   continued . . .

Volume I by 7th & 8th graders, New Bedford Public Schools

ISBN 978-0932027- (paper)  Digital Copies Only
8.5” x 11” • Pub. 1988