1. Description of Our Community
Salem is a historic, culturally diverse, urban city thirty minutes north of Boston on the North Shore. Probably best known for the witch trials, Salem has struggled to overcome this negative image. A city of many firsts (first candy store, first elephant in North America, etc.), Salem is also home to the world famous Peabody Essex Museum, one of the oldest museums in America and Pioneer Village, the oldest living museum. It is also the site where Alexander Graham Bell first introduced the telephone, the site where Kodak launched its camera industry, and where Parker Brothers created and produced the game Monopoly. Salem is also the home of Saltontall School, the first year round public school in New England. Saltonstall is a pre-K-5 school which utilizes Howard Gardner's Theory of Muliple Intelligences in it's multi-age classrooms.
2. Summary of Our Project
Salem has a wonderful curriculum that teaches about this historical city. Many historical sites offer outreach to the public schools here. For example, Salem Trolley offers free trips for classrooms. Pioneer Village, the Maritime Museum and the House of Seven Gables offer free admission for children in Salem. The Peabody Essex Museum is a Saltonstall School business partner. Jim Mc Allister and other local historians have shared their heartfelt oral histories which have inspired us to become storytellers ourselves and make these experiences come alive for others. Take a journey with our time travelers as they explore firsthand the amazing, but true, historic past of Salem. Imagine yourself in 1620 living in a dugout. Meet some of the people involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Explore the House of Seven Gables and find out Nathaniel Hathorne's real name. Set sail on the "Friendship" during the great Spice Trade and find out the shocking truth about Salem Stew. Discover the beautiful artifacts and architecture at the Peabody Essex Museum.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
We decided to enter the Cyberfair in January, which only gave us two months to plan and create our web site masterpiece. Time was an issue for us throughout this process. Then the flu hit us hard and there were many kids out as well as teachers and let's not forget February vacation! The next thing that was a bit of a challenge was the vast topic of Salem. It is part of our 2/3 curriculum. However, to break it up into areas that would make sense for each class took some time. We also have six 2/3 classes at the Saltonstall and all the classes have approximately 23 students. We had to make sure that each child had a job and was motivated to work. Then we found that one of our destinations, Pioneer Village, was closed for the season. Another, the Peabody Essex Museum, was getting ready to close for renovations making a visit there a scheduling issue for us as well as for the museum staff. Fortunately they were able to accommodate our research teams and we were able to visit the museum before they closed. We also had technical issues. None of the children had ever used a scanner before and had to be trained on it's use. They also had to be trained on the use of the digital cameras. We quickly realized that we needed extra equipment to accommodate the needs of six classrooms. Luckily, we were able to borrow another scanner and camera. Although each of our classes meets weekly in the lab with the Integration Specialist, we needed more of her time. This impacted the whole school community as the lab schedule was adjusted for our benefit. Getting the project on the web was an entirely different problem. Our Integration Specialist has limited web experience. She needed to go to the wider school community for assistance in designing the pages and adding the special touches. We also had to make sure that the high school server, which hosts our web site, would be able to handle the CyberFair pages.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
For generations people around the world have recognized the city of Salem, Massachusetts as the site of the horrific witch trials of 1692. However, we have discovered that our hometown is much more than that. It is the site of a rich, diverse, golden past that changed the history of the world. The Salem Witch Trials made our city famous, but the Salem maritime trade made the city what it is today. Travel with us through time to explore this great city.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Students used their eight intelligences to complete this project and met the following requirements for 3rd grade curriculum in History/Geography, Civics and Government, and Economics : 3.8 Locate your hometown and local geographical features. 3.9 Identify historic buildings, monuments, and sites and explain their purpose and significance. 3.11 Identify different groups that have settled there. 3.12 Draw on the services of local museums to explain how artifacts of the past tell about how people lived. 3.13 Give examples of goods and services provided by the community. In addition to the Technology and Social Science Standards required by the state, our students have met many of the English Language Arts Standards through this project. In the Composition Strand, students are required to gather information from a variety of sources and use it to answer their own questions (learning standard 24). Much of this was done in preparation for field trips and interviews. While doing the actual writing, our students were learning and using The Writing Process (learning standards 19- writing, 20-consideration of audience and purpose, 21- revising, 22- standard English conventions and 23- organizing ideas in writing. Within these same frameworks there is a Media Strand. Our students actively worked on Analysis of Media (learning standard 26) and Media Production (standard 27). In the Language Strand of our frameworks, students participated in discussions, posing questions and ideas in groups and in interviews in order to acquire new knowledge (standards 1 & 2). Required in the Reading and Literature Strand, our students read nonfiction informational materials. They used this information to support their understanding (standard 13). Although the difficulty of this endeavor was compounded by the high level of materials available about our city, our students learned to scan and search for needed information.
1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?
We used 30 imac computers in the computer lab, digital cameras, scanners, telephones, teleconferencing, the library, books, newspaper articles, the internet, museums and oral interviews. These tools helped us research our topics and present them in quality ways. Most of our tools were available to us here at school. Our most valuable tools were the computers, scanners, and interviews. The interviews helped the history come alive for us and made it more "real" for the students.
2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
Our social studies curriculum theme for the year is the history of Salem. We felt that the CyberFair would be a great vehicle to teach Salem’s rich history to our students. The children are very proud of their city and wanted to share the events of the past as well as its bright future. This was a nice opportunity to let the world know that historic Salem is much more than the witch trials.
The students set out to learn about the city through class field trips, small group outings, guest speakers and even a phone interview with the mayor of Salem, Stanley Usovicz. The children learned the importance of being ambassadors. They also learned to formulate important questions and represent their school in a positive manner.
There were many people from the community that our students turned to for this project. The Peabody Essex Museum was a great resource. With the help of Ellen Soares, the museum’s Educational Director, our classes were provided with handouts, a special interview with the architect from Turner Construction, and time to explore the museum before it closed for renovations. Jim McAllistar, the Salem town historian, was extremely helpful to several of the classes. He visited and shared his knowledge and research with them. Chris Tremblay of the House of Seven Gables also visited Saltonstall to assist classes with this project. The Reverend James Barz-Snell, of the First Church of Salem, came in to visit and share his knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials. There were also many parents behind the scenes who assisted. We would like to thank them and give special thanks to Merrill Kohlholfer for his expertise and knowledge of Salem.
It is the children’s hope that their website will help them continue to be ambassadors for the City of Salem. They hope that visitors who visit the website will be excited about the historic places of Salem and will want to learn more.
3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
In creating our website about historic Salem, it is our hope that the community will gain a broader view of the changes our city has undergone through the 377 years of its existence. By offering our website to the community, we are not only offering a valuable resource, but a positive and comprehensive outlook on our city’s rich and varied past. We are looking forward to having our website added as a link to the city’s official site so that adults and children from all over the world will be able to share with us our love for the City of Salem.
4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
There were many people from the community that our students turned to for this project. The Peabody Essex Museum was a great resource. With the help of Ellen Soares, the museum’s Educational Director, our classes were provided with handouts, a special interview with the architect from Turner Construction, and time to explore the museum before it closed for renovations. Jim McAllistar, the Salem town historian, was extremely helpful to several of the classes. He visited and shared his knowledge and research with them. Chris Tremblay of the House of Seven Gables also visited Saltonstall to assist classes with this project. The Reverend James Barz-Snell, of the First Church of Salem, came in to visit to share his knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials. There were also many parents behind the scenes who assisted. We would like to thank them and give special thanks to Merrill Kohlholfer for his expertise and knowledge of Salem. Mayor Stanley Usovicz provided a phone interview, giving his views of the city. The Witch Museum also sent us brochures and information.
5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)
The students were surprised at how interesting and fun history can be. We discovered that truth really is sometimes stranger than fiction! We now know that Salem is more than just witches. We discovered the beauty (and necessity) of editing! Cindy Hatcher, our computer teacher discovered that 2/3 students can be excellent scanners. We discovered how willing people in the community were to share their stories with us.
View our CyberFair Project
(Project ID: 2364)