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ALERT Processes

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Teachers and community members can help young community members explore and contribute to their cultural heritage by arranging learning expeditions that include the ALERT processes.

The Heritage Project is an educational initiative that began as a partnership between the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Montana Historical Society, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Teachers work with these cultural agencies and with their communities to conduct learning expeditions that explore large and enduring questions through the medium of local knowledge.

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TeacherLore | Heritage Online (Student Writing) |
 

Writing and reading as placemaking

Each of us is reponsible for what we say—the tone and the intent as well as the prosaic content—and each of us is also responsible for what we pay attention to. We shape the world both by what we say and what we listen to.

Each of us is responsible for what we say—the tone and the intent as well as the prosaic content—and each of us is also responsible for what we listen to. The internet makes vivid the complex interplay between decisions individual persons make about their voices and the decisions others make about what to pay attention to, and the sort of places that result. On the internet, sites that get traffic grow and are imitated, while those that get no traffic dwindle away.

The world has always worked that way. Different communities practice different virtues, have different characters, and move toward different destinies. These differences are created by the things people think and say, and the actions that follow. At the same time, the things people think and say are influenced by what the community around them seems to approve or disapprove.

What we pay attention to grows. What we ignore dwindles. It’s how we make worlds.

I think it would be good if writing teachers kept pointing out to young people that through what we write about (and talk about and think about) we are constantly participating in a process of self-creation, that the outcome of this process is not predetermined (we are free), and that the outcome matters a lot (things could turn out very good, but they could also turn out very, very bad).

These are practices that lead to the sorts of places I prefer:

1. Be honest (rather than merely fashionable).
2. Be accurate (reality is fabulous).
3. Be nice (most people are tender and many mistakes they make can safely be ignored).
4. Be cautious about revealing intimate details (there are bad people out there).

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 01/02 at 04:12 PM
 

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Next entry: Checklist for Students Collecting Oral Histories

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<<Home - ALERT Processes

State Heritage Projects

Support for Expeditions

Landmarks for Schools

The Digital Classroom (National Archives)

A Biography of America with Primary Documents (Annenberg)

A Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents (University of Oklahoma School of Law)

Words and Deeds in American History Chronological list of primary documents (Library of Congress)

Civics Timeline American history timeline with primary documents (National Endowment for the Humanities)

American Journeys Eyewitness accounts of historical expeditions by the Wisconsin Historical Society and National History Day

Expeditions (National Geographic)

Radio Documentaries American RadioWorks