While a lot of teachers worked busily this summer bringing their classrooms up to date, Boaz High School American history teacher John Lowery has been going old school.
For Lowery, it’s the culmination of several years of stepping away from teaching out of a textbook — turning instead to primary source material to provide lessons to students, and bringing history into their hands whenever possible. That means, for example, when the students study the Constitution, they look at the real articles rather than someone’s writings about them.
Through a congressionally established “Teaching American History” grant program, teachers for several years were able to take part in extraordinary learning opportunities — travel to cities rich in historical significance for behind the scenes tours and instruction — and received a wealth of material to bring to their classrooms.
Lowery said he became involved more than 10 years ago when he was team-teaching with another Boaz High School history teacher, the late Pam Gilbreath, already involved in the TAH program.
The program brought teachers to Boston, Concord, Lexington, Mount Vernon, Monticello and Washington, D.C., and to presidential libraries for instruction. It was led by Pat Gothard, then a Madison County educator, who helped to make it well worthwhile for fellow teachers.
“On these trips you always took an empty suitcase,” Lowery said, “because you got so much material to bring home from each place.”
“It’s all part of the idea of getting out of the textbook,” he said.
And its all led Lowery to decide to turn his classroom into a colonial setting, as…
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