American Studies

Welcome to Mr. Sullivan’s American Studies Course at Suffield Academy.  Because we are an English IV elective, we’ll follow these general guidelines. 

In the spirit of the Sophomore Leadership service-learning project, the American Studies class challenges students to collaborate on an investigation of a local history mystery and then make a public presentation on what they learned and how they learned it.

This Year’s Investigation: Freedom, Slavery, and the Complexities of 1774

In response to the Boston Tea Party (1773), Parliament drafted the the Coercive Acts in 1774, and residents throughout the thirteen colonies protested these acts in various ways. For instance, in the western town of Sheffield, Massachusetts, Colonel Ashley hosted citizens at his house, and that group composed the Sheffield Resolves. Interestingly, one of his slaves, Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mum Bett, was inspired by these conversations of protest and later sued successfully for her own freedom, Brom and Bett v. Ashley (1781). What happened in your Connecticut town during the pivotal year of 1774? What part of the population supported the growing patriot cause in Boston? What portion of citizens accepted the dictates of the British Parliament and refused to petition King George III? Who was neutral? The year 1774 also marked the highest recorded number of Africans in Connecticut, 6,464. What effect did these turbulent times have on enslaved Africans? Beginning with an excellent primary source document, such as the Colony of Connecticut Census, find the number of Africans who lived in your town and start investigating.

Sheffield_Declaration_in_Massachusetts_Spy

Sheffield Resolves

 
Bill Sullivan’s American Studies class, which is a winter/spring trimesters project-based learning elective to seniors, will share everything they learn about the year 1774 in Suffield on this blog and invite other Connecticut students to do the same about their town! Let’s together create Connecticut history on this great collaborative platform (blog) and “do original” history story about the the complex topics of freedom and slavery during this important year in American history. And like all great history projects, we should focus our general question about slavery, freedom, and the complexities onto one primary source that we will serve our local and regional aims simultaneously, The Colony of Connecticut Census of 1774.

Mumbett70

Mumbett

Click on the Colony of Connecticut Census from 1774, pp. 484-492. Look up your town and begin investigating. https://archive.org/stream/publicrecordsofc014conn#page/492/mode/2up There will be more information about project-based learning as well as important primary source investigating tips.

#PBL Mantra: Share what you learn and show how you learned it.

The Suffield Academy American Studies class will present their findings at the April meeting of the Suffield Historical Society. Our students may also help other CAIS schools consider what is the best format in their respective communities to share their important community information. Interestingly, once students get deeply involved into “doing” this important history, they will also understand how this is an important type of “service” learning.

Digital platforms for Suffield Academy students and #CAISCT #PBL Colleagues.

Along with adding important content to our CAIS PBL blog, students can also add to this important information to these sites:

Wikipedia List of slaves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_slaves
Add and curate more content on this page, History of slavery in Connecticut: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery_in_Connecticut
Radical Cartography: http://www.radicalcartography.net/index.html?slavery_north

#PBL Field Trip and Resources

Ashley House & Sheffield Historical Society: this exhibit might be a good place for #CAISCT teachers to meet for summer inspiration; likewise, visiting the exhibit and viewing the Ashley House would be equally inspiring for #PBL investigators (students). Here’s a link to a story from the Albany Public Radio station, WAMC, that highlights the impact of the Sheffield Resolves; we should also find out if the exhibit will still be on display after early September dates and accessible for a school group: http://wamc.org/post/exhibit-resolves-sheffield-s-role-history#stream/0
Stay tune for more!

Texts:

    • Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo

Types of Assessments:

Week One

  • Field Trip: Walking tour of African American Sites in Suffield
  • Read and process Warshauer’s chapter one;
  • Read Prologue and Chapter One of Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs;
  • Establish Google Docs, WordPress and other accounts.

Week Two

  • Process Chapter I, II of Slavery in Connecticut Valley;
  • Visit Gay Manse and document text and images;
  • Make personal writing goals for the term;
  • Explore techniques to make our map as Professor did in his text;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • Choose a document and write a small DBQ;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Three & Four

  • Process Chapter III & parts of IV of Slavery in Connecticut Valley;
  • Read and process Warshauer’s chapter two;
  • Plan other field trips for the winter term;
  • Amass images for our future documentary in class Flickr account;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • Choose a document and write a small DBQ;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html
  • View a Ken Burns documentary over the break.

Week Five

  • As Chapter IV the longest and most important, process the rest of Chapter of IV of Slavery in Connecticut Valley;
  • Touch base on field trip planning for the winter term;
  • Amass images for our future documentary in class Flickr account;
  • Work on story board for I-Movie;
  • Choose a document and write a small DBQ;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Six

  • Chapters VI & VII of Slavery in Connecticut Valley;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft outline of I-Movie in text;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Seven

  • Chapters VIII, IX, X of Slavery in Connecticut Valley;
  • Read the narrative of Venture Smith;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Eight

  • Touch base on field trip planning for the winter term;
  • Chapter 1-2 of Complicity;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text;
  • Make final drafts of certain core pages of script and prepare to record;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Nine

  • Chapter 3-4 of Complicity;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text; visit recording studio to record final drafts;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Ten

  • Touch base on field trip planning for the winter and spring term;
  • Chapter 5-6 of Complicity;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text; visit recording studio to record final drafts;
  • Work on transcribing our slavery documents from the town’s archives;
  • View parts of Africans in America: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html

Week Eleven

  • Wrap up field trip planning for the winter term and look ahead to spring term;
  • Chapter 7-8 of Complicity;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text; visit recording studio to record final drafts;
  • Work on creation of our documentary in I-Movie;
  • View parts of Traces of the Trade: http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/
  • Also view other Ken Burns Documentaries for content and style.

Week Twelve

  • Chapter 9-10 of Complicity;
  • Sustain work in Flickr account;
  • Draft pages of I-Movie in text; visit recording studio to record final drafts;
  • Work on creation of our documentary in I-Movie;
  • View parts of Traces of the Trade: http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/
  • Also view other Ken Burns Documentaries for content and style;
  • Begin work on our town map that will complement our movie and our future walking tours;
  • Wrap up work in school studio;
  • Meet Winter Term Goal and completed audio and half of the movie/images our I-Movie completed;
  • View parts of Traces of the Trade: http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/
  • If you can, try to go on a walking tour somewhere over spring break.

Spring Term Goals:

  • Read and appreciate Beloved;
  • Connecticut River Valley field trips for other slave narratives;
  • Create some type of interpretive display for where Old Ti and other main street slaves labored in east woods;
  • Present our documentary at several venues in town and in our community;
  • Give Bob Romer a walking tour of Suffield;
  • Invite US History Sophomores on a walking tour.

One Response to American Studies

  1. Pingback: December 11th–Save The Date! Our Presentation at CAIS’ Too Many Tools | CT 29th Regiment, CV. Project-Based Learning, CAIS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s