Window On Your Past

Teacher Workshops

Between 1994 and 2004 many of the lessons found under Educational Resources were presented at The Bostonian Society Teaching Boston History Workshops: Boston in the Industrial Revolution, the Lowell Conferences on Women’s History, the Melrose, MA Summer Institute,  the North England Regional Conferences for the Social Studies, and the Worcester Alliance for Education.

1998-1999 “Opening Your Classroom Window to 19th Century America”, a Massachusetts Department of Education Goals 2000 Professional Grant for Teachers. 1998 DOE icon The course provided a unique balance of pedagogy, academic content and field trips into community resources.  It not only lifted “the sash to open the window to the 19th century”, but mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically allowed participants “to climb through into another time” with our students.  Complex thinking skills grew using an interdisciplinary focus including the art, literature, history, music, economics, architecture, government, geography and religion of the 19th century–an era of great change and contrasts that influence how we live today.  It’s more that teaching about the Civil War!

One of the greatest challenges for classroom teachers is to actively involve each student in gaining new knowledge and skills in a way that it will become part of their lives.  This energy and creativity must occur within each teacher’s busy life in addition to the usual work of the average teacher.  Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923),19th century French actress, once said,

Life begets life.  Energy creates energy.  

It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

In that spirit the “Opening Your Classroom Window to 19th Century America” Course was written and won a $25,000 DOE grant to facilitate stimulating adventure to benefit our students.  The course would offer participants:

  • time to review the context of the materials participants would teach.
  • time to explore community resources to enhance the teaching of local history.
  • time to create, test and evaluate lessons.
  • support and feedback from recognized leader in teaching and history.
  • a $1000 stipend, supported in part by each district, that shows the teacher they are valued as a professional.
  • six graduate credits from Assumption College for $1000.
  • ninety Professional Development Points through Auburn Public Schools.

1998 Auburn New article

1998 Auburn New article2.jpeg


Review of successful course

Lessons created by participants

            Moran’s unit created for this grant was Auburn, Massachusetts Women Enter the Public Sphere in 19th Century“.

1999 Suzette Dowd, Debra Marchand, Fiona Vessio Grade 4 Whaling Unit
Grade 4 Whaling Unit
Suzette Dowd, Debra Marchand, Fiona Vessio
1999 Russ Anderson Ye Olde Workshoppe Lesson
Ye Olde Workshoppe Lesson
Russ Anderson









2002 Bringing Her Footsteps into the Classroom

Karen Board Moran (WWHP vice president) asks Jack Whittaker (Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor Ranger), “Sir, they say you are a woman’s rights man. Are you really willing to give up your power to the fairer sex?”

Twenty educators from across Worcester County gathered at the Worcester Public Library on February 6 for a rehearsal of the Heritage Trail slide show, a field trip to the new library, and an introduction to the resources of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester Historical Museum and Preservation Worcester. The mission for Professional Development Points was to follow the footsteps of women in their community’s past and develop a lesson for their
students in the present. These lessons were shared at the follow-up meeting
at the Alliance for Education on March 6.  Their work is featured at this link.


2003 August 11-15 Classroom Paths to Impressionism Teacher Workshop, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA.

Metcalf, Willard Prelude, 1909
Prelude by Willard Metcalf, 1909

To prepare classroom teachers for the 5 October 2003 opening of “Paths to Impressionism” at the Worcester Art Museum a workshop was offered.  This workshop explored the world that gave birth to the Impressionists.  Classroom teachers immersed themselves in the social history, art, literature and environment of the Impressionists to share with their students. The institute balanced pedagogy and academic content under the mentorship of a practicing classroom teacher and academic experts who provided content-rich and learner-centered experiences aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, such as an au plein air painting session and interactive gallery visits.  Professional Development Points were given to teachers who created a specific lesson for their class by the end of the institute.   A comprehensive research paper based on the student’s curiosity and interests was submitted to earn college credit.  All participants received a copies of the lesson plans and research papers to help them incorporate art into their classrooms.

Monday           “Time and Place”

9-12  Welcome and introductions

Guidelines for lesson plan and graduate papers

Draw Artists for Thursday lunch

Karen Board Moran, historian and consultant with Burbank Educators:Historic Overview

Lunch break (decide how group wishes to use hour break)

1-4   Introduction to WAM library

Teaching models in social studies and math

Homework:     Readings for Thursday class and research assigned artist

Tuesday          “Impulses of Color, Light and Texture”

9-12     Dr. Elizabeth Johns, guest curator from Holy Cross: overview of Impressionism with gallery visit

12-4     “Light” lunch – brown bags in Institute Park

Au plein air painting session with George Hancin, painter and educator in Institute Park.

Wednesday     “Within the Cosmos”

9-12     Doug Kimball, guest environmentalist from Massachusetts Audubon Society

Lunch –half hour brown bags in courtyard or hour break

1-2:30  Sketch Pads to Launch Pads

Gallery science scavenger hunt

2:30-4  Research time in library

Role-playing assistance

Thursday         “Words of Color and Light”

9-12     Dr. Loren Hoekzema, guest lecturer from WPI on literature

Café Lunch with the “artists” (role playing and potluck dishes in style of their artist)

1-2       Post-it Lesson: creating word pictures in the gallery

2-3       Research time in library

Friday              “Leading Your Students Down the Path”

9-12     Lesson development time

12-3     French picnic during sharing (bring fruit, cheese, bread or wine to share)

Connecting the Paths to your classroom:  Sharing our classroom ideas.

A final copy of the lesson must be sent to Karen by Monday, August 18.

College credit papers must be sent to Karen by Monday, August 25.

Artist Timeline


Helpful worksheets when visiting art museums:

Compare American landscape paintings

Environment Scavenger Hunt

Nature’s poetic message in paintings

Senses Scavenger Hunt  

Timeline Shuffle




Sandrof, 1965 p. 75
Early Sutton Common
Sandrof, ivan. Massachusetts Towns: An 1840 View.
Barre, MA: Barre Publishers,1965, 75.

2003 August 25-26 and October 14 Classroom Connections to Sutton 300, Sutton Public Schools, Sutton, MA.

This “Teaching Through a Local Lens” workshop is a model of how to open your classroom curriculum to teach a variety of disciplines connecting educators to local resources.  It was created to encourage students to be engaged in Sutton 300, a celebration of Sutton’s 300 year history throughout 2004.  Teachers worked in teams or individually to shape their new found knowledge of the community into “Hands-on, Minds-on” lessons or units aligned to the Massachusetts Frameworks to be used within the Sutton Public Schools.   History is not the only link between the 21st century and the local spirits.

Consider links to what you are already teaching to help your students become aware of the complex multiple levels of human life:

                                             P government, laws, leaders

                                             E agriculture, industry, commerce, craftsmen

                                             R religion

                                             S fashion, fads, manners–as well as ethnic groups settling her and those who were pushed out

                                              I educational system, libraries, scientific discoveries and inventions

                                             A music, art, architecture, literature

2002 1-3 Pick a Character RITA as reenactor Millbury-Sutton Chronicle
“Pick a Character”. Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, 3 January 2002 (12).

The method the teacher chooses to engage their students’ minds and bodies depend on the instructor’s teaching style and comfort level, but it also requires a body of knowledge–content.  Consider student role-playing, painting student designed murals, student written and produced plays or musicals, student field research and share their finds with the community, student created web site museum and stories, student created period newspapers, student gathered oral histories, hold a biography fair where students meet in character, student designed tour maps, take field trips, student created videos (broadcasts from the past), use primary resources in the classroom, student created timelines linking local to global events…the list is as long as our imagination allows!  A personal favorite is having students research local historic characters and then meet each other in character at the local tavern for cider and cornbread.


Additional Sutton resources connected with Lucy Waters Phelps.

Blackstone River Watershed Association Map.

Sutton”, Massachusetts Weekly Spy, 1874 February 13.  Found at the American Antiquarian Society.

Sutton and surrounds map from Peter Whitney’s Worcester County: American’s First Frontier, 1793 Worcester: Isaiah Thomas Books & Prints, 1983.  At Sutton Public Library.

Sutton, MA 1795 Map.  Sutton 1976. Sutton, MA: Sutton Bicentennial Committee, 1976.  At Sutton Public Library.

Sutton, MA 1976 Map.  Sutton 1976. Sutton, MA: Sutton Bicentennial Committee, 1976.  At Sutton Public Library.

Sutton Spirits to research and  reenact.  Compiled by Karen Board Moran, 2002.


Lessons created by the workshop participants for Sutton Public Schools:

2nd grade “Activity Book for Primary Children for the 300th Anniversary Celebration of Sutton” by Debbie Metzger, Bev MacCollom, Denise Johnson, Janet DellaRocco

3rd grade “Back ground readings on Nipmucs and European Explorers and Settlers” by Judy Rutelonis

3rd grade “Creating a Welcome to Sutton Brochure” by Sue Boudreau

4th grade “Sharing 12 Sites along the Walking Tour of Sutton Center as a PowerPoint presentation, a brochure  or a poster” by Denise Harrison, Kevin Keefe, Karrie Perry, Kari Raffa, Nicole Robbins

5th grade “Student Historians create group authored books, A-Z picture books and individual biographies of people who grew up in Sutton” by Linda Sweeney, Beth Watts, Patrick Westfall

5th grade “Doorways to Sutton 2004: A Celebration of our Local History” by Ann Junnila and student teacher Alana LeClaire.  The focus is printmaking with Soft-Kut Lino involving history, art and architecture based on the doorways and facades of homes in Sutton Center and links to Isaiah Thomas and the first printing press .  Thomas’ paper used to print the Massachusetts Spy  was made at Crooked Pond (Lake Singletary) in Sutton, MA.

6th grade “Discovering How the Past Meets the Present in Sutton” by Hillary Ellingson, Pam Krygsman, Eileen Mitchell.  Students will research a famous historical person and create a personal “historical journal of their discoveries before sharing their new knowledge in an oral report with a poster or PowerPoint presentation.

7th grade “Cooperative Learning Project: Creating a Sutton Historical Newspaper” by Lorraine Bachand, Barbara Chapulis.  Newspapers will be created for 1700-1750, 1750-1800, 1800-1870, 1870-1930 after completing research.  Students will also assume the identity of one of the historic characters in their research and perform a 5-7 minutes presentation.  Costumes are encouraged.

8th grade “Narrative Based on the Blackstone River Unit” by Jeneen Moran, Steve Romasco.  Students will write a paragraph a day for June 1-7, 1825 in their journals relating events of a typical week incorporating at least 10 facts  they have learned about life in the Blackstone River Valley.  The class will read two assigned chapters of Gerald Tesch’s Never the Same Again and share their summaries and illustrations.

8th grade “Pen & Ink  Study of Sutton’s Local Historical Buildings Using Quill Pens” by Ann Junnila and student teacher Alana LeClaire.