An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by James Nau, Upper School history teacher

Students in my A Cultural History of Seattle class recently finished working in pairs to create learning modules on different time periods in Seattle history.

The project was designed and launched before going to remote learning, and the intention was that students, in pairs, would actually lead a 45-minute class period in structured activities about their topic. Once we went to remote learning, there was an opportunity for students to explore the forms of digital content-delivery and discussion that were available to them. Additionally, since we started with the asynchronous-only approach, they had to get creative with how to structure a student-centered discussion. Ultimately, though, these discussions were just moved into our synchronous class meetings. 

Each finished module is made up of an assigned reading from “Native Seattle(our course book), a series of video presentations totaling 15-20 minutes with an accompanying handout for guided notetaking, and a primary source with a prompt for discussion during our synchronous class time.

Now, with the projects complete, the class has built a comprehensive chronology of the history of Seattle, with a special focus on the experience of different demographic communities’ experiences of that story. The students were excited to wrap up the unit by hosting “Native Seattle” author Coll Thrush for a lively class discussion.