History and Literature Find Common Ground

“Great minds think alike,” a phrase often used for everyday use, has been put to the test by two of Wirt County High School’s dedicated teachers. While trying to make learning fun and creative Ms. Gilchrist and Ms. Collins have combined two of their classes for a new, unforgettable learning experience. All pegging the question, could the great minds of AP U.S. History and the great minds of Appalachian Literature think alike?

Ms. Gilchrist’s AP U.S. History class has been working hard all year to absorb the information required for their course. Meanwhile across the hall, Ms. Collins’ elective class spent the first semester studying Greek Mythology. With the beginning of the new semester, their course was then switched to Appalachian Literature.

The history being taught by both classes are easily related and often discuss the same details. While noticing this, Ms. Collins and Ms. Gilchrist saw the opportunity to combine classrooms and allow their students to collaborate. They ran with the idea, challenging their students with a fun, hands on experience which ended in a complete success.

The time the classrooms spent combined allowed for a much-appreciated break from the usual classroom setting while still allowing plenty of room for learning. During the term of the collaboration the students were given multiple projects, each new and creative.

First, they were given a scenario in which they were given a family, 25 acres of land, and 500 dollars. They had to decide how they would plot their homestead and farm while keeping in mind their budget and other affective details. Most student enjoyed the project and was very successful in completing a homestead that would have worked in real life.

Also, the class made and tasted homemade butter. Ms. Collins brought in some that she had already prepared, for it had to refrigerate along will rolls, cornbread and jelly. While snacking and experiencing homemade butter, for the first time for most of the students, they passed around the butter in which they were making and took turns shaking it to a complete perfection.

The last project before returning to their classrooms was a very interesting one that required both knowledge and creativity. Within partners of two, the students were given a building or an important, requirement that would have been present on their homestead and were challenged to build it out of either popsicle sticks or linking logs. They are all now out on display in the display case located on the second floor.

By the end of the projects, the students had learned an enormous amount of new history while enjoying their time together and gaining a whole new perspective of both their classes and classmates.