During the Fall of 2016, a team of Southern University and A&M College graduate students set out to explore the Whitney Plantation. No ordinary group of graduate students, their mission at the Whitney Plantation was no ordinary task.
The Expedition: The Whitney Plantation was the “place” in this Place Based Learning experience. Coincidentally, the Southern University students were able to join a class of undergraduate education students from Southeastern Louisiana University. The prospect of rain on a chilly December morning only added to the intensity of the expedition. Dr. Ibrahima Seck, the Whitney Institute’s Research Director, guided the teams of teachers through the memorials and exhibits on site. As teachers experienced the plantation through the perspective of slaves who had lived and worked here, their task was to seek out artifacts, photographs, narratives, quotes, and facts from the expedition to help them as they explored the Driving Question:
How do we leverage the rich resources of the Whitney plantation to build robust projects for our students?
With these artifacts, teachers then created a Project Snapshot that incorporated the legacies of slavery in a manner appropriate for their grade level. Teachers leveraged this Project Snapshot to create PBL Units designed to incorporate storytelling components and connect students to their history, with authentic community products and calls to action
Stay Tuned.... As a group, we were fortunate to indulge in a Q&A Session with Dr. Seck and Caitlin Sheehan, Education and Group Sales Coordinator. To make sense of this powerful expedition, teachers created a 6-word story to capture their feelings about what they had just experienced. In the act of sharing, natural intersections between the stories became evident and grounded the work in this shared experience. Teachers’ children participated as well; out of the mouths of babes, one 10-year old expressed that he felt:
But the fun doesn’t stop there… PBL Path and teachers will then experience the place with students! Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter @PBLPath for more updates and the latest resources.