By Paula Panzarella
Last Spring, the Greater New Haven Labor History Association Outreach Coordinator Christine Saari initiated a wonderfully successful labor history program with students from Worthington Hooker and Katherine Brennan schools. Almost one hundred sixth and eighth-grade social studies students learned how to conduct interviews with their parents and elders about work and wrote essays based on the interviews. The essays were used to create a composite performance piece with music and song by Mike Kachuba, and was performed by the students on the New Haven Green on May 1.
The Greater New Haven Labor History Association will be building off the success of last year's program, and has revised the Family Work History Project in order to reach a greater number of teachers and students. As the project coordinator, I will meet with fifteen social studies teachers in Connecticut to introduce them to the Family Work History Project and provide them with material so they can create a Family Work History Project with their own students.
I will have one meeting with their students to conduct a condensed workshop about the importance of our history at work, how to conduct an interview and how to write and present essays based on an oral history interview. Students will have the opportunity to practice interviewing a retired or active worker who will accompany me. Volunteer interviewees will be chosen from a variety of industries and occupations in the greater New Haven area.
For teachers who decide to incorporate the five-class curriculum, I will be available to assist in planning and publicizing their classes’ “grand finale” performance.
I look forward to helping the students discover their “inner journalist” as they gain an understanding and appreciation of labor history. Please e-mail me at email@example.com or call (203) 562-2798 for any questions or suggestions. Thank you.