The East Montpelier Elementary School’s 3rd Grade has a long-standing tradition of studying the past, present, and future of their local community at the end of the school year. Previously, this has taken the form of guest lectures given by community members who explain how people have lived in East Montpelier while also reflecting on the present and future of the town.
This year, 3rd Grade teachers Kathy Christy and Christine Christiano expanded the project to include a collaborative ethnographic component by partnering with EMES librarian Arlyn Bruccoli, the EMES tech club, and Mike Leonard from the Vermont Folklife Center. The East Montpelier: Past, Present, Future project included lessons based around storytelling and interviewing, teaching students how to conduct thoughtful interviews with community members in their town. By combining their knowledge with the technological prowess of the EMES Tech Club, their hard work culminated in a student-produced documentary available to watch here:
Students were assigned to groups, each of which was responsible for interviewing a community member about their own past, present, and future in East Montpelier. In anticipation of these interviews, students worked with the VFC to explore the ethnographic concepts of storytelling and interviewing. In addition, the students were given a tutorial by EMES Librarian, Arlyn Bruccoli, on how to create an appropriate context for a filmed interview using a green screen and audio/video equipment. Students then interviewed their community members and a film was edited together by the 5th/6th Grade Tech Club.
The final product was revealed to the school community on June 12th at the EMES annual Tech Night. In addition to being available on the EMES website, there are plans to share this resource at future community events.
For VFC lessons covering storytelling and interview techniques, please view this page.