There are many ways that people learn about their past, their culture, and their traditions. While much of this knowledge can be gained through books, history and culture can also be passed down through experiences and personal records. One such record that can teach more about the past is the home movie. Home movies enable the engaged observer to learn about ways of life from the not-so-distant past. Styles, cultural practices, and architectural features of an area are all subjects that are sometimes difficult to learn about from books and may not even be documented. In this lesson, students will learn about the concept of local and community history through the medium of home movies and locally-produced footage, including their own films and interviews. Students will research their hometown, county, or region of the state to examine how it changed over the past 50-100 years using, among other resources, primary source films from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image available at www.texasarchive.org. Using project-based learning, which improves retention of new content and develops students’ personal connections to the past, students will investigate local events and landmarks to examine how they changed over time in their geographic area of the state. By focusing on the physical, economic, political, and cultural changes in their communities, students will connect the past to the present, making critical observations and assessments about what elements changed or remained the same. Apart from a structured student-driven project, students will also individually research their own personal histories through family interviews, identifying the political, social, and economic reasons their families moved to the area. Lastly, students will work together to make short films documenting their modern community, highlighting the important changes that have occurred there over the last half century to present to the class. To submit student videos to TAMI’s collection: To encourage students to share and save Texas history through film, classes can submit their student videos to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image’s collection. Teachers can contact [email protected]
to discuss submitting class videos to the Archive to represent their region of the state. The videos will be featured in a special online exhibition at www.texasarchive.org. Make your class a part of Texas history!
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