Have you met Mary LeBlanc and Annie Madden? They are Marblehead teachers who joined Essex Heritage’s “Park for Every Classroom” teacher workshop and learned how to transform their classroom teaching. Using the PEC method, Mary and Annie focused their classroom studies on the last remaining farm in Marblehead, the 200 year-old, 3.5-acre Robinson Family Farm. Observing, measuring, calculating, researching – every aspect of the farm, its plants, wildlife, terrain and family history were studied by their fourth graders.
At the end of the year, Mary declared, “Park for Every Classroom has changed my teaching. I used to think that my job was to deliver content to my students. Now, I understand that my responsibility is to create meaningful experiences that allow my students to discover the content for themselves.”
When their students presented their research to the Marblehead Board of Selectmen, one student quoting from a class book ‘Confessions of an Imaginary Friend‘ by Michelle Cuevas said ‘Have you ever noticed how a person’s eyes get brighter when they talk about something they love?’ and with a burst of enthusiasm he continued “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in Mrs. Robinson’s eyes.”
Best of all Mary and Annie’s students successfully reached all their academic requirements of reading, writing, and researching, AND their students also experienced the power of working on a real project with tangible benefits to the Robinson’s family farm and the Town of Marblehead.
Park for Every Classroom is just one of Essex Heritage’s unique programs that connect people to the thousands of unique historic, cultural, and natural places in the Essex National Heritage Area. With your help, we can ensure that these places and amazing stories will continue to be here for current and future generations.