History Hunters is a fully subsidized field trip program for Philadelphia School District 4th and 5th grade classrooms. This innovative literacy-based program allows students to “hunt” for history by taking part in a variety of hands-on activities and experiences that bring history to life. As “investigative reporters” on assignment, students gather facts and sketches from their visits for follow-up writing in the classroom.
Prior to visits, students employ the History Hunters workbook to gain background context and prior knowledge for their site visits. With this preparation, students arrive on site as “Youth Reporters,” collecting information to be written up in articles and creative writing pieces back in the classroom. Students use what they have learned during preparation and their visit, and their thoughts about their own experiences, to submit articles posted to the History Hunters website.
Teachers have found that the program’s reading and writing components provide an innovative way to meet or supplement some of the School District’s comprehensive new literacy requirements while offering a much-needed opportunity to explore the community as classroom. New requirements for meeting adopted educational standards include a set amount of non-fiction reading. In light of this, teachers have praised the workbook as a wonderful non-fiction resource that is engaging for students, while other non-fiction reading does not hold the students’ attention.
History Hunters has been an incredibly successful educational program for over ten years. During that time, we have worked hard to reach out to our community. Stenton and its partners are in a difficult area of Philadelphia and History Hunters is directed at underserved students in Germantown, Nicetown, Logan and North Philadelphia. Over 15,000 students have been served by the History Hunters Youth Reporter Program, gaining the opportunity to visit these historic and cultural institutions right in their own neighborhoods. Through these trips, students take away important reading, writing and critical thinking skills and have the chance to contemplate big and broad ideas that will profoundly influence their lives.
The Pennsylvania Abolition Society
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