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Living History is the primary strategy your students will experience when your class takes a field trip to a camp meeting

     Living History is a term for an interpretive strategy used at museums like Colonial Williamsburg  or Conner Prairie . It is when visitors are ushered back to a specific place in the past that is peopled by costumed interpreters doing everyday tasks using authentic tools and materials or else very accurate reproduction artifacts. Often the visitors are encouraged to assist with the activities. Sometimes the interpreters have adopted a persona based on a real person. This approach uses theater methods and requires each character to have a very detailed understanding of the time and circumstances their person would have lived in. It takes research to locate the documents, oral history resources, and evidence from material culture from which each character is created. Then it takes a certain discipline to maintain the character's first-person perspective when visitors interact from their modern point of view. This introduces a fun tension that emphasizes the shifts in how we live
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Merry Christmas and Thank You: An Open Letter to Kentucky's K-12 Teachers

 Dear Teacher, It's nearly winter break. We here at the Kentucky Faith & Public History Education Project wish every Kentucky teacher a blessed holiday season. We want you to know that we value what you do and that we understand that your job is not about the paycheck. It's truly about the students. It takes commitment and sacrifice. We want to take this opportunity to thank you.  You more than deserve the recognition and the honor. Many of you keep a warm coat in the trunk of your car for when you have bus duty at the end of the day and the temperature has dropped 20 degrees since you left your house before it was light. You probably have spent several recent evenings preparing to delight your students with a holiday surprise before winter break. You routinely spend your own money to make sure your classroom has enough paper, pencils, crayons and other essential supplies so that every student can learn. Many have made it a personal mission to provide a safe environment for

Four new titles for the Famous Kentucky Christians Club book series

There are four additional titles in the FKCC series of high-interest, low-ability chapter books: Great Idea: the Story of Harry Clark Karsner; Knocked Down: The Story of Carl Brashear; Too Bad: The Story of Peggy Taylor; and Not Fair: The Story of Mary Britton. The four original titles have new covers as well. You can find all eight books on Amazon here . The books are appropriate for the public school classroom library. They model the Kentucky State Curriculum Standards for Social Studies Inquiry Process They introduce famous Kentuckians  They reflect typical classroom problems: bullying, being a new kid, having a disability... They include an archival image from the Library of Congress Collection They have a glossary and a works cited page They are written at the 2nd to 4th grade reading level with as many words as possible limited to a single syllable They have four short chapters They are fictional accounts of a team of fourth grade students who must collaborate to create an exhibi

Studies show that religion and spirituality correlate to positive character traits

The Kentucky Faith & Public History Education Project produces resources for teachers and others to use when speaking of the history of Christianity in Kentucky. One significant priority has been to discover and disseminate biographical information linking the faith of famous Kentuckians with their achievements. To set famous Kentuckians as role models, heroes and heroines without including their own recognition that faith, religion or spirituality was an essential catalyst for the courage, wisdom, and diligence they needed to attain their fame may not equip our students to emulate their processes. Show-casing aspirational role models for our students is good. However, to deny the students critical information about the specific sources for their role models' strength (faith) may set them up for future disappointments and disillusionments. The topic of faith may be a missing component in the scope and sequence of the character education we make available to our K-12 students.

Difficult Faith-based History in the Classroom

 The Kentucky Faith and Public History Education Project exists to create and disseminate resources for use in public schools and elsewhere about Kentucky's Christian history. We started by articulating facts about Christianity using secular, objective and non-devotional language to introduce and explain what the Christian message is, how Christians practice their faith and what Christians believe. Interpretive text panels with that information, illustrated with historic images from the public domain like the Library of Congress Collection, are on display at the project's walking trail in Paris, Kentucky. Additional text panels contain information about the history of Christianity worldwide, in Kentucky and in Bourbon County. The walking trail also includes an eye-spy game that introduces thirty famous Kentucky Christians with short biographies spread out over seven sets of clues. Some of these individuals are also featured in our easy-reader chapter books. (Books 1-4 are avail

The Missing Faith Factor

  The Kentucky Faith and Public History Education Project provides and produces resources about Kentucky’s Christian history in terms appropriate for the K-12 public school classroom. Often this is best achieved by sharing the stories of people who attributed their successes to their faith. There is an index of famous Kentucky Christians on the project website [1] with links to external websites with more biographical information. Frequently the most difficult thing we do is to find original and verifiable documentation of their faith. Too often faith is neglected and viewed as marginal or irrelevant. Our project pulls the strand of faith forward. Carl Brashear served as consultant to the movie, Men of Honor , starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert DeNiro that portrays his quest to become the Navy’s first African American Master Diver. It juxtaposes the cruel racism that Brashear endured in the pursuit of his dream with his determination and self-control. It is difficult to watch. Whe

Separation of Church and State

  The early nineteenth century camp-meeting revivals impacted how Americans understood the separation of church and state. This concept was a political innovation, added to the Constitution because of the insistence of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The model for the First Amendment was the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom which became the legal definition of religious freedom in the United States. It reads:                 “We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact [Be it enacted by the General Assembly] that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” [1]